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Scream 3 (18) 118 mins ** t it

As the body count begins to take its inevitable toll in the third instalment of the horror film parody series, Jamie Kennedy's college kid film buff from Scream 2 makes a post-mortem re-appearance to once again

assist the rapidly dwindling cast with some handy rules

of the genre. Only this time the rules apply not to a

: sequel, but to the final chapter of a trilogy. Essentially, 4 what this means is that where Scream 2 merely required

a higher body count than its predecessor, with Scream 3 anyone (or everyone) can be butchered. 'All bets are

off'. says Kennedy, concluding his video-taped message

from the grave.

Director Wes Craven insists the Scream films were originally conceived as a trilogy, despite the absence here of a third Kevin Williamson screenplay. Craven and his new screenwriter, Arlington Road's Ehren Kruger (Freddy Krueger? another in-joke?), have brought the series full circle and to a final close.

The third instalment expands the by now familiar

r jokey film references beyond the stalk ‘n’ slash horror

sub-genre to satirise the industry that spawned the inspirational Halloween and Friday The 13th series. The

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Sci-fi spoof with big special effects and a rollercoaster ride of an ending

Funnier than scary with an endless stream of amusing cameos and film references

victims this time round are the cast of film-within-the- film, Stab 3: Return To Woodsboro, the final instalment of the exploitative dramatisation of the Woodsboro murders, which were the subject of the first Scream film. Each Woodsboro inhabitant, therefore, has an acting double and it’s these wannabe movie stars who are targeted by the masked killer. Scream's survivors - Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox Arquette) and Dewey Riley (Cox's real- life husband, David Arquette) are drawn into the fray to replay their roles as, respectively, victim, reporter and protector.

There's an endless stream of amusing cameos and film references, and Craven even takes a, ahem, stab at defending the horror genre from its anti-violence critics. All of which makes Scream 3 as entertaining as the first film. That said, it's funnier than it is scary. That move from thrills to laughs is one that signified the exhaustion of each cycle of the horror genre, as far back as the 1931 classic, Frankenstein, later parodied in the forgettable Abbot And Costello Meet The Killer, Boris Karloff. Let‘s hope we never see Scream 4: Return To Woodsboro. (Miles Fielder)

I General release from Fri 28 Apr.

to earth to enlist the cast’s help in battling a real-life evil enemy. What follows is, on the surface, an entertaining display of straightforward, fish out of water comedy, but underlying it is a gently scathing attack on fan culture, pathological need for heroes.

The casting of Galaxy Quest is

character, Sigourney Weaver turns in an entertaining performance as the

Rickman is superb as a world-weary thespian, sick of playing the same stupid alien role for years. As the actors get drawn into the action, they find

Galaxy Quest

(PG) 102 mins ht it it

The cinematic sub-genre of scr-fi comedy hasn’t exactly dished up a long list of worthwhile films (remember Spaceba/ls anyone?), but Galaxy Quest could change that, managing to entertain on at least a couple of levels more than your average spoof. Here, Galaxy Quest is a Star Trek-style series that ran for a short time, years ago and subsequently developed cult status, with fans hosting conventions and

24 THE usr 27 Apr—ll May 2000

becoming fixated with the details of the imaginary ship and its crew. To earn a crust, the miserable cast led by a wonderfully showbiz Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen) have been forced into making personal appearances at conventions and shopping mall openings.

Unknown to them, a naive bunch of aliens have been intercepting the transmissions of Galaxy Quest and, mistaking the shows for historical documentaries, have modelled their society on the shows and are travelling

depths to their personalities that were

The Million Dollar Hotel (15) 122 mins it

The critic Pauline Kael once said of Wim Wenders: 'He seems interested in telling a story, but can’t quite keep his mind on it.’ That wasn’t such a problem in Alice In The Cities and Paris, Texas. He focused so shrewdly on character and landscape, no more than the loose framework of the road movie was required. Here, with the characters holed up in the hotel of the title, Wenders’ film appears as hemmed in and listless as the various 'losers’ he attempts to dignify.

The lost and lonely include Tom Tom (Jeremy Davies) and Eloise (Milla Jovovich) who embark on a relationship despite their differences: he looks like he's never taken the time to read a signpost; she’s so

: pathologically bookish she doesn’t so

and America's

excellent; alongside Tim Allen’s main

token blonde on the show, and Alan

previously hidden, and realise that they ;

are more than the characters they play.

This potentially sickly stuff is handled

well, however, and the film never

descends into mawkish feel-goodery.

The use of big special effects and a rollercoaster ride of an ending create

the odd sensation of the film actually , being what it’s parodying, but the f

snappy script always stays one step ahead in this knowing and fun comedy. (Doug Johnstone)

I General release from Fri 28 Apr.

much carry a book as cradle it. Implausible might be the justifiable

term of abuse for this paring, but ;

Wenders, and his writers Nicholas Klein and U2's Bono, would prefer the more sympathetic 'quirky'.

There is also a plot of sorts. Mel Gibson plays the physically and psychologically scarred FBI agent who’s determined to find out who killed one of the hotel’s inhabitants. While everybody is under suspicion, these

hotel Californians are more concerned with the deceased's paintings. They

might have been unsellable in his lifetime, but there’s nothing like a gruesome, pavement splattering death to up the asking price from zilch, and the hotel homebodies are looking to cash in. Peter Stormare, Amanda Plummer, Jimmy Smits and Bud Cort are among the avaricious, giving each the opportunity to mug and overact in front of Wenders’ passive camera.

And so, we see Wenders sacrificing the hidden depths of his earlier isolated protagonists, for an ensemble approach where people essentially have only one purpose: Tom Tom and Eloise look for love, just about everybody else wants a bit of money. The final diagnosis, then, is that this is

Wenders’ worst movie. Something the l haunting opening, and one or two 3

other sequences can’t alleviate.

(Tony McKibbin)

I Selected release from Fri 28 Apr. Final diagnosis: Wenders' worst movie



* t a: it t Unmissable

* * *ir Very ood

* t t Wort a shot

* at Below average

1r You've been warned