COMEDY THRILLER THE 51ST STATE (18) 92 mins 0..
There's much about The 5 Ist State that's just plain daft: Samuel L. Jackson's California drug chemist Elmo McElroy donning a kilt for his visit to rainy Liverpool
to complete a €20m deal: Robert Carlyle's scouse thug Felix DeSouza being more
concerned with obtaining a ticket to the Liverpool-Manchester footie match than minding McElroy; DeSouza's ex (Emily Mortimer) going Stateside and changing her name to spangly Dakota Phillips to become a contract killer for crime boss The Lizard (Meatloaf). who sends her home to waste McElroy. Daft. daft. daft —
Most fun of all. however. is Ricky TomlinsOn‘s priceless turn as a Goodfe/las- style gangster Leopold Durant. complete with shiny Suit. threatening manner and. erm. haemorrhoid-easing rubber ring. Fellow Brookie players Michael Stark and Paul Barber also appear. as the much-abused sidekicks of. respectively. Sean Pertwee's corrupt police officer and DeSouza. Seeing these soap stars act like they were working for Martin Scorsese is worth your ticket money alone.
The 5 lst State is a real mongrel movie. Written by Stel Pavlou while he was working in an off licence in Kent. it's directed by Ronny Yu. best known for Hong
Kong martial arts fantaSy The Bride With White Hair. The individual elements. from
the camp characterisations and OTT performances to violent gun play and screeching car chases. work in isolation. But like everything else in this film. the tones jar: in one scene you're laughing at Tomlinson playing Robert De Niro via Jim Royale. the next you're reeling at him being tOrtured in the most graphic
fashion. (Miles Fielder) I General release from Fri 7 Dec.
DRAMA ELOGE DE L’AMOUR (PG) 98 mins .00.
In Jean-Luc Godard’s latest film we see him once again grappling with two constraints: the progressive and the elegiac. After all it was Godard who revolutionised cinema with the provocative and multiple use of jump cuts in A Bout de SOUff/e and who anticipated the events of May 1968 in La Chinoise. But he was also mournfully nostalgic. casting Fritz Lang as a has-been director in Le Mepris and forlornly, if ironically. musing over the death of conventional cinema in Two Or Three Things / Know Ab0ut Her.
This apparent paradox is central to his new film. With its key line. ‘there can be no resistance without memory'. Godard wonderfully encapsulates why pensiver looking back and belligerently looking forward aren't contradictory notions. but compatible ones. How can one move forward without comprehending what one is moving away from?
Here Bruno Putzulu plays an artist who. in the film's monochrome and cellu|0id first. half struggles to get a project off the ground. In the colour. videoed second section. set a couple
Godard punning on past and present
of years before. we witness him interviewing a ReSistance expert and watch how what we see may become the source of inspiration for the film Putzulu wants to make thereafter. Blending the old (celluloid) with the new (video). Godard offers a technical correlative to a st0ry that concerns Resistance activity during the war. while punningly playing on the many forms resistance may take.
I Fi/nihouse. Edinburgh from Fri 7 Dec; GFT. Glasgow from Fri 14 Dec.
RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS
(12) 131 mins 00
A scene early on in Penny Marshall's turbulent real-life family drama sets the tone for what follows. It‘s Christmas and James Woods' Mr Donofrio is driving his daughter Bev (played as a youngster by Mika Boorem) through a snow and fairy light-bedecked street. But there is no irony or humour here. only a TV movie exchange about a training bra that typifies the film's aching sincerity.
Drew Barrymore plays Bev for the rest of the film. As an academically- inclined 15-year-old. she falls for Steve Zahn‘s deadbeat and becomes pregnant. an event that destroys her career plans. Bitter and frustrated. she spends the rest of the film blaming her growing son for every lost opponunity.
Based as it is on a memoir, Riding In Cars is defined by a series of emotional ups and downs that while true to life. make for unsatisfyineg
CHILDREN'S ANIMATION CHRISTMAS CAROL - THE MOVIE
(U) 80 mins 0
Despite the advances made in computer-generated imagery. there is still a case for the traditional form. Sadly. it‘s not one made by this poorly executed British film.
Dickens' London would appear to
be a gift to the animator. but California-
born director Jimmy T. Murakami
Strains for aching sincerity
episodic fiction. However. Barrymore remains engaging in an ever-mutating part. She is more at home as a twentysomething but has brave stabs at bubbly girlhood and power- dressing later life. while Zahn impresses as Bev's incorrigible dropout spouse. (Simon Wardell)
I General release from Fri 7 Dec.
(previously responsible for the far superior animated version of Raymond Briggs‘ When the Wind Blows) squanders the opportunity and falls far short of his professed model. the 19th century French artist Honore Daumier. Indeed. the animation is flat and static. scarcely better than that found on Saturday morning
Nor does the stOrytelling do Dickens justice. sweetening and softening an already sentimental original. Dickens himself appears — in short live-action sequences that bookend the film — impersonated by Simon Callow. who also voices cold-hearted miser Scrooge. Kate Winslet. Nicolas Cage. Jane Horrocks. Michael Gambon. Rhys lfans and Juliet Stevenson take the other leading roles. while Winslet and Charlotte Church perform some syrupy. distinctly unmemorable songs. The final straw. however. is the introduction of a pair of cute. slapstick mice. who pop in and out of the tale. Bah. humbug. (Jason Best)
I General release from Fri 7 Dec.
JOHN CARPENTER’S GHOSTS OF MARS (15) 97 mins 0..
For this tight sci-ti adventure. B-movie auteur John Carpenter returns to his Assault On Precinct 7 3 template. Whereas that early masterpiece transplanted a western plot (specifically Rio Bravo) into a modern urban setting. this film plonks the cowboys on another planet but with
Rio Bravo in outer space
the familiar frontier elements still comfortably in place.
Natashsa Henstridge's Mars police lieutenant is part of a team charged with collecting Ice Cube's criminal from a mining settlement. However. once there. they discover the inhabitants have become murderous. body-piercing zombies (standing in for Indians). the reSult of extraterrestrial possession. She and her dwindling. besieged cohons must then stay alive long enough to escape.
Rarely straying beyond its genre b0undaries. Ghosts Of Mars is entertaining enough. The set-piece battles are directed with a pace and tension that belies their limited budget and Henstridge is a pleasant surprise in a hard-bitten rather than hard-body role. But that Carpenter chooses not to burden us with overly rounded characters or original dialogue and re-treads familiar ground. makes Ghosts Of Mars another of the ailing auteur's lesser works. (Simon Wardell)
I General release from Fri 30 Nov.
29 Nov-I3 Dec 2001 THE LIST 29