Films screening this fortnight are listed below with certificate. star rating, credits, brief review and venue details. Film index compiled by Miles Fielder.

After Life (PG) **** (llirokazu Koreeda, Japan, 1998) Takashi Mochizuki, Shiori Satonaka, Satoru Kawasbima. 118 mins. The after life of the title is a civil service bureaucracy that people go to when they die. We’ve seen this before in A Matter 0f1.ifeAnd Death and the films of Frank Capra (which Korceda acknowledges with the film’s title in Japan ll'onderful Life), but here fiction is interwoven with documentary in the most imaginative way. Falkirk: l‘Tll Cinema.

All About My Mother (15) *tttt (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: GFT. American Beauty (18) ***** (Sam Mcndes, US, 1999) Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, 'l‘hora Birch. 121 mins. Suburban husband and father Lester Burnham (Spacey, giving a career best performance) hates his life, but a close encounter with his daughter's gorgeous school friend is the catalyst for big time self improvement: Lester quits his job, digs out his old rock albums and scores marijuana from the kid next door. And these teenage kicks return to Lester what's been missing from his life for years: pleasure and happiness. Caustic, touching and hilarious in all the right places a modern classic. General release.

An Ideal Husband (PG) **** (Oliver Parker, UK, 1999) Rupert Everett, Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore. 100 mins. When scheming Mrs Cheveley blackmails brilliant politician Sir Robert Chiltern behind his loving wife's back, loafing Lord Goring comes to his friend’s assistance in this fine adaptation Oscar Wilde‘s play. The cracking cast do justice to the archetypal Wildean witticisms. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. Anastasia (U) **** (Don Bluth/Gary Goldman, US, 1997) Voices of Meg Ryan, Christopher Lloyd, John Cusack. 94 mins. With this widescrcen romantic musical adventure, animator Don Bluth offers a film that rivals Disney. Rewriting history somewhat, evil magician Rasputin puts a curse on the Tsar’s family and causes the 1917 Revolution. The child princess Anastasia survives, but grows up as an orphan, unable to remember her past. With extraordinary action sequences, exquisite characterisations and beautiful songs. Glasgow: Gl’l‘. Motherwell: Moviehouse.

Angela's Ashes (15) **** (Alan Parker, UK, 1999) Robert Carlyle, Emily Watson, Joe Brecn. 148 mins. Frank McCourt's Pulitzer Prize-winning childhood memoir of Limerick in the 305 is a publishing phenomenon, loved across the world by those with no connection to the book’s three defining elements - Ireland, Catholicism and poverty. Parker can’t establish the same level of engagement as McCourt does, but he can train his lens on the faces of his remarkable cast to show a texture of emotions. Sentiment here is a natural ingredient, not a saccharine additive. General release.

Anna And The King (12) ** (Andy Tennant, US, 1999) Jodie Foster, Chow Yun Fat, Bai Ling. 151 mins. Another

remake of The King And ['5 improbable romance between a Western governess and an Eastern king. This time round Yul Brynner is replaced with lush period detail and historical sweep of the kind seen before in The Last Emperor. Foster gives a gratineg worthy performance, while Fat proves he's better with the Hong Kong bullet ballets that made him famous. Edinburgh: Dominion. Isle of Arran: Brodick Cinema. Kirkcaldy: Adam Smith.

The Bachelor (12) ** (Gary Sinyor, US, 1999) Chris O’Donnell, Renee Zellweger, Mariah Carey. 102 mins. Remake of the 1925 Buster Keaton classic, Seven Chances in which O'Donnell’s serial monogamist has 24 hours to change his wicked boy ways in order to inherit a cool, cool $100 million. Zellweger is the former Boy Wonder’s ideal woman (he just don’t know it yet), while everyone else, from lawyers to ex- girlfriends, blocks him from his financial goal. General release.

The Beach (15) iii (Danny Boyle, UK/ US, 2000) Leonardo DiCaprio, Guillaume Canet, Virginie Ledoyen. 119 mins. Like Alex Garland's source novel, The Beach has a sort of breathless, late- adolescent ‘What I did on my holidays’ quality; book and film share the ability to capture the exhilaration and chaos of travel. Screenwriter John Hodge ’s adaptation replaces creeping paranoia and discontent with straight-ahead sexual jealousy as a catalyst for disaster. Although the film looks handsome and holds the attention, it finally seems a little hollow and unconvinced of its own purpose. General release.

Being John Malkovich (15) ***** (Spike Jonze, US, 1999) John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, John Malkovich. 112 mins. Preview screening. 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. Paisley: Showcase.

