The Mummy Returns brings back not only the cast of The Mummy (Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz and John Hannah) but also the mummy itself, the ferocious lmhotep (Arnold Vosloo). This time, however, there are more sinister goings on than ever with a second even baddier baddie, The Scorpion King (World Wrestling Federation star The Rock). ‘Oh no, you’ve set in motion a chain of events destined to bring about the next apocalypse!’ laments Fraser as his son fastens an ancient bracelet around his wrist. Ooops. To say that The Mummy Returns is over the top is missing the point: it is absurdly high octane action cinema, tipping the balance right over into comedy and sometimes farce. It is, in fact, very good fun, largely due to the fact that it doesn’t take itself seriously, and for the most part the film keeps you hooked. What it is not is scary, but perhaps that is no bad thing given the eek factor of much of the computer animation: ancient mummies with only a few shreds of flesh hanging on them are best off

being absurd when it comes down to it. The special effects look great, and are by Industrial Light and Magic, which last impressed audiences ‘rebuilding’ Rome’s Colosseum for Gladiator. Thanks to them techy boffins we witness the spectacle of an army of canine- bodied Anubis warriors swarming across the Sahara, and much more. The plot revolves around Rick and Evie O’Connell’s (Fraser and Weisz) pilfering of ancient Egyptian tombs (didn’t they learn their lesson last time?), a dark cult located in the British Museum and the legend of a warrior who promised his soul to

Absurdly high octane action cinema

the god Anubis 5,000 years ago. On a more esoteric note it is interesting to see some reconstructions of ancient Egyptian palaces, albeit of questionable accuracy, and the (lightweight) engagement with the doctrine of reincarnation. To be any more high-brow than that is ridiculous of course: see this film for its never-ending sequence of chases, and its ludicrous of end-of- the-world hyperbole and throwaway humour. Good fun, and a good deal more than a lazy sequel.

(Hannah Fries)

I Genera/ r'e/ease from in l 8 Mai: See feature. page H).

DRAMA YI VI (A ONE AND A TWO) (15) 173 mins 0000.

Imagine Mike Leigh directing American Beauty from a script by Juzo ltami (Death Japanese Sty/e. Tarnpopoi and yOu are only Just getting close to Edward Yang's beautiful and touching Taipei Story. deservedly winner of the Best Director's prize at Cannes last year.

NJ Jian. his wife tvlin Min and their two kids are a typical middle-class family sharing their apartment wrth Min Min's elderly mother. The film begins with lvlin Miri's brother A-Di's wedding banquet. an event so traumatic for her mother that she suffers a stroke and is rushed to hospital in a coma. A waiting game is then set in motion a period that sees lvlin lvlin suffer a nervous breakdown. her daughter. Ting Ting. get her first rough lessons in love and their son. Yang Yang (the almost unbearably cute Jonathan Chang). getting into trouble at school. all while NJ tries to recreate his past with an ex-love while on a business trip to Tokyo.

Yang is a confessed lax? musrc lover and this is a film that like Jazz. riffs on the effervescence of emotion. By turns warm. funny. obtuse. obvious and heartbreaking. this is a film that gently investigates the morals that we use to guide our lives and the ethics that affect our relations with others. The point and the pomtlessness of modern urban communality is all here. Like the master. O7u. Yang manages to communicate his compassion for the mundane. the hopeless and the simply out of touch. Possibly the best three hours you wrll spend this year.

(Paul Dale)

Effervescent with emotion

32 THE LIST 192.: May 2001

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Likeable gay rom-com


A poignant. heartfelt comedy drama about a group of gay friends approaching the big 30 in (‘lowntovtrn Los Angeles. How much it wrll appeal to a wrder audience is open to question. but it is a nicely acted ensemble piece wrtli lots of truth and gentle humour.

A first time movre from the producer of (Dawson's Creek. Greg Berlanti. it explores notions of alternative fariiilies. commitmentphobia and feeling ancient at 28 years old! Sometimes there's too much dialogue and American reference but that said, its largely unknown cast are interesting and all too human. We really want to get to know them better.

Ben Weber IS touching as the plain guy who feels ueg In a bevy of beauties. so is Timothy Olyphant as the would-be photographer needing more to his life than casual sex. Andrew Keegan cuts an all too recognisable figure as a first time. man-kissmg yOungster who can't quite define himself as gay. John Maloney iFrasrer‘s dadi is scene-stealineg

hilarious as an ex-Shakespearian actor-turned gay mentor to the yOunger men.

For a good gay night Out full of nuance. Carpenters" music and not too many problems. The Broken Hearts Out) is Just the ticket. (John Binniei I Selected re/ease from Fri 7 7 May.

in: IDISH (12) 101 mins .00.

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iiet iri il‘t' Ill'iltllt' til .i lielrl oi filli'r‘(i_ featuring the real 'rlrsh'. iiiri u t ir Ht iti Strtiili't; lll()\.li‘ it ill tiii- lent ierate sitrarrilile lo' the (,i’) ordinates; of Apollo XI. and tlii- real struggle against iitirniih “.‘.'lll(l.‘3 in the (lay of Arrrisarorig't, moon‘s/all. l'he l)()\,ii. filerin llorn l origi .inrl Mlltill lKi:‘.'lll l'iélllllllflfllii and their host; Clill Burton ifSarn Neilli are a good natured. earnest and only too hurnan liurir;h, Reseritlul of their Yankee NASA overseer Al il’atrrer Vi’arbuitorii. they are desperate ter hiir‘. to turn a l)llll(l eye. at; the; try to rescue their llllf)‘;l’)l‘i and save their eoiiiriiuiiity 'r. iiiirle.

Ihe exents. are unfortunate. the resulting ItfllfilOIl high. i.'.rhi|e the (Jpllllllfilll IllI(:(;Il()ll‘, and the outeorrie itfilfllllltlllltl (Loriitiirierl ‘.‘.’|Ill unfailingly guirky humour and ’QIIICUH: per‘for‘rrraners. all round. the result has; to be one of the lll()f')l uplifting and entertaining history lesson?) ever tilriierl. iHeather‘ \JA/EllllISIU‘yi I GI" /. G/{i.‘;{j()‘.‘v’.’ Carrier). Edinburgh fro/n Hi I / fi/I'i'iy.

Uplifting comic history lesson