Wes Craven's new nightmare: Meryl Streep in Music Of The Heart

Music Of The Heart (PG) 130 mins t *

Wes Craven has followed Davrd Lynch and made a movre that turns expectations on their head Hrs first foray Outside the horror genre is a radical departure in tone and content for the veteran goremerster And in another first for the director, rt also has a 24-carat Hollywood star. Meryl Streep.

She plays Roberta Gtiaspari who, at the start of the film, is left to bring up her two boys alone by her cheating husband. Heading for New York, she takes a post teaching the vrolrn to pre- teens at a Harlem school. Arden Quinn floats into, then out of, her life, leavrng her free to concentrate on battling to set up Frddlefest, a showcase for her

Better Living Through Circuitry

(no cert) 86 mins a: *

Pounding bass, flashing strobe, sky- searching lights and a crowd of ecstatic ravers dancing towards a hunched DJ it could be any party in Britain a decade ago. Only rt’s present day America. Better Living Through Circuitry promotes itself as 'a film about a new way of lrfe', a new bigger, louder, brighter culture with musrc born from technology. There are the requisite producers, promoters and DJs, talking about the mu5ic and how much vrnyl their fathers used to have in the house'The paramedics and police talk about how they would never let their daughters go to these parties, but they enioy the musrc. Meanwhile, the sky-high ravers try to be profound about the meaning of rave.

students at Carnegie Hall.

While rt's clear that this is 'naterral close to Craven's heart, the film never rises above the level of a profrCIently executed rrrade-for-TV movre. Craven doesn’t take any chances wrth the direction, while his fascination wrth teaching blinds him to the fact that watching somemre simply putting children through their paces in the classroom is not very interesting The chrldrens lives outside school, moreover, are barely exaiirrned, so we have. to take it on trust that they are improved by Streep's efforts. It's nice to see Craven finally rrrovrng outSrde the narrow confines of horror It's Just a pity that his first effort is as ordinary as its protagonist. (Stephen Applebaum) I General release from Fri 27 Jan.

Old skool: Better Living Through Circuitry

But this documentary fails on most fronts. There’s little acknowledgement that while house started in the disco parties and gay scenes in Chicago and New York, it was turned into acrd house by the Brits, and now it has returned to the States. The intervrewees have little to say -- it's difficult to take anyone’s comment seriously when they are obvrously off their head on a number of different chemicals. The editing rs poor and disiornted and the appalling use of psychedelic computer graphics Will alienate the liiaJOTlIy of vrewers. There’s a feeling of 'been there, done that years ago’. For a more informed vrew of the global electronic musrc scene, try lara Lee’s 1998 film, Modulations. (Simone Baird)

I Glasgow; GF T Tue 25 Jan, Edinburgh Filmhouse Wed 26 Jan.

new releases FILM

One More Kiss

(15) 97 mins 1t * t arr

Vadrm Jean follows his co-director’s credit on the acclaimed comedy Leon The Pig Farmer wrth a tender, tricky melodrama about love, death and betrayal. Valerie Edmond plays the dynamic Sarah, whose cancer diagnosis drives her to reburld burnt bridges. Returning to her home town of Berwick-Upon-Tweed, she attempts a reconcrliation with both her distant father and her first love, Sam, now married. The father, Frank (James Cosmo), rs forced to articulate long-buried feelings, while Sam (Gerald Butler) faces a potentially devastating challenge to his marriage.

An emotional minefield for the characters, then, but also for the filmmakers, who could have found themselves making Terms Of Endearment //. Thankfully, sentimentality rs downplayed in favour of powerful characterisation and a genurnely affecting atmosphere of burldrng tension and impending tragedy Edmond effortlessly commands attention as Sarah, and Valerie Gogan excels in the largely thankless role of Charlotte, Sam’s wrfe Cosmo’s turn as Frank, meanwhile, rs an absolute show-stopper, hrs finest performance yet.

There are excesses. The subtext about Frank's own romantic re-awakenrng is unconvrncrng wish-fulfilment, and some sequences, especrally towards the end of the film, lose their impact through over-development. Still, this rs an involvrnq and tl10ught-provokrng story further strengthened by its beautifully understated vrsual style. (Hannah McGill)

I Glasgow: GF T from Fri 27 Jan. See feature.

Com Ircity

(18) 1 0 mins *‘k‘k

Journalist Cameron (Jonny Lee Miller) is, at first glance, a regular young Edinburgh-based professional. He drinks and smokes somewhat excessively, and indulges in kinky sex With his mate's wrfe, but we’ll hardly lose sleep over that The police, however, have fingered him as a serial killer, gurlty of some of the most gruesome murders Scotland has ever wrtnessed.

Those familiar wrth Iain Banks‘s novels wrll recognise the trademark darkness that inhabits everything in the world of Comp/icity. The gory deaths are thriller material, but in the foreground rt is the characters themselves that are dark, untrustworthy and destructive. The relentlessness of this tone and a complex twrsting plot put Comp/icity in the realm of the modern film norr.

Director Gavrn Millar (also responsible for The Crow Road) has made an ambitious movie, and an adult one. Underlining the film’s narrative IS an attempt to grapple with the question of responsibility in a messed up world. Cameron is a murder suspect because he dared to suggest, in newsprint, that those who commit legal atrocities should be punished beyond the law. That an arms dealer is amongst the dead, ’disarmed' literally, begs of us all the question: if the law won’t hold him accountable then who will? (Hannah Fries)

l Selected release from Fri 28 Ian.

The Five Senses

(15) 105 mins Hint

Following in the footsteps of fellow Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan, writer-director Jeremy Podeswa is forging his own tidy niche in contemplative human studies. The Five Senses follows the lives of five peOpIe living in an apartment block opposite the park from where a child has disappeared.

Numerology-based but far from being prescriptive filmmaking by numbers Podeswa’s poignant and witty script allows the audience a great deal of interaction with the characters, each of whom represent one of the senses. These are the cake- maker (Mary-Louise Parker) with no sense of taste, the house-cleaner (Daniel Mclvor) who believes he can smell love, the massage therapist (Gabrielle Rose) who can’t feel emotionally, the optometrist (Philippe Volter) who is losing his hearing and the confused teenager (Nadia Litz) with a penchant for voyeurism. The disappearance of the child becomes symbolic of the characters’ individual sensory journeys towards rediscovering their own childhood innocence.

The Fives Senses features a strong international cast, rounded out by Molly Parker, recently seen in Wonderland. Citing Antonioni and Altman as influences, Podeswa has crafted a sharp, poignant film which is of great satisfaction to movie-goers who enjoy drawing their own conclusions. (Catherine Bromley)

l Edinburgh: Filmhouse from Fri 28 Jan; Glasgow: GFT from Fri 4 Feb. See Preview

Show-stoppers: Valerie Edmond and James Cosrno in One More Kiss

Voyeur: Nadia Litz in The Five Senses

20 Jan—3 Feb 2000 THE UST 25