Visually and morally murky courtroom drama
Rules Of Engagement (15) 127 mins * ‘k ‘k
Very much in the vern of A Few Good Men or Cowage Under Fire, drrector erlram Frredkrn’s mrlrtary pot-borler presents some convrncrngly vrsceral combat scenes, but qurckly loses all credrbrlrty In the vrsually and morally murky courtroom scenes that follow. Its srmplrstrc vrew of mrlrtary ethrcs rmplres that decrsrons made rn the heat of battle are beyond the ken of mere Crvrlrans, exrstrng above the petty expedrenCres of everyday moralrty. When the evacuatron of the US ambassador from the riot-torn embassy rn Yemen culmrnates rn the massacre of more than 80 men, women and chrldren by Colonel Terry Chrlders (Samuel L. Jackson) and hrs unrt of Marrnes, Jobbrng mrlrtary lawyer Colonel Hays Hodges (Tommy Lee
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The Wedding Tackle (15) 98 mins 1r If ever a movre needed to be drsowned by all rnvolved, thrs rs rt. A sort of palrd versron of This Year’s Love, rt tells the story of Hal (James Purefoy), an over- sexed photographer due to marry Vrnnr (Susan Vrdler), a fate that nertherof them really relrsh. Lrttle Ted (Tony Slattery) rs a schemrng, sexually frustrated cartoonrst who rs obsessed wrth Vrnnr, and so does hrs best to sabotage the up-comrng nuptrals. Meanwhrle, Mr Mac (Adrran Dunbar) plays a sort of rebound Mercutro to thrs repellent Romeo and Julret, whrle Leslre Grantham gets to play a psycho polrceman rn an rnnocuous subplot. Davrd Horne's scrrpt rs so anaernrc rt rs
Jones) reluctantly agrees to defend the man who saved hrs Irfe rn Vretnam, 28 years before. The court martral rs merely drplomatrc wrndow-dressing, espeCrally srnce a surverllance vrdeo contarnrng vrtal evrdence has been cynrcally destroyed by Natronal Securrty Advrsor erlram Sokal (Bruce Greenwood). Chrlders' defence rs srmple: ’If I'm gurlty of thrs, I'm gurlty of everythrng I've done in combat rn the last 30 years.’
The vrdeo rmages of gun-wreldrng rroters — seen by us but hrdden from the c0urt —‘ prejudge all the brg ethrcal rssues that the frlm purports to address. All moral ambrgurty IS instantaneoust erased, so the arguments on whrch Hodges and prosecutron lawyer Mark Brggs (Guy Pearce) expend so many words are merely wrndy word—play. (Nrgel Floyd)
I General release from Fri I I Aug.
Starts nowhere, goes nowhere . . . crap
Vrrtually bloodless, whrle Ramr Dvir’s drrectron has all the subtlety of an alcoholrc vrcar's sermon. ere passrng a car crash, thrs rs strangely watchable but truly appallrng. Only Grantham and Amanda Redman (a full-bodred turn as flrrty barmard Petula) seem to be aware that they are rn the brggest piece of crap srnce Mrchael Wrnner’s Parting Shots. It rs a sad waste of talent, a frlm that starts nowhere and goes nowhere, frllrng the vord wrth unpleasant characters and outdated srtuatron comedy,
As most often happens rn modern Brrtrsh rrnema, the orrgrnal concept rs stronger than the frnal script. God save us from ourselves. (Paul Dale)
I Selected release from Fri I I Aug.
new realeases FILM
My Dog Skip
(U) 95 mins * i it
My Dog Skip is an unashamedly sentrmental coming-of-age story about a nine-year-old boy’s relationship wrth hrs pet Jack Russell terrrer. Based on an autobiographical book by former Rhodes scholar and magazme edrtor erlie Morrrs, the frlm rs set durrng World War II rn the small Mississrppr town of Yazoo. Young erlie rs a shy and gawky krd, but he grows rn confrdence after hrs overprotective father (Kevin Bacon), an embrttered veteran who lost a leg in the Spanrsh Crvrl War, frnally bows to his Crgar-smokrng wrfe (Drane Lane) and agrees to let him keep a pet. The popular pooch (played by the son of Frasier’s Eddre) helps erlie win over the local bullres and garn the frrendshrp of the prettrest grrl rn school.
