FILM new releases
Stylish, funny and shocking in (mostly) the right places
Gangster No 1 (18) 103 mins run:
The ’C word’ is uttered around three dozen times in Gangster No 7. Which is fair enough; it's a common expletive in London's criminal underworld. That's ' right guv, it’s another tale of dodgy geezers in smart suits being ’moufy'. Arriving in the wake of Honest, Circus, Love, Honour & Obey, Rancid Aluminium and Lock, Stock . . ., Paul McGuigan’s first film since The Acid House appears to be a few furlongs behind the other wannabe Grand National winners. But as Michael Caine said in Get Carter, ’only comparatively'. Unlike at least four of those films, Gangster No 7 is stylish, funny and shocking in (mostly) the right places. Mr UltraViolence himself Malcolm McDowell is the eponymous Gangster, an abominable, irredeemably evil thug
who is prompted to recount his 30- year rise to infamy when old rival Freddie Mays (David Thewlis giving it ’suave’) is released from prison. From there we flashback to 1968 when young Gangster (Paul Bettany) is hired as muscle for Freddie whose empire he eventually usurps.
McGuigan employs some smart camera tricks (reminiscent of late 60s filmmaking, eg Performance) to reflect Gangster's fractured psyche (most effective during a lengthy sequence in which he tortures another rival boss). And although the story about the rise and fall of a hard nut hasn't broken any new ground srnce James Cagney cried 'Top ’0 the world, ma', there are enough lively performances to keep the eyeballs pasted to the screen. (Miles Fielder)
I Selected release from Fri 9 Jun. See preview
Macdonald's Oscar-winning documentary plays like a tense political thriller
One Day In September
(15) 94 mins air ir * M
It may seem like a Frederick Forsyth/ Oliver Stone collaboration, but the story of the 1972 Olympic Games Simply couldn't be made up. Still, Kevin Macdonald's Oscar-Winning documentary plays like a tense political thriller from either of those ideologically disparate minds and, as such, works like a dream.
As the world’s athletes gathered in Munich, much attention was focused on the Israeli team. This was the first Olympics to be held on German soil since Hitler's propaganda exercise for the 1936 Berlin event, and the unravelling of the Star Of David Within the stadium was yet another stage in the rehabilitation of two nation states. Yet, a different threat loomed; the Palestinian terrorist organisation, Black September, was planning an atrocity Within the Olympic village where Israeli
58 THE lIST 8—22 Jun 2000
weightlifters were rubbing shoulders with Arabian long jumpers and American swimmers chewed the fat with Soviet chess players.
One Day In September tells this tragic story through grieving Israeli relatives, a vengeful Mossad agent, feckless Bavarian security officers and the sole living terrorist. Arab intellectual Edward Said heavily criticrsed the film’s imbalance and One Day In September's sympathies are lodged firmly on the dead athletes’ side. If gaining the full context of the Arab/Israeli struggle is your goal, libraries are full of the stuff. If an absorbing retelling of a Jet black day where the sport/politics interface fatally clashed, then this should be your starting block. (Brian Donaldson) I Edinburgh: Filmhouse from Fri 9 Jun," Glasgow: GFT from Fri 76 Jun. Kevin Macdonald appears at the Filmhouse and GFT on Fri 9 Jun and Sun 7 7 Jun, respectiver
3 ALSO OPENING
(12) 91 mins
Drive Me Crazy
What is it with the titles of these teen rom-coms? Why are they so forgettable? Here's a possible solution: originally titled Close To You, this film changed its name to accommodate the a a cluttered pop soundtrack which features . " .’
the Britney Spears hit, ’(You Drive Me) 5°""d5 "*9 3" ep'fwe °‘ Crazy._ Dawson 5 Creek
And what is it with the casting of these films? The characters and actors are so interchangeable. Here, highschool fashion victim Nicole (Melissa Joan Hart, televrsion’s , Sabrina, The Teenage Witch) and earnest protest-loving Chase (Adrian Grenier) are dumped by their respective other halves. ThOugh Nicole and Chase are polar opposites, they agree to date each other in order to arouse jealously in their exes. For a time they, yep, drive each other crazy, but then, surprise, surprise, they find that their true dream boats were closer than they’d ever imagined.
It’s a contrived storyline offering nothing particularly new to the now gratineg over- familiar genre, and if it all sounds like an episode of Dawson’s Creek (which will come as good news to some), then it’s no surprise to find the screenwriter is that soap opera's Rob Thomas. Here’s hOping this is the last in a too long line of teen romances. (Miles Fielder)
I General release from Fri 9 Jun.
femme comme les
Man Is A Woman (L'homme est une
(15) 99 mins it *
Generally there have been two approaches to tackling gay-themed Cinema in France over the last decade: the angst on show in Savage Nights, Mensonge and J’Embrasse Pas, where the dilemma of identity is the key issue; and films like French Twist and Pedale Deuce, With the central theme personal liberation. Jean-Jacques Zilbermann's film adopts elements of both.
Antoine de Caunes plays Parisian clarinettist Simon Eskenazy. The last in the line of Eskenazy Jews, his uncle (Michel Aumont) hopes for a continuation of the family name. He's even Willing to offer ten million francs for Simon to switch sexual proclivrties. Plenty of room for farce, especially when it looks like Simon's going to take up with the eccentric Yiddish soprano Rosalie (Elsa Zylberstein), an uptight New Yorker who insists Simon meets her family, including her good-looking, clearly homo- inclined brother.
But Zilbermann’s muted movre keeps retreating from expectation Without finding sure footing of its own. It never seems to know Whether to play Simon and Rosalie's families for comic excess, or for pointing up the problems relevant to its central characters’ turmoils. A dilemma movie with the narrative expectations of farce, the film, falling between two stools, ends up flat on its too bemused face.
(Tony MCKibbin) I Edinburgh: Filmhouse from Fri 76 Jun.
Falls uncertainly between dilemma and farce
For Love Of The Game (12) 138 mins
When Kevin Costner makes blockbuster SCience fiction films they are crap. Waterwor/d was merely wet; the ludicrously-titled The Postman failed to deliver. But when Kevrn Costner makes smaller scale sports films they are surprisingly good. Who ever thought golf could be so much fun on the big screen? See Tin Cup for the answer. Presumably, then, we're in safe territory for Costner’s third baseball film, For Love Of The Game, which follows Bull Durham and Field Of Dreams.
Baseball Film No. 3 opens with Costner's legendary pitcher Billy Chapel about to play what may well become his last game. Chapel's got plenty on his mind: an injury to his arm, the impending sale of his team, the Detroit Tigers, and his girlfriend, fashion iourno Jane Aubrey (Kelly Preston), is about to move to London. So Chapel looks back over his career and love life and we get The Big Flashback.
Sounds like there’s much to like in For Love Of The Game, which is sentimental Where, say, Oliver Stone's football film, Any Given Sunday, was cynCial. Sam Raimi directs with his customary style and Vigour and there are watchable performances from Preston and Paul Thomas Anderson player, John C Reilly. (Miles Fielder)
I General release from Fri 76 Jun.
they're surprisingly good