Films screening this fortnight are listed below with certiﬁcate, credits, brief review and venue details. Film index compiled by Miles Fielder.
After Life (PG) *tit (Ilirokazu Koreeda, Japan, 1998) Takashi Mochizuki, Shiori Satonaka, Satoru Kawashima. 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 OfLifeAnd Death and the ﬁlms of Frank Capra (which Koreeda acknowledges with the ﬁlm’s title in Japan — Wonderful Life), but here ﬁction is interwoven with documentary in the most imaginative way. See review. Edinburgh: Filmhouise.
Alice St Martin (15) *ii* (Andre Techine, France/Spain/USA, 1999) Juliette Binoche/Alexis Loret. 124 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, Techine‘s lengthy tale nevertheless boasts a tight structure with the story evolving at a suitably engaging pace. Kirkcaldy: Adam Smith.
All About My Mother (15) *t*** (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. Edinburgh: Cameo. American Beauty (18) *ittt (Sam Mendes, US, 1999) Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch. 121 mins. Suburban husband and father Lester Bumham (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. Angela's Ashes (15) *‘kwk (Alan Parker, UK, 1999) Robert Carlyle, Emily Watson, Joe Breen. 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.
Barrio (Neighbourhood) (15) their (Fernando Leon, Spain, 1998) Crispula Cabezas, Timy, Eloi Yebra. 99 mins. Three young lads from a rundown block of ﬂats spend all their time thinking and talking about girls, but are rarely with them. And with nothing better to do with their time, the youngsters spend it getting into trouble in this double Goya (the Spanish Oscars) award-winning ﬁlm. Part of the Spanish Film Festival. See preview. Glasgow: GFI‘. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
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
John Cusack hits on Catherine Keener and the pair hatch a plan to make money out of Being John Malkovich in Spike Jonze’s weird and wonderful film directing debut
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) *‘kttt (Spike Jonze. US, 2000) John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, John Malkovich. 112 mins. Frustrated puppeteer Craig Schwartz (Cusack) takes a job as a ﬁling clerk and discovers a portal into the actor John Malkovich's brain. What could have developed into a one-gag ﬁlm, becomes a gender-bending extravaganza with a crazy network of love triangles, which climaxes with a lesbian relationship between two people of the opposite sex. A bewildering number of possibilities are added to the central premise and important questions about personal identity and self- fulﬁlmcnt are raised. See feature and review. Glasgow: GET, Grosvenor. Edinburgh: Cameo.
Bicentennial Man (PG) ** (Chris Columbus, US, 1999) Robin Williams, Sam Neill, Oliver Platt. 130 mins. It's the ﬁrst decade of the 2lst 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-changing journey. 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. Wishaw: Arrow Multiplex.
iBienvenido Mister Marshall! (Welcome Mister Marshall!) (PG) iii (Luis Garcia Berlanga, Spain, 1952) Lolita Sevilla, Manolo Moran, Jose’ lsbert. 75 mins. Berlanga's satire of Francoist mythology slipped by State censorship during a period when government sanctioned historical epics reigned. When a small village hear of the impending arrival of Yanks with money to spread around under the Marshall Plan, they create a picture postcard perfect Spanish rural idyll. Of course the best laid plans. . . Part ofthe Spanish Film Festival. See preview. Glasgow: GF'T. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