The frlm casts a nostalgrc glow over the past, but it doesn’t shy away from grving us glrmpses of harsher realrtres, includrng nods to the era's racrsm and the traumas of war. But the prevarling mood is approprrately one of gentle sweetness. It’s a shame, however, that the filmmakers chose to drive home the tale’s srmple lessons about chrldhood wrth a glutinous narratron by the adult erlre (v0rced by Harry Connrck Jr) that oozes far too much cracker-barrel wrsdom. (Jason Best)
I General release from Fri I I Aug.
La Veuve De Saint- " ‘
Pierre (15) 112 mins at t it
1850, the remote French rsland of Sarnt-Prerre, off the coast of Newfoundland. A frsherman, Neel Auguste (Emrr Kusturrca), has been condemned to death after drunkenly murderrng a local resrdent. Hrs execution has to be delayed, however, untrl a gurllotrne has been drspatched from France, so he's placed under the guard of the mrlrtary captarn (Danrel Auteil). The latter’s wrfe, known as Madame La (Julrette Brnoche), fervently belreves that the prrsoner can be rehabilitated, settrng the marrred couple on a collrsron course with the local authorrtres
The ever-versatrle French drrector Patrrce Leconte follows the farrytale playfulness of The Girl On The Bridge wrth thrs mournful perrod melodrama (the title, rnCrdentally, has a double-meanrng, La Veuve translatrng as ’wrdow', whrle also berng slang for the gurllotrne). Partly an examrnatron of the rnrqurty of the death penalty and partly a portrart of the harshness of Irfe rn a godforsaken colonral outpost, La Veuve rs above all a fatalrstrc love story, rn whrch l’amour, rn both the physrcal and platonrc senses, leads to tragic conseQuences.
Shot rn wrdescreen by Eduardo Serra, rt features typrcally admrrable performances from Brnoche and Auterl, although the real surprise rs the rmposrng contrrbutron of Serbran drrector and actrng novrce Kusturrca. (Tom Dawson)
I Glasgow: GF T from Fri I I Aug. See preview
Gendernauts (18) 86 mins * it *
Transvestrtes, transsexuals and hermaphrodrtes have long been the staple dret of US chat shows, but what of those who refuse any kind of gender labelling? Monrka Treut's fascrnating documentary explores the phenomenon of gender ambrguity amongst a small group of people lrvrng in the Bay Area of San Francrsco. Lrnked by Sandy Stone, the self- proclarmed ’goddess of cyberspace’, we are rntroduced to a selectron of gender mrxers and sexual ’cyborgs’ (people who alter therr bodres usrng new technologres and hormones). Marred by the lrmrtatrons of a shoestrrng budget and a certain ’look at all my wacky frrends' attrtude rn Treut’s v0rceover, thrs rs nevertheless an rntrrgurng look at alternatrve lrfestyles that begs questrons of rdentrty and legrslatron (San Francrsco berng one of the few places rn the world that has legrslatron protectrng the rrghts of transgender people). For the most part, the rndrvrduals rnvolved are an rnsprratron rn the war of humankrnd versus nature. Plus, there rs a rare glrmpse (rn a club for Gendernauts) of the Elvrs HersElvrs stage show wrth the brrllrant Pearl Harbour. Wrth its emphaSrs on those brologrcal women who use the male sex hormone, thrs rs the perfect cornpanron prece to Boys Don’t Cry. (Paul Dale) I Glasgow: GFT from Fri I I Aug.
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Fatalistic love story
Fascinating exploration of gender ambiguity
IO~I7Aug 2000 THE usr 11 '