source novel in this potent adaptation, the impact of which is compounded by a trio of commanding performances. Edinburgh: Brunton Theatre, Cameo.

L'ennul (18) **** (Cedric Kahn, France, 1999) Charles Berling, Sophie Guillemin. 120 mins. In this suggestive, quirky study of amour fou, dissatisfied philosophy professor Martin (Berling) loses sight of himself in the warm and fatty folds of the teenage Cecilia (Guillemin). Of course, older man falling in love with mysterious younger woman is the subject of much French cinema, and is at the heart of film noir. But Kahn’s achievement is to play it less as tragedy than indeterminate irony, asking us to look inside Martin's head rather than simply at the leading lady’s figure. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

Erin Brockovlch (15) Mira (Steven Soderbergh, US, 2000) Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, Aaron Eckhart. 133 mins. Unemployed single mother Erin (Roberts) shoehoms her way into a filing clerk position with Finney’s California law firm. There she accidentally uncovers a conspiracy to conceal the poisoning of the local community, which leads to the largest direct action lawsuit in American history. This might sound like a cliched John Grisham thriller, but it’s based on a true story and Soderbergh’s direction and Roberts’ performance are faultless together they prove that mainstream American cinema can be something truly great. General release.

ET (U) **** (Steven Spielberg, US, 1982) Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Peter Coyote. 115 mins. An alien creature gets stranded on earth (the opening sequence of threatening legs and flashing torches is beautifully done), where he is adopted by some kids, who help him construct a communication device to summon back his spaceship. All the little guy wanted to do was go home, but Spielberg made sure he had lots of cute and agreeable adventures first, and slipped in the most tear-jerking psuedo-death since Baloo the Bear in The Jungle Book for good measure. Glasgow: GFI‘.

Extreme Screen: Everestl'l’he Living Sea (U) ** 40 mins. Although the lwerks experience impresses on a technical level, neither of these films transcend entertainment as lumbering fairground attraction. Everest is a dry-as-sand account of a recent expedition up the big yin. Filmed in the style of a Sunday afternoon docudrama, it also has the dubious honour of rendering a remarkable adventure mundane. A much better bet is the visually wondrous The Living Sea, an ‘edutaining’ look at mankind‘s relationship with the sea (with voice-over from Meryl Streep). Edinburgh: UGC Cinemas.

The Exorcist (18) ***** (William Friedkin, US, 1973) Linda Blair, Ellen Burstyn, Max Von Sydow. 110 mins. Earnest priest Von Sydow steps in to save poor little possessed girl in this hugely effective scarefest. Now re-released in remastered form, with a super stereo soundtrack (so you can hear those Obscenities in full). Dead good, dead scary, dead priest. Edinburgh: Cameo.

Festen (15) **** (Thomas Vinterberg, Germany, 1998) 106 mins. Made under the banner of DOGME 95, a chief dictum of which filmic manifesto is that the inner lives of the characters must justify the workings of the plot, in this case the story of a country house party given to celebrate the 60th birthday of rich patriarch Helge Klingenfeldt. Tensions surface before long and a disturbing family secret is revealed. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

Florlle (12) *it (Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, ltaly/France/Germany, 1993) Claudio Bigagli, Galatea Ranzi, Michel Vartan. 118 mins. A typically classy affair, the Taviani brothers’ latest takes a ZOO-year trek through the travails of the unfortunate Benedetti family. Transitions between past and present are handled with great fluidity, but the longer the piece goes on, the more the pace begins to drag. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

Foot In The Door Special event hosted by Mark Cousins, featuring the winning short films of the Scottish Screen Student Film Festival, plus screenings of the work of

newly established Scotland-based filmmakers. Edinburgh: Lumiere.

Free And Easy 3 (PG) mu (Kuiryama Tomio, Japan, 1991) 96 mins. Japanese popular comedy series that's big there (with ten films to date), but unheard of here. The films revolve around the secret friendship between two crazy fishermen, one of whom is a lowly employee of a construction company, the other is its president. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

Galaxy Quest (PG) **** (Dean Parisot, US, 2000) Sigoumey Weaver, Tim Allen, Alan Rickman. 102 mins. In the film, Galaxy Quest is a Star Trek-style series which ran for a short time years ago and has subsequently developed cult status. To earn a crust the miserable cast make personal appearances at conventions and shopping mall openings. But a naive bunch of aliens mistake them for real heroes and 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, and America’s pathological need for heroes. See review. General release.

Gattaca (15) ***** (Andrew Niccol, US, 1997) Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law. 106 mins. 1n the future, discrimination isn‘t based on the colour of a man’s skin, but its genetic make-up. ‘Naturally’ born Vincent (Hawke) forms a pact with crippled Jerome (Law) to use his genetic identity in an attempt to become an astronaut. The photography is washed by coloured filters and the retro-future design is as distinctive as Blade Runner. Bold ideas develop at their own pace and, despite the intrusive ‘Hollywood’ moments, Gattaca emerges as a true individual in an industry of clones. Edinburgh: Lumiere.

Ghost Dog: The Way Of the Samurai (15) it (Jim Jarmusch, US/Japan/France/ Germany, 2000) Forest Whitaker, John Tonney, Cliff Gonnan. 116 mins. Jim Jarrnusch’s latest foray into nowhere sees Whitaker‘s New York street urchin as a professional Mob assassin who lives by an ancient Eastern code of honour. But when a hit goes wrong, the mob are after Ghost Dog and gangster friend Louie (Tormey) is caught between loyalties. It’s taken the radical auteur an awful long time to miss the particular boat of sending up the mob. Jarrnusch should probably stick to making throwaway movies about ageing rockers, Helsinki cabbies and Japanese Elvis fans instead of attempting the grand spiritual narrative. See preview and review. Glasgow: GFI‘.

The Green Mile (18) *t* (Frank Darabont, US, 2000) Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse. 189 mins. Darabont follows one Stephen King prison drama, The Shawshank Redemption, with another about life on death row at Cold Mountain Penitentiary in the 19305. Despite its lengthy running time, Darabont’s careful, even pacing works at this length. Only towards the end, where the strong storylines are resolved with a somewhat whimsical paranormal occurrence, does this sturdy piece of filmmaking waver. General release. nappy Days (18) *ttt (Alexei Balabanov, Russia, 1992) 86 mins. Balabanov’s debut is every bit as idiosyncratic as his new film, OfFreaks And Men. A man of indeterminate identity wanders St Petersburg with his head wrapped in a bandage since his release from hospital, looking for a place to stay. There’s more than a nod here to Kafka. Glasgow: GFT. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

Holy Smoke (18) it (Jane Campion, US, 2000) Kate Winslet, Harvey Keitel, Julie Hamilton, Pam Grier. 114 mins. Winslet courageously throws herself into the role of Ruth, a spirited young woman who falls under the spell of a Guru in India, and then finds herself confronted by an American Exit Counsellor (Keitel) enlisted by her Australian family to lure her back home. Holy Smoke is packed with provocative ideas, but Campion’s failure to explore them and, more damagingly, her heavy-handed attempts at comedy, wipe out any interest the film might hold. Glasgow: GFT.

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