go from childhood innocence to sexualised adolescence. The Scottish estate of the elderly matriarch Gamma (Harris) is about to be passed onto a new generation, either her go- ahead capitalist son (McDowell) or her dithering romantic nephew Edward (Firth). Gentecl affluence is about to give way to wartime hardship. Loosely based on the memoirs of Sir Denis Forrnan, My Life So Far would love to be a play by Chekhov. Instead it’s a mushy piece of nostalgic whimsy. Edinburgh: Lumiere.
Nora (18) iii (Pat Murphy, Uk, 2000) Susan Lynch, Ewan McGregor. 106 mins. A period drama recounting the early struggles of modernist and post-modemist literary genius, James Joyce, Nora is more interesting as a study of Nora Barnacle, a free-spirited and highly courageous young woman. Murphy’s ﬁlm, adapted from Brenda Maddox ’s acclaimed book about their lifelong love affair, follows the early years of their tempestuous relationship, made so by Joyce ’5 unrelenting jealousy and Nora’s submissive dotage. Excellent performances from the leads make this worth watching. Edinburgh: Lumiere. Nosferatu (PG) think (FW Mumau, Germany, 1922) Max Schreck, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim. 72 mins. Schreck is a truly terrifying ﬁgure as Bram Stoker's famous vampire, looking more like a skinned bat than a human being. A wonderfully visual movie, with twisted shadows and sexual undercurrents placing it well above the Kinski/Herzog remake. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
0f Freaks And Men (18) ***** (Alexei Balabanov, Russia, 1998) Sergei Makovetsky, Victor Sukhorukov, Dinara Drukarova. 93 mins. A homage to early cinema in its use of silent ﬁlm plot aids and sepia-tinted monochrome cinematography, the story follows the predatory exploits of Johann, a ﬁendish purveyor of early pornography set in turn of the century St Petersburg. With the aid of his grinning idiot henchman, Victor, the pom ring widens to engulf the lives of two noble families, exposing the humorous and startling underbelly of depravity beneath the austere trappings of the Russian bourgeoisie. Part absurdist farce, part surreal fetishistic nightmare. Kirkcaldy: Adam Smith.
The Patriot (15) **** (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 RedcoaLs 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. General release.
The Perfect Storm (12) it (Wolfgang Petersen, US, 2000) George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. 129 mins. As the director of one of the best maritime movies of all-time, Das Boot, Petersen was an obvious choice to helm this adaptation of Sebastian Junger’s riveting factual book about a ﬁshing boat caught up in the most ferocious North Atlantic storm ever recorded. However, in trying to be true to the actual events, Bill Wittliff‘s pedestrian script suffers from chronic structural ﬂaws, leading to a complete lack of suspense, tension and emotional undertow. if ever a ﬁlm deserved to sleep with the ﬁshes, then this is it. General release.
Pippi Longstocking (U) it (Clive Smith/Michael Schaack/Bill Giggie, Canada/Sweden/Germany, 2000) 78 mins. There's something vaguely disturbing about a nine-year-old girl who parades down the street singing ‘Oh what a fabulous day, I‘m happy as can be’ having just watched her father being washed out to sea. But maybe that’s being churlish. After all, Pippi Longstocking’s anarchic behaviour has won her a place in the hearts and on the bookshelves of many a child since Astrid Lindgren ﬁrst unleashed the world‘s ﬁrst riot girl. But in an age of sophisticated children‘s ﬁlms, Pippi Longstocking with all her exuberance, fails to deliver. Glasgow: Grosvenor.
Richard III (15) at“ (Richard Loncraine, UK, 1995) Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, Jim Broadbent. 103 mins. Updated to England during the 30s, Shakespeare‘s play is sensibly trimmed to concentrate fully on the
crookbacked king's murderous rise to the throne. McKellen gives a commanding performance amidst some wonderful supporting turns, while boneraine ensures that the bard has rarely been treated in such splendidly cinematic terms. The fascistic look of the costumes does help clarify some of the divisions in the text. Edinburgh: Lumiere. The Road To El Dorado (U) *tt (Eric ‘Bibo’ Bergeron, Don Paul, Us, 2000) Voices of Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh. 90 mins. DreamWorks‘ animated travelogue moves from ancient Egypt to 16th-century Latin America for this enjoyable if safe musical comedy adventure. Uber-thesps Kline and Branagh provide the voices for Tulio and Miguel, two Spanish ne‘er-do-wells who end up in possession of a map revealing the location of El Dorado, mythical city of gold. Ransacking Aztec and Mayan culture for visual ideas and themes, the co-directors introduce lots of bold colour and rich design into the tale. See review. General release. Saving Grace (15) M (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. Falkirk: EI'H Cinema. Stirling: MacRobert.
The Servant (18) iii (Joseph Losey, UK, 1963) Dirk Bogarde, James Fox, Wendy Craig. 115 mins. Bogarde found one of his best screen roles in this now dated class drama as a manservant forcing role-reversal in the home of his decadent master (Fox). Absurdity and tension is heightened by Harold Pinter’s inimitable dialogue. Glasgow: GET.
