FILM new releases
The Cell (13) 108 mins
Derivative of countless earlier serial killer outings and virtual reality extravaganzas
A serral krller, Carl (Vrncent D'Onofrro), has lapsed rrrto a coma wrthout revealrng to the authorrtres the whereabOuts of hrs latest female
captrve who remarns rmprrsoned m a booby-trapped cell. As a last resort, FBI agent Novak (Vrnce Vaughnr reguests
the help of a psychologrst, Catherrrre (Jennrfer Lopez), who has been experrmentrrrg wrth a radrcal new therapy. Vra the ’neurologrcal syntactrc transfer system', she has managed to enter the subconsCIous of a chrld schrzophrenrc. Appalled by the vrdeo footage one of Carl's prevrous vrctrrns, Catherrne agrees to delve rnto Carl’s drsordered mrnd
The debut feature of Tarsem Srngh, an acclarmed pop vrdeo and commerCIals drrector, The Cell rs Hollywood at rts most rneretrrcrous, offerrng up an array of strrkrngly sadrstrc and repellent Images m the gurse of ’entertarnnrent.’ Mark Protosevrch’s derrvatrve scrrpt, whrch seems cobbled together from countless earlrer serral krller outrngs and vrrtual realrty extravagan7as, offers no real suspense and the slerrderest of characterrsatrons (Carl predrctably suffered from an abusrve chrldlrood at the hands of hrs brutal father). The over-saturated, CGl-dependent vrsuals, whrch constantly reference other artrsts, make for a gruesome rrde rnto the murderer's rnrrer world corpses of naked women are arranged rn doll-lrke poses, a man rs drsembowelled wrth hrs rntestrnes wrapped around a bed post, a horse rs vrvrsected rnto erghths. Unsurprrsrngly, the actors, dwarfed by the blue-screen technology, contrrbute rneffectual performances, partrcularly the Irp-glossed Lopez, more a clothes- horse for Erko lshroka's outfrts rather than a credrble theraprst (Tom Dawson) it‘- Genera/ release from Fri 75 Sep.
More Raising Arizona than Fargo, and a rare treat
0 Brother, Where Art Thou? (12) 107 mins
Preston Sturges’ Sullivan’s Travels and Homer's The Odyssey are the startrng pomts for thrs charmrrrg Deep South comedy That sure takes a lot of gall, and gall rs what the Coen's have m abundance
Srnooth-ta'krng Everett Ulysees McGrll (George Clooney», srmpleton Delmar (Trrn Blake Nelsonr and maladjusted Pete (John Turturro) are members of a (ham gang on the run lookrng for the loot burred r:)revrously by McGrll Therr JOurney up and down the state of Mrssrssrppr brrngs them rrrto contact Wrth assorted eccentrrcs based on Homer's mythologrcal frgures
Thrs rs a lrghter work for the Coerrs, more Raising Arr/ona than Fargo, but rt's strll a rare treat The scrrpt perfectly captures the odd plrorretrc pattern of
22 THE lIST l 21 Sep 2000
the languorous Southern wrt. Roger Deakrns' blanched sunstroke photography rs awesome, whrle Roderrck Jaynes' and Trrcra Cooke’s edrtrng ~- all long drssolves and creamy cuts - rs posrtrvely orgarrrc In a frlrn thrs generrcally odd, rt's rn the performance of the fantastic cast by wlrrch the frlnr stands and falls Cloorrey, all twrtches, perrcrl moustache and harr wax, proves to have the presence of a young Clark Gable, whrle Turturro and Nelson strrve to out Sterrrbeck each other wrth therr depraved but sweet performances But rt's the supportrng cast of werrcloes and lowlrfes that really shr:re through, rn partrcular Holly Hunter's plucky wrfe, Charles Durnrng's carrrpargnrng polrtrcran and Mrchael Badalucco grvrng an rrrsprred turn as he outlaw Babyface Nelson A truly captrvatrng confederacy of dunces (Paul Dale)
"3?. Glasgow GFT,’ Edinburgh Film/rouse from Fri 75 Sep See preview
la a Ganga
(15 85 mins 1M-
Based on hrs own book, Jaya Ganga, In Search Of The River Goddess, thrs rs the drrectorral debut of Indran wrrter lrvrng rn Parrs, Vrray Srngh, And, surprrse, surprrse, the plot of laya Ganga concerns an Indran wrrter lrvrng rn Parrs who returns to hrs homeland to travel down the sacred Ganges rrver rn an attempt to drscover hrs c0untry and hrmself. If thrs smacks a lrttle of self rndulgence, then that’s probably because rt rs, rn fact, horrrbly self rndulgent. Although Jaya Ganga has been made competently enough, rt does tend to err qurte a brt on navel gazrng and dull rntrospectron.
