savagery. Socialite Lily Bart (the excellent Anderson) would appear to be a natural survivor, but through a combination of naivety, folly and bad timing she is brought low. Davies charts Lily’s tragic descent with formal rigour, framing scenes with self- consciously painterly tableaux that evoke the era’s fashionable artists. But, as with his other work, aesthetic control goes hand in glove with a deep compassion. Selected release.
House (15) *‘k‘k‘k (Julian Kemp, UK, 1999) Kelly MacDonald, Freddie Jones. 93 mins. Bloody cheek, you'd think, making a ﬁlm lamenting the closure of an old bingo hall (which replaced an old cinema). Turns out Kemp’s gentle comedy set in Wales is close in spirit to the classic Ealing comedies, complete with cast of eccentrics. Lumiere, Edinburgh.
Into The Arms Of Strangers (PG) *** (Mark Jonathan Harris, US, 2000) Narrated by Judi Dench. 117 mins. As a result of the brutal anti-Semitic persecution in the late 19305, the UK took in 10,000 unaccompanied Jewish children from central Europe before war began to erupt across the Continent. At times the focus on personal testimonies in this generally diligently researched documentary means that a broader socio-political context gets glossed over. Nevertheless, given the current climate of xenophobia, it’s timely that the poignant stories and memories of an earlier generation of immigrants are expressed. See review. Filmhouse, Edinburgh.
Irma Vep (15) ttti (Olivier Assayas, France, 1996) Maggie Cheung, Jean-Pierre Leaud, Natalie Richard. 98 mins. Fictional ﬁlm director Rene Vidal hires real-life Hing Kong actress Maggie Cheung for a remake of pulp crime drama lrrna Vep, but he loses interest in his ﬁlm and instead becomes increasingly obsessed with his oriental star. the ﬁlm’s real drama is an expose of ﬁlmmaking, which is far more cynical than, say, Living In Oblivion. The observations are assured and full of insight, which makes for fascinating viewing — great ﬁlmmaking about awful ﬁlmmaking. Cameo, Edinburgh. Judy Berlin (15) whit (Eric Mendelsohn, US, 2000) Edie Falco, Madeline Kahn, Aaron Hamick. 93 mins. A bitter-sweet tribute to the American suburbs from writer-director Mendelsohn, Judy Berlin follows the criss-crossing paths of various inhabitants of Babylon, Long Island on the day of an unusually lengthy solar eclipse. Carefully balancing humour and melancholy, whilst scrupulously avoiding sarcasm, Mendelsohn has crafted a tenderly affectionate portrait of muddled lives. The outstanding ensemble performances, not least from Falco of The Sopranos, whose Judy is a compelling mixture of naivety, optimism and sheer resilience, help make this a genuinely beguiling piece ofAmerican independent cinema. See Famespotting and review. Filmhouse, Edinburgh.
Julien Donkey-Boy (15) ***** (Harmony Korine, US, 1999) Ewen Bremner, Chloe Sevigny. 94 mins. Adorned with a perm that would please Kevin Keegan, Bremner plays the title role, a paranoid schizophrenic based on Korine's uncle Eddie. Even when constrained by the Dogme 95 rules, Korine’s narrative deconstruction manages to out avant garde the most talked about ﬁlm movement of the last decade. With Julien Donkey-Boy Korine attempts to get to the essence of the back-to- basics movement by dispensing with a script and using spy cameras to gage the general public's ‘real reactions’ to staged situations. A genius, though perhaps not to everyone’s taste. See Frontlines and review. Filmhouse, Edinburgh.
Just Melvin & Discussion (18) (James Roland Whitney, US, 2000) Fascinating and deeply disturbing documentary made by Whitney about his Uncle Melvin, an abuser and murderer who traumatised his family. Part of the Shefﬁeld lntemational Documentary festival. GF’I‘, Glasgow. L‘Humanite (18) **~k** (Bruno Dumont, France, 1999) Emmannuel Schotté, Séverine Caneele, Philippe Tullier. 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 Schotté) with a scrupulous eye as he half-heartedly investigates a child abuse murder. Booed at Cannes yet awarded the Grand Jury Prize, hammered by Tune Out, but adored by The New Yorker, the ﬁlm has divided critics. OFT, Glasgow.
Liberty Heights (15) iii (Barry Levinson, US, 2000) Ben Foster, Rebekah Johnson, Joe Mantegna. 128 mins. Like Diner, Tin Men and Avalon before it, Levinson’s aﬁectionate ‘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. The Lumiere, Edinburgh.