The Big Lebowski (18) *tit (Joel Coen, US, 1997) Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Busccmi. 113 mins. The Coen brothers give their unique twist to a Chandler~esque LA noir, as 705 hippie throwback Jeff ‘The Dude’ Lebowski (Bridges) is drawn into the sordid affairs of his millionaire namesake. Suddenly he has to sleuth his way through disorganised crime. Trademark oddball characters, surreal imagery and excellent performances grace this virtuoso comedy. Glasgow: Grosvenor. The Bone Collector (15) that (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. Rothesay: Winter Garden. The Boys From Syracuse (PG) iris: (A Edward Sutherland, US, 1940) Allan Jones, Joe Penner, Charles Butterworth. 74 mins. Shakespeare's The Comedy 0] Errors gets the Hollywood treatment, with plenty of lavish musical numbers added. The tale of a slave and master with identical twins fails a bit ﬁat, although the Broadway stage version was a big hit. Edinburgh: St Bride's. Brighton Rock (PG) **** (John Boulting, UK, 1947) Richard Attenborough, Hermione Baddeley, William Hartnell. 91 mins. The pre-luvvie Attenborough brings a menacing delinquency to Pinkie, who has to sweet-talk a waitress who witnesses one of his murders. The seaside atmosphere is essentially English and somehow sordid in this ﬁne adaptation of Graham Greene's novel, which has lost none of its power to thrill. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
Bringing Out The Dead (18) *t* (Martin Scorsese, US, 1999) Nicolas Cage, Patricia Arquette, John Goodman. 130 mins. When darkness falls on New York, paramedic Frank Pierce (Cage) descends into a bleak world where, night after night, he tries hopelessly to help the homeless, the hookers, the mentally ill. Bringing Out The Dead grafts a desperate edge onto traditional gallows humour, but while showing bursts of brilliance, suffers from too many lulls and, surprisingly given that it's screenplay is by Paul Schrader, doesn’t quite pull off its redemption plot. Edinburgh: Lumiere. Falkirk: FTH Cinema. Irvine: Magnum Theatre.
Buena Vista Social Club (U) think (Wim Wenders, Cuba, 1999) Ry Cooder, Ibrahim Ferrer, Ruben 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: Filmhouse.
The Cabinet or Doctor Caligari (PG) ***** (Robert Wiene, Germany, 1919) Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover. 90 mins. A landmark of expressionist cinema, feasting the eyes with bizarre, angular visuals despite its technical crudity. The acting and directing are superb, and the story of a fairground hypnotist who uses a
Sleepwalker to carry out murders still retains a unique sense of horror. Glasgow: GFI‘. The Cider house Rules (12) the (Lasse Hallstrém, US, 2000) Tobey Maguire, Michael Caine, Charlize Theron. 126 mins. Maguite takes the lead as Homer Wells, an orphan how grows up to continue the worthy work of his mentor and surrogate father, Dr Larch (Caine). On route to manhood, Homer undertakes a small-scale odyssey around 19405 New England, during which time he works on an apple farm and has an affair with farm owner Candy Kendall (Theron). Somewhere between Irving's screenplay and Hallstrom’s direction there's an overabundance of sentimentality which undermines Irving's brand of tragi-comedy. See preview and review. Selected release.
A Clockwork Orange (18) **** (Stanley Kubrick, UK, 1971) Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Warren Clarke. 137 mins. The night of ‘ultra-violence’ committed by Alex (McDowell) and his gang of ‘droogs' gives it its notoriety. But subsequent victimisation by the State still provides much food for thought. This fable of law and disorder, crime and punishment might easily be recast in let century Britain. So, it's about time the British public got to see the late master’s most infamous ﬁlm. See feature and review. General release.
Complicity (18) *t* (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. Stirling: MacRobert.
Cotton Mary (15) *** (Ismail Merchant, Uk, 1999) Madhur Jaffrey, Greta Scacchi, James Wilby. 124 mins. Merchant's his third ﬁlm as a director is a drama set in the post- colonial India of the 19505 about an Anglo- Indian nurse caught uneasily between two cultures. The eponymous Cotton Mary (Jaffrey) increases her standing with the expatriate British when she provides a wet- nurse for Lily Macintosh (Scacchi), who ﬁnds herself unable to breast feed her prematurely born baby. Jaffrey's performance is excellent, but the script's clumsiness and Merchant’s hesitant direction, prevent the ﬁlm from wringing the pathos the subject deserves. Edinburgh: Lumiere.
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