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Schotté, Sévcrine Caneele, Philippe Tullicr. 148 mins. After debuting with the enigmatically theological La Vie de Jesus, Dumont returns with a film that pushes the spiritual issues even further from immediate Epiphany. Centring once again on a small town homebody, Dumont observes police office Pharon de Winter (mesmerising non-professional performer Schotte') with a scrupulous eye as he half- heartedly investigates a child abuse murder. Booed at Cannes yet awarded the Grand Jury Prize, hammered by Time Out, but adored by The New Yorker, the film has divided critics. See review. Filmhouse, Edinburgh.

Life Is Beautiful (PG) **** (Roberto Benigni, Italy, 1998) Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi. 116 mins. A comedy about the Holocaust? Surely not. Well, that's what Italian writer-director-star Benigni has done in fashioning a poignant comic fable about the resilience of the human spirit and the power of the imagination. A humane and moving film. Lumiere, Edinburgh.

The Little Vampire (U) tit (Uli Edel, UK, 2000) Rollo Weeks, Richard E. Grant, Jonathan Lipnicki. 95 mins. Tony (Lipnicki), fresh from the orange groves of California, moves with his family to beautiful Scotland. He quickly becomes the most unpopular kid in his class, but finds a playmate when a ten-year-old vampire conveniently falls down his chimney. Can Tony join in the quest for the missing amulet and help the fanged Rudolph and his family become human? Despite its Hollywood re- vamp, Angela Sommer-Bodenburg's well- loved novel emerges with its sense of fun intact. However, while this film certainly doesn‘t suck, ultimately, it lacks real bite. General release.

Loser (12) iii (Amy Heckerling, 2000, US) Jason Biggs, Mena Suvari, Greg. 95 mins. Biggs plays dorky small town scholarship student Paul Tannek who’s overwhelmed by college life in New York, as is fellow student Dora Diamond (Suvari) who‘s having carnal relations with Kinnear’s sleazy English Lit. prof. Then Paul and Dora meet and the rest is history, because no one will be surprised by the hard won but inevitable romance that blossoms between these two ‘losers‘. Heckerling scored high with her previous teen flicks Fast Times A! Ridge/non! High and Clueless, but despite likeablc performances Loser brings her grade average down. See review. General release.

The Luzhin Defence (12) it (Marleen Gorris, UK, 2000) John Turturro, Emily Watson, Geraldine James. 110 mins. In this Nabokov adaptation Gorris t ells the story of genius chess player but socially inept Luzhin (Turturro) who is at Italy's Lake Como for the World Chess Championship, and falls for the languorous Natalia (Watson) who's looking to escape a few of the advance moves of her societally skilled mother (James). For all its admiration for the moves only a genius could predict, Gorris tells a story that requires minimal second guessing; something Turturro's likeablc performance can't do much to alleviate. Selected release.

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Madeline (U) ** (Daisy Von Scherler, US, 1998) Frances McDormand, Nigel Hawthorne, Hatty Jones. 89 mins. Madeline is a hybrid of the “adorable’ pre-teen childrens’ heroine. As intelligent as Matilda, she’s also as precocious as Pippi Longstocking and, like Annie, she's an orphan. She lives in a Parisian boarding school with eleven other girls and is tutored by Sister Clavel. Made in the spirit of childrens' films of bygone times, this well- intentioned film is nevertheless desperately dull. Grosvcnor, Glasgow.

Magnolia (18) **** (Paul Thomas Anderson, US, 2000) Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John C. Reilly, Tom Cruise. 185 mins. P.T. Anderson's follow-up to his superb 705 LA porn industry flick, Boogie Nights is a snapshot of the lives of a dozen residents of LA‘s San Fernando Valley . Their stories are sad, funny and moving without ever becoming overly-sentimental and Anderson’s script is full of humble humanity and beautifully observed moments. And the quite stunning miraculous conclusion is audacious but it works - the same can be said of the whole film. Cameo, Edinburgh. A Matter Of Life And Death (PG) ***** (Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger, UK, 1946) David Niven, Kim Hunter, Roger Livesy, Raymond Massey. 104 mins. Wonderful film that rises above its beginnings as a piece of wartime propaganda about goodwill between Britain and the USA. Niven is an RAF pilot who finds himself before a heavenly tribunal when he bales out of his burning plane. A witty and stylish fantasy with a fair share of on-targct satire. Brunton Theatre, Edinburgh.

Maybe Baby (15) *** (Ben Elton, UK, 2000) Hugh Laurie, Joely Richardson, Joanna Lumley. 90 mins. Sam (Laurie) and Lucy (Richardson) are happy in love and successful at work (he's a BBC commissioning editor and she‘s a theatrical agent). The only blot on this idyllic London landscape is that the couple desperately want a baby to fulfil their blissful lives. Written and directed by Elton, it's no surprise that there are some very funny lines in a film that's destined to be heralded as the new Four ll'eddings. Lumiere, Edinburgh. Me, Myself And Irene (15) the (Peter and Bobby I’arrelly, US, 2000) Jim Carrey, Renee Zellweger, Robert Forster. 116 mins. Carrey plays both Rhode Island State Trooper Charlie Baileygates and Charlie's alter ego, Hank. Charlie‘s sweet and kind; Hank is a sexually aggressive, misogynistic loudmouth. When Charlie/Hank is/are assigned to escort the lovely Irene (Zellweger) to New York State his split personality threatens to take over his life completely. The rude sight gags and stinging one-liners are blatantly in evidence, while the story also works as something more than just a shakey scaffold holding up the comic set-pieces. The revelation, however, is Carrcy himself. His Charlie/Hank creations are the mark of a master craftsman. UGC Cinemas, Edinburgh.

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