new releases

The World Is Not Enough

(12) 128 mins ***

With nineteen titles now in the series, how does a new Bond film distinguish itself? The tried and tested elements of the film formula - action set pieces, exotic locations, gadgets, theme tunes, villains, girls - have been applied over and over ever since Dr No way back in 1962.

One Bond film is, essentially, like another. Yet the spy movie franchise continues to benefit from the overhaul prompted by the arrival of Pierce Brosnan in 1995's GoldenEye. Since then, the films have been sharpened up to rival those such as the Die Hard series, but now also toy with audience notions of who Bond is. In our post-PC world, 007's trademark sexual innuendo has become ironic. At the close of The World Is Not Enough, Brosnan says to Denise Richards's busty nuclear weapons expert Dr Christmas Jones, 'I've always wanted to have Christmas in Turkey.’ There’s a note of apology in his voice.

In Bond girl tradition, Richards’s curvy physique provides the bulk of her performance, while Sophie Marceau gets to play a more fully developed part as Elektra King, daughter of a murdered oil baron whom

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Bring on the sub: Pierce Brosnan and Robert Carlyle in The World Is Not Enough

Bond is assigned to protect. Robert Carlyle puts his psychotic hat on as Renard, an international terrorist whose special feature is immunity to pain. Carlyle seems a little under-used, but Renard's Machiavellian skulking around off stage is justified by a plot revelation. In fact, The World Is Not Enough is distinguished by a number of plot twists not usually squeezed in between action set pieces. At times this slows the proceedings down somewhat, but also increases involvement with the peripheral characters: M (Judi Dench), Bond’s ex-KGB friend Valentin Zukovsky (Robbie Coltrane), and Q (Desmond Llewelyn), who retires and is replaced by John Cleese, alarmingly in Basil Fawlty mode.

The action set pieces are spectacular, but uninspired. The climactic fight between Bond and Renard aboard a sunken nuclear submarine is disappointing, although the pre-credit sequence a speedboat chase along the River Thames ending atop the Millennium Dome is breathtaking. As ever, at the close of 007's nineteenth outing and Brosnan's third, the legend ’James Bond will return' appears on the screen. On the evidence of The World Is Not Enough, we'll still look forward to that. (Miles Fielder)

I General release from Fri 26 Nov.

but topping the polls of America’s

" Most Hated. After her ineVitable freak- out exit, Ed finds the mid in his life easy to fill, thanks to an increasrngly large pay packet and the advances of the entire female population, headed by Liz Hurley.

The immediate problem for the audience is how to reconcile itself to the fact that Ed is in no way remotely representative of Normal Guy. Cute and puppyish, yet also ruggedly handsome, McConaughey is simply too attractive and too charismatic to carry the film’s premise. Unlike The Truman Show, EdTV sorely lacks imagination,

and, in an attempt to redresses this

EdTV (12) 123 mins **

Ellen DeGeneres plays a television executive whose inspiration for improving ratings comes in the shape of no-hoper ’Normal Guy’, Ed (Matthew McConaughey). In what amounts to The Truman Show with a consenting protagonist, Ed’s every waking moment is beamed across the nation on its own channel as a real life soap opera.

Curiously, director Ron Howard and

28 THE “81' 18 Nov-2 Dec 1999

scriptwriters Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel choose to overlook every comedic possibility that the subject matter offers. Instead, the entire premise becomes a mere vehicle for some 'fame is empty, TV more so' satire, with a lethargic love story padding this out. Ed falls for Shari (Jenna Elfman), his selfish slob of a brother's (Woody Harrelson) girlfriend. However, their blossoming relationship suffers from the media occupation of every corner of Ed's life, and Shari finds herself not only an unwilling porn star,

problem, asks the audience to over- stretch its own.

Furthermore, while the audience is invited to empathise With Ed’s tricky predicament, it’s none too easy, seeing as he is entirely complicit in his pTISOn. It's hard, after all, to muster up much sympathy when the hero’s enemies

the immoral, ratings-driven TV bosses I and his raging, but ultimately non- threatening brother - are far less a

problem for him than his own greed and dull wits. (Judith Ho) I General release from Fri 79 Nov

STAR RATINGS ; ‘k * t i t Unmissable L * * * * Very ood ; it Hi Wort a shot l t * Below average * You’ve been warned

Onegin (12) 106 mins 1k at at i

When Alexander Pushkin was alive and

writing his poetry in 19th century Russia, love was such a high-stakes emotion that it c0uld bring about the absolute downfall of someone, personally, socially and professwnally. Pushkin, himself, was entrenched in the social codes that upheld this situation and, in fact, died in a duel over his Wife's honour. His epic poem,

Evgeny Onegin, the source of Martha :- Fiennes's impressive debut film, is'3

inspired by precisely this world. It hurls its characters through an intensity of passion, betrayal and unbearable loss, all Within the thoroughly elegant and codified context of the Russian aristocracy of the 1820s.

Fiennes was creativer partnered on

the proiect by her more well-known i brother, Ralph, and he seems ideally

suited to the lead role, given its

melancholy and suppressed, but . emotional characteristics. The film I

stays true to the Pushkin original,

emphasising the psychological aspects

of an essentially simple story and

placing the emotional Journey of Onegin, himself, at the centre. Fiennes

plays him as an initially arrogant, cynical man who learns his own heart when tragic Circumstances force him to re-evaluate his feelings for a woman. Onegin meets Tatyana (Liv Tyler) when he travels to the country to inherit an estate. Initially scornful of the unsophisticated life lived so far from St. Petersburg, he nevertheless makes some friends amongst the local gentry and is surprised by his neighbour’s

daughter, a woman with a solitary f nature and pass:onate heart. Tatyana :

declares her love and Onegin, crippled by his cynrcrsm, turns her down. When

a duel leads to a tragedy, Onegin

realises at last, that his value system has rendered him hollow and he seeks to recover what he once refused.

Onegin is a heart-aching film, marked 7

by fine performances (Tobey Stephens

and Lena Headey support Fiennes and

Tyler), beautiful period settings and thoughtful camerawork. Its bleak, bleak heart, may not have universal

appeal. (Hannah Fries)

I Edinburgh Fi/mhouse from Fri 79 Nov

Love hurts: Ralph Fiennes in Onegin