FILM INDEX continued
Grease (PG) *iit (Randal Kleiser, US, 1978) John Travolta, Olivia Newton John, Stockard Charming. 110 mins. The colourful goings-on at Rydell High — particularly the romance of square out-of-towner Sandy and tough guy Danny — is the stuff of classic movie escapism. In addition to a plot which groans with frustrated passion, bristles with gang tensions and swings with teen verve, the songs are the soundtrack for a generation. Twenty years on, Grease is still the word, and still the way we are feeling. St Andrews: New Picture House.
High Fidelity (15) *tit (Stephen Frears, US, 2000) John Cusack, lben Hjejle, Jack Black. 113 mins. Nick Hornby’s story ofa vinyl junkie who's more interested in his music collection than his relationships with women is practically a British institution. Yet, Cusack - and co-writer/producer pals D.V. DeVincentis and Steve Pink — have drawn on their own pasts to make a ﬁlm that‘s as funny and profound as the book. But the great script, cast and music wouldn’t have meant a thing without a ﬁlmmaker of Frears’ calibre taking charge. Edinburgh: Dominion, UGC Cinemas. Galashiels: Pavilion. Rothesay: Winter Garden. Himalaya (PG) *** (Eric Valli, France/ Switzerland/UK/Nepal, 2000) Thilen Lhondup, Gurgon Kyap, Lhapka Tsamchoe. 104 mins. In the high mountains of the Himalayas, a village prepares for the annual yak caravan to market. However, the young chieftain has been killed and the old clan head, refuses to recognise the hot-headed Karma as his successor. A worthy insight into the lives of a hardy people, the landscape is breathtakingly shot, and the attention to local detail feels authentic. The plot has less going for it, being at heart a fairly hackneyed story of an heir to the throne having to prove he is worthy of the crown. Glasgow: GET.
Hollow Man (18) *** (Paul Verhoeven, US, 2000) Kevin Bacon, Elisabeth Shue, Josh Brolin. 114 mins. Verhoeven takes another foray into adult sci-ﬁ with this loose
adaptation of HG. Welles' The Invisible Man in which Bacon plays an egotistical genius leading a team of scientists involved in govemment/military-sponsored experiments with invisibility. Andrew W. Marlowe’s screenplay subscribes to some fascinating Platonic ideas about morality and culpability, which, unfortunately, is abandoned around the halfway mark for straightforward action thrills. Still, the special effects are groundbreaking, particularly the scenes in which lab animals, and later Bacon, are injected with a radioactive serum causing them to vanish and reappear in layers: skin, muscle, organs, skeleton. See review. General release.
Hotel Splendide (15) ** (Terence Gross, UK, 2000) Daniel Craig, Toni Collete, Stephen Tompkinson. 98 mins. The eponymous crumbling health spa exists on a remote island where its guests endure mud baths, enemas and food boiled free of taste and texture, a strict regime adhered to Ronald the head chef (Craig), Cora the treatments nurse (Katrin Cartlidge) and Dezmond the general manager (Tompkinson). The surprise reappearance of Ronald's ex, rival chef Kate (Toni Collete), however, rocks the institution to its foundations. Frustratingly, the aptly-named Gross has all the elements in place for a ﬁne ﬁlthy farce about repression and obsolete Empires. But while the drab set design and oddball characterisations work, the narrative meanders and the humour misses the beat at every turn. See review. General release.
The House Of Mirth (PG) *tii' (Terence Davies, UK, 2000) Gillian Anderson, Eric Stoltz, Anthony LaPaglia. 140 mins. Preview screening introduced by executive producer Bob Last. Davies’ superb screen adaptation of Edith Wharton’s novel, ﬁlmed in Glasgow, makes it clear that beneath the well-bred skin of New York society at the turn of the century lurks a rcmorseless savagery. Socialite Lily Bart (the excellent Anderson) would appear to be a natural survivor, but through a combination of naiveté, folly and bad timing she is brought low. Glasgow: GET.
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Check out that short sleeve shirt action, to be found in another trip to 505 Baltimore courtesy of director Barry Levinson's Liberty Heights
Human Resources (Ressources Humaines) (tbc) *iit (Laurent Cantet, France, 2000) Jalil Lespert. 103 mins. Lespert returns home from business studies in Paris to work in the same company as his father. But where dad’s a blue collar ordinary Joe, Jalil's a suit; and while his father is proud of the familial upward mobility, what neither father nor son realise is that personal and social progress can lead to divided loyalties at home. What makes Cantet’s ﬁlm more than a preach movie — and thus more effective — is the way it interweaves the personal and the political to the point that they become nothing less than inextricable. See review. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
The Insider (15) ***** (Michael Mann, US, 2000) Russell Crowe, Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer. 157 mins. Mann's heist movie, Ileat, boasted some electrifying set pieces, yet while The Insider contains virtually no ‘action’ there’s a terriﬁc sense of dramatic urgency that drives the ﬁlm. It all starts in the mid-905 with Jeffrey Wigand, the corporate man who blew the whistle on the American tobacco industry, triggering a $246 million lawsuit. The performances are excellent and not since All The President's Men has fact and drama merged so powerfully on screen. Kilmarnock: Odeon.