Shaft (18) *t** (Gordon Parks, US, 1971) Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Charles Ciofﬁ. 100 mins. Male model Roundtree is the eponymous hero, whose job it is to ﬁnd and rescue the daughter of black Maﬁa boss Bumpy Jonas (Gunn). On his travels Shaft encounters the local black power movement, a handful of uptight, doughnut-eating cops, and a number of shady hitmen up for what Shaft calls ‘kicking my black ass’. A huge commercial success in the US, Shaft opened the eyes of American studio bosses to the potential black cinema market, which had relegated black actors to Uncle Tom roles. It may look dated, but it captured a moment in time and did so with style. Edinburgh: Cameo. The Sleeping Beauty (U) (Clyde Geronimi, US, 1959) Voices of Mary Costa, Bill Shirley, Eleanor Audrey. 75 mins. Disney‘s classic animated version of the traditional nightmarish fairy tale. Though not quite in the same league as Cinderella, there‘s much to admire: mountain-top castle and dark forests, fairies and woodland animals and a rousing classical soundtrack. Still deligth after all these years. Edinburgh: Odeon.
Snow Falling On Cedars (15) bit (Scott Hicks, US, 2000) Ethan Hawke, Rick Yune, Youki Kudoh. 126 mins. Adapted from David Guterson’s best-selling novel, Hicks’ follow-up to Shine turns out to be a solemn, rather uninvolving exploration of memory, racial prejudice and reconciliation, set on remote island off the Paciﬁc Northwest coast circa 1950. Hicks establishes the dank, oppressive atmosphere of an isolated ﬁshing community. Yet the jigsaw-puzzle narrative lacks dramatic focus. Stirling: MacRobert.
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. Falkirk: FTH Cinema.
Stuart Little (U) tit (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 EB. White‘s classic childrens' book sees the sweet wee
rodent orphan being adopted by afﬂuent Manhattanites the Little family. Stuart’s problems begin with a new nemesis, the mean- spirited, inappropriately-named family cat Snowbell. The message of the ﬁlm is clear — little guy discovers the meaning of family, loyalty and friendship - but of more interest to viewers both small and large will be the Tom And Jerry-style antics. General release. Sunshine (15) iii (lstvan Szabo, Hungary/Germany/Canada/Austria/UK, 2000) Ralph Fiennes, Jennifer Ehle and William Hurt. 179 mins. Great big pan of goulash of a movie from former European cinema darling Szabo (Mephisto, Colonel Redl). Focusing on lives deﬁned and broken by history and politics, Sunshine tells the stories of three generations of Hungarian Jews living in the 20th century. But it‘s predictable, clumsy and ultimately manipulative; a modern audience does not need themes of bigotry, family and patriotism so obviously and chronologically underlined. Stirling: MacRobert.
Sweet And Lowdown (PG) iiit (Woody Allen, US, 2000) Sean Penn, Samantha Morton, Uma Thurman. 95 mins. Penn is simply awesome as 19305 musician Emmet Ray, the self-proclaimed second best guitar player in the world. Respect for the ‘gypsy guitar man’ Django Reinhardt is Ray’s sole element of humility; he is rude, egomaniacal and utterly selﬁsh and the one who suffers most is the mute Hattie (the splendid Morton). Visually, musically, dramatically and comedically, SweetAnd Lowdown can sit
comfortably among Woody Allen's best works.
And with the passing of cinematic time, they will surely be reflected upon as his lead pair’s ﬁnest hour and a half. Edinburgh: ABC, Filmhouse.
Tarzan (U) *‘kti (Kevin Lima and Chris Buck, US, 1999) Minnie Driver, Glenn Close, Nigel Hawthorne. 88 mins. Disney has ﬁnally turned its attention to the second most ﬁlmed character in Western cinema (Dracula is the
ﬁrst) and has created some astonishing images.
Storytelling-wise, Tarzan remains reasonably faithfully to Edgar Rice Burrough's original. Shipwrecked on a tropical island, baby Tarzan looses his human parents to a terrifying tiger
and is adopted by an ape clan. All grown up, the Ape Man is reunited with man and womankind when a trophy hunting/anthropological expedition arrives and Tarzan meets Jane. Glasgow: Odeon At The Quay. Motherwell: Moviehouse.
Thomas And The Magic Railroad (U) M (Britt Alleroft, UK/US, 2000) Voices of Alec Baldwin, Peter Fonda, Michael E. Rodgers. 79 mins. This adaptation of the Reverend Wilbur Awdry books is aimed squarely at under tens. Whilst children will be lapping up the tale of Thomas The Tank Engine aiding The Conductor (Baldwin) against the evil Diesel train, accompanying guardians will be wondering what happened to Allcroft‘s classic series narrated by Ringo Starr. Surely it was never this juvenile! General release.
Three To Tango (12) * (Damon Santostefano, US, 2000) Neve Campbell, Matthew Perry, Oliver Platt. 98 mins. Straight architect Oscar (Perry) is mistaken for gay architect Peter (Platt) by his boss, Charles (Dylan McDermott), who is having an affair with free- spirited artist Amy (Campbell). Being the jealous kind, Charles encourages Oscar to hang out with Amy in order to spy on her, but matters are complicated when Oscar and Amy fall in love. This set-up compounds Hollywood stereotyping of gay men as asexual clowns, while preaching about tolerance between the gay and straight communities. Best quickly forgotten. Glasgow: Grosvenor, Odeon, Odeon At The Quay, Showcase.
Titan AI. (12) **** (Don Bluth/Gary Goldman, US, 2000) Voices of Matt Damon, Bill Pulman, Drew Barrymore. 95 mins. Earth has just been creamed by the unspeakany evil alien Drej. Humankind's fate rests (literally) in the hands of humble astro-mechanic Cale Tucker (Damon) who is part of the small number of human refugees sprinkled about the universe. A rip-roaring space adventure like they certainly never used to make ‘em, Titan A.E. (After Earth) is animation imitating live action, and is markedly post-Armageddon and Independence Day both in look and outlook. General release.
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