FILM new releases


Dead Babies (18) 100 mins ir * 1r

Too much fidelity to the novel

DRAMA Salt Water

(15) 97 mins * it ti

Playwright Conor McPherson makes his directorial debut, after several well received plays and screenplays including The Weir and / Went Down, with this bleak yet often amusing take on lrfe in a small Irish seaSIde town. The story, adapted from a series of stage monologues, revolves around the Beneventi family owners of the local chrppre. The main plot strand sees eldest son Frank (Peter McDonald)

who, when hearing how hrs father

(Brian COX) has borrowed heavrly from the local bookie, stages an incompetent armed robbery which has cOnsequences for the whole family. Elsewhere, younger brother Joe

(Laurence Krnlan) befriends the newest

rebel in school and gets an instant maturing lesson. A weaker sub plot is

50 THE "ST 18 Jan—l Feb 2001

It's been said that Martin Amrs’ farCrcal novel rs unfrlmable Director William Marsh Ill manages to prove this theory wrong but only Just The film updates Amis' 70s tale of sex, drugs and more drugs set over a weekend at the Appleseed Rectory to the present day, but in dorng so loses a lot of the novel's attraction.

In the house lrve six protagonists, ranging from the tall blond elegant Hon. Quentin Vrllrers (Paul Bettany) to the very tiny, very fat court dwarf Keith (Andy Nyman). Appleseed tranquillity is rocked by the arrival of a group of Americans, headed by Marvell Buzzhardt (played by Marsh Ill) carrying more drugs than an episode of Miami Vice, and Lucy LittleJohn (Katy Carmichael), a golden-hearted whore.

Dead Babies tries to revolt the audience as it seeks to ’out' the most depraved inhabitants of the household. Here, the performance by tall, dark Cristian Solrmeno perfectly translates Amis' aggressive heart-throb Andy Adorno from page to screen Marsh III works hard to retain the essence of the novel, but hrs film suffers from some pOrntless narration that gives the game away. Furthermore, Marsh lll’s fidelity to the novel results in too many characters to develop in 100 minutes. Still, we should all be thankful for a Brit flick that finally attempts to go against the gangsta norm.

(Kaleem Aftab) I Grosvenor, Glasgow from Fri 26 Jan.

Amusing take on Irish small town life

also set up concerning brother-rn-law and lecturer Ray (Conor Mullen), although this does include one of the most apocalyptic hurling scenes I’ve ever witnessed (and I don't mean the traditional Irish sport).

The actors put in some great performances and you can’t help but warm to them, in particular the young lad, Kinlan, who conveys the awkwardness of adolescence and the desire to appear ’cool’. By using an off- season seasrde town the feeling of waiting for something to happen, with their lives mirroring the resort anticipating summer, is conveyed with subtle style. However, the ending seems to come out of nowhere, and feels as if McPherson didn’t know where to go next so Just decided to finish the film where it stood.

(Henry Northmore) I Selected release from Feb.



Woman On Top (15) 91 mins *t

Fresh from the success of Pedro Almodovar's All About My Mother, Spanish star Penelope Cruz finds herself Simmering gently in her first English recipe, a COIOurful but insipid love-and- cookery comedy.

Isabella (Cruz) and husband Toninho (Murilo Benicio) own a small restaurant on a Brazrlran beach He serenades the customers while she slaves over a hot stove, working magic wrth herbs and chillies. All is well, except that Isabella suffers from motion Sickness so badly that she must always be in the driving seat even Ill bed, which drives Tonrnho into the arms of another woman Drscoverrng them together, Isabella ups and flies to San FranCrsco (sick as the proverbial parrot) to JOIII he' sassy bisexual friend Momca (Harold Perrrneau, In and find fame as a TV took Tonrnho comes croonrng after her With hrs band of Latin troubadours, even managing to infiltrate her show as its musical accompaniment. But Isabella has hardened her heart to him With Witchcraft, and, naturally, only true love can break the spell

For all its chillies, Woman On Top rs conspicuously lacking in spite Cooked up espeCIally for a woman's palette, it is definrtely not the way to a man's heart, and more likely the way to send him to sleep. (John MacKenzre)

I GFT, Glasgow, Fi/mhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 26 Jan.


Pourquoi pas moi? (15) 94 mins 1% t

By the (cook)book romcom

'No gay can ever definitively say I’m gay,’ French philosopher Gilles Deleuze once provocatively suggested. Well you feel the characters in Stephane Grustr's film might argue that pornt, as a trio of urban professionals in their twenties gather their parents together to drop the bombshell. Here sexuality rs more located than locale, With the southern European locations remaining anonymous while the characters assert their gay identities. Congregating at openly gay friend Camille’s mum’s expansive retreat, Eva (Julie Gayet), Nico (Bruno Put’ztilu) and Ariane (Alexandra London) know therr parents aren‘t gorng to be sympathetic: Arrane's dad’s a macho bull-fighter; Eva’s father a conservative geneticist.

The film pads out its hour and a half on two dramatic pornts. How and when Will they tell their parents; and how, once being told, Will the parents take the news7 Forced into the conventions of farce by the abruptness of the weekend time span, this is crisrs cinema made easy; bendy doll characterisation conforms instantly to the dictates of the pacey plotting.

Better, perhaps, to observe the periphery, wrth amusing support from Brigitte Rann, Johnny Hallyday, Marie-France Pisier and Assumpta Serna. The youngsters might be affirming their sexuality, but it's chiefly the oldsters who offer a stoic professionalism against flimsy character sketching. (Tony McKibbrn)

I Fi/mhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 23 Jan.


Vertical Limit (12) 124 mins * ‘k 1k

Flimsy farce

If you enjoyed the vapid, vertiginous thrills of Cliffhanger, this join-the-dots mountain-climbing movie from Go/denEye director Martin Campbell might Just cut it. But there's a lot of slipshod storytelling and flat characterisation between the impressive peaks and nailbiting stunts.

Still haunted by the death of his father in a climbing accident, Chris O'Donnell is forced back into crampons when his sister (Robin Tunney) gets buried by an avalanche during an assent of K2. Trapped with her in a snow-bound crevasse are an injured Aussie gurde and the slimy businessman (Bill Paxton) who refused to turn back when the weather turned bad. Accompanying O’Donnell on his foolhardy rescue mission are wild-haired mountain man Scott Glenn, who has a personal agenda of hrs own, and a few disposable extras, including a token Pakistani gurde, two comic Aussies, and a gorgeous babe. The clock is ticking because they must reach the stranded climbers before hypothermia sets in. Oh, and Just to complicate things a little, they each have to carry a canister of unstable nitro-glycerine,

Preposterous tosh of the highest order, this nevertheless has its breathless, seat- grabbing moments. Be warned, though, if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen everything worth seeing. (Nigel Floyd)

I General release from Fri 79 Jan.

Preposterous breathtaking tosh