The Italian Job (PG) **** (Pcicr Collinson, UK, 1969) Michael Caine, Noel Coward, Benny Hill. 100 mins. Re-released for its 30th anniversary, this larf—a-minute caper movie ties in nicely with the sixties cockney kitsch sensibility that's been infusing fashion, pop and ﬁlm ever since Blur put out Park Life. Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels paid homage to The Italian Job with its scaled down cliffhanger ending. but the Michael Caine ﬁlm is the grandaddy of caper movies. The centrepiece remains the mini cooper car chase across, atop and under the streets ofTurin, while Caine's closing line is top: "Ang on a minute lads, I’ve got a great idea.‘ Stirling: Carlton. Jesus' Son (18) **** (Alison MacLean, US, 2000) Billy Crudup, Samantha Morton, Denis Leary. 109 mins. Just occasionally a ﬁlm about drugs can contain something of the magic and warmth of an addict's high. Fuckhead (Billy Crudup) is a likeable young bum in 70‘s lowa with a roaring drug problem, a crazy girlfriend (Morton) and a consuming need to help everyone he comes across, usually with dire consequences. This soulful diary of a ‘head' is everything the grossly contrived Trainspotting was not: intelligent, playful and full of big-hearted love. Stirling: MacRobert.
Keeping The Faith (12) *tit (Edward Norton, US, 2000) Edward Norton, Ben Stiller, Jenna Elfman. 129 mins. In this Woody Allen-esque romantic comedy, Norton's Catholic priest and his rabbi best pal (Stiller) have trouble keeping their faiths when childhood friend Elfman arrives in the Big Apple. In no time at all the trio are falling for each other precipitating a messy love triangle. Making his directing debut,
Norton's comic touch is light and sure and this threesome perform like a dream, but what distinguishes Keeping The Faith from other rom-coms is its ﬁip, but never disrespectful attitude, toward religion. General release.
Lake Placid (15) **** (Steve Miner, US, 2000) Brendan Gleeson, Bridget l’onda, Bill Pullman, Oliver Platt. 82 mins. Big monster eating people in a lake in Maine. Local sheriff, game warden, scientist and hunter team up to kill it. Plenty of extras get munched. Doesn't sound particularly appetising — we’ve seen it all before in Jaws, Alligator, Pira/tna, etc. — except Lake Placid has the smartest, funniest dialogue you’re likely to hear all year: ‘The sooner we catch this thing, Sheriff, the sooner you can get back to sleeping with your sister.’ Goes for cheap belly laughs and gets ‘em every time. Edinburgh: Cameo.
Liberty Heights (15) *er (Barry Levinson, US, 2000) Ben Foster, Rebekah Johnson, Joe Mantegna. 128 mins. Like Diner, Tin Men and Avalon before it, Levinson's affectionate ’coming of age’ story presents a nostalgic view of suburban Baltimore in the 1950s. In 1954, before teenagers and rock ‘n' roll, the Liberty Heights neighbourhood is awash with chrome-trimmed Cadillacs, the crooning of Frank Sinatra, and the innocent romantic dreams of Jewish schoolboys like Ben Kurtzman (Foster). Levinson knows this territory like the back of his hand, but this idealising nostalgia undercuts the seriousness found elsewhere. See review. Selected release.
The Loss Of Sexual lnnocence(18) **** (Mike Figgis, UK, 2000) Hanne Klimtoe, Femi Ogumbanjo, Julian Sands. 105 mins. Figgis’s low-budget art movie will divide those who admire its experimental audacity from those who think it merely pretentious. Relying more on mood and texture than on linear plotting and naturalistic dialogue, it interweaves pivotal moments from the life of a jaded, middle- aged documentary ﬁlm-maker (Sands) with a stylised representation of the Garden Of Eden myth. Lingers in the imagination for days afterwards. Edinburgh: liilmhouse. Love 8: Sex (15) **** (Valerie Breiman, US, 2000) l-‘amke Janssen, Jon Favreau. 82 mins. When Janssen's magazine journalist ﬁles an article about how oral sex can save relationships, she's promptly sacked by her editor. Begging for a second chance, she's forced to re-examinc her previous relationships to see what went wrong in order to complete a palatable article. And as soon as we arrive at her ‘big cx', Adam (l-‘avrcau), Breiman's semi- autobiographical ﬁlm comes alive, and it's frequently hilarious shooting straight to the heart of relationships, from flirtation through honeymoon period, loving companionship and break up. What also distinguishes this ﬁlm from lesser rom-com efforts are the leads' sparkling performances. See feature and review. General release.