C’est la diabolique Deneuve as Queen Anne d’Autriche Renaissance cities are cool. Swords are cool. Heaving bosoms are cool. So why, despite possessing all these and more, is The Musketeer so unengaging? Maybe it’s the way it plays like a series of cliched episodes rather than a plotted drama. Maybe it’s Tim Roth, who doesn’t have nearly enough fun as the dastardly Febre, killer of D’Artagnan’s parents and general man in black. Maybe it’s the shockingly frog-like Mena Suvari as love interest Francesca, who simpers dully. Or maybe it’s the fact that this tired remake of a remake of a remake has nothing new to offer besides a few bombastic fight scenes.

You must know the approximate plot by now. Young swordsman D’Artagnan (Justin Chambers) arrives in Paris to join the now-discredited Musketeers, has a few comedy duels with Aramis and the rest, discovers Cardinal Richelieu is at the bottom of an evil plot to increase his influence through starting a war, jumps out of a few windows into a few haystacks, rides his horse into the ground and then runs the villain through.

The cast isn’t bad (Catherine Deneuve as Queen Anne d’Autriche and Stephen Rea as Cardinal Richelieu should however both be suitably ashamed of themselves), but elsewhere things falls far short of the joyous Richard Lester/Michael York version. The fascinating, messy conflict between church, monarchy and mob is rather simplified but on the plus side the closing swordfight is a great laugh, all Crouching Tiger acrobatics and Errol Flynn panache. Elsewhere this is shockingly dull though, and that, surely, is one thing a Musketeer film should never be. (James Smart)

I General release from Fri 28 Jun.


Hardball has too many adult themes to be a kids movre and too many kids to appeal to adults. Plus Keanu Reeves as usual stinks. so it comes as something of a shock that this film is both engrossmg and enjoyable.

Keanu Reeves plays Connor O‘Neil a gambler in debt to street crooks and running out of time to make good his loss. He borrows funds from his trader pal Mike McGIone (Jimmy Fleming) on the condition that he coach a baseball team based in the projects that Mike's company sponsors. Of c0urse. working with kids turns Connor's life around and there is also the added benefit of an attractive. single teacher Mrs Wilkes (Diane Lane) for Keanu to stare blankly at. apparently a sign of aflechon.

In contrast the kids that make up the black baseball team are superb. Each he s their own gimmick. They positively

Keanu gets a woody for baseball

lift the film \‘Jlill their fine r)er‘forriiances. echoing the lives of under))riyilegerl and underfunded youths living under constant threat of (Il'lll‘O. At its best. the lighthearted and the hard hitting meet head on. Also check out the tremendously silly but fun r'eritlition of a Notorious BIG tune. (Kaleem Aftabi

I General release from Fri L’l Jun

28 THE LIST PT; -1 J. 1/7,?

(:i-iitbrir-N's BIG FAT LIAR (PG) 88min 0.

As excuses go. ‘a l-lollyi.'.rood producer stole my hori‘ework' certainly beats blaming the fari‘ily pet. For once. however. t-iiiyear-old Michigan schoolboy and (IllEill‘lNOll fibber Jason Shepherd is telling the truth: sleazy ll‘OVlQ mogul Marty Wolf (Paul Glafl‘liiill did purloin his overdue term paper and is turning it into a blockbuster filn‘.

Naturally, neither Jason's parents nor his teacher believe him. So Jason and his best friend. Kaylee lAmanda Bynesi. set off for LA to confront Wolf in his lair and get him to confess the theft. When the producer refuses. Jason and Kaylee camp at t in the Unwersal Studios back-lot and plot therr revenge.

Cocky (iiii(:k-\.'.iitte(l Jason played by Frankie lvlunv. the star of TV show i't/i'alco/rn in the Mrrlu‘lcn could be a younger brother of John Hughes' smootii-tongued skiyei‘. lerris Buelier'. Indeed. Big l-at Liar has much in common ‘.'.’lill Hughes' 80:; work.