The protagonrst, Nrshant, sets off on hrs travels, haunted by an elusrve female Sprrrt, Jaya. On the way he meets and falls rn love wrth Zehra, a dancrng grrl who he persuades to accompany hrm. From then on thrngs take a turn for the worse, and there’s much moody dralogue and unengagrng and porntless srlence. The savrng grace of Jaya Ganga, though, rs the qurte startlrng backdrop of Indra and the Crtres and countrySrde that bank the Ganges The crnematograpl'ry makes the place look lrke a gorgeous wonderland, and rf rrothrng else, at least thrs frlm could make a decent promo for the lndrarr Tourrst Board. (Doug Johnstone)
I Glasgow: GF T until Thu 7 Sep, Edinburgh: Film/rouse from Fri 8 Sep.
The Luzhin Defence
(12) 110 mins a
Marleen Gorrrs was once a radrcal femrnrst frlrnmaker responsrble for one of the toughest, most enlrghtenrng studres of the battle of the sexes: the bluntly analytrcal A Question Of Silence After the Oscar-wrnnrng success of Arrtonia’s Line, though, somethrng happened. She moved from the rntellectually unpalatable to the narratrvely rndrgestrble: The Lu/h/n Defence — lrke Mrs Dal/oway before rt -- rs Europuddrng.
In thrs Nabokov adaptatron, Gorrrs tells the story of a gerrrus chess man Luzhrn (John Turturro) who can predrct the future moves of hrs opponent, but can barely functrorr m a socral srtuatron. He's at Italy's Lake Como for the World Chess Champronshrp, and falls for the languorous Natalra (Emrly Watson). Natalra's lookrng to escape a few of the advance moves of her sOCretally skrlled mother (Geraldrne James‘r. James rs lookrng for the rdeal surtor for her daughter’s hand. Instead, Watson rs drawn to shambolrc Turturro Cue faux pas and much trtterrng.
And so the frlm offers a dull game. For all rts admrratron for the moves only a genrus could predrct, Gorrrs tells a story that requrres mrnrmal second guessrng, somethrng Turturro's lrkeable performance can't do much to allevrate.
(Tony McKrbbrn) l Glasgow: GFT,‘ Edinburgh Film/rouse from Fri 8 Sep.
(18) 100 mins (r
Desprte what the trtle may suggest thrs rs nerther a remake nor a sequel, rt’s more of a 29 years on here's what happenrn’. Samuel L. Jackson runs the show as 'young' John Shaft, nephew of the eponymous 70s prrvate drck. chhard Roundtree reprrses hrs role as the orrgrnal who's a sex machrne to all the chrcks, albert a lrttle craggrer round the edges.
The orrgrnal movre was by no nreans perfect, and thrs year's model rs the equrvalent of unpolrslred GucCr loafers or an unrronecl Versace s‘hrrt, you can see the potentral rs there, but rt rs never truly made the most of Jacks0n rs a commandrng lead, playrng the rebellrous NY rozzer wrth style, flarr and charm and the chameleon-lrke Jeffery Wrrght's portrayal of Hrspanrc drug dealer Peoples Hernandez rs nothrng short of spectacular
Thrs rs a pretty good actron movre mth some snappy dralogue and a few nrfty set preces, but rt wOuld appear that Jackson carrres much of the frlrn, as rt seems unsure where to go and ends up steerrng a course towards a rather urrsatrsfyrng end. Drrector John Srngleton (Boyz ’N’ The Hoodl was qurte clearly a vrctrm of studro brgwrg rrrterference (Jesus, rt's Shaft and there's no shaggrng'l and because of that rs a drsapporntment. (Mark Robertsonr I General release from Fri 7 5 Sep See feature
Navel gazing and dull introspection
Offers a dull game
Not a remake nor sequel, just a good action movie