Bicentennial Man (PG) it (Chris Columbus, US, 1999) Robin Williams, Sam Neill, Oliver Platt. 130 mins. It’s the first decade of the let century, and the wealthy Martin family has taken delivery of their new robot-servant Andrew (Williams). After the death of his master (Sam Neill), Andrew embarks on a life- changingjourney. Based on an Isaac Asimov story written at the time of the American bicentennial, this is billed as a science-fiction comedy, although laughs prove to be highly infrequent. General release.

Blonde Venus (PG) tit (Josef Von Sternberg, US, 1932) Marlene Dietrich, Herbert Marshall, Cary Grant. 97 mins. Forced into a career as a nightclub singer to pay for her dull husband’s medical fees, Dietrich falls for playboy Grant. Odd mix of melodrama and social realism, with one show-stopping number in ‘Hot Voodoo’. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. ‘I’he Blue Angel (PG) *ttt (Josef von Sternberg, Germany, 1930) Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Gerron. 108 mins. Berlin’s decadent cabaret era is vibrantly brought to life as Dietrich’s voluptuous singer Lola-Lola sets out to seduce and destroy a bourgeois schoolteacher. In her first major role, the actress taps into a potent current of female sexuality. Edinburgh: Lumiere. The Blue Kite (15) iii: (Tran Zhuangzhuang, China/HK, 1993) Lu Liping, Zhang Wenyao, Chen Xiaoman. 138 mins. A mother and son struggle to survive the upheavals of the Mao regime and the violent turmoil of the Cultural Revolution. Tian’s film tells it straight, where others, such as Farewell My Concubine, have taken a more metaphorical approach, and the result is an honest and moving account of a still sensitive issue. Edinburgh: Lumiere. Blue Streak (12) *** (Les Mayfield, US, 1999) Martin Lawrence, Peter Greene, Luke Wilson. 94 mins. In a comedy crime caper of the type that

Eddie Murphy used to master, Lawrence impresses as a thief forced to masquerade as a Los Angeles cop in order to recover a bag of diamonds buried the LAPD's headquarters. It’s all good fun, with crisp direction from Mayfield and a nice balance of comic shtick and stunts. Largs: Barrfields Cinema.

The Bone Collector (15) *tt (Phillip Noyce, US, 1999) Denzel Washington, Angelina Jolie. 118 mins. An identikit serial killer movie (see Copycat and Seven) in which Washington’s paraplegic forensics expert is confined to his bed, leaving rookie cop Angelina Jolie to be his legs, eyes and ears, trailing cryptic clues left by the killer. Sadly, despite Noyce’s efficient direction and a bunch of fine performances, Jeremy lacone’s script insults the audience's intelligence. Dumb, derivative and disappointing. Glasgow: Showcase, UCI. Edinburgh: UCl, Virgin Megaplex. Dunfermline: Robins Cinema. Greenock: Waterfront. Paisley: Showcase.

Le Boucher (15) ***~k (Claude Chabrol, France/Italy, 1970) Jean Yanne, Stephane Audran. 93 mins. In a small French provincial town, a timid butcher courts an equally unassuming schoolmistress as a series of brutal slayings shocks the local community. Part Hitchcockian thriller, part character study, this is Chabrol at his exquisite Gallic best. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. Brief Encounter (PG) tart (David Lean, UK, 1945) Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, Stanley Holloway. 86 mins. Stiff upper lips and emotionally charged brushes of the hands are all that Johnson and Howard will allow themselves as their extra-marital ‘afi'air’ doesn’t develop much beyond unspoken longings at a railway station. For some, the tears will still flow; for others, the ungiving morality is exasperating. Given the rigidity of this English romance, the Rachmaninov soundtrack is unfittingly sweet. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

British Animation Awards Frog 3 (18) (Various, UK, 1998/99) 75 mins. Audiences will be asked to cast their vote for their favourite films in a number of categories at each of these three separate screenings of the best of new British animation. Among these creams of crop are Simon Pummell’s Ray Gun Fun, which premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and Peter Peake’s Hum Drum, a product of Aardman Animation. Glasgow: GFI‘. Casablanca (PG) and”: (Michael Curtiz, US, 1942) Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Dooley Wilson. 102 mins. You must remember this . . . Bogart being impossibly noble, Bergman torn between two lovers, Claude Rains playing both ends against the middle, devious Nazis, a fogbound airport, a piano-player tinkling that tune . . .A wonderful hill of beans. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

