Films screening this fortnight are listed below with certificate. star rating, credits, brief review and venue details. Film index compiled by Miles Fielder.
The Adventures Of Elmo In Grouchland (U) *‘htr (Gary Halvorson, US, 2000) Mandy Patinkin, Vanessa L. Williams, Kevin Clash. 72 mins. The pre-school, educational appeal of Sesame Street’s cute furry red stalwart doesn't really transfer to cinema as well as his spiritual cousins, The Muppets. Elmo loses his security blanket down Oscar the Grouch's trashcan. Once inside, he is transported to the hellish Grouchland, where he must retrieve it from the hands of the land's most abhorrent resident Huxley (Patinkin). Despite sturdy support from all the Street regulars: Big Bird, Oscar, Cookie Monster, Bert and Ernie, this is strictly for the littlest family members. Falkirk: 1"1‘11 Cinema. Stirling: Carlton.
Agnes Browne (15) ht (Anjelica Huston, US, 2000) Anjelica Huston, Marion O'Dwyer, Ray Winstone. 91 mins. Anjelica Huston packs her sophomore directorial effort with more cliches and stereotypes than you can shake a shamrock at. As Agnes Browne, a big-hearted, salt-of—the-earth matriarch struggling to raise her children alone in Dublin, circa 1967, she gets to play dowdy, glamorous, sensitive and vulgar. But this detenninedly feelgood film is too obvious in its intentions to be emotionally affecting. Edinburgh: Lumiere.
American Beauty (18) ***** (Sam Mendes, US, 1999) Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, 'l'hora Birch. 121 mins. Suburban husband and father Lester Burnham (Spacey, giving a career best performance) hates his life, but a close encounter with his daughter’s gorgeous school friend is the catalyst for big time self improvement: Lester quits his job, digs out his old rock albums and scores marijuana from the kid next door. And these teenage kicks return to Lester what's been missing from his life for years: pleasure and happiness. Caustic, touching and hilarious in all the right places — a modern classic. Motherwell: Moviehouse.
American Movie (15) “in (Chris Smith, US, 2000) 104 mins. Smith and producer Sarah Price's documentation of oddball Wisconsin ﬁlmmaker Mark Borchardt's efforts to get his Great American Movie made is amusing and fascinating. Borchardt is more Ed Wood than Orson Welles, but American Movie's makers admire his tenacity, and their non- judgmental approach has been rewarded with a strange and wonderful film. See preview and review. Edinburgh: Cameo. American Psycho (18) that (Mary Harron, US, 2000) Christian Bale, Chloe Sevigny, Willem Dafoe. 101 mins. Harron does away with the outward excesses — murder, torture, misogyny — of Bret Easton Ellis' 1991 novel about the previous money- obsessed decade and serves up the essence of the novel in a more palatable form. That doesn't mean her film is soft; it certainly isn't. But where Ellis pushed his readers away, the director draws the audience in by encouraging us to colludc with her satiric standpoint. Kirkcaldy: Adam Smith. Stirling: MacRobert.
Anna And The King (12) ** (Andy 'l‘cnnant, US, 1999) Jodie Foster, Chow Yun Fat, Bai Ling. 151 mins. Another remake of The Killgxilld I's improbable romance between a Western governess and an Eastern king. This time round Yul Brynner is replaced with lush period detail and historical sweep of the kind seen before in The Las! Emperor. Foster gives a gratingly worthy performance, while Fat proves he's better with the Hong Kong bullet ballets that made him famous. Kilmarnock: Odeon. Any Given Sunday (15) its: (Oliver Stone, US, 2000) Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid. 150 mins. Oliver Stone casts a wandering eye over the big bad world of American Football. Pacino grunts and yells as Tony D‘Amato, twenty year veteran coach for the Miami Sharks, who is at odds
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with the club's new owner, feisty upstart Christina Pagniacci (Diaz,). The po-faced power struggles become wearing and while Stone‘s epileptic editing style captures the power and athleticism of the game, it falls short of the grace and skill. By the ﬁnal whistle, Any Given Sunday is frustratingly unrealised. Kirkcaldy: Adam Smith.
