Christopher Walken. 98 mins. Lane and Evans play hapless brothers who inherit a decrepit mansion, but when they decide to renovate and auction it, a resident rodent is not willing to be evicted. An excellent blend of Laurel and Hardy slapstick and black humour, MouseHunt is sheer entertainment and has some real belly laughs. The tone and the pacing are spot-on throughout, and the sets and special effects are the icing on the cake. Greenock: Waterfront.

Mulan (U) **** (Barry Cook, Tony Bancroft, 1998) Voices of: Ming-Na Wen, Donny Osmond, Eddie Murphy. 89 mins. After Disney's tastily designed venture into Greek mythology with Hercules, the studio has brought its lens to bear on the rich and colourful possibilities of Chinese legend. The most striking aspect of this romantic epic is its magnificent animation. Details of character, movement and expression are as fine as should be expected from the world's best known cartoon studio, but the stunning large-scale set pieces are truly astonishing, while the design team stirs in an authentic flavour of China. Edinburgh: Odeon.

My Life So Far (12) it (Hugh Hudson, UK, 2000) Robert Norman, Rosemary Harris, Malcolm McDowell, Colin Firth. 98 mins. Everything in Hugh Hudson‘s film is about to change. Fraser Pettigrew (Norman) is about to go from childhood innocence to sexualised adolescence. The Scottish estate of the elderly matriarch Gamma (Ilarris) is about to be passed onto a new generation, either her go-ahead capitalist son (McDowell) or her dithering romantic nephew Edward (Firth). Genteel affluence is about to give way to wartime hardship. Loosely based on the memoirs of Sir Denis Forman, My Life So Far would love to be a play by Chekhov. Instead it's a mushy piece of nostalgic whimsy. Stirling: MaeRobert. My Night With Maud (PG) **** (Eric Rohmer, France, 1969) Jean-Louis Trintignant, Francois Fabian, Marie- Christine Barrault. 101 mins. The first of Rohmer's Comedies er Proverbes is perhaps the most stimulating and satisfying of the sextet. Using a remark of Lenin’s that it is better to take a chance in a million than no chance at all, the film focuses on lonely a Catholic engineer (Trintignant) who is infatuated with a woman completely unlike himself. Glasgow: CW.

The Next Best Thing (12) ** (John Schlesinger, US, 2000) Rupert Everett, Madonna, Malcolm Stumpf. 109 mins. Gay landscape gardener Robert (Everett) and unhappy and unlucky in love yoga teacher Abbie (Madonna) are best friends . . . who have a child together and share parental responsibilities. But when Abbie meets the man of her dreams, the arrangement becomes complicated and a child custody case ensues which threatens to destroy the friendship. There‘s no doubting the very current relevance of the alternative domestic life pictured here, but this comedy/ melodrama is completely lacking chemistry, surprisingly between Everett and Madonna. Even the once great Schlesinger can’t work some much needed alchemy between his star pals. Glasgow: Grosvenor, Odeon Quay, Showcase. Edinburgh: UGC. Paisley: Showcase.

Not One Less (PG) ***** (Zhang Yimou, China, 2000) Wei Minzhi. 100 mins. A teacher of a small school in an isolated, impoverished village is forced to leave the education of his 28 pupils in the hands of 13-year-old substitute Wei Minzhi for a month. But with poverty forcing over one million students to leave school to look for work every year in China, Wei is set the task of retrieving a desperate student from the big city. Essentially, this is a personal interest perspective on a dramatic social problem. The cast comprises non- professionals, and the calibre of the heart- rending performance by Minzhi makes the film all the more impressive. Glasgow: GF'I‘. Edinburgh: Cameo.

The Patriot (15) *‘ktt (Roland Emmerich, US, 2000) Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Jason lsaacs. 160 mins. Swapping his saltire for the stars and stripes, Gibson's revolutionary fervour is back on the boil as he trounces King George’s Redcoats during the American War of Independence. The Patriot is epic, action-packed stuff and there’s something for everyone: corn and

cringeworthy American backslaps, adventure and battle scenes, issues of loyalty and honour, and a strong performance from Gibson forming the bedrock of it all. See review. General release.

