Propaganda dressed up as action comedy

Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before. Post-11 September, America is in need of reassurance that everything is gonna be alright. So let’s look to that master of subtlety Jerry ‘Pearl Harbor’ Bruckheimer as he leads Joel Schumacher down the path of mediocrity again to steamroll us into becoming complete cynics.

The first half of Bad Company is Pygmalion - the Remix. Chris Rock is the streetwise ignoramus who receives the sow’s ear/silk purse treatment with a view to aping his now dead CIA agent twin brother (whom he never met, so isn’t that fussed about taking a whole wad of cash to impersonate him). The CIA’s top man for the job is, of course, a lardy, moody Welshman (Anthony Hopkins) who has been assigned to orchestrate the retrieval of a nuclear bomb from Russian gangsters in a black market deal.

The action set pieces are remarkably subdued for a Bruckheimer production; he was obviously trying for a bit more Crimson Tide tension than spectacle, but fails. The only real redeeming feature here is Rock, his cheesy wisecracks lift the mood but he still struggles against a mudslide of confused Bond-isms - Hopkins’ character glibly explains what’s going on just in case you don’t know what a ‘double-cross’ is. This isn’t so much 007 as a Herbie Goes to Prague and does some Spying - a straight movie starring a joker trying to be serious, again, failing.

The CIA failed America last Autumn and now they have, via the actions of various fire fighters, NYPD officers and emergency room staff of New York, cunningly shifted the burden of responsibility onto the people. Bad Company ham-fistedly reinforces the altruistic, man-in-the-street as saviour myth and in doing so shows America up as an aggressor with its big fat white ass exposed for a spanking by whoever comes along. Bad Company is a bad propaganda mistake. (Mark Robertson)

I General release from Fri IQ Jul.


Quitting her job as an internet instructor. 30-year-old Parisienne Caroline (Mathilde Seigner) turns her back on city life and buys a goat farm in Vercors. a remote region of sOuthern France. Undett-zrrt-zd by the physical challenges and the social isolation. she throws herself into her new outdoor existence. transforming the site into a leurist-friendly destination. Staying on her land. however. is the former owner.

Contemporary agricultural life

might suggest this is another paen to

HISTORICAL ADVENTURE THE ABDUCTION CLUB (12) 96min .0 In the 1700s. first-born males inherited everything. meaning aristocratic second sons had to marry rich heiresses so as to live as gentlemen. Forming 'abduction clubs'. their mode of wooing was to whisk away the chosen damsel. while her suitor had till dawn the next day to win her hand. The unlucky fate of being second sons befalls our two heroes. childhood friends Byrne (Daniel Lapaine) and Strang (Matthew Rhys). dashing swashbucklers with their sights set on sisters Catherine (Alice Evans) and Anne Kennedy (Sophia Myles). However. these sexy. savvy siblings prove more than a match for their would-be husbands. Though it adds a modern slant on the historical adventure movie by having empowered