The Little Vampire (U) *** (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. Odeon, Ayr.
Live Nude Girls Unite! (18) (Vicky Funari/ Julia Query, US, 2000) 75 mins. Often hilarious documentary about the women involved in the formation of the ﬁrst worker’s union for strippers. Part of the Shefﬁeld lntemational Documentary Festival GFI‘, Glasgow.
Love 8t Sex (15) *‘k‘ki' (Valerie Breiman, US, 2000) Famke 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-examine her previous relationships to see what went wrong in order to complete a palatable article. And as soon as we arrive at her ‘big ex’, Adam (Favreau), 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 tom-com eﬂ'orts are the leads' sparkling performances. Odeon, Glasgow.
The Luzhin Defence (12) it (Marleen Gorris, UK, 2000) John Turturro, Emily Watson, Geraldine James. 110 mins. In this Nabokov adaptation Gorris tells the story of genius chess player but socially inept Luzhin (Turturro) who is at ltaly’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 likeable performance can’t do much to alleviate. The Lumiere, Edinburgh.
The Man Who Cried (12) iii: (Sally Potter, US/UK, 2000) Christina Ricci, Johnny Depp, Cate Blanchett, John Turturro. 99 mins. Potter’s ﬁrst narrative ﬁlm since 1992’s Orlando is the story of an orphan (Ricci), a Russian Jew adrift in Europe at the outbreak of World War II, attempting to get to America to be reunited with her long lost father. It’s also about language and the universality of song. Oh, and it’s a musical, though not in the Golden Age Hollywood sense. The casting is canny and the performances impress, but Potter isn’t quite able to condense all of her ideas into the ﬁlm’s running time. Odeon, Glasgow.
The Matrix (15) ***** (The Wachowski Brothers, US/Australia, 1999)
Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburn, Carrie- Anne Moss. 136 mins. Absolutely gob- smacking science ﬁction thriller boasting cutting edge special effects, rocking action sequences, a smart story and an immensely entertaining cartoon sensibility (the ﬁlm was storyboarded by comic artist Geoﬁ Darrow). In the future day-to-day life is merely a scam, a matrix camouflaging reality: a post- apocalyptic nightmare world in which humankind are a power source for domineering super-computers. Only Reeves' cyber hero, Neo, and a gang of hacker pirates stand between the evil technology and their race ’5 extinction. 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-target satire. Brunton Theatre, Edinburgh.
Meet The Parents (12) iii (Jay Roach, US, 2000) Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Blythe Danner. 107 mins. lt’s everyone’s idea of a nightmare weekend. Having fallen in love, you are forced to spend time of varying quality with your potential in-laws. This is the tricky task which faces Stiller as he prepares for the company of De Niro’s Cold War secret agent, his daunting wife and a plethora of friends and family you’d go to the ends of the earth not to have to choose. The beauty or beastliness about Meet The Parents is the safe predictability of the gags. De Niro’s performance is somewhat ﬂat, but Stiller's edgily fatalistic performance is a joy. General release.
Memento (15) *t*** (Christopher Nolan, US, 2000) Guy Pearce, Carrie-Ann Moss, Joe Pantoliano. 116 mins. Beginning where most other ﬁlms would end with an act of vengeance, writer-director Nolan tells his story by gradually working backwards in time. beonard Shelby (Pearce) is obsessed with avenging his wife’s rape and murder. Trouble is Leonard suffers from a condition of short-term memory loss, and so he relies on an elaborate system of mementoes — maps, polaroids, body tattoos — to piece together the clues in his investigation. A compelling, elliptical reconstruction of the revenge thriller, which skilfully examines the connections between memory, identity and perception. Odeon At The Quay, Glasgow.
Merlin The Return (PG) ** (Paul Matthews, UK/US, 2000) Rik Mayall, Craig Sheffer, Patrick Bergin, Tia Carrere. 88 mins. Mayall’s Merlin has banished the evil sorcerer Mordred (Sheffer) to the depths of the earth and put King Arthur (Bergin) and his Knights into a deep sleep. When Mordred threatens to surface again thanks to the experimental efforts of scientist babe Joan Maxwell (Carrere), these 12th century men awake to ﬁnd themselves in a modern world, forced to do battle with oil tankers rather than dragons. While the action jumps in and out of the dimensional time gate, the plot becomes muddier and muddier. Mayall and co do their best to inject some humanity into the ﬁlm, but end up strangled by an unwieldy script and poor special effects. Selected release.