Pecker (15) *** (John Waters, US, 1998) Edward Furlong, Christina Ricci, Lili Taylor. 86 mins. Narrative logic very rarely crops up in Waters' films, replaced instead by filmic flippancy. And that's the case with this rags-to-riches-andback-to-rags story of a young Baltimore photographer, who briefly becomes the darling of the New York art set until he rejects it all for his hometown, family and friends. Only the sheer fun of it all rather than any notion of insight or depth, will probably keep this Pecker up in the box office stakes. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

Pokemon (U) ***** (kids)/** (adults) (Michael Haigney/Kunohiko Yuyama, Japan/US, 2000) 96 mins. Cloned Pokemon (pocket monster) Mewtwo embarks on world dominance and so hero kids, Ash, Brock and Misty, accompanied by their Pokemon, set out to make him see the error of his ways. Cue a great deal of gratuitous fighting and an interlude in which it's explained that fighting is bad (?!). The stupor induced by viewing the film strand of the phenomenal Pokemon franchise (computer game, collecting cards, etc.) as an adult, convincingly confirms that it‘s a kid thing, good or bad. Glasgow: UGC. Edinburgh: UGC. Dunferrnline: Odeon. Wishaw: Arrow Multiplex.

The Public Eye (15) tint (Howard Franklin, US, 1992) Joe Pesci, Barbara Hershey, Stanley Tucci. 99 mins. Pesci adds another dimension to his varied repertoire as an ambulance-chasing 1940s press photographer who gets caught up in a gangland black market scam. The moody photography gives period authenticity and the film is at its best when showcasing the work of real-life snappers, but the crime plot seems tacked on and underwritten. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

Ratcatcher (15) ***** (Lynne Ramsay, UK, 1999) William Eadie, Tommy Flanagan, Mandy Matthews. 93 mins. Seen through the eyes of twelve-year-old James Gillespie, a sensitive boy haunted by the drowning of a neighbour's son, Ralcarcher paints a bleakly realistic picture of Glasgow family life. Ramsay uses meticulous framing, unusual camera angles and atmospheric images to capture the subtle textures of everyday life, as well as complex inner feelings. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. Relative Values (PG) *** (Eric Styles, UK, 2000) Julie Andrews, Colin Firth, Stephen Fry. 89 mins. Noel Coward ‘s satire of the British class system circa 1954 sees spoilt brat Nigel (Edward Atterton) upset the Marshwood household when he brings American actress Miranda (Tripplehom) home to announce his engagement. Modern audiences may find it difficult to identify with Coward's now dated play - with its patronising upper classes, servile lower ones and misogynist attitude to women but if you can put your own values on hold, there are some laughs to be had. Edinburgh: UGC.

Rushmore (15) *‘ktt‘k (Wes Anderson, US, 1999) Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams. 93 mins. Bright, bespectacled and geeky, Max Fischer, scholarship boy at the exclusive Rushmore Academy in Houston, is irritating and endearing in equal measures, while his self- belief is awesome. In Bill Murray's self- loathing millionaire steel tycoon, Max finds a soul mate, but when they both fall in love with the new teacher Miss Cross (Williams), their friendship turns sour. Wes Anderson's quirky, original comedy puts most of Hollywood's recent output to shame. Murray gives his best performance in years, while film debutante Schwartzman is simply astonishing. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

Saving Grace (15) ** (Nigel Cole, Uk, 2000) Brenda Blethyn, Craig Ferguson. 94 mins. Saddled with crushing debts after the sudden death of her husband, keen horticulturist Grace (Blethyn) transforms the greenhouse of her Cornish mansion into a marijuana plantation with the assistance of her Scottish gardener, Matthew (Ferguson). Already being touted as this year's feelgood

British comedy, Saving Grace attempts to recapture the magic of the Ealing classics; instead it merely feels out of touch with modern life. Paisley: Showcase.

