ACTION COMEDY RUSH HOUR 2 (12) 89 mins 0..

Similar to the first martial arts wisecracker, but more spectacular

Acrobatic Chinese martial artist Jackie Chan and motor-mouthed American comedian Chris Tucker re-team for a big-budget sequel to their mediocre action- comedy hit. Director Brett Ratner had more money this time. and the basic set-up remains the same. but with the roles reversed. Tucker is a fish-out-of-water LAPD cop bemused by the language and customs of Chan's home turf. Hong Kong. The mis-matched buddies are meant to be on holiday. but the bombing of the local US embaSSy leads workaholic Chan to John Lone. his late father‘s ex- partner in the Hong Kong Police. now a Triad gangster running an international money counterfeiting racket.

While the action remains in Hong Kong, the verbal humour and slapstick action play well; but once it shifts to Las Vegas via Los Angeles. Jeff Nathanson's script runs out of steam and ideas. Crouching Tiger. Hidden Dragon star Zhang Ziyi. as Lone's vicious henchwoman, and Latino actress Roselyn Sanchez. as an undercover secret service agent. both make quite an impression. Like the main villain. though, they spend far too much time off-screen. Meanwhile. Tucker and Chan go through their familiar schtick. the intensely irritating. helium-voiced Tucker talking the hind legs off several donkeys while Chan wrestles with his pronunciation of American-English.

This is better than the first film, if only because the production values are higher. the dialogue more polished and the action more spectacular. If nothing else. it delivers plenty of what fans of the original are expecting. especially during the hilarious out-takes at the end. (Nigel Floyd)

I Genera/ release from Fri 3 Aug.

“aliases CATS a. DOGS (PG), 9,7'I‘i95’... .

Think of talking cats and dogs and you think Disney schmaltz where a loveable band of pooches and felines overcome their differences to help some plucky kid stop a horrid corporation polluting their home town. Or something along those lines. But Cats & Dogs takes a wholly refreshing approach, in a kind of subversive Lassre meets Mission.- Impossrb/e. These dogs don‘t just talk. they use computers. surveillance equipment and have a solemn mission to protect the lab of scientist Jeff Goldblum as he invents a Cure for dog allergies. Cats. of course. are evil, hell- bent on conquering the world: their special agents have deadly ninja skills and vicious weapons on their Side. Throw in plenty of in-jokes for anyone who's ever had a cat or dog and you've got a family movie with enough slapstick for the kids and sophisticated humour for grown-ups. The animatronic effects are of a pretty high

Lassie meets Mission: Impossible

standard. but it‘s the animal trainers you're in real awe of how many takes must it have taken to get the chase scenes right when yOur leading actors don't speak English or any other human language? The occasional wander into sentimental territOry and slowing up of pace can be forgiven by the madly original idea. lively action sequences and knockabout humour. (LOuisa Pearson)

I Genera/ release from Fri 3 Aug.


What starts off as a rOutine. if grueSOme. police drama body discmered. head sliced in two. brain removed Querly SWitches into a fascinating and unnean speCuIation ab0ut parallel universes. The premise of John Mighton's script. brought to the screen by Robert Lepage. is that each of us eXists in an infinite number of pOSSible worlds. it's just that were only aware of experienCing one of them. Except for George (a QUletly troubled Tom McCamus. soon to be seen in Novecento in the Edinburgh International Festival). who has the misfortune to be aware of them all. His life shifts constantly from one plane to the next. Jumping through a jumble of Similar-but-different relationships With Tilda Swmton's Joyce, who is by turns frosty and fiery (and never less than a compelling screen presence). But although George has the benefit of infinite knowledge. he must Suffer the horror

Robert Lepage film number three

of being lost in a multiple-per'sonalitx maze.

Like last year's Memento. the audience is made to share in the diSOrientation of the character's mental netherworld by the movie's narrative uncertainty and increasuigly surreal digressions. It's really quite disturbing. (Mark Fisheri I Film/rouse, Edinburgh from Fri 5‘ Aug; GET. G/asgow from Fri 70 Aug.


FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (U) 181 mins .00.

Fiddler. as those in the know refer to it. is one of the great musicals. Up there With The Sound Of MUS/C and O/rver.’_ it made the leap from stage to celluIOid seemingly effortlessly, picking up a couple of Oscars along the way. But like those other classics, it's a long ‘un. So best arm yourself with a large popcorn before sitting back and enjoying this new print.

Based on Sholom Aleichem's play. Fidd/er is the story of Tevye. a JeWish milkman living in pre-Revolutionary Russia. Unlike the majority of musicals, where fixed smiles and colourful dance routines are de rigeur, this is a much more sombre affair. set in poverty but filled with dry humour. Tevye's marriage plans for his daughters and their rebellion against the all-pervasive 'traditions' form the core of the film. Norman Jewison’s direction is slick and his pacing even, but it is Topol as Tevye who carries the film. In a role he seems to have been born for. his world-weary delivery and exuberance. combined with direct address to the audience makes for one of cinemas most enduring characters. (Louisa Pearsoni

Topol in a role he was born for

I Film/rouse, Edinburgh from Fri 3 Aug.



She may only direct a film every six years or so but Moufida Tlatli, the proclaimed godmother of Arabic cinema is fast becoming as influential a figure as Satyajit Ray or Terence Malick were in their countries in the 70s. Her debut. Les Si‘lences Du Pa/ai's. described the days of slavery in her native Tunisia: her new film looks at a more modern theft of freedom.

Tunis. today. Aicha decrdes to return to her old home of Djerba by the sea when Aziz. her son with learning difficulties. keeps getting worse. Her two grownup daughters also join her, while disaffected husband Said refuses to have anything to do With the return to Djerba. Their homecoming is intercut With the day-to-day events leading up to the birth of Aziz over past Seasons Of Men. the time of year when the men folk briefly return from the city.

This slow. mesmerising film is achineg beautiful. constructed round themes of past and present. colours and light. family and freedom. Visually stunning and beautifully performed by the strong female cast. this will haunt yOU for a long time. (Paul Dale/l I Fi/mhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 3 Aug.

Achingly beautiful domestic drama

2—9 Aug 2001 THE LIST 9