“aging jar... Malkovich " f '

(15) 105 mins *****

Are comparisons with the likewise extraordinarily inventive debut of

Orson Welles unfair?

How did Spike Jonze ever get this film made? It's about an out of work puppeteer who takes an office job and discovers a portal behind a filing cabinet into the mind of the actor John Malkovich. Much of the top-notch cast - John Cusack, Cameron Diaz are barely recognisable under long, skanky hair and appalling costumes, while Malkovich (playing himself) comes off as an egotistical arsehole. And the whole crazy affair is filmed as though it were a serious piece of drama. It's amazing that Jonze convinced a Hollywood studio to back him, but thank the Lord above that he did, because Being John Malkovich is the most inspired and assured piece of filmmaking to come out of America in years.

Are comparisons with the likewise extraordinarily inventive debut of Orson Welles unfair? Maybe, but Jonze and his scriptwriter Charlie Kaufman develop their initial idea in all kinds of fascinating ways. For a start, there are comparisons made between Cusack's mastery of dolls on strings and the manner in which Malkovich is controlled by a number of people who enter his mind. Then there’s the (kind of) lesbian romance between Catherine Keener's office vamp and Diaz who's in Malkovich’s head when Keener shags his body. Such plot developments interrogate the notion of egos, of

film stars and of regular people.

No doubt Jonze, a known practical joker, took none of this seriously, and neither should you - Being John Malkovich is very funny. But wait, I haven't

told you about the '71/2th floor' yet . .

inventive gem. (Miles Fielder) I Available to rent on Universal.

RENTAL Magnolia (18)188 mins t fr it * *

After the vast canvas of Boogie Nights, Paul Thomas Anderson opted not to downsize. If anything, the ambition and scope in Magnolia is grander. Nine Southern Californians, including Tom CrUise's Iron John sex guru, Phillip Baker Hall's dying talk show host and Julianne Moore's guilt-ridden Widow- in-waiting seem unrelated, yet intertWine to astonishing effect. Even the Aimee Mann s0undtrack is

. Really, this film is an endlessly

cynic, but their conflict destroys such polar differences. Jane Campion’s uneaSy mix of camp comedy and emotive drama confounded critics, so they panned it. Unfairly; Holy Smoke is funny, erotic, beautiful and superbly acted. (FiImFour, also available on DVD at £19.99) (Miles Fielder)

Lake Placid

(15) 92 mins ****

Big monster in a lake that eats people yawn, seen it all before, yes.7 Well, this creature feature written by Ally McBea/‘s DaVid E. Kelly boasts the most

deVilishly good. And Without Wishing to give too much away, the finale is positively riveting. (Entertainment) (Brian Donaldson)

Holy Smoke

(18)109 mins *‘kt‘k

Kate Winslet’s y0ung Australian discovers spiritual enlightenment in India. Down under her white trash family freak and lure her home under false pretences to be ’deprogrammed’ by Harvey Keitel's Cult eXit counsellor.

hilarious script. The gut-wrenching laughs are largely derived from put downs delivered by four stock characters: Brendan Gleeson’s local sheriff, Bridget Fonda's palaeontologist, Bill Pullman's game warden and Oliver Platt’s big game hunter. Platt: ’The sooner we catch this thing, the sooner you can get back to sleeping With you sister, sheriff.’ As I said, hilarious. (Fox Pathe) (Miles Fielder)


Stranded in the outback together, the pair lock in a battle Of Wills. Initially, she's a beautiful optimist, he’s a sleazy

(12) 98 mins tinny

Imagine Thelma And Louise crossed With Anywhere But Here and y0u'll

brought to you by

know what to expect from this award- Winning film. Based on a true story, it follows the lives of wild Southern belle

(Oscar-nominated British actress Janet

McTeer) and her feisty twelve-year-old

.' daughter (Kimberly Brown) as they

search for love and happiness. While the potential for saccharine overload is great, there's en0ugh realism to counteract this. A feelgood movie that

' stirs the emotions without tugging on

the obvious heartstrings.

(Entertainment) (Kirsty Knaggs)

Girl, Interrupted

(IS) 114 mins ***

James Mangold (Heavy, Copland) makes a decent job of adapting the best-selling memoir of writer Susanna Kaysen, who, at seventeen years of

age, was institutionalised for crazy

teen behaviour. Winsome Winona Ryder plays Kaysen in this psychological drama which bears some similarity to One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, not least in the Oscar- Winning performance by Angelina Jolie as the deeply disturbed but charismatic inmate. But where Cuckoo’s Nest pits a man against an institution, Girl, Interrupted is about a girl coming to terms With herself. (Columbia Tristar; also available on DVD at £19.99) (Miles Fielder)


(15) 179 mins tint

What is it With Ralph Fiennes and period romances? In Onegin he played a lovelorn Russian aristocrat and in The End Of The Affair he played a lovelorn British writer. Here he plays three Hungarian Jews from three generations of the same wealthy family. And he's lovelorn twice, once as a fencer who diddles his brother’s Wife (Rachel Weisz) and again as a

communist who dallies with a

policewoman (Deborah Kara Unger). Elsewhere, he’s a lawyer estranged from his Wife (Jennifer Ehle). Actually, Fiennes’ performances are top notch, as are all three films. (Alliance Atlantis) (Miles Fielder)

RETAIL Beyond The Mat

(18) 103 mins ****

American wrestling is a masswe industry on a par With Hollywood; the WWF and WCW create heroes and Villains, audience devotion, merchandise and now mowes. Barry Blaustein’s documentary takes us beyond the hype and into the real lives of the men and women who pump up their bodies to live the dream, From Jake the Snake’s drug problems to the tearful children who Sit ringside and watch their Dad get smacked around the head, this film succeeds in discovering the true lives hidden underneath the muscles. (Universal, no RRP) (Louisa Pearson)

One Day In September (15) 92 mins hunt

Kevm Macdonald won an Oscar and took the rap from Israeli relatives,

I l

reviews VIDEOS

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? titti Unmissable I

! t t t it Very ood t t * Wort a shot t * Below average 5 * You’ve been warned

7—21 Sep 2000 THE “ST 95