The Seventh Voyage 0t Sinbad (U) **** (Nathan Juran, US, 1958) Kerwin Mathews, Kathryn Grant, Richard Eyer, Torin Thatcher, Alec Mango. 87 mins. Above-average adventure yarn, in which our hero undertakes a quest for the roc's egg which will restore his princess to full size after a magician shrinks her to a midget. The special effects, in stop-motion Dynamation, were a pioneering triumph for Ray Harryhausen. Edinburgh: St Bride's. Sleepy Hollow (15) *tit (Tim Burton, US, 1999) Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Christopher Walken. 105 mins. During the final days of 1799 ambitious young policeman Ichabod Crane (Depp) is sent to the fog-shrouded village of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of decapitations, but his scientific beliefs are shaken when he comes face to space with the Headless Horseman. Burton gives Washington Irving's Gothic folktale a distinctly British colouring, as he borrows merrily from the Hammer films of the 50s and 605, while Depp brings the right note of comedy to the dark proceedings. Edinburgh: Lumiere. Star Kid (PG) *** (Manny Coto, US, 1997) Joseph Mazzello, Richard Gilliland, Corinne Bohrer. 100 mins. Shy, bullied Spencer (Jurassic Park's Mazzello) discovers an alien Cybersuit with a voice and personality of its own. Climbing inside, he gets back at his school nemesis, but finds himself up against a deadlier foe when he faces intergalactic tough nuts, the Broodwarriors. Clearly aimed at pre- adolescent boys who want to fill out their underdog fantasies, Star Kid is a better than average kids movie. Glasgow: Grosvenor. Starship Troopers (15) ***** (Paul Verhoeven, US, 1997) Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, Denise Richards. 129 mins. Way in the future, Earth is run by a crypto- fascist regime, and the members of the Galactic Armed Forces are sent into space to fight a race of alien bugs hell-bent on




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wiping out humanity. The computer animation work is first rate and, despite its gory slice ‘n' dice violence, one reading of the movie’s sub-text is decidedly anti- militaristic. Edinburgh: UGC.

Stir 0t Echoes (15) *** (David Koepp, US, 2000) Kevin Bacon, llleana Douglas, Kathryn Erbe. 99 mins. Tom Witzky (Bacon) sees dead people, a spooky insight that only comes about when he's hypnotised by sister-in-law Lisa (Douglas) as a party trick. The supernatural material allows Koepp (working from Richard Matheson’s 1958 novel) a narrative means of getting beneath the surface sheen of modern American life. At the centre of the sudden scares and the low key special effects, Bacon gives the film a sense of blue collar reality. Paisley: Showcase.

The Straight Story (U) ***** (David Lynch, US, 1999) Richard Famsworth, Sissy Spacek, Harry Dean Stanton. 111 mins. Midwestern old timer Alvin Straight is hellbent on re-uniting with his estranged, terminally ill brother so he takes to the road aboard his motorised lawnmower. Farnsworth‘s lead performance is honest, heart-felt and credible, while Lynch maintains his fascination with the inherent strangeness of smalltowns and lost highways. But, in this sublime snail's pace odyssey, modern psychosis is replaced by old time decency. Glasgow: GET.

A Streetcar Named Desire (PG) *ttt (Eliz Kazan, US, 1951) Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter. 122 mins. Brando takes the acting honours and, with this film, set the style for method acting for years to come. Tennessee Williams’ steamy sex romp seems a little tame by today standards, but the realism of the drama remains intact and the performances are to be savoured. Glasgow: GFI‘.

Stuart Little (U) *** (Rob Minkoff, US, 2000) Michael J. Fox, Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie. 92 mins. Live action with a computer generated talking mouse voiced by Michael J. Fox, Minkoff's adaptation of

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