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Families: can’t live with ’em, can’t kill ’em. The Royal Tenenbaums, however, are no ordinary family. Descended from a long line of overachievers, these New York geniuses are now in stultifying decline. Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) and his wife Etheline (Angelica Huston) had three children Chas (Ben Stiller), Richie (Luke Wilson) and Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow) and then they separated. Chas became a financial wizard, Richie a young tennis ace and Margot an award- winning playwright.

Memories of the brilliance of the young Tenenbaums have gradually been erased by two decades of betrayal, failure and domestic disaster, most of which is perceived by the family to be Royal’s fault. When Etheline decides she wants to marry her immaculate and mature accountant Henry Sherman (Danny Glover), Royal decides he wants his family back. This decision comes at the very moment his three grown up children have, for various reasons, all moved back into the rambling home of their mother.

Director Wes Anderson and co-writer Owen Wilson’s 1999 movie Rushmore was the best thing to come out of the US that year: a quirky, meandering tale of a precocious schoolboy with artistic pretentions set to

Funny, shrewd, enchanting, lovely, odd, absurd, beautiful, magic

the ‘British Invasion’ music of The Kinks and The Who. With Tenenbaums Anderson has surpassed himself with an enchanting, odd tale of an awkward family and its members’ impossible magnetic attraction to each other.

Funny and shrewd with lovely journeys into the absurd, this has a multitude of brilliantly-realised scenes most filmmakers would be lucky to create one of. The dialogue is possibly the best captured on film since the heady days of Preston Sturges (Sullivan ’5 Travels), but the sensibility is European. Anderson’s film positively creaks under the influence of auteurs like Louis Malle (Le Feu Follet in particular), Truffaut and most presciently Renoir’s Rules Of The Game without ever being derivative. It’s a film which defines warm- hearted magic realism.

Furthermore, not only is this Hackman's best performance since The Conversation, but Paltrow, Stiller and Owen Wilson as the drug addled pulp history writer Eli Cash have never been better. Bill Murray (an Anderson regular here playing Margot’s cuckolded husband Raleigh St Clair) proves yet again to be the subtlest comedy actor on the block. Even Alec Baldwin as the unseen narrator excels. We shouldn’t really expect anything this good to come out of Hollywood, but is has and it’s beautiful and it will stay with you forever. (Paul Dale)

I General release from Fri 75 Mar. See feature, pages 70- 7 7.

COMEDY ALI G IN DA HOUSE (18) 88min 0...


From West Staines to Westminster

So da boy from Staines finks he can make it big, yeah? West side meets east side. Ali G is on his first mission:

30 THE LIST 14—28 Mar 2002

‘The world is bigger than Staines . . . and me gotta save it.‘ Innit. Sacha Baron Cohen has taken his greatest invention. replete with gold and ‘me Julie'. and headed for the corridors of power. From Staines to Westminster and then the world: wicked.

When the John Nike leisure centre. where Ali teaches classes in ‘keeping it real', is threatened with closure. he becomes its most fervent defender and inadvertently becomes chosen to represent the government in a Crucial by-election. Somehow he wins it. presumably by charming groups such as the Staines Feminist Alliance with winning rhetoric like: “Vote for me cos me know what you Iezzers want.‘ All thus becomes unwittingly embroiled in a dirty. sinister political battle for Britain's leadership.

All the old tricks and catch phrases ('Is it because I is black?) playing with misunderstanding and political incorrectness. are exploited to the max and it is all still fantastically hilarious. Full credit to the writers. Cohen and

Dan Mazer. and director, Mark Mylod. who have worked so hard to keep it fresh. or rather, ‘real'. The film is peppered with great Naked Gun/Austin Powers-style gags which are delivered with SCurrilous verve: when he's asked if bricks can be laid in a public ceremony. Ali complies by dropping his pants. and on meeting a female Thai diplomat. ping pong balls are generously proffered.

The raw. anarchic edge that made Ali G's television interviews such compelling viewing has inevitably been lost. but the plotting is good encugh so that the protracted idea of Ali and his posse constantly entertains the 'massif‘. More is made of the music which is cranked up and incorporated to maximum effect. and mock-heroics keep the tongue lodged firmly in cheek. Cohen‘s energy and irreverence is catching. Despite the risk of playing out a joke to death. he and the rest of his crew have majestically pulled it off. Much respect. (Ruth Hedges)

I General release from Fri 22 Mar.

Rough cuts

Lights, camera, action . . .


too far to travel for the Academy Awards you'll find it easier to get along to the Edinburgh Filmhouse's Oscars night on Sunday 24 March. Beginning at 9.30pm and running through to Sam. the night includes a screening of The Business Of Strangers. starring Oscar nominated Stockard Channing. prior to live broadcast of the ceremony complete with overlong acceptance speeches. There‘s also fancy dress. a sweepstake and a raffle for a Roman holiday. Oh. and an all night bar. Tickets are $21 7 from the Filmhouse and all proceeds go to AIDS charity Waverley Care. THE FILMHOUSE IS ALSO supporting another worthy cause, the disability charity Leonard Cheshire Scotland, by hosting Able To Be, a new film festival running 16-24 March. Screenings include Dance Me To My Song, Nationale 7 and The Idiots.

THE SPANISH FILM FESTIVAL arrives 19-28 March at the Filmhouse and Glasgow Film Theatre. Alongside the latest Spanish films you can also see Victor Erice's haunting 1973 classic The Spirit Of The Beehive (surely a contender for the best film title ever) and Tesis. the snuff movie thriller debut of Alejandro The Others Amenabar.

Sci-ti, Manga style

ANIME CLASSIC AKIRA IS being rereleased on DVD in celebration of distributor Manga Wdeo’s tenth anniversary. Edinburgh’s Cameo is also screening the film Saturday 16 March. Only fair, then, that The List offers readers two DVDs plus two tickets to drum & bass club night Manga, featuring old skool hero Kenny Ken, on Friday 22 March at La Belle Angele. Send name and contact details on an email marked ‘AKIRA’ to or a postcard to The List, 14 High St, Edinburgh, EH1 1TE by 21 March. First names out of the hat etc. Entrants must be over eighteen.