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Any Given Sunday

(15) 150 mins

lloll‘,".‘xootts man of war stories and conspttm tirednes, Oliver Stone, casts x'xliat seen“, to he a ‘.‘.'<lll(iCl'lll(j eye over the ill .'.()li(i of American Footuaii .'\i Ritzna piedictably grunts and \,t-l!s us ‘.'.a‘,' through his role. as :ato, T.'.'t‘ttt‘j’-‘/(‘dl veteran >1 tire l.l.aini Sharks. His old stl‘ouf ta( tzt tan is at odds ‘.‘.'|Iil the it‘i‘:’.‘,’ upstart Christina 'nlanu lit typitally stioppy lit‘liifl lira/t, the daughter (it‘( eased buddy. txreen old and new is seasoned campaigner

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‘Combines the deadpan surreal with a clear sense of place'

Les Convoyeurs Attendent (The Carriers Are Waiting) (15) 94mins What is it ‘.‘.’llit the 3(‘i(jldflS.) If the filiiiinakei isn't ‘.'.’ldj)j)lli(j the acne— ridden fate of its leading character With toilet toll (C/‘a/y Love), or suggesting true love can he found With a rubber doll ’i/lt' Sexual Life Of The Belg/arm, it's slio'xxiiiq the impressive sexual Siilllilfitt of persons of restri(ted gioxvth li/lt' le liz'xalii.

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Playing the struggling patriarch

lih any emotional rapport with his leading players, Sto's po- faced power struggles become wearing'

Any Given Sunday shares similar themes with Wildcats, Goldie Hawn’s 1986 comedy about a woman fighting against the odds to coach a high school football team which was played strictly for schmaltz and laughs. However, in failing to establish any emotional rapport With his leading players, Stone’s po-faced power struggles become wearing. On a technical level, the epileptic editing style, prevrously used in Natural Born Killers, captures the power and athletiCism of the game, but not enough of the grace and skill. Stone does make some thoughtful insights into the commercial and economic pressures put on athletes, but these, as With a number of side plots, are left hanging in the air, By the final whistle, Any Given Sunday is frustratingly unrealised. (Mark Robertson)

General release from Fri 37 Mar.

1 4

determined to make something of himself and his family, Benoit Poelvoorde brings to the role the same manic energy he brought to his serial killer in Man Bites Dog. Poelvoorde’s mission this time is less extreme but equally off-the—wall. He’s determined his reluctant son (Jec‘in—FrancOIs Devigne) Will beat the world record for opening and (losing a door Within 24 hours: the present record stands at around 40,000.

This is cinema as tenuous metaphor, however. It's an offbeat device used to work up that old mainstay of father/son tension. But the film requires more than a figurative scenario and Vivid locations to sustain its 90 minutes, whatever the beauty of the film’s monochrome images and the pathos Poelvoorde eventually evokes.

(Tony McKibbin) Edinburgh: Film/louse from Fri 37 Mar.

The Miracle Maker

(U) 91 mins ht

Miracles may never cease, undoubtedly the reasoning behind previous attempts to render the Easter Story palatable. The latest gimmick is to add puppets, and some big-name voices, including Ralph Fiennes, Julie Christie and Richard E Grant.

Jim Henson (circa Dark Crystal) and The Prince Of Egypt appear to be the inspiration for the latex cast. Although oddly dated (especially in comparison

‘A Sunday school reading in a millennial

new releases FILM



with the CGI heights of Toy Story 2), each character boasts an astounding array of facial expressions, producing some marvellously shifty villains. Their jerky twitchiness is, however, less suited to portraying Christ, which produces the unfortunate impression of an occasionally delirious messiah. This suspicion is compounded by the vaguely trippy 2D comic book animation sequences, which succeed only in disrupting the reality the puppets create, the illusion of which is

one of the film's striking characteristics.

The film's central crisis, however, is a matter of faith: given the familiarity of the story, the overzealous fidelity to it is unimaginative and disappointing. Despite deftly tugging at the heartstrings, the puppetry can't disguise the fact that this is a Sunday school reading in a millennial medium. lt all shrieks of wasted

opportunities and a lack of ambition. (Judith Ho) I Selected release from Fri 37 Mar.


(18) 1 mins tank

Drug abuse, verbal abuse, abuse of women and soul searching form the basis for this screen adaptation of David Rabe's Off-Broadway drama. Director Anthony Drazan and Rabe have reworked the play, SWitching location Malibu to the Hollywood hills and narrator from the detached Mickey (Kevin Spacey) to his soul-searching casting agent business partner, Eddie (Sean Penn). While the tone is no less smart and rotten-heart cynical, it remains resolutely stage-bound.

Unsurprisingly, the play's sharp one—liners are in place. Eddie: ’This is just me trying to maintain a, you know, viable relationship with reality.’ Mickey: ’You gonna remember any of this, or is this one of your, you know, biodegradable moments?’ And, in a nice self-referential moment, Darlene (Robin Wright Penn), the women who fucks them both: 'I cannot stand this semantic insanity any more! I’m finished! I cannot be so specific about my feelings!’

Penn and Spacey in particular stand out, perhaps because their roles suit their familiar screen personas nervy edge and slimy charm, respectively. The cast including Chazz Palminteri, Garry Shandling, Anna Paquin and Meg Ryan deliver their lines with as much relish as their characters snort coke. A relentlessly compulsive and convulsive bout of wordplay. (Miles Fielder)

I Selected release from Fri 7 Apr.

Love, Honour & Obey (18) 97 mins iii

'A wayward stab at gangster glamour'

Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels having revived the London gangster movie, we can expect dozens of imitators featuring loveable geezers who live colourful lives of crime while sp0uting cod-Cockney dialogue. Written, produced, directed by and starring Dominic Anciano and Ray Burdis, Love, Honour 81 Obey has a tightly structured, woefully generic plot that allowed the formidable cast —< including Ray Winston, Jude Law, Jonny Lee Miller and Kathy Burke to improvise their dialogue from moment to moment. When this works, the tone is at once darkly comic and frighteningly violent; but when it doesn’t, the individual scenes fall flat and the hell-for-leather plotting quickly loses momentum.

Like Final Cut before it, this wayward stab at gangster glamour is a glorified home movie masquerading as a feature film. You can see how much fun everybody had making it, but this enjoyment too seldom rubs off on the audience. The actors respond with varying degrees of success to the freewheeling style, but none of them is given enough to do. Only Miller rises above it all, surviving an opening monologue dressed as a crrcus clown and delivering a killer karaoke version of the old Tony Christie hit, ’Avenues And Alleyways’. See it for

him or don't see it at all. (Nigel Floyd) l Selected release from Fri 7 Apr.

30 Mar-i3 Apr 2000 THE UST 25