Films screening this fortnight are listed below with certificate, credits. brief review and venue details. Film index compiled by Miles Fielder.
Alexander's Ragtime Band (PG) (Henry King, US, 1938)Tyron Power, Alice Faye, Don Ameche. 106 mins. Between 1911 and 1939 two songwriters vie for the affections of a rising musical star. The 26-song soundtrack is the star of the show, with an Oscar nomination for the Irving Berlin lyrics and a statuette for Alfred Newman’s music. Edinburgh: Lumiere. Alice St Martin (15) (Andre Techine, France/Spain/USA, 1999) Juliette Binoche/Alexis Loret. 124 mins mins. Fascinating drama dealing with the complex subject of inherited dysfunctional family psychology, it tells the story of two emotionally unhealthy lovers: Martin (Alexis) and his homosexual half-brother Benjamin’s (Amalric) friend Alice (Binoche). Typically character-driven, 'I‘echine’s lengthy tale nevertheless boasts a tight structure with the story evolving at a suitably engaging pace. See review. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. All About My Mother (15) (Pedro Almodovar, Spain, 1999) Cecilia Roth, Penelope Cruz, Antonia San Juan. 101 mins. Almodovar’s new ﬁlm is without a doubt his best to date. When Madrid hospital worker Manuela’s son is killed in a car accident the grief-stricken woman sets out to fulfil her son’s last wish to know his father, and goes to Barcelona to ﬁnd the transvestite she ran away from eighteen years earlier. Renowned for his portrayal of strong women, Almodovar pays tribute here to their capacity to act, to mother and to create strong bonds of solidarity in the face of extremities. Glasgow: Odeon. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. American Pie (15) (Paul and Chris Weitz, US, 1999) Jason Biggs, Eugene Levy, Chris Klein. 96 mins. The latest in 1999's bumper crop of teenage comedies turns out to be a surprisingly sweet-natured account of adolescent sexual frustration. What disappoints is American Pie’s ultimate conventionality. Entertaining, but hardly in the comic league of There’s Something About Mary. General release. Analyze This (15) (Harold Ramis, US, 1999) Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal, Lisa Kudrow. 104 mins. A tough Maﬁoso is struggling to hold it all together and in desperation, and to his utter embarrassment, decides to seek out a therapist. Analyze This is mainly an excuse for Crystal and De Niro to ham their way through the motions and its undoubtedly fun for a while but is ﬁnally simply too, too familiar. Edinburgh: Lumiere. Falkirk: FTH. St Andrews: New Picture Ilouse. Anywhere But Here (12) (Wayne Wang, US, 1999) Susan Sarandon, Natalie Portman. 114 mins. Teenager Ann August (Portman) is embarrassed by her wild-at- heart her mother, Adele (Sarandon), but when Adele drags her away from stable family life in Wisconsin to the bright lights of Los Angeles, embarrassment becomes hate. Wang‘s (Dim Sum, The Joy Luck Club, Smoke) shot at the genre strips it down to its basics: raw emotion, moments of light relief and a pair of very accomplished lead performances. See preview and review. Glasgow: Odeon. Showcase. Edinburgh: UCI, Virgin Megaplex. Apt Pupil (15) (Bryan Singer, US, 1999) Ian McKellen, Brad Renfro, David Schwimmer. 111 mins. This ﬁnely acted adaptation of a Stephen King novella tells the story of Todd (Renfro), an academically gifted 16-year-old, who is researching the Holocaust when he ﬁnds a photo of a Nazi that resembles Kurt Dussander (McKellen), an old man living nearby. In his follow-up to The Usual Suspects, Singer again demonstrates his eye for suspense and pacing. Glasgow: Grosvenor. The Astronaut's Wife (18) (Rand Ravich, US, 1999) Johnny Depp, Charleze Theron, Joe Morton. 108 mins. During a routine space mission, Earth loses contact with
astronaut Spencer Arrnacost (Depp) for a couple of minutes. He returns safely but, after she falls pregnant, his wife (Theron) begins to suspect that her husband is an alien impostor. If this sounds a lot like the plot of Rosemary’s Baby with an extra terrestrial substituted for the anti-Christ . . . well, it is. Glasgow: Showcase. Edinburgh: Virgin Megaplex.