Broad characterisation and cartoon like set pieces

including broad (Elliil‘é‘lCIOl'lESEliiOll arr: cartoon-like set pieces. Several of these hit home peatitift. :‘,: its a (might to see Giamatti's \.i"."ol7' en‘erge tr'or“ nis pool <:o~.'er‘ed ‘.'.'lill pit.c- dye r‘eseii‘blihg

an overgr‘o‘.'.'ri Sri‘tiif. Hut lif'SS'. ‘il'l‘f? director Sham) l. e‘. 's [liillillléllif ‘or‘ ii‘or‘tage seguerices set to dire American r >ck does 'a’;l‘.1l 1c sr:c~ the fun. iJasori Best:

I General release i‘r‘ort‘ l 'i 76-; Juli.


(15) 98min 0..

The life of Jean luc rChar‘ies Bei‘lirigi. a successful Versailles gei‘ontoiogist i.-»./ith a beautiful young unite lsa iNatasha l-tegnier: and a loyal ll‘lfSIlOSES (An‘ira Kasai). is disrupted by the sudden reappearance of his seyeritysonietliing father Maurice ilvlichel Bougueti. ‘.‘.l‘;() decades ear'ier had walked out on his fariiily to become a doctor in Afr-ca. The i'lftE"()ll-Z seems to have no regrets about his past actions or his lack of paterrrai ‘eeings and. to Jean—Luc's disn‘ay develops a ‘.'.’(ill'l‘ rapport ‘.'.'lil‘. lsa.

Belonging to a tradition of French cinema that coolly dissects bourgeois repression. this elegantly photographed and lll‘l)l'(?:%i$l‘.(?|‘,’ acted ()eu'pai :i'raiha from French director Anne Fontaine and sort>er)‘.'.'r'=ter' Jacques l-iescri: is notable for its ambiguity it's unclear whether ‘.'.'e're '-.'.atcl)iiig a flashback to actia exerts or wen-ring an iiidi\.'i(lual's anxret‘, -fiileo daydi'eaiii. ‘.'.'l‘. le Boaziiiet's Maurice 'etgt=r‘s a suitably spectral. mysterious presence. Ayoidirig simplistic psycroogical explanations for its characters' actions. the filri‘ scrut riises t'ic- ‘athe" soi‘, sort? c. wztlt icy assurance. and climaxes in an eri‘otior‘ai confrontation of ‘.(‘l‘()l"()tifi intensity lTori) Dana/son.

I Edinburgh Film/rouse from

./' ' "

Things my father never taught me

:r‘. “r er,

.III ("(I \thII



(18) 123min u

A piece of highly iriti)r()\.'ist:<l film‘- viiaking from director M.chael Radford ill Post/nor. in which the cast developed their own characters Without the safety-net of a traditional script. The Blue Iguana of the title is a nondescript strip )oint in the San Fernando Valley. where a number of fer tale dancers are finding their lives at a crossroad. The child-like Angel (Darryl Hannah) is {lifell‘lJi'Y‘g} to p ><:oii‘e a foster—riiother. Stormy (Sheila Kelleyi has to face up to a ‘igtire from her past. Jo iJennifer' T illyl is struggling y-xrth an unplanned pregnancy .lasr“:"e 'Sa'itli‘a On

Physical and emotional nakedness

doesn't want her new boyfriend to Kl‘.t)‘.'.’ about her work ‘.'.l1: s‘. rit...c:)it‘er Jesse (Charlotte Ayannai has to contend ‘.'.’|ill a (lll\t§lt‘tlli', abusixe partner.

flitting from, t'<:"t '>‘ house t)‘,'£llltt.".‘§ 1:: the :::irxtt"‘n'". :xi.‘-\::'..i::-a. "y; f" Blue Iguana is a dreary .i".ii‘.':>l\.iri;) ex;>er‘-c~"<:e ‘.'."'LT-li‘: cast "1; 3-9;: .:;\."'.-A' to the mood o‘ purported grrttuess. The ‘lii‘s Fem) :c t " : between physica and e'i‘otio'ial "iéir\(}(l"(?f3ti. t"-:> giai‘ l‘i'f‘.'.'iri"‘ t'wv :x.:‘ c (urinate persoi‘as are he! t'eateu ‘.'.'l’.". a'w ca". a' .t t"-.‘~ :itdlt‘”

s ir;~p'ots o'ili. extermi ai‘ already i".:t';i.:te;i “a t'i‘iu Il.:'.'.