(U) 143 (Not screened at press time)

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Lucas learning from his mistakes

One thing George Lucas had to do was learn from his mistakes. The original Star Wars has become a cultural landmark and hopes were that The Phantom Menace should have blown everyone away. It didn’t. It was essentially a bunch of set pieces - most of which were admittedly spectacular - pasted together with some courtroom drama in-between. Ultimately it failed to satisfy, even if box office receipts were healthy.

The excitement is palpable for AOTC because the word is and by god there’s enough of them about, just look on the internet that this corrects the blunders made on The Phantom Menace, excelling its predecessor in

terms of structure and direction.

Set ten years after The Phantom Menace, the Republic is still bogged down in a mire of dissension while planets across the galaxy break away forming a huge separatist movement with an as yet unseen force at the head. To counter this, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDarmid) orders the creation of a huge Republic army to assist the Jedi.

At the same time a relationship blossoms between Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen). But Skywalker, now a skilled Jedi apprentice under the tutelage of Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is forbidden to love under Jedi rules. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan leaves to uncover a plot to assassinate Padmé, discovering something much bigger and altogether more sinister.

Lucas may have added a more human drama into the whirlwind, but the action is said to be better than ever. Look out for Boba Fett’s dad, Jango, Yoda in battle and Samuel Jackson’s self-confessed ‘second baddest dude in the galaxy’, Mace Windu. Lucas may have just about fulfilled expectations. We live in (new) hope. (Mark Robertson)

I General release fron: (llll lb /"-/la.c See feature. nag/res 7;}- (-3".


THE CLOSET (LE PLACARD) (15) 85min .00

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Freedom in gay liberation

Denice. l 'e/tc‘: l.'.z'si'i. and plenty more suggesting 'nixed sexual fcelings are a lL-l’)ll'(:’l‘- Savage Flights. .«'/i't,visonge. l..”(,‘.‘.':}', qiglie qi Sect. l/‘e (Josef does a T>ll'l;l!fiil‘i(§|‘_, ‘S'l\lli.ll job of suggesting fl‘.at gayness can be a healthy if virtual ll)’.)<l(: of beang. ‘.'.'llll(3 also. in l‘iancois' eiitplo,i'ieht anxieties attaching itself to the unioikplace filiii llunlan lt’esoi/rces. liine ()t/l. l‘y’iglii‘ Shift. lt’e,n'1<i'.l"/,', [Iris that so preoccupies

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DRAMA SEX AND LUCIA (18) 128min on

After the death of Lorenzo iTristan Ulloal. his long-term girlfriend. LtiCia iPaz Vegal retreats to her ex—partner's favourite Island to come to terms ‘."i.i'llll her loss and to try to unlock the secrets of a problematic past. The film then flits effOrtlesst_ if somewhat confusmgly. through time to reveal their first meeting six years previously and their subseguent steamy sexual enCOunters.

From here the island becomes the focal point for a number of characters brought together by sex, life and death and three narrative threads blur past and present as dreams and nightmares crossover into fact and fiction before converging as the plot reaches its conclusion.

Basque Director Julio Medem claims that sex operates like a character in the film: it certainly pops up regularly enough and UK audiences will find it pretty explicit. The eroticism of Medem's fifth feature will tindOiil_>tedly make it his most controversial release.

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Sex operates like a character

but the storytelling. although never completely unengaging, is Simply much x'xeaker than in such work as Tier/a. or his Outstanding Cinematic debut. ‘-/(’IC(IS. iDayie A chibaldi

I GFF Glasgow; Fi/mhouse. Edinburgh from Fri '10 lvlay.

EXPEiRlMlZN'l‘AL HOTEL (cert tbc) 155min .00

After \.'.’()‘.'.’lllg audiences with his digital opus Time Code. Mike Figgis pushes the aesthetic and narrative limits of cinema further fonvard with Hotel in which he once more utilises his split— screen technique. New features include night-yision Cinentatograt’flty: smaller images within the full frame and a t)(}‘.‘~.’ take on the traditional large single image.

The princ:ple setting is the Hungarian Palace Hotel. There's an eclectic range of inhabitants. including a film (Il‘(}\.'.’ shooting a Dogma-style update of John Webster's tragedy The Duchess Of l"/l(I/fl. who are in turn being filmed by a documentary crew tiying to get to grips \.-.iith Dogma. In addition there are prostitutes. a hit man and a maid.

Figgis sets out to reii'iforce the notion that digital filmmaking is the DGl'fGCI platform for multiple storytelling. Yet at times he forgets that it helps if the audience can follow all of the dramas as characters pop in and out of volume and therefore the plot before all is revealed as the disparate threads bleed into one. This includes a bizarre uncredited cameo from John Maikoyich with which the film commences. Not entirely successful. but unlike anything you've seen before. (Kaleem Aftabi I Film/louse. Edinburgh from Fri 77 Ma):

Digital filmmaking at its limits

COMEDY SLACKERS (15) 86min 9

Were Slackers merely yet another gross Out American college comedy it wouldn't irritate nearl; as much as it does. But director Dewey Nicks and ‘.".’l'|l()f Day/id H. Steinberg's sloppily- made film has pretentions to be something altogether more original. to be as glorioust offbeat as. say. Wes Anderson's wonderfully eccentric public school set comedy Rushmore.

In fact. Anderson's star. Jason Schwart/inan. turns up in Slackers. playing Ethan. a variation on his precocious brat from Rushmore. When Ethan gets wind of our three la/y student dtides' scam to hit their grades \‘JlIllOtll lifting pen to paper or fingei to keyboard. he blackinails the boy s into setting him up wth the coolest girl in college. So Daye iDe\.on Saxx'ai. Sam Jason Segell and Jeff ilvlichael Maronnai stub out the Joints and set about the almost ainpossible task of iiiaking lithan look cool to Angela {James King-.

Of course, the idea of three boys tooling a giil into fucking a guy she has no interest in is likely to offend some. But eyen those who refuse to baited by such adolescent silliness aien't likely to find anything to laugh. about here. ilvliles Fielder) I General release from Hi It) i‘vlal.

Sloppily-made, irritatingly acted

:i ‘\.'i.-.. .‘ X .‘ THE LIST 29