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) *i* (Gary llalvorson, US, 2000) Mandy Patinkin, Vanessa L. Williams, Kevin Clash. 72 mins. 'Ihe pro-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. ()nce inside, he is transported to the hellish Grouchland, where he must retrieve it from the hands of the land's most abhorrent resident Iluxley (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. Motherwell: Moviehouse.

American Beauty (18) ***** (Sam Mendes, US, 1999) Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, 'I‘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. Edinburgh: Cameo.

American Movie (15) *ttt (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 Mot'ie's makers admire his tenacity, and their non- judgmental approach has been rewarded with a strange and wonderful film. Edinburgh: Cameo.

The Beach (15) iii (Danny Boyle, UK/ US, 2000) Leonardo DiCaprio, Guillaume Canet, Virginie Ledoyen. 119 mins. Like Alex Garland's source novel, The Beach has a sort of breathless, late-adolescent ‘What I did on my holidays' quality; book and film share the ability to capture the exhilaration and chaos of travel. Screenwriter John Hodge 's adaptation replaces creeping paranoia and discontent with straight-ahead sexual jealousy as a catalyst for disaster. Although the film looks handsome and holds the attention, it finally seems a little hollow and unconvinced of its own purpose. Motherwell: Moviehouse.

Being John Malkovich (15) trait (Spike Jonze, US, 2000) John Cusack, 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. Edinburgh: Cameo, UCl.

Big Momma's House (12) iii (Raja Gosnell, US, 2000) Martin lawrence, Nia Long, Paul Giamatti. 106 mins. Lawdy, what folks will do to make other folks laugh. llere, lawrcnce's 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 '5 House is the ripe blues/soul/gospel soundtrack. Glasgow: Odeon At The Quay, Showcase. Paisley: Showcase.

12 THE usr 10—17Aug 2000

A Bug's Life (U) *iit (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 Bag '3 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. Glasgow: Odeon.

Butterfly’s Tongue (La Lengua De Las Mariposas) (15) *iii (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. Glasgow: Gl’l‘. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

Chicken Run (U) *tti (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 Tweedy 's 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.

Claire Dolan (18) *ttt (Lodge Kerrigan, US, 2000) Katrin Cartlidge, Colm Meaney, Vincent D'Onofrio. 105 mins. Upmarket New York call girl Claire Dolan (Cartlidge) is indebted to pimp, Cain (Meaney). When her mother dies Claire fleas the big apple to suburban Newark where she finds love and redemption with taxi driver, Elton (D’Onofrio). Cain however is never far behind. Austere, pensive and highly stylised, this movie like his 1993 debut, Clean Shaven is an edgy, quiet study of urban alienation and mental illness. Kirkcaldy: Adam Smith.

The Color Of Paradise (PC) that (Majid Majidi, Iran, 2000) Mohsen Ramezani, llosein Mahjoob, Salameh Feyzi. 88 mins. The widowed father of blind young Mohammad 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 ruin his own chances of marrying into an upmarket Islamic family. The story really is secondary it's as an essay on the sounds and sights of nature that Majidi's film hits home. Edinburgh: Cameo.

The Cup (PG) **** (Khyentsc Norbu, Australia, 1999) Orgyen Tobgyal, Neten Chokling, Jamyang Lodro. 93 mins. The Cup scores a hat trick of firsts: first film directed by a lama, in the Tibetan language with a cast solely comprised of monks. And it's about ftxnball, specifically the footy fever that grips the monks of Chokling Monastery during the 1998 World Cup. Eliciting spirited performances from his cast, Norbu achieves his goal in creating a simple, humorous, humane film. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

The Emperor And The Assassin (12) *t* (Chen Kaige, China, 2000) Gong Li, Zhang Fengyi, Li Xuejian. 161 mins. After their collaboration on the gangster melodrama Temptress Moon, Kaigc and Li, both superstars of contemporary Chinese cinema, reunite for this ambitious, epic period drama about China's first emperor, reputedly the most expensive Asian film ever made. The film is packed with stunning images and interesting ideas, but aiming at both epic spectacle and psychological complexity, Chen hits the former more surely than the latter. Glasgow: GET. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

Tony Slattery looks on incredulously, while ex-Eastender Leslie Grantham resigns

himself to the sheer awfulness of The Wedding Tackle

Erin Brockovich (15) hum (Steven Soderbergh, US, 2000) Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, Aaron lickhart. 133 mins. Unemployed single mother Erin (Roberts) shoehorns 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) it (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. Glasgow: UCI. Edinburgh: UCI. Paisley: Showcase.

Extreme Screen: Everest 8: 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.

Fantasia 2000 (U) iii (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. Edinburgh: Filmhousc, Lumiere. Stirling: MacRobert.

Final Destination (15) iii (James Wong, US, 2000) Devon Sawa, Ali Larter, Kerr Smith. 98 mins. After a premonition Alex (Devon Sawa) manages to save a bunch of his classmates from a plane crash. As the survivors gruesomely pop their clogs one-by- one, it becomes apparent that death is playing catch-up. Disposable horror hokum, but the pace, irreverence and sick, black humour ensure the most entertaining teen slasher since the original Scream. Glasgow: Odeon At The Quay, Showcase, UCl. Edinburgh: UCl. Dunfermline: Odeon. East Kilbride: UCl. Flamenco (U) *** (Carlos Saura, Spain, 2000) Joaquin Cortes, Marlo Maya, Matilde Coral. 100 mins. One of the most thrilling things about watching live Flamenco is the atmosphere. Translate that to the screen and much of the thrill is gone. Luckily for Saura, he had cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (Last Tango In Paris, Apocalypse Now) on his side. Visually striking throughout, Flamenco was filmed in a disused railway station bathed in an orange glow, giving rise to sleek silhouettes and shadows. But this homage to the Flamenco art is strictly for hardcore fans. Glasgow: GET. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas (PO) ** (Brian Levant, US, 2000) Mark Addy, Stephen Baldwin. 91 mins. This prequel shows Fred (Addy) and Barney (Baldwin) in their bachelor days when they first court Wilma (Johnston) and Betty (Jane Krakowski). They are abetted in this by a little green alien called Gazoo (Alan Cumming), but are hampered by the rival attentions of Wilma‘s slimy aristocratic chum Chip Rockefeller (Thomas Gibson). And they all live happily ever after, without a trace of originality, zip or zest. General release.

The Flintstones (U) ** (Brian Levant, US, 1994) John Goodman, Rick Moranis, Elizabeth Perkins, Rosie O'Donnell. 92 mins. Fred is promoted to an executive post at the quarry, but only as a stooge for his boss's corporate rip-off; nevertheless, money and power go to the Flintstones' heads, causing friction with the Rubbles. The movie keeps to the TV series‘ prehistoric parody of modem suburban life, adds bright and chunky sets and a post-yuppie morality tale on greed that doesn't quite sit right, and comes out a little plot-heavy. The one-liners will be picked up by adults, kids will get bored. But it's no the yabba-dabba dodo it could have been. Glasgow: Odeon.