The Aristocats (U) **** (Wolfgang Reitherman, US, 1970) With the voices of Phil Harris, Eva Gabor, Sterling Holloway. 78 mins. A street-wise alley cat woos an upper-class feline against the backdrop of turn-of-the-century Paris. Loads of loveable cats, dogs, mice detectives and human adversaries, alongside some of Disney's more under-rated songs. Dunfermline: Odeon. Kilmarnock: Odeon.
The Battleship Potemkin (PG) ***** (Sergei Eisenstein, USSR, 1925)A. Antonov, Vladimir Barski, Grigori Alexandrov. 75 mins. Made for the 20th anniversary of the 1905 revolution, Eisenstein's all-time classic follows the mutiny by the crew of the Prince Poiemkin and the support given by the local civilian population, who are mown down by the Czar's troops in the famous Odessa Steps sequence. Expressive camera technique and a grasp of editing that wrote the textbooks are just some of the innovations that put Eisenstein and Russian film firmly on the cinematic map. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. Beau Travail (15) **** (Claire Denis, France, 2000) Denis Lavant, Michel Subor, Gregoire Colin. 90 mins. An imaginative reworking of Herman Melville's novella Billy Budd, Sailor, Beau Travail sees writer- director Denis relocating the source material from the 19th century British navy to the present-day French Foreign Legion. ln Marseille, Sergeant Galoup (Denis Lavant) recalls the events that lead to him being forced to leave the corps after being posted to a remote outpost in Djibouti, East Africa. A work filled with beauty, sadness and mystery. Mesmerising filmmaking. Glasgow: Gl’l'. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. Beautiful People (15) ***~k (Jazmin Dizdar, UK, 1999) Charlotte Coleman, Edin [)zandzanovic, Danny Nussbaum. 107 mins. Tackling the legacy of faraway war in Bosnia and the break-up of domestic bliss among the English professional classes makes for a film that's far from unambitious. Dizdar has a keen eye, an eye trained on an often precarious British social scene. Drug-takers, racists, snobs, alternative therapists, liberals, forlorn housewives, lone fathers, even BBC executives all feature kicking at life with varying degrees of hate and savagery. Dizdar‘s cleverness comes in taking a diseased rump of British insularity and throwing in a good hand of common humanity. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
Being John Malkovich (15) *tttiv (Spike Jonze, US, 2000) John Cusack,
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Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, John Malkovich. 112 mins. Frustrated puppeteer Craig Schwartz (Cusack) takes a job as a ﬁling clerk and discovers a portal into the actor John Malkovich‘s brain. What could have developed into a one-gag ﬁlm, becomes a gender-bending extravaganza with a crazy network of love triangles, which climaxes with a lesbian relationship between two people of the opposite sex. A bewildering number of possibilities are added to the central premise and important questions about personal identity and self- fulfilment are raised. Glasgow: Odeon At The Quay. Edinburgh: ABC. Dunfermline: Odeon.
The Big Heat (18) ***** (Fritz Lang, US, 1953) Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Lee Marvin. 90 mins. Muscular thriller as ex-cop Ford tries to track down his wife's killer and nab a crime ring with the assistance of Grahame's sympathetic moll. Marvin is a blisteringly vicious villain, stubbing out cigarettes on a human ash-tray and scalding Grahame with the contents of a coffee pot. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
Big Momma's House (12) *** (Raja Gosnell, US, 2000) Martin Lawrence, Nia Long, Paul Giamatti. 106 mins. Lawdy, what folks will do to make other folks laugh. Here, Lawrence '5 undercover cop dons a latex mask, false breasts and a dress, transforming himself into an overweight old woman. While the real Big Momma's on vacation, Lawrence lures her granddaughter (Long) and ultimately her criminal boyfriend into a trap. All very lame; perhaps the best recommendation for Big Momma '3 House is the ripe blues/soul/gospel soundtrack. General release.