Balto (U) (Simon Wells, US, 1995) With the voices of Kevin Bacon, Bridget Fonda, Bob Hoskins. 78 mins. When the medical supplies to an isolated Alaskan town are threatened by a blizzard, half-husky/half- wolf Balto - an outsider because of his mongrel nature — comes to the rescue. Impressive action sequences ensure that Amblin’s feature-length cartoon gives Disney a run for its money. Glasgow: GFI‘. Beautiful People (15) (Jazmin Dizdar, UK, 1999) Charlotte Coleman, Edin Dzandzanovic, Danny Nussbaum. 107 mins. Tackling the legacy of faraway war in Bosnia and the break-up of domestic bliss among the English professional classes makes for a ﬁlm that’s far from unambitious. Dizdar has a keen eye, an eye trained on an often precarious British social scene. Drug-takers, racists, snobs, alternative therapists, liberals, forlorn housewives, lone fathers, even BBC executives all feature kicking at life with varying degrees of hate and savagery. Dizdar’s cleverness comes in taking a diseased rump of British insularity and throwing in a good hand of common humanity. Stirling: MacRobert.
Being John Malkovich (15) (Spike Jonze, US, 1999) John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, John Malkovich. 112 mins. Genius music video director Jonze’s bizarre feature tells the story of a unemployed puppet master and his pet shop owner wife who ﬁnd a portal that leads right into the head of Hollywood star John Malkovich. There's money to be made from those wanting to spend a few minutes wandering around inside. Part of the London Film Festival on tour. Glasgow: GFI‘.
The Belles of St Trinians (PG) (Frank Launder, UK, 1954) Alastair Sim, Joyce Grenfell, George Cole. 91 mins. The original of the girls’ school series, with Sim in top pantomime dame form as the headmistress and George Cole as an ‘Arfur Daly’ prototype spiv. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. The Betsy (PG) (Daniel Petrie, US, 1977) Laurence Olivier, Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones. 125 mins. The same year that Star Wars was released, Olivier and co proved that a star-studded cast were no match for the sfx blockbuster. But then, a tale of boardroom greed based on a Harold Robbins novel was never going to be anything other than tame. For curiosity value only. Edinburgh: St Bride’s Centre. Big Daddy (12) (Dennis Dugan, US, 1999) Adam Sandler, Joey Lauren Adams, Jon Stewart. 93 mins. Sadly not an homage to
Fear and loathing: Natalie Portman in Anywhere But Here
the late wrestling great, this is the new comedy vehicle for Adam Sandler’s similarly unsubtle comedy talents. Which is not to say he isn’t funny, just that most of it, in this case, seems to revolve around his abrasive screen persona Sonny Koufax, a full time slob who becomes the unwilling daddy to a sweet ﬁve-year-old. Silly it may be, but despite the lack of ambition it’s occasionally funny, and brief too. Glasgow: UCI. Greenock: Waterfront.
The Blair Witch Project (15) (Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, US, 1999) Heather Donahue, Josh Leonard, Michael Williams. 90 mins. Terrifying docu-horror movie that purports to be an edited version of the ﬁlm and video footage that Donahue, Leonard and Williams shot in the days before they disappeared in the woods around Burkittsville, Maryland. While you’re watching you’re too sacred to think about the clever tricks with your mind. General release.
Bowfinger (12) (Frank 02, US, 1999) Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Heather Graham. 97 mins. Ecstatic after reading a ‘great script’, Martin, the proprietor of the low budget Bowﬁnger International Pictures, begins the farcical attempt to make a movie with Hollywood's flavour of the month, Kit Ramsey (Murphy), as its unwitting star. Exposing of Hollywood's neurotic underbelly, but sadly all too brieﬂy, the plot runs out of steam. General release. Brokedown Palace (12) (Jonathan Kaplan, US, 1999) Claire Danes, Kate Beckinsale, Bill Pullman. 100 mins. Travelling in Thailand, Beckinsale and Danes fall victim to a conman and ﬁnd themselves facing 33- year sentences for drug smuggling. The jailers and Thai ofﬁcials are cartoon baddies more suited to a Bond ﬁlm and the Thai wife of the girls’ American lawyer is blankly played. In the end, it plumps for Hollywood test of friendship over social comment. Edinburgh: Virgin Megaplex.