Casper (PG) tit (Brad Silberling, US, 1995) Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, Cathy Moriarty. 100 mins. Everyone’s favourite friendly ghost has been living with his three bad-tempered uncles in an abandoned mansion. When it’s bequeathed to a money-grabbing heiress who thinks it’s filled with hidden treasure guarded by unquiet spirits, Casper comes into contact with ghost psychologist Pullman’s tomboy daughter (Ricci). A very messy amalgam of Ghostbusrers effects, Addams Family gothic humour and the sort of overblown feelgood Spielbergiana that revels in funny gadgetry and family values. Ayr: Odeon. Cathy Come home (PG) **** (Ken Loach, UK, 1966) Carol White, Ray Brooks. 79 mins. Loach's seminal docu- drama affected the nation in a way that any TV broadcast is unlikely to do today, causing the issues to be debated and a new realist style to be born. White plays a young homeless woman struggling to keep her family together and, although the lines between victim and victimiser might be rather simply drawn, it remains an impassioned piece of work. Kirkcaldy: Adam Smith. Stirling: MacRobert.

listing FILM

Class Trip (La C lasse De Neige) (15) iii“ (Claude Miller, France, 1998) Clement Van Den Bergh, Francois Roy. 97 mins. Young Nicolas is given to morbid thoughts, a product of sufi'ocatingly possessive parents and of too many nights poring over accidents on the TV news. During a therapeutic school trip into the mountains his outsider status confirmed, a further excuse for Nicolas to remain inside his head. Miller’s movie, a finely etched portrait of angst which internalises the usual rite of passage, creates a stunningly evocative and sensitive atmosphere. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Film Guild at the Filmhouse.

Compllclty (18) that (Gavin Millar, UK, 1999) Jonny Lee Miller, Keeley Hawes, Brian Cox. 100 mins. Journalist Cameron (Jonny Lee Miller) is, at first glance, a regular young Edinburgh- based professional. The police, however, have fingered him as a serial killer, guilty of some of the most gruesome murders Scotland has ever witnessed. Those familiar with Iain Banks’s novels will recognise the trademark darkness. Millar, who is directed The Crow Road, has turned the book into an ambitious movie, and an adult one. Glasgow: Odeon At The Quay. Edinburgh: Odeon, Virgin Megaplex.

Dance Hall Queen (15) *tt (Don Letts, Rick Elgood, Jamaica, 1997) Audrey Reid, Paul Campbell, Cherine Anderson. 102 mins. Life in Jamaica is pretty tough for single mother Marcia. And things get tougher for her when Uncle Larry, who supports her children, demands a return on his investment in the form of Marcia's teenage daughter. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

Divorce Iranian Style (no cert) *tt (Kim Longinotto/Ziba Mir-Hosseini, UK, 1998) 80 mins. A startlingly frank documentation of the subjugation of women in Tehran. The film concentrates on three court cases: a woman who punishes her husband for beating her, a teenager who divorces her older husband and a woman who battles for custody of her children. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Film Guild at the Filmhouse.

Double Jeopardy (15) it (Bruce Beresford, US, 1999) Tommy Lee Jones, Ashley Judd, Annabeth Gish. 105 mins. Double Jeopardy is The Fugitive with a female lead. Not only does it rip 06 the earlier film's basic premise innocent hero(oine) gets wrongly convicted for murdering a spouse and goes on the run, pursued by a clogged ofiicer of the law - it even boasts the same co-star (Jones). But while The Fugitive was gripping and well-crafted, Double Jeopardy is formulaic pap. General release.

Doug's 1st Movie (U) tint: (Maurice Joyce, US, 1999) 77 mins. The animated adventures of quirky adolescent Doug Funnie graduates from its popular Saturday morning slot on American television to big screen glory, courtesy of Disney. Movie no. 1 sees the twelve-year- old torn between taking action against environmental pollution and taking his beloved Patti Mayonnaise to the high school dance. Edinburgh: Odeon.

Dr Dolittle (PG) * (Betty Thomas, US, 1998) Eddie Murphy, Ossie Davies, Oliver Platt. 85 mins. A turkey with Rex Harrison in its original form, and still pretty dire this time round. This wild family adventure offers crude bottom humour for the Babe audience, but the talking animals gimmick battles with cheesy morality and nothing comes together. Edinburgh: Odeon.

Dunston Checks In (PG) **** (Ken Kwapis, US, 1995) Jason Alexander, Faye Dunaway, Eric Lloyd. 88 mins. There's monkey business aplenty when a jewel thief smuggles his orang-utan partner-in-crime into a posh hotel. Adults will get even more out of this than kids, because the humour is irresistible, the characters suitably loathsome or adorable, and Sam the Orang a star in the making. Stirling: Carlton.

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17 Feb—2 Mar 2000 THEM”