A hectic storyline won’t let the characters breathe
COMEDY DRAMA THE MARTINS (15) 86 mins 00
Lee Evans plays Iuckless dreamer and unemployed dad in this big-hearted but over-reaching comedy about familial love in Hatfield. Kathy Burke is his long-suffering wife Angie, mother of their two kids - nine-year-old little Bob (Eric Byrne) and heavily pregnant fourteen-year-old Katie (Terri Dumont). The Martins are the sort of shell-suited, foul-mouthed family you’d cross the road to avoid - either through embarrassment or fear of nits. The icing on the cake has to be Robert’s hot-panted mother-in-law Anthea (Linda Bassett) to whom a spade is very much an effing spade.
Robert tries to provide for them by entering competitions, and is convinced he has won an exotic family holiday through a local paper. When he learns he hasn’t, a string of humiliations pushes him to steal the holiday from the winners using a gun he’s hiding for a neighbour. Unaware of this, the rest of the Martins embark with him for the dream destination, a cottage on the Isle of Man. Meanwhile, armed police are closing in.
There are some nice moments in The Martins which reveal the family’s underlying warmth, but these tend to get swamped by uneven direction and an unnecessarily hectic storyline that won’t let the characters breathe. (John MacKenzie)
I General re/ease from Fri 74 Sep.
DOCUMENTARY STARTUP.COM (15) 107 mins 00.
Buddies since high school. Kaleil lsaza Tuzman and Tom Herman pool their entrepreneurial expertise and launch a startup internet company Goonrkscom. Having raised millions of dollars from various venture capitalists. the co-founders press ahead with their ambitious plans for expansion. Tactical and strategic problems are soon troubling the business, however: the software for the site fails to live up to expectations.
Engrossing human interest story
filmmakers have constructed a salutary tale of a life-long friendship being jeopardised by the cut-throat world of business. Shot on digital video.
ROMANTIC DRAMA LE SECRET (18) 107 mins 0..
Busy Marie (Anne Coesensi is a white 35-year-old married Parisian who. pretty Successfully. sells encyclopaedias door—to-(iloor. Her new lover, Tony Todd‘s Bill West. is a 50-year-old black New Yorker liVing in Paris who seems to have no ties. no job and. as he says. ‘likes to step outside myself. be still.‘
Virginie Wagons film might bring to mind torrid 70s slea/e epics like Mandingo and Drum. as Marie informs her mum that what she likes about big Bill is that he ‘invades me'. But that such a line is mouthed to her mother at a moment illustrating she's somewhere between self-assertion and self-collapse links it much more obviously to films like Romance. Une Femme D'Exteneur. A l/endre and other examples of abject rite of passage.
For what Marie needs is liberation. a
THE IRON LADIES (SA TREE LEX) (15) 104 mins .00.
Yongyoot Thorigkonthoon's absolute charmer of a film is a gripping comedy which refutes the old adage that gay men are useless at sports. It's based on the real-life stOry of the 1996 Thai national volleyball champioiiships. where one of the competing teams consisted of drag queens. gay men. post-op transvestites and one tolerant straight man. You'll laugh with, love
Abject rite of passage
retreat from the constraints of well- rehearsed selling techniques and middle-class family life: but is Bill a life lesson or something more. and is it just Marie who needs release. or is there a lesson also to be learnt by hubby Francois? Wagon here just about iiiuddies the water enough to avoid obviousness. (Tony MCKibbin) I Fr/m/iouse. Edinburgh from Fri 7 See.
Induces the hysteria associated with ball games
and understand these men. You'll also marvel at their sporting prowess.
Mon isn't allowed to play volleyball in a tradit:onal team because he is gay. the same is true of his rice—cake selling transgender university pal. But when a surprisingly butch female coach comes to instruct. they form a team of their own. made up of an endearing bunch of nonconformists.
Constantly surprisng. and forever challenging stereotypes. The /ron Ladies is a well-acted ensemble piece which explores notions of acceptability. parental support and haying the courage to be true to :>.irself. It is fast-paced and
incredibly exciting. inducing the hysteria ass:::
t'ated with such ball games.
Scotland needs its own \.rolleybal! team made up of society's outsiders. if this lovely independent film is anything to go on. «John Binriiei
I Fi/mhouse. Edinburgh from Fri , Sep.
DRAMA GREENFINGERS (15) 89 mins 0.
Transferred to an open prison in the Cotswolds. convicted iiiurderei' Colin (Clive Oweni discovers a remarkable aptitude for horticulture. and his imagrnatwe efforts in building a garden attract the attention of local TV celebrity Georgina Woodhoiise il leleii Mii'ren‘i. She encourages lllll‘ and his fellow inmates to enter the prestigious Hampton Court l-‘lower Show. although she's less eiiamoiired of the
Quaintest British film of 2001
they are victims of industrial espionage. and as the stock market begins to plummet. Kaleil and Tom disagree about how to strike back at their competitors . . .
Co-directed by Christine Hedegus and Jehane Noujaim. and produced by D. A. Pennebaker, this verite documentary finds an engrossing human interest story in an account of the rise and fall of a high-profile venture. Using extensive footage and intimate access to the participants. the
24 THE LIST 6 Sep-20 Sep 2001
StartupCom attempts to cram too much incident into its hour-and-three- quarter running time. Yet it's one of the peripheral characters Dora. Kaleil's sometime girlfriend who articulates one of the film's most crucial points — that the male protz-igonists. with their high- fives. manly hugs. and company cheers. actually most resemble kids playing at being eiitrt-zpreneurs. (Tom Dawson)
I Se/ected release from Fri 7 Sep. See preview, page T)?
burgeoning romance betv.een her daughter Primrose lNatasha l limit and a now paroled Colin .
Gr'eerrfr/igers might Just be the guaintest British film of 2001. even though it was inspired by a New York limes article and written and directed by American Joel Hershrrian. 'lhis tale of comic redemption proyides a supremely benevolent View of the penal system and its inhabitants. lhe screenplay virheels out a series of sentiriieiital stereotypes iii its pursuit of triumph over adxeisity: zvise old lag. loner who learns to connect. young teai‘away. soft hearted giant and token member of an ethnic minority. Not the most subtle of filiiiiiiakeis. l leishmaii trowels on the iricongr‘uily of these hard men lovingly tending their double violets and Wisteria. Among the cast. its a bossily imperious Miireii who l)lt)\.l(lt}f3 the most spiritedly enjoyable performance iloin l)a\'.'soiii I Gener'a/ release from In 1.1 Sep.