domineering wife, while in the hutches, Ginger rallies her fellow hens to fly their coop. Though the characters aren't as established as Wallace and Gromit and the feature length running time slows the action, Aardman continue to work real wonders with their familiar Plasticine animation. General release.

Chill Factor (15) *‘k‘k (Hugh Johnson, US, 2000) Skeet Ulrich, Cuba Gooding Jr. 101 mins. Regular joe Mason (Ulrich) teams up with ice-cream delivery driver Arlo (Gooding Jr) to deliver ‘Elvis’, a highly volatile frozen chemical compound capable of blowing a hole through next week, to a military base. Sounds dumb, but Johnson pulls it off. Despite no great originality in theme and execution, Chill Factor is a thoroughly entertaining action romp that fuses witty repartee of the buddy movie with the race against time white-knuckle ride. Irvine: Magnum Theatre.

The Cider House Rules (12) *‘H (Lasse Hallstrom, US, 2000) Tobey Maguire, Michael Caine, Charlize Theron. 126 mins. Maguire takes the lead as Homer Wells, an orphan who grows up to continue the worthy work of his mentor and surrogate father, Dr Larch (Caine). On route to manhood, Homer undertakes a small-scale odyssey around 1940s New England, during which time he works on an apple farm and has an affair with farm owner Candy Kendall (Theron). Somewhere between Irving’s screenplay and Hallstr‘m’s direCtion there's an overabundance of sentimentality which undermines Irving’s brand of tragi- comedy. Kirkcaldy: Adam Smith.

Cradle Will Rock (15) **** (Tim Robbins, US, 2000) Angus Macfadyen, Susan Sarandon, John Cusack, Bill Murray, Emily Watson, Vanessa Redgrave. 134 mins. New York City, 1936. In the midst of the Depression a govemment-sponsored project strives to find work for performers and bring theatre to the unemployed masses, while communist paranoia grips the state. Against this background Orson Welles attempts to stage a socialist musical, The Cradle Will Rock. Robbins builds a terrific portrait of a tumultuous period of American history through a series of overlapping personal dramas. Hugely ambitious, clever, ironic, humorous and with a phenomenal ensemble cast. Falkirk: FTH Cinema. Stirling: MacRobert.

Cries And Whispers (18) whit (Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1972) Harriet Anderson, Ingrid Thulin, Liv Ullmann. 91 mins. At the turn of the century, a middle-aged spinster lies dying of cancer. Her two sisters, one frigid, one suicidal, come to watch over her. Mounted in the style of Edvard Munch, Bergman's bleak and harrowing vision of suffering and Sven Nykvist's Oscar winning photography in various tones of red combine seamlessly to form a quite hypnotic confrontation with mortality. Edinburgh: Lumiere.

Die Hard (18) *it* (John McTieman, US, 1988) Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia. 131 mins. Willis plays a cop who attends a tower block party with his estranged spouse. The building is raided by terrorists, so it's left to Willis to bump off the baddies and save the hostages while the police and FBI languish ineptly on the sidelines. Unbearany tense actioner that gets good mileage out of yawning lift-shafts and flying bullets, while Willis is convincing as an ordinary guy trying to cope with it all. Watch out for Brit Rickman as a villain with a sense of humour. Glasgow: Odeon.

Le Diner De Cons (15) *it* (Francis Verber, France, 1999) Thierry Lherrnitte, Jacques Villeret, Catherine Frot. 80 mins. Each Wednesday upmarket professional, Pierre and his friends invite someone for dinner as a plaything for their own amusement. Lhermitte's chosen victim on one such night is Francois, an accountant whose hobby is making models out of matchsticks. If one finds interesting the idea of a lonely accountant abused for his stupidity before the tables are turned, then Verber‘s film offers much mirth. Edinburgh: Cameo.

