FILM new if? lea ses
As Eddie l/lriiiil-r's star falls, so Martin Lawrence’s irsr-s lir ii (oiiredy rrrine caper of the type that f.’lll"l)fi\,’ used to master, !l is the younger actor who riiipresst-s as a lf.lt'f forced to masquerade as (l las Angel-es (op. After a Jewel i.-: l‘,l goes Wrong when gang lllt‘lllfit‘l Dea- ()ll (a (J(.-rld-(-‘\/O(f Peter (alt-’('ll("' ~ ll, rip him off, lavvrerrufs l\./l.l.. , l' ';.lli irrmages to f‘llUt’ a brill T~illl()ll(f§ on a ((Jl“;ll'..'(ll()ll a M .latriig served a three-year (Liz; i:. .. :ir, logaii returns to the storm of (iiir:e to fiiid that the now fri‘.isf:i 2 zrliiig .s the new f‘PddQllrlllt‘lS or 1-. lAl’D. The only way to get in 'ic-vt' his loot is to
Muppets From Space (U) 88 mins >2 ,sc- it
Returning for flit-ii SIMfT big screen adventure, the lvliippets stay closer to home after straiashlrrit kles wrth Muppet Treasure Island and Victorian antics With The Muppet Christmas Carol. The title is more than a little deceptive as not a lot of the act.on actually occurs in space.
The focos of our Muppet attentions is Gonzo, that blue, hooked nosed . . thing, and the seait h for his family. No one is really sure what Gonzo is, so when he gets a message in his breakfast cereal which he believes is from space, the rate is on to make contact wrth his extra-terrestrial brethren w a race which government agents are also extremely Interested in. All the other regular fuzzy faces are on
30 THE lIST 16 Dec 1999-»6 Jan 2000
Undercover: Martin Lawrence in Blue Streak
pose as a new drugs squad detective, but Logan is so good at readrng the criminal mind, being one, that he finds himself promoted.
It's all good fun, wrth crisp direction from Les Mayfield and a nice balance of comic shtick and stunts. Lawrence is an engaging presence, impatiently solvrng crimes to the awe of rookie sidekick Luke Wilson (in the Judge Reinhold part), while rooting out hrs diamonds It's perhaps unfortunate that Blue Streak relies on Murphy- esque racial opposition for its drama — the film would not work half as effectively wrth a white guy in the lead
but Lawrence has the ability to transcend that, given the chance. (Simon Wardell)
I General release from Sun 26 Dec.
'4e 0 )
Funky: Muppets From Space
hand to help out: Kermit, Fozzy Bear, Miss Piggy, Animal, erzo The Rat and new face Pepe The Prawn. Appearances from Jeffrey Tambor, David Arquette, F. Murray Abraham, Ray Liotta, and a blink and you’ll miss rt cameo from a couple of the stars of Dawson’s Creek add a credible human edge to the proceedings.
Muppets From Space captures the sprrrt of the first movie and the original TV series where the subsequent films never did. The humour rs mostly sharp enough to appeal to both krds and adults alike, delrvered to the strains of a slamming 70s funk soundtrack. Too many kids movres are filled with unnecessary sloppiness, this is not and all the better for rt. (Mark Robertson)
I General release from Sun 26 Dec.
(15) 30 mins ht
Kevrn Smith, creator of Clerks and himself a devout believer, confronts the conflict between personal faith and the institutionalised religion of the Catholic Church. Meanwhile slacker prophets Jay and Silent Bob provrde the usual casual Obscenities. Dogma is vulgar and irreverent, and features a ’poop monster’ and Alanrs Morrisette as God. It’s also undrscrplrned, shambolic and boring. As a satire, it doesn’t have a prayer.
’Fallen angels’ Loki (Matt Damon) and Bartleby (Ben Affleckl have been banished for all eternity to WisconSIn. But when they learn that a trendy New Jersey cardinal is about to re-consecrate his church, they spy a metaphysical loophole and a chance of redemption. By entering the church, their sins Will be erased, God’s fallibility Will be proved, and they Will be able to re-enter Heaven A minor side- effect is that the world Will be destroyeci. So God despatches another angel, Metatron (Alan Rickman). to prevent this cataclysm He in turn enlists the help of Bethany (Linda Eiorentino), a disillu5ioned Catholic and abortion clinic clerk
Smith’s dialogue is sharp and pungent, but the fact rs he still can’t direct to save his life. There’s no doubting his srncerity and religious faith, but many of his ideas srmply get lost amidst the dull vrsuals and chaotic storytelling. (Nigel Floyd)
I Selected release from Sun 26 Dec. See feature.
The Cup (Phorpa) f " (PG) 93 mins at t ‘k at 1. ‘ We’ve seen films ab0ut Tibet and Buddhism before — see Scorsese’s Kundun and and Bertoluco’s Little Buddha. The Cup, however, is the first time an East Asian filmmaker has tackled Tibetan Buddhism. It's also the first feature length film in the Tibetan language and the first film to employ a cast solely comprised of monks.
As if all this wasn’t remarkable enough, writer, director and lama, Khyentse Norbu — a native of Bhutan, which neighbours Tibet — has chosen not to focus on Tibet’s religious leader, nor the nation or China's invasion of it, nor even the religion rtself, but football. Filmed in Norbu’s monastery-in-exrle in the Northern Indian Himalayas, The Cup deals with the sporting fervour a young monk stirs up among his fellows as the 1998 World Cup final approaches.
But why background the big issues of the nation and religion for what seems a relatively trivial subject matter (althoogh many would argue footy is a national religion)? For the very sound reason of demystifyrng the Western perception of the austere, spiritual lifestyle of the Buddhist monks. Using the tools of the trade in a very straightforward way, and elrcrting spirited performances from his cast, Norbu achieves his goal in creating a simple, warm, humorous and humane film. (Miles Fielder)
I Edinburgh: Fi/mhouse from Sun 26 Dec, Glasgow: GFT from Fri 7 Jan. See preview
Contemplation: The Cup
Hold Back The Night
(15) 104 mins * *
Road movie meets gritty sooal drama in this story of three outcasts who become improbable travelling companions. Abandoning her home and abusive father, Charleen (Christine Tremarco) hooks up with crusty eco- warrior Declan (Edinburgh born, bred and trained Stuart Sinclair Blyth), but no sooner has he introduced Charleen to his squatter community, than it’s raided by the police. In the ensuing battle, the pair make a qurck exit, hitching a ride With an old woman, Vera (Sheila Hancock). Terminally ill, Vera is determined to see the sunrise in Orkney before she dies, and so the road trip commences.
As you might expect, much of the film hinges on the central performances. Veteran actor Hancock has little difficulty evoking the requrred pathos. Tremarco and Blyth invest their characters with great energy - Charleen’s self-destructive angst, Declan’s optimistic idealism — and their screen romance convrnces. But Steve Chambers’ under-developed script fails to do the performers JUSthe — the character traits and sequence of events are merely sketched in. It’s not a problem director Phil Davis (better known for his performances in Ouadrophenia and Face) solves. Even the metaphorical equating of the starkly beautiful Highland landscapes with the characters’ inner lives falls flat. (Miles Fielder)
I Edinburgh: Fi/mhouse from Fri 77 Dec.
Disturbed: Christine Tremarco in Hold Back The Night