LITERARY DRAMA The House Of Mirth (PG) 135 mins
Davies and Anderson filming in Glasgow
Terence Davies' (Distant Voices, Still Lives) fourth film proper is a pitch- perfect period adaptation of Edith Wharton’s subtle society ladder slicer. Lily Bart (Gillian Anderson) is a beautiful, confident socialite who lives with her uptight aunt and enjoys the playful attentions of prime bachelor Mr Selden (Eric Stoltz) in early 19005 New York (Glasgow standing in for the Big Apple). But Lily is naive in the ways of finance and a few bad deals later she is made to feel the force of social and financial exclusion, which leaves her three options: betrayal of previous benefactors (through some retrieved love letters), a life of societal prostitution, or heartbreaking penury. The lovely Lily is a butterfly on a wheel and once again she makes
all the wrong decisions.
Writer and director Davies has stripped everything away to reveal the essence, the delicious cut and turn and immensely sexy nature of Wharton's dialogue. Not for him is the velvet plummery of Martin Scorcese's Wharton adaptation The Age Of Innocence; Davies simply lets the text speak while he wraps the whole deal in the sublime slow fade rhythm that he honed to perfection in his autobiographical A Long Day Closes.
It is the cast that really carries this wonderful film, however. Out of her FBI suit, Anderson is truly outstanding and should win every lead actress award going. Stoltz, Dan Aykroyd (superbly slimy), Anthony LaPaglia (likewise repellent), Jodhi May and that veteran of the corset and veil drama Eleanor Bron manage to surpass even their high standards. Flawless.
Available to rent on video and buy on DVD (I 79.99) from Fi/mFour from Mon
Cherry Falls (18) 92 mins
Yet another postmodern take on the slasher mowe spawned by the success of Scream; the ironic IWist being that the masked (well heaVily Wigged) maniac only kills Virgins. Now it may come as a surprise that Romper Stomper’s Geoffrey Wright is directing this schlock as it has no redeeming features except for a few creepy stalker in the shadows moments. The end is in particularly dubious taste With the killer crashing a 'lose your cherry ball’, filling the screen With knives, blood and naked teenage flesh. (Entertainment) (Henry Northmore)
The Closer You Get
(12) 89 mins
Ian Hart's bunch of Irish lads put an advert into a Miami magazme hoping it Will entice gorgeous American women over for their local dance and more. The sad thing is they believe it is going to work and become blind to
the lovely ladies at home. Unsurprismgly, the plan fails, but not Without a bit of fighting, female revenge and Spanish fishermen. Scottish director Aileen Ritchie’s feature debut is a simple, easy gomg film with subtle humour and a happy, and for some, very satisfying ending. (Fox Pathe) (Jane Hamilton)
The Luzhln Defence
(12) 104 mins
The normally expresswe and impressive John Turturro bumbles through this Merchant Ivory-alike production about a grandmaster chess player who goes to Italy to compete in a major competition only to discover the love of his life. Emily 'Breaking The Waves’ Watson srmpers more than adequately as the English rose whom Luzhin falls for, despite her already being promised to another. Hardly revolutionary stuff, and the baggy script and legs-stuck-in- treacle pacmg mean this defence actually does more to offend. (Entertainment) (Mark Robertson)
There's Only One Jimmy Grimble (12) 101 mins t it
Anyone who accused Billy Elliot of being too romantic should take a look at this Robert Carlyle vehicle released at the same time last year. The stories are all but identical - working-class northern boy triumphs in the face of indifference to become a dancer/ footballer — but where Lee Hall’s script for Billy Elliot was full of humour, warmth and political idealism, Jimmy Grimble corners itself into an exerCise in miserablism from which it struggles to escape. The highs are not high enough and the lows Just get you down. (Fox Pathe) (Mark Fisher)
RETAIL Being John Malkovich (15) 109 mins a»: i k 1.- ir
Who’d have thought geek-boy mu5ic promo maker Spike Jonze could have made the most strikingly imaginative film of last year? At the centre of Charlie Kaufman's script is the idea that an unemployed puppeteer temping in an office discovers a portal into the mind of actor John Malkovich behind a filing cabinet. This Alice In Wonderland- like conceit is further developed in bizarre, often hilarious ways, and, brilliantly, Jonze directs the whole crazy thing completely straight. And the Players — Malkovich, John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener — do Jonze proud. (WL £14.99)
(15) 102 mins w +< 1' r
Told through the eyes of a young girl, Deepa Mehta’s movmg and powerful tale (part two of an as yet unfinished trilogy) focuses on 1947's partitioning of India and Pakistan. As land is divided up in the name of religion, friendships are torn apart and love is replaced with brutality. From the blazing buildings to the shimmering sunsets, the colour and heat of emotions and politics fuse together with some fine performances to create a film which is both enlightening and thought-provoking. (Fox Pathe £15.99) (Louisa Pearson)
L'Humanité mins W 1“ )‘r a 1'
Never has a film diyided critics as much
— at Cannes L’Humanité won three major prizes, and was booed for it. From the outset, director Bruno Dumont wrong-foots Viewers, beginning with the investigation of the rape and murder of an eleven-year-old girl in a small town in northern France, before focusing on the mundane life of the strangely reticent, perhaps simple- minded investigating policeman (extraordinary non-professional performer Emmanuel Schotte’). For some it's an enigmatic, haunting, bleakly beautiful portrait of human nature; for others it’s merely maddening — it’s impossible to Sit on the fence. (Artificial Eye £15.99)
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Miles In Paris
(15) 78 mins
Hubert Niogret’s sensitive film captures a concert from Miles DaVis’ 1989 band, only two years before his death. The film, which includes several short intervrew clips, is now on DVD, With the consequent upgrading of image and sound from VHS. If these were by no means Miles' halcyon days, it makes compelling viewrng for anyone interested in his late music. Saxophonist Kenny Garrett and bass:st Foley make ear-catching contributions, but even when not playing, Miles is always centre of attention. (Warner MUSIC Vision £19.99 on DVD)
x r; r *- w Unmissable
a k F *1 Very good
1 v r Worth a shot
’ i Below average it You’ve been warned 1‘
15 Feb—l Mar 2001 THE “ST 115