Miss Julie (15) **** (Mike Figgis, UK, 2000) Saffron Burrows, Peter Mullan, Maria Doyle Kennedy. 100 mins. Figgis’ adaptation of Strindberg’s play is almost a period Dogme ﬁlm. The hand-held cameras loop freely around the central characters, lending the ﬁlm a live feel, as if recording a theatre performance. Miss Julie and her footman, Jean, skirmish throughout, alternately ﬂirting and hating, both desperate to cross the boundaries of class imposed upon them, both hoping to use the other as a means of escape. A gripping, claustrophobic tale shot at a breakneck pace, in a unique style with career-best performances from the small cast. The Lumiere, Edinburgh.
My Dog Skip (U) and (Jay Russell, US, 2000) Kevin Bacon, Diane Lane, Frankie Muniz. 95 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 ll in the small Mississippi town of Yazoo. 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. GET, Glasgow.
Not One Less (PG) **~k~k~k (Zhang Yimou, China, 2000) Wei Minzhi. 100 mins. A teacher of a small school in an isolated, impoverished village is forced to leave the education of his 28 pupils in the hands of thirteen-year-old substitute Wei Minzhi for a month. But with poverty forcing over one million students to leave school to look for work every year in China, Wei is set the task of retrieving a desperate student from the big city. Essentially, this is a personal interest perspective on a dramatic social problem. The cast comprises non- professionals, and the calibre of the heart- rending performance by Minzhi makes the ﬁlm all the more impressive. Filmhouse, Edinburgh.
0 Brother, Where Art Thou? (12) **** (Joel Coen, US, 2000) George Clooney, John Turturro. Tim Blake Nelson. 107 mins. Preston Sturges’ Sullivan '3 Travels and Homer’s The Odyssey are the starting points for this 305-set screwball comedy. Smooth- talking Everett Ulysees McGill (Clooney), simpleton Delmar (Nelson) and maladjusted Pete (Turturro) are members of a chain gang on the run looking for buried loot. Their journey up and down the state of Mississippi brings them into contact with assorted eccentrics based on Homer's mythological ﬁgures. A lighter work for the Coens, more Raising Arizona than Fargo, but it's still a rare treat. A truly captivating confederacy of dunces. Selected release.
102 Dalmatians (U) *i* (Kevin Lima, US/UK, 2000) Glenn Close, Gérard Depardieu, loan Gruffudd. 90 mins. Cruella's back. And this time she's Ella. Thanks to a shot of mind-altering Pavlovian treatment during her stay at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, the larger than life baddie is released into the community as an animal- loving philanthropist. Only when Big Ben strikes twelve does the spell snap, letting her revert to character, her passion for Dalmatian fur renewed. 102 is a generation on from the original cute canines, but the shape of the story is virtually identical, while the script's too caught up in the machinations of the human world to give the dogs enough of a look in. General release. Pandora's Box (15) **** (G. W. Pabst, Germany, 1929) Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Franz Lederer, Gustav Diessi. 98 mins. Jolly Teutonic monochrome, in which a woman kills her boyfriend and goes on the game, only to run into an unfortunate scrape with Jack the Ripper. Surprisingly enjoyable piece, with terriﬁc performance from Ms Brooks. GF'I‘, Glasgow.
Plein Soleil (15) *it* (Rene Clement, France, 1960) Alain Delon, Maurice Ronet, Marie Laforet. 118 mins. Clement’s lushly ﬁlmed reworking of a Patricia Highsmith story hooks viewers into its skewed moral universe. Ripley (Delon) nurses a grudge against a friend with girl trouble and hatches a plan to kill him on a yachting trip. The ﬁlm - clumsy in places, over-long in others — becomes an absorbing exercise in careful plotting and spooky emotional manoeuvring. Cameo, Edinburgh. Pokemon The Movie 2000 (PG) tart (Kunihiko Yuyama, US/Japan, 2000) 80 mins. ‘Disturb not the harmony of Fire, Ice and Lightning or’. . . they’ll make it the plot of the new Pokemon cartoon movie. The injunction from the ancients is, of course, broken, as a huge Heath Robinson-style flying warship captures three elemental guardian Pokemon from their Oceanic archipelago — and sets off the mother of all El Ninos. Cue our heroes to the rescue, Pokemon trainer Ash, his sweet and dangerous Pokemon Pikachu, Ash ’5 in- denial girlfriend Misty, and buddy Tracy. All known Pokemon, and a few new ones, are there to help too. General release.
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S Jan-18 Jan 2001 THE LIST“