Miracles may never cease, undoubtedly the reasoning behind previous attempts to render the liaster Story palatable. The latest gimmick is to add puppets, which, although oddly dated, impresses on its own low tech level. Despite deftly tugging at the heartstrings, the puppetry can’t disguise the fact that this is a Sunday school reading in a millennial medium. ABC, lidinburgh; Odeon, [)unfermline.

A Monkey's Tale (PG) ***~k (Jean- Francois laguionie, UKTlirance. 2000) Voices of John Hurt, Michael York, Rik Mayall. 76 mins. A monkey community torn apart by post-earthquake floods re-build their shattered lives. Some flee to the treetops while others salvage what‘s left on the ground. Decades pass and suspicion, ignorance and prejudice breed hatred. but change is finally wrought by a loveable rogue who innocently questions the regime. Animation with a message that isn't schmaltzy, but charming. MacRobert, Stirling.

Muppet Treasure Island (PG) **** (Brian Henson, US UK. 19%) Tim Curry, Kevin Bishop, Billy Connolly. 102 mins. Young Jim Hawkins, along with his friends the Great (ionzo and Rizzo The Rat go hunting for treasure with Captain lilint's map. meeting up on the way with Long John Silver (Curry). and Fozzie, Kermit, Miss Piggy et al as various Stevenson characters. Faithful to the book, but hilarious in its extraneous details especially in the opening section this is one time everyone can enjoy Hollywood's plundering of British literature. (ilr'l'. Glasgow.

Muppets From Space (U) *** ('l‘im Hill, 199‘), US) Dave (ioelz. Steve Whitmire, Frank 01.88 mins. For their sixth big screen adventure. the focus of our Muppet attentions is (ionzo, that blue, hooked nosed . . . thing. No one is really sure what (ionzo is. so when he gets a message which he believes is from space. the race is on to make contact with his extraterrestrial brethren. .lluppets From Squ captures the spirit of the first movie and the original TV series where the subsequent films never did.

()deon, Dunfermline.

My Dog Skip (U) *‘kt (Jay Russell, US, 2000) Kevin Bacon, Diane Lane, Frankie Muniz. ()5 mins. My Dog Skip is an unashamedly sentimental coming-of-age story about a nine-year-old boy‘s relationship with his pet Jack Russell terrier, set during World War Two in the small Mississippi town of Yamo. The film casts a nostalgic glow over the past, but it doesn't shy away from giving us glimpses of harsher realities, including nods to the era's racism and the traumas of war. But the prevailing mood is appropriately one of gentle sweetness. General release.

Nora (18) iii (Pat Murphy, UK, 2000) Susan Lynch. Ewan McGregor. 106 mins. A period drama recounting the early struggles of modernist and post-modernist literary genius, James Joyce, Nora is more interesting as a study of Nora Barnacle, a free-spirited and highly courageous young woman. Murphy's film, adapted from Brenda Maddox's acclaimed book about their lifelong love affair, follows the early years of their tempestuous relationship. made so by Joyce's unrelenting jealousy and Nora's submissive dotage. [Excellent performances from the leads make this worth watching. MacRobert, Stirling. Nurse Betty (18) *‘k‘k‘k (Neil LaButc. US, 2000) Renee Zellweger, Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear. 110 mins. When smalltown Kansas waitress Betty (Zellweger) witnesses the murder of her white trash car salesman, she suffers a reality shift that leaves her believing the cheesy melodramatic world of her favourite daytime soap, A Reason To Live, to be real. Much of the film's humour is derived from the disparity between melodrama and real life; the occasions when they intersect are simultaneously hilarious, painful and poignant. Not as misanlhropic as laBute's first two films. Nurse Berry is nevertheless far more vital than other llollywood comedies. (irosvenor, (ilasgow; Cameo, lidinburgh.

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