Donald Cammell‘s Wild Side (18) *ivk (Donald Cammell, US, 1995/2000) Anne Heche, Christopher Walken, Joan Chen. 112 mins. In 1995 Wild Side's producers re-cut the film against Cammell's wishes. In April

1996 he shot himself. Now the Performance co-director’s last movie sees the light of day in the form he intended. This psychosexual thriller, in which four players banker, racketeer, estranged wife and bodyguard fuck each other over both metaphorically and literally, is an uneven affair. Nevertheless, the cast are thoroughly entertaining, and Cammell says some interesting things about the sex/power/money nexus. See review. Edinburgh: UGC Cinemas.

L'ennui (18) iii"): (Cedric Kahn, France, 1999) Charles Berling, Sophie Guillemin. 120 mins. In this suggestive, quirky study of amour fou, dissatisfied philosophy professor Martin (Berling) loses sight of himself in the warm and fatty folds of the teenage Cecilia (Guillemin). Of course, older man falling in love with mysterious younger woman is the subject of much French cinema, and is at the heart of film noir. But Kahn’s achievement is to play it less as tragedy than indeterminate irony, asking us to look inside Martin's head rather than simply at the leading lady’s figure. Glasgow: OFT.

Erin Brockovich (15) that (Steven Soderbergh, US, 2000) Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, Aaron Eckhart. 133 mins. Unemployed single mother Erin (Roberts) shoehoms her way into a filing clerk position with Finney's California law firm. There she accidentally uncovers a conspiracy to conceal the poisoning of the local community, which leads to the largest direct action lawsuit in American history. This might sound like a cliched John Grisham thriller, but it's based on a true story and Soderbergh’s direction and Roberts' performance are faultless together they prove that mainstream American cinema can be something truly great. Edinburgh: Dominion.

Essex Boys (18) ** (Terry Winsor, UK, 2000) Sean Bean, Charlie Creed-Miles, Alex Kingston. 102 mins. ‘Kin ‘ell, another gangster film. Creed-Miles' young gun tells the story of his involvement with Bean's villain out of prison and setting himself up to lord over the manor. Taking as its starting point the ‘Essex Range Rover murders', this is, aside from some decent performances, an uninspired addition to a bad run of British films. Edinburgh: UGC Cinemas. Paisley: Showcase.

Extreme Screen: Everest and The Living Sea (U) it 40 mins each. Although the lwerks experience impresses on a technical level, neither of these films transcend entertainment as lumbering fairground attraction. Everest is a dry-as-sand account of a recent expedition up the big yin. Filmed in the style of a Sunday afternoon docudrama, it also has the dubious honour of rendering a remarkable adventure mundane. A much better bet is the visually wondrous The Living Sea, an ‘edutaining’ look at mankind’s relationship with the sea (with voice-over from Meryl Streep). Edinburgh: UGC Cinemas.

Eve's Bayou (15) *t* (Kasi Lemmons, US, 1998) Samuel L. Jackson, Lynn Whitfield, Debbi Morgan. 108 mins. Set firmly in the Southern Gothic storytelling mould shaped by William Faulkner, Harper Lee, Tennessee Williams, et al, actress Lemmons' directing debut is a blast. The prolonged opening family party sequence, in which some uncomfortable secrets and lies are unearthed, introduces the inhabitants of the eponymous Louisiana property. The ensuing melodrama is played out by uniformly excellent cast. Glasgow: GFI‘. Fantasia 2000 (U) *‘k‘k (Various, US, 2000) Voices of Steve Martin, Bette Midler, Quincy Jones. 75 mins. When Walt Disney first came up with the idea of turning classical music pops into an animated potpourri, he originally envisioned that Fantasia would continue to be renewed by additional material. Sixty years on, his dream has at last came to fruition with this new collection of musical highlights. The star of the show is the one segment retained from the original, the Dukas ‘Sorcerer's Apprentice' set-piece with Mickey Mouse in a pointy Wizard’s hat and lots of buckets of water. Irvine: Magnum Theatre.

Continued over page

index FILM

54th edinburgh international film festival 13-27 aug 2000

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20 Jul—3 Aug 2000 THE usr 47