new releases

A Clockwork Orange (18) 137 mins it * *

The first thing you see on screen is the British Board Of Film Classification's 18 certification card bearing the legend, 'A Clockwork Orange'. It's the first time that's been projected in British cinemas in 27 years; it feels like a momentous occasion. And when the film opens with Walter Carlos's electronic reworking of Purcell’s 'Music For The Funeral 0f Queen Mary' playing over a close up of Malcolm McDowell's face - with single fake eyelash, in the Korova Milkbar the adrenaline rush is ecstatic. That's not to say Stanley Kubrick's science fiction satire based on Anthony Burgess's novel is any good. Time and the director's self-imposed ban have made a myth of A Clockwork Orange. The question now is does the film live up to the myth? Two thoughts immediately arise after the closing credits: the film has dated and what was the fuss all about? As with other

'controversies' - Natural Born Killers, Crash, Fight Club when you actually get to see the film, you're likely to merely judge whether the film is good or bad.

What has dated is the fashion (inevitably) and the humour. While the locations featureless housing


Being John Malkovich

‘It's the first time it's been projected in British cinemas in 27 years; it feels like a momentous occasion’ cheers

Spike Jonze's surreal modern day masterpiece

estates and university grounds - and the music - various classical pieces remain timeless, the clothing is resolutely 60/705 style. So the near-future setting no longer fully convinces and there are a few unintentional laughs. And when a half-naked doctor and nurse emerge from behind a screen in a hospital ward, you could be forgiven for thinking a smutty Confessions . . . film has been spliced into the reel.

What has not dated, however, is the story. Written in 1962 and filmed in 1971, this take on teenage hooligans and institutionalised violence is still relevant in the year 2000. The night of ‘ultra-violence' committed by Alex (McDowell) and his gang of 'droogs' in the first third of the film gives it its notoriety. But the second and third acts, in which Alex is 'cured' of his violent instincts in prison by an experimental brainwashing process and subsequently becomes a political pawn in a government election campaign, still provides much food for thought.

This fable of law and disorder, crime and punishment might easily be recast in the 21st century Britain. 50, it’s about sodding time the British public got to see the late master's most infamous film. (Miles Fielder)

I General release from Fri 77 Mar. See feature, page 70.

mind of the actor John Malkovich (playing himself and playing other peOple playing himself). Craig tells Maxme about the gateway and she realises money is to be made. They charge $200 dollars a time for the chance to live Malkowch for fifteen minutes and queues soon form arOund the block.

What could have developed into a one-gag film (remember Twins?) becomes a gender-bending extravaganza with a crazy network of love triangles involving Craig, Maxme,

(15) 112 mins fir air at t it

In an era where cloning and the internet have made multiple bodies and interchangeable personalities an everyday if Virtual reality, Being john Malkowch is a timely tale of one man's battle to escape the boredom of everyday eXIstenc e.

That man is Craig Schwartz (a becli'agglecl John Cusack looking like an extra from Planet Of “)0 Apes), a frustrated puppeteer. Despite the , thousands of strings he pulls, nobody not even his Wife and pet shop employee lotte (Cameron Diaz looking like another simian extra)

acknowledges his talent for giVing life to inanimate objects. Lotte finally persuades Craig that he should take a job as a filing clerk at LesterCorp. The clespondent Craig reluctantly agrees, taking advantage of the chance to escape the apartment the animal-

adoring lotte seems intent on transforming into Noah’s Ark In lesterCorp's offices located

between the seventh and eighth floors of an office block and thus sporting 5ft high ceilings Craig becomes infatuated With Maxme (Cathe'ine Keener, whom Jonze cheekily casts as the raVIshing beauty opposite Cameron Diaz) and discovers a portal into the

Lotte and Malkowch, which climaxes With a lesbian relationship between two people of the opposite sex. The real magic of Being John Malkovich is that it never fails to surprise. A beWildering number of possibilities are added to the central premise and important questions ab0ut personal identity and self-fulfilment are raised. And in downplaying the flashy stylistics in contrast to the surreal storyline, Jonze who yOu gotta call a genius ~— has created a modern day masterpiece steeped in the classic traditions of Hollywood. (Kaleem Aftab)

l Selected release from Fri 77 Mar. See feature, Page 78

new releases FILM

Magnolia (18)185 mins * at Hz

PT Anderson’s inspiration for his

; follow-up to his superb 70s LA porn

industry flick, Boogie Nights, was the music of singer songwriter Aimee Mann. Her songs form the bulk of Magnolia's soundtrack, and as with Boogie Nights, the music does more than prowde a backdrop; it informs the structure of the film. Thus, Whole songs or lengthy excerpts of classical music pull together scenes that cut between Magno/ia's ensemble cast, giving coherence to the multiple plotlines. It also prowdes the film with pace and rhythm, so that its lengthy running time is comprised of a series of musical crescendos, mirrored by the character's emotional highs and lows.

All very clever, but is Magno/ia's snapshot of the lives of a dozen reSidents of LA’s San Fernando Valley all that interesting? We are, after all, in soap territory: there’s an old man dying of cancer; an estranged son; a child quiz show star whose father doesn't love him, a bumbling LAPD cop; a young woman With a drug problem you get the picture. But, in fact, their stories are sad, funny and movmg Without ever becoming overly- sentimental. Anderson’s script is full of humble humanity and beautifully observed moments such as the cop and the coke addict on a date agreeing to complete honesty With each other, and then failing to live up to their agreement.

Anderson's reunited some of his Boogie Nights cast Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John C. Reilly - to Which he’s added veteran Jason Robards and Tom Cruise (Who's received an Oscar nomination). He's budding an acting troupe, which is appropriate really, because Anderson's overriding concern here, as in his other two films, has proved to be estranged families.

There's only one moment in Magnolia that doesn’t work, a painfully c0ntrived collective epiphany. But that’s Quickly forgotten in light of the guite stunning miraculous event that caps the film. It’s audacious but it works, and the same can be said of the Whole film. (Miles Fielder)

I Selected release from Fri 24 Mar. See preview.

Pace, rhythm, music, multiple plotlines,

an ensemble cast and miracles - this one's got the lot


* so: it * tr Unmissable

it at t 1r Very ood

t a: * Wort a shot

a: a: Below average

3 it You've been warned

16—30 Mar 2000 THE lIST 27