ALSO OPENING SWEET NOVEMBER (12) 120 mins
Stick with The Matrix, Reeves
Keanu Reeves takes time off the physical challenges of his Matrix sequels to make another soppy romance. He did this before with A Walk In The Clouds, and proved to us what we already know: Keanu’s range is very limited. Virtual reality mortal combat he’s good at, but playing a
romantic lead - Keanu, no!
Nevertheless, he stretches his dramatic ‘range’ to here play a workaholic advertising executive whose life is shaken up by his latest one-month stand. Charlize Theron plays the kooky woman with an air of mystery about her who suggests she be Reeves’ squeeze, but for 30 days and no more. l-ler reasons aren’t revealed until late in the film, though you’ll have guessed the plot twist by then.
Rolling Stone magazine wrote of director Pat O’Connor’s film, ‘Sweet November ranks as another lifeless romance. . . Beware all male viewers who enter here, you are in chick movie hell’. Meanwhile, Film Threat assessed the screen chemistry between the leads thus: ‘Reeves and Theron are as tepid together as they were in their last collaboration [The Devil’s Advocate].’ But to be fair, the 1968 film of the same name starring Anthony Newly and Sandy Dennis, of which this is a remake, is pretty
awful too. (Miles Fielder) I General release from Fri 13 Jul.
ROOM TO RENT _95 mins .0
Egyptian writer-director Khaled El Hagar makes his first English-language feature with this kitsch romantic farce. which presents a benevolent and colourful vision of multi-cultural contemporary London. Ali (Said Taghmaoui) is a struggling North African SCreenwriter. who makes ends meet by recording Arabic voice-overs. teaching belly-dancing to European women. and waiting at an ethnic restaurant. Time is running out on his student visa. however. and his TuniSian friend Ahmed advocates a fake marriage to a British citizen. But where can Ali find the necessary funds for such an arrangement?
Apparently drawing on the filmmakers own immigrant experiences. the incident-packed Room To Rent sees its central character encounter an array of eccentrics in his quest for both permanent residency and lasting love: there's a gay photographer (Rupert Graves). 8 Marilyn Monroe
Contrived comic farce
impersonator (Juliette Lewrs) and a blind faith healer (Anna Massey). who's convmced that Air is the reincarnation of a former suitor from the ‘10s.
The naivety of the lllElJOFlly of the film's characters strains credulrty. and the tonal shifts from playfulness to seriousness feel contrived. particularly the last reel's embrace of destiny and deJa vu. At least the spirited central performance of a charmingly innocent Taghmaoui and Graves's pleasmgly understated Supporting turn furnish the haphazard proceedings wrth an appealing humanity. (Tom Dawson)
I Out now on selected re/ease.
COMET/W PASTY FACES (15) 88 mins 0.
Say Scottish tile" and rr‘ost people ..’.l( think it: 1 spot.” g. Sr (1 tr a. (tlst .‘.r!t~f>r-flit<}(‘t:‘>r Oantl Baker
has rtnosen for his filrr"s first s'ferte a
be (1’;:rtttirten"e. t:ut
(and e se":.'.‘l‘.e"e az‘tr ir
group of guys being r“nased through the back streets of Glasgow familiar?
This is where the similarities end. though. Thereafter. instead of a dynamic film t3fl()‘.‘.’(L£l8lll(} some fine home-grown acting. Pasti' ram; merely goes through the motions, telling the rather loose stop, of kalll‘, and Joe. They are two struggling Glasgow actors. who go out to Los Angeles to meet up with their friend Steve and make it in the film bus:ness_ After giving up on Hollywood being Scottish enough the boys head for the bright lights of l as Vegas (Glasvegas’h to make money by; ripping off the locals playing cards. Henry and Joe meet yet another Scot on their travels. and for a moment the frlrn looks more promising llou'iever. a
All talk, no action for not series of fir/arm, but not yer}, t‘kt‘llllltl merits culminate in a bungled casino heist.
l’astt laces' main problem is that the film's all talk and not very murh action. Disappointing. (.Janellarnilton) I \(;(.‘/t,‘( (ed re/e.‘i:;e from I H .lri/.
HORROR URBAN GHOST STORY (15) 88 mins 00..
A ghost appears in a deprived Glasgow tower block. afflicted by drugs. violence and poverty. It's terrifying. and the ghosts a bit eerie. too. At the centre of fill“, engaging tale is l_i//ie (l-leather Ann Fosteri a teenager who's had a near death experience after a car accident which killed her boyfriend. Her already much put upon mum (Stephanie Buttlei has the angst leve s seriously upped as a SUCCOSSIOH of poltergeist manifestations appear around her daughter. On top of a vrolent debt collector. a social worker keen to deprive her of her children, and an absent partner. it's about all she needs. She calls for help. gets a shyster of a tabloid Journalist (Jason Connery) on her case. and a crowd of clairvoyants and parapsychology boffins tramping through her gaff.
At least as much social commentary as ghost story, the film tells a good tale wrthout pretension. There are some politically ambivalent rrght-wrng moments. but it has much to say beyond this about urban deprivation. Connery's belated conversron to a meJah whore With a heart of gold is a little implausible, but there are some strong performances. and some chills to savour. (Steve Crarner)
I Selected release from Fri 7 3 Jul.
ALSO OPENING POKEMON 3: THE MOVIE (PG) 96 mins
Never has a kid's film polarised children and parents and critics more than the Japanese animation phenomenon Pokemon. The kids really adore the fantasy adventures of the child trainers and their toy-like warriors. who originated in a televrsron show then began global domination yia merchandisrrig spin-offs —- collectable cards, computer games —— before making it to the big screen three times now in two years.
As With the prevrous film. Pokemon 3 comes With a short. Pikacliu: The Movre 2007 — Pikac/iu And Pic/iii. which features the popular. electricity- powered yellow Pokeérnon and his brother. The main feature. Spell Of The Unown, concerns an orphan girl whose home is turned into a crystal castle by alphabet-like Pokemon the Unown, who then makes her every wrsh come true.
The San Francrsco Chronic/e rather obvrously wrote: ‘lf the kids are sleeprer this time around. Pokemon 3 is too.‘ Fi/rn Threat. Hollywood's independent voice. noted more evenly: ‘Pokernon 3 is likely to be the final hurrah for this fading fad'. though went on to add that the third film ‘rs Without question the best of the series'.
(Miles Fielderi I General re/ease from Fri 73 Ju/.
.\ Pikachu and co are a fading fad
73—19 JU‘ 2901 THE LIST 33