new releases

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This is Hollywood at its loudest and proudest

The Patriot (15) 160 mins 7'.» ;- t a.

Swapping his saltire for the stars and stripes, Mel Gibson’s revolutionary fervour is back on the boil. But this time it's King George's Redcoats rather than proud Edward's army who are being sent homewards to think again as the New York-born, Australian-raised actor cries freedom during the American War of Independence.

If Mel’s nationality seems a bit unclear, then consider that The Patriot also features a genuinely Australian co-star (21-year-old Heath Ledger as Gibson’s son Gabriel), a trio of Brits (dastardly Jason Isaacs, gentlemanly Tom Wilkinson and love interest Joely Richardson) plus a German director (Roland Emmerich). But this is Hollywood at its loudest and proudest, so rest assured that the slant on history is as ‘God Bless America' as apple pie on Superbowl night.

Gibson plays widowed war hero Benjamin Martin, a man who has locked away his violent past and settled down on his South Carolina farm to raise his seven kids. However, when his eldest son joins up to fight the British and unwittingly brings tragedy raining

down on his siblings then Martin must weigh up his responsibilities as a father and as a patriot. Leading a ragbag troop of militia men against the well-equipped Redcoats, Martin wins himself mythic status for his guerilla raids and comes closer to a showdown with his arch enemy, Colonel William Tavington (lsaacs).

The Patriot is epic, action-packed stuff as sweeping and exciting as you'd expect from the director and producer of Independence Day, but more satisfying and plot-driven than you'd expect from the director and producer of Godzilla. It's textured in such a way that there's something for everyone: corn and cringeworthy American backslaps on top, adventure and battle scenes underneath, issues of loyalty and honour woven throughout, and a strong performance from Gibson forming the bedrock of it all.

It’s the kind of part that seems custom-made for Mel. Martin's inner conflict stems from his difficulty in reconciling the action man with the family man (Gibson also has seven children), while his motivation the death of a loved one - kick—starts Gibson's characters in Mad Max, Braveheart, Hamlet and, to an extent, Lethal Weapon. (Alan Morrison)

3 General release from Fri 74 Jul

M:I-2 (15) 124 mins f: »

A Bond-style espionage franchise souped up with Hong Kong action flick pyrotechnics

Tom Crurse, producer and star for the second Mission: Impossible frlm, says he hrred John Woo to drrect because he wanted a John Woo frlm. Woo says he gave Crurse a 75% John Woo/25% Tom Crurse frlm. What's emerged rs a James Bond-style espronage franchrse souped-up wrth Hong Kong actron flrc:k pyrotecihnrcs

M‘l-Z opens wrth the krnd of krck-ass actron sequence 007 would be proud of. Crurse's super spy, Ethan Hunt, clrmbs, Jumps, falls and clangles precarrously off a rock face 1500 feet up a mountarn rn Utah (and rt's really Crurse at altrtude). There, rnconvenrently enough, Hunt rs grven hrs new covert rnrssron by boss Anthony Hopkrns (who makes an uncredrted appearance and later delrvers the frlm's best, prrceless lrne of dralogue).

Evrl ex-super spy Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott, who gets to deliver a few smart one-lrners of hrs own) has stolen a lethal chernrcal weapon codenamed Chrmera, and he wants brg bucks not to unleash rt, Hunt rs charged wrth puttrng together a crack team to retrreve rt from hrs adversary's

Sydney, Australia hcurclquarters‘ Old colleague Vrng Rhames and Australran actor/drrector John Polson pr'ovrcle the hr-tech back up, but rt's Thandre Newton's beautrful cat thref, Ambrose's ex-lover Nyah Hall, who pr'ovrdes the allure Hunt needs to recover Chrmera.

M'l-Z works best and rs most farthful to the sprrrt of the orrgrnal Mission: Impossible televrsron show whrle the operatron rernarns covert Hunt’s courtrng/enlrstrng of Hall rs all secluctrve foreplay, whrle the ensurng cat and mouse games between Hunt and Ambrose clrmaxes wrth a tlrrrllrng lrrgh— rrse burglary Prematurer rt would

What follows rs an overlong actron frnale rnvolvrng guns, motor‘brkes and kung fu Woo gets to replay hrs famed 'bullet ballet' (slo-mo shoot-outsJ and the stars do the rmpr'essrve own stunts thrng, but rt all ends up lookrng lrke a cheap strarght-to-vrcleo actroner And when Woo's trademark whrte cloves (they srgnrfy rnnocence or somethrngr appear, you frncl yourself wrshrng that 75/25 ratro was swrtc‘hecl (lvlrles Frelcler)

R? General release from /-'r1 7 /u/

new releases FILM

Film Books

The Cinema Book (Pam Cooke and fvlreke Bernrnk eds, BFI £2399 *itt) rs a masterful tome for anyone who doesn't actually lrke watchrng movres, but can’t get enough of the theoretrcal rssues surroundrng cmema There are chapters on horror frlms, the scr-fr genre and the western and pages and pages on not Just auteurrsm, but auteurrsm after structuralrsm, and then stuff about post-structuralrsm. You can also read some of the most dubrous concepts ever applred to frlm. psycihoanalyrrc. theory. Of course, there are rnterestrng rnsrghts along the way, and the book rs an undenrably well researched prece of work but grve me the rndrvrdual crrtrcs who are rnvolved rn the applrance of cirnematrc analySIs over the rarefred rdeas of homogenous schools of thought any day.

There are fragments of frlm theory to be found rn Amy Taubrn's monograph on Taxi Driver (BFI £7.99 it), wrth troubled protagonrst Travrs Brckle seen as a product of 'besreged masculrnrty' and sufferrng from ’castratron anxrety’. Travrs rs a mrxed up krd, but Taubrn’s femrnrst-rnclrned, psychoanalytrcally- drrven study can't compete wrth Manny Farber’s prece of cubrst (’rrtrcrsm, ‘The Power And The Gory’, where hrs contradrctrons equal Brckle’s, or Paulrne Kael’s orrgrnal revrew, where her energetrc appraisal matched the krnetrc feel of Scorsese's fr|m_ Taubrn tut tuts over the frlm's raCrsm, rnrsogyny and vrolence, but tells us too Irttle about why It mrght be the greatest Arnerrcan movre srnce Citizen Kane

Taxr Driver's Cultural Impact IS undenrable, and Brckle even makes the cover of British Cinema Of The 905 (Robert Murphy ed, BFI £1499 tit) on the poster Ewan Mc‘Gregor stands rn front of rn a shot from Trainspotting. Thrs collectron of essays takes on board the Influence of Amerrctan movres on Brrtrsh frlm, developments rn Herrtage cmema (a frne prece from Pamela Church Grbson), the expectatrons of multrplex audrences, and the collapsed male egos to be found rn Naked, Raining Stones and Nil By Mouth.

(Tony fVlCKIbblfi)

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Very good

Worth a shot

Below average You've been warned

6- 20 Jul 2000 THE “ST 31