Tim Burton's Gothic comedy re-imagines Washington Irving's spooky story

Tim Burton's work continues to intrigue to the same degree that it frustrates. This Gothic comedy adventure takes Washington Irving's short story and tinkers a little with both style and substance. While the delights of Burton’s exploration of the Gothic brings in some interesting child-like imagery, exploring subconscious insecurity buried since infancy, there are drawbacks. The widely held adage that one shouldn't parody a parody is well proven here. There‘s some lively humour in the high campery of the playing, but it can't match the mock heroic tone of the original story.

Johnny Depp is lcabod Crane, on this occasion a police constable with ideas above his station about the new science of forensic pathology. Unpopular among the law enforcers of 1799 New York, he is sent off to the obscure eponymous backwater, where a succession of local townsfolk have been decapitated by a headless horseman, who while the noggin is on, turns out to be Christopher Walken. Here he meets Christina Ricci's mysterious blond witch, who leaves us guessing as to the black or whiteness of her magic, but not about her romantic designs on Depp.

Add to this, a who’s who of old British luvvies playing the townsfolk, and you've got what Burton requires for his peculiar, characteristic take on humanity. This concentrates on the exotic and inexplicable in human experience, but with a tongue in cheek detachment that leaves us guessing at what he really thinks of it all. (Steve Cramer)

l Released by Fox Pathe for video rental and DVD rental and retail at f l 9. 99 on

Mon 24 Jul.


American Beauty

(18) 117 mins t 4r x t 1r

Everyone claimed American Beauty was a return to the Golden Age of Hollywood filmmaking. As if to confirm that, it cleaned up at the Oscars, and for once Tinseltown’s Academy of backslappers were right. Kevin Spacey turns in his finest performance yet as a middle aged, middle class, mid-west family man whose breakdown becomes self-revelatory. The cast -- Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bently, Mena Suvari, Chris Cooper are roundly excellent, and hilarity and pathos are neighbours in Alan Ball's superb script, superbly handled by British stage director Sam Mendes, (DreamWorks) (Miles Fielder)

Three Seasons

(12) 105 mins t x t x *

Overrun as we were by American depictions of the war, this Vietnamese film at last gives an lnSlghi into contemporary Vietnam and the ordinary lives of its people. Altmanesque in its montage of

characters, the film follows four individuals as they try to construct durability and meaning in a country scarred by Cultural and human devastation. Justifiably the Winner of the Sundance Cinematography award, Three Seasons looks stunning and pulls at the heart-strings from glorious start to finish. (Fox Pathe; also available on retail at £15.99) (Catherine Bromley)

Lovers Of The Arctic

Circle (15) 104 mins t t at it Julio Medem's new film IS as elliptical,

' haunting and stunning as his

labyrinthine Red Squirrel. Otto (Fele Martinez) and Anna (Naiwa Nimri) meet young and embark on a fatalistic love affair that takes them to the dark edge of obsession. Medem’s Jigsaw puzzle narrative technique pays off a treat With this beautiful love story. His is a giddying speCIal type of Cinema that warms the soul. This Video release is, however, marred by appalling white on white subtitles. (Metro Tartan; also available on retail at £15.99)

(Paul Dale)

broght to you by

A Room For Romeo Brass (15) 87 mins * it it *

Depending on who you listen to, TwentyFour Seven was a masterful filmic slice of modern Britain or an elongated pop promo emphasising soundbite style over complex content. Shane Meadows’ follow-up, the story of two young friends whose relationship is threatened by a manic oddball (compellingly played by Shane's mate Paddy Considine), heightens the violence and squeezes the psychological claustrophobia present in his debut feature. This is a gentle, assured and funny film, though ultimately, it’s deeply disturbing. (Alliance Atlantis) (Brian Donaldson)

Summer Of Sam (18) tint *

Spike Lee broadens his narrative scope further With a tale set around the stiflingly hot summer of 1977, when the Son of Sam serial murderer roamed the streets of the Bronx. The trio of leads Mira Sorvmo, Adrien Brody and John Legiiizamo are extremely strong in this wandering narrative that's reminiscent of the episodic adventures of Tarantino or P.T. Anderson. The heat and tenSion of the times translates well and Lee proves once again he’s more than Just a ghettOised one-tritk pony. (Fox Pathe) (Mark Robertson)

The Beach

(18) 1k it it

The Shallow Grave boys do themselves another great injustice with this uninspiring adaptation of Alex Garland's cult novel. Leonardo DiCaprio is the cliched student traveller who encounters a nutter (a Begbie Mk II from Robert Carlyle) With a map to a secret oasis. But peace in paradise is short lived as external forces come to play on the community's order. The Beach lacks the suspense, extitement or compelling lead of the trio's preVious films, but us as much to do With a mediocre story first olf.(Fox Pathe) (Mark Robertson)

Two Hands

(15) 99 mins A

An Australian comedy thriller With more than a nod and a Wink in Quentin Tarantino’s direction. Jimmy (The Patriot’s Heath Ledger) is sent on a job by the big mob boss, but things don't go according to plan and before he knows it, boss and brainless thugs are after him. The story takes several tWists and turns along the way with much hilarity and the odd bit of gratuitous Violence, which all go to make it a very watchable film. (High Fliers) (Jane Hamilton)

RETAIL Rosetta

(15) 91 mins it a a it In this Cannes Palme d’Or—wmner, a tcenage trailer park girl struggles to

. get a job to support her alcoholic

mother and feel some degree of normality in the face of oppressive

reviews VIDEO/ DVD


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_ _. Stores at ' Edinburgh Princes St & St James Glasgow Argyle St, Sauchiehall St, ." 'Union St, Braehead Centre

I" ,‘-~ .u 8i1V0lympia Centre, East Kilbride

poverty. About as grim as it comes, this is a fine addition to the new wave of

French Banlieu (of the suburbs) cinema

with a Stunning lead perforrnante fi‘oin Emilie Dequenne. Writer/director brothers Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne wear their Robert Bresson obsession like a badge, for this is basically Mouchette for the millennium. (Artifical Eye £15.99) (Paul Dale)


it ‘A’ t t * Unmissable t i t it Very good * t * Worth a shot i * * Below average it You’ve been warned

20 Jul 3Auq 2000 THE UST 119