new releases

Gone In 60 Seconds (15) 118 mins * ii:

- The weakest to date of producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s popcorn movies is a re-

working of H. B. Halicki’s I974 cult car- chase movie which, despite its flashy paint-job and hip-hop in-car stereo soundtrack, lacks grunt and growl beneath the hood. The original had too many car chases and not enough plot or characterisation; this has too much plot, too many characters and not enough metal-crunching, tyre- squealing action. Con Air scribe Scott Rosenberg’s script is all chassis and no engine; Kalifornia director Dominic Sena’s messy handling lacks grip and acceleration.

Forced out of retirement when his kid brother, Kip (Giovanni Ribisi), crosses some heavy duty criminals, legendary car thief 'Memphis’ Raines (Nicolas

The Emperor And The Assassin (12) 161 mins *‘k‘k

After their collaboration on the gangster melodrama Temptress Moon, director Chen Kaige and actress Gong Li are reunited. These superstars of contemporary Chinese cinema, have got back together for this ambitious, epic period drama about China’s first emperor, reputedly the most expensive Asian film ever made.

In 229 BC, King Ying Zheng of Qin resolves to unite China’s seven warring states under his own rule. Believing his motives to be pure, Ying's childhood sweetheart and concubine Lady Zhao devises a fake assassination plot which will give him the pretext to invade the powerful state of Yan. As her instrument she chooses Jing Ke, a fearless and preternaturally gifted swordsman who has renounced

14 THELIST 3—10 Aug 2000


Despite its flashy paint-job it lacks grunt and growl beneath the hood

Cage) must reunite his old crew and steal fifty cars in one night, or kiss his siblings ass goodbye. An artist when it comes to boosting cars, Memphis gives women's names to all the ones he plans to steal. He has a strangely intimate relationship with one in particular, the most elusive of all, Eleanor, a 1967 Shelby Mustang GT 500.

Ham-strung by the clunky script, the always-watchable Cage is forced to overplay his modest hand; Angelina Jolie has to content herself with what is, in effect, a visually arresting cameo. Only the charismatic ex-footballer Vinnie Jones in his debut as a Hollywood heavy makes any impression, partly because his character, the mute and enigmatic Sphinx, is spared any embarrassing dialogue. (Nigel Floyd)

I General release from Fri 4 Aug.

Ambitious, epic period drama

violence. But horrified by Ying’s increasing ruthlessness, Zhao has a change of heart and decides to stage the assassination for real.

Chen's film is packed with stunning images (an ambush in a palace’s vast courtyard, the mass suicide of a besieged city's children) and interesting ideas (it’s possible to see it as an allegory of Mao’s rise to power or a veiled attack on China's current rulers’ designs on Taiwan). The portrait of the king's court is fascinating, with its formal rituals (mirrored in the histrionic style of acting) and labyrinthine political manoeuvres, but tracing Ying’s blood lust and cruelty to the slights he received in childhood exile is unconvincing. Aiming at both epic spectacle and psychological complexity, Chen hits the former more surely than the latter. (Jason Best)

I Glasgow: GFT,’ Edinburgh: Fi/mhouse from Fri 4 Aug.

i l

1 cinematographer Vittorio Storaro

f Flamenco was filmed in a disused

fie- Color Of Paradise - v

There are scenes here reminiscent of a

voices for Tulio and Miguel, two

' escape and discover their rainforest


(U) 100 mins and

One of the most thrilling things about watching live Flamenco is the atmosphere. Heels click, hands clap and voices soar, brewing up a Mediterranean storm that leaves you reeling. Translate that to the screen and much of the thrill is gone. Luckily for director Carlos Saura, he had

(Last Tango In Paris, Apocalypse Now)

on his side, a man whose mantelpiece

boasts three Academy Awards. Visually striking throughout,

For Flamenco lovers only

railway station bathed in an orange glow, giving rise to sleek silhouettes and shadows. But stylish lighting deVices do not a movie make, and this homage to the Flamenco art is strictly for hardcore fans. An all too brief appearance by Joaquin Cortes, the Michael Flatley of Flamenco, lights up the SCreen, but the ensemble dance pieces are few and far between. Instead, the bulk of the film is devoted to mUSIC, and whilst the cante songs can be deeply evocative, the language barrier (and lack of subtitles) prevents you from fully engaging with the singer's plight.

Flamenco is being viewed as a major venture in its home country, With over 500 performers packed into 100 minutes. But unless you’re a true lover of Flamenco in all its forms song, dance and guitar the film Will fail to strike a chord.

(Kelly Apter) I Glasgow: GFT from Fri 4 Aug, Edinburgh: Fi/mhouse from Fri 7 7 Aug.

(PG) 88mins * ‘k at: *

master: the leafy village retreat with its log cabins and the wind rustling the trees, and the sequence where the father pads through the misty forest leading his son on horseback. Both bring to mind an undeniable great: Andrei Tarkovsky.

But if director Maiid Majidi has an impressive visual eye, he's more conventional, even naive, when it comes to telling stories and pointing up religious possibilities. Mohsen Ramezani plays the blind young Mohammad whose Widowed father picks him up from school for the summer break, and takes him back to their beautiful mountainous village. But no sooner are they home and the father wants to off-load the boy onto a blind carpenter. The father reckons having a blind son Will rum his own chances of marrying into an upmarket Islamic family. Will the father confront the error of his ways, or remain in his own selfish mindset?

The story here though really is secondary it's as an essay on the sounds and sights of nature that Majidi’s film hits home. Ignore the manipulative music and the tearierking aspects and indulge in the movie's sensory pleasures.

(Tony McKibbin) I Edinburgh: Cameo from Fri 4 Aug. See preview

Sights and sounds of nature

The Road To El Dorado (U) 90 mins it Mr

DreamWorks’ animated travelogue moves from anCient Egypt to 16th- century Latin America for this enjoyable, if safe, musical comedy

adventure. Uber-thesps Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh provide the

Spanish ne’er-do-wells who end up in possession of a map revealing the location of El Dorado, mythical city of gold. Accidentally stowing away on the ship of conquistador Cortes, they

Enjoyable if safe musical adventure

paradise and potential cash cow, only to be mistaken for gods by the natives. Ransacking Aztec and Mayan culture for Visual ideas and themes, directors Eric

’Bibo’ Bergeron and Don Paul introduce lots of bold colour and rich design into

the tale the scenes involving water come across particularly well while Kline

and Branagh’s pantomime acting style fits in Surprisingly well in a disembodied

cartoon context. That said, the songs by The Lion King team of Elton John and Tim Rice come across as fillers rather than central to the action and, like the anthropomorphic horse that accompanies Tulio and Miguel, smack too much of the tired and trusted Disney formula. For innovation, go see Titan A.E.

(Simon Wardell)

I General release from Fri 4 Aug.