Buena Vista Social Club (U) (Wim Wenders, Cuba, 1999) Ry Cooder, Ibrahim Ferrer, Rubén Gonzalez. 104 mins. Cuba looks a little like the land that time forgot. A theme Wenders brings out both in the over- exposed images of Havana and also in the musical brilliance of these octogenarian and nonagenarian musicians who have for so long been neglected. And it’s ironically thanks to an American, Wenders’ regular musical collaborator Ry Cooder, that their careers have been resurrected. Edinburgh: Cameo, Lumiere.
Carrie 2: The Rage (18) (Katt Shea, US, 1999) Emily Bergl, Jason London. 104 mins. Stephen King’s teenage telekinetic terror is revisited, but it’s neither a knowing homage nor an effectively scary movie. Goth outcast at school, Rachel unleashes mass destruction when she’s humiliated at a sports jock’s party. The climactic scene has a few interesting touches, but against recent horror movie innovations, The Rage is
merely a temperate tantrum. Edinburgh: Virgin Megaplex. Paisley: Showcase. Wishaw: Arrow.
Charles Laughton Event (PG) Film writer and historian Michael Burrows delivers an illustrated talk on the career of one of Britain’s greatest dead actors. The event includes screenings of the BBC’s presentation (UK, 70 mins) of Joseph yon Sternberg’s I Claudius, which was abandoned during mid-shoot, and William Dietcrle's The Hunchback OfNotre Dame (US, 117 mins). Glasgow: GF'I‘.
The Children Of The Marshland (Les Enfants Du Marais) (PG) (Jean Becker, France, 1999) Jacques Villerct, Jacques Gamblin, Michel Serrault. 115 mins. Set in France’s Rhénc-Alpes region where Riton (Villeret) and Garris (Gamblin) scrape a living any way they can. The story eschews narrative focus for a series of privileged moments, narrated by Riton’s daughter and the film’s immediacy is always secondary to its elegiac tone. See review. Glasgow: GFT. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
The Cider House Rules (12) (Lasse Hallstrom, US, 1999) Tobey Maguire, Michael Caine, Charlize Theron. 131 mins. Adaptation of John Irving’s novel about a young man (Maguire) who shirks his responsibilies at Dr Michael Caine’s orphanage to see the world (19305 America) for himself. IIallstr‘m piles on the sentimentality, but the ﬁne performances (bar Caine’s awful American accent) raise this to the level of quality drama. Edinburgh: Lumiere.
Citizen Kane (PG) (Orson Welles, US, 1941) Orson Welles, Joseph Cottcn, Agnes Moorehead. 119 mins. Stunnineg successful biographical mosaic centring on a llearst-likc media tycoon. Wellcs’ ﬁrst ﬁlm remains scintillating viewing for its sheer technical verve, narrative conﬁdence and spellbinding performances. The best ﬁlm ever made? Who’s arguing? Dunfermline: Carnegie Hall.
Comes A Horseman (PG) (Alan J. Paluka, US, 1978) Jane Fonda, Jason Robards, Richard Farnsworth. 118 mins. Famsworth picked up an Oscar for his performance here and he might do so again with his new ﬁlm, The Straight Story. Otherwise, we're in modern (19405) Western territory where Montana ranchers have a hard time holding their own against Progress in the form of a greedy cattle baron. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. Coney Island (U) (Walter Lang, US, 1943) Betty Grable, George Montgomery, Cesar Romero. 96 mins. The 01’s favoured pin-up, Grable heads the cast in this Technicolor musical set at the tum-of-the-century, in which she is fought over by rival saloon owners Montgomery and Romero (better known as Batman’s nemeis The Joker). Screening with a Paramount Newsreel from 1943. Edinburgh: Lumiere.
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