The Black Stallion (U) **** (Carroll Ballard, US, 1979) Kelly Reno, Mickey Rooney, Terri Can. 103 mins. Widely held to be one of the best children‘s ﬁlms ever made, this story of how a young boy befriends a black Arabian stallion, and their subsequent adventures, remains a perennial favourite. lt spawned a disappointing sequel — the chemistry only worked once. Glasgow: GF'I‘.
The Blair Witch Project (15) ***** (Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, US, 1999) Heather Donahue, Josh Leonard, Michael Williams. 90 mins. Terrifying docu- horror movie that purports to be an edited version of the film and video footage that Donahue, Leonard and Williams shot in the days before they disappeared in the woods around Burkittsville, Maryland. While you're watching you're too sacred to think about the clever tricks with your mind. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
Boys Don't Cry (18) ***** (Kimberly Peirce, US, 2000) Hilary Swank, Chloe Sevigny, Peter Sarsgaard. 114 mins. Writer/director Kimberly Pcirce's first feature is based upon the life of Brandon 'l‘eena, the transgendered Nebraska girl who
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lived her life as a male, and whose love affair with a smalltown girl named Lana Tisdel met a bloody end in 1993. Swank is simply astonishing. The credibility of the ﬁlm rests entirely upon her performance, but it’s a burden she shoulders with consummate skill and grace. A humbling example of brave, beautiful, brutal ﬁlmmaking. Falkirk: FFH Cinema. Kirkcaldy: Adam Smith. Stirling: MacRobert.
Breathless (A Bout de Soufﬂe) (IS) ***** (Jean-Luc Godard, France, 1959) Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg. 90 mins. A chic Parisian petty criminal (Belmondo) and his American ex-patriate girlfriend (Seberg) drift through a world of stolen cars and aimless romance towards an inexorable downbeat ﬁnale. Godard's debut feature provoked quite a stir in its day for its carefree arrogance with the conventions of ﬁlmic grammar, but today it stands as a casual love letter to the American B-movie crime picture. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
A Bug's Life (U) **** (John Lasseter, US, 1998) Voices of: Dave Foley, Kevin Spacey, David Hyde Pierce, Denis Leary. 95 mins. Made by Pixar Animation Studios (Toy Story), A Bug '5 Life takes us to Ant Island, where the colony is being oppressed by a gang of menacing grasshoppers. When inventive but clumsy worker ant Flik incurs the wrath of gang leader Hopper, he heads off to ﬁnd help heavyweight help in the battle against his oppressors. Edinburgh: Odeon. Ayr: Odeon.
Butterfly's Tongue (La Lengua De Las Mariposas) (15) sun: (Jose Luis Cuerda, Spain, 2000) Manuel Lozano, Fernando Fernan Gomez. 95 mins. Set in Galicia, in the period preceding Franco‘s fascist uprising in 1936, Cuerda's ﬁlm traces the relationship between seven-year-old Moncho (Lozano) and his benign anarchist- leaning teacher Don Gregorio (veteran Spanish actor Gomez). This is Republican Spain seen through rose-tinted glasses; a harsh and bitter world transformed into a make-believe utopia about to be cruelly crushed by fascism. See review. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
Casablanca (PG) thud (Michael Curtiz, US, 1942) Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Dooley Wilson. 102 mins. You must remember this . . . Bogart being impossibly noble, Bergman torn between two lovers, Claude Rains playing both ends against the middle, devious Nazis, a fogbound airport, a piano-player tinkling that tune . . .A wonderful hill of beans. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
Chicken Run (U) **** (Nick Park/Peter Lord, UK, 2000) Voices of Mel Gibson, Julia Sawalha, Miranda Richardson. 85 mins. For their first feature Aardman studios have re-written the WWII P.O.W. experience as an Orwellian satire, albeit with laughs. So, Stalag 17 becomes a battery farm and the camp commandant farmer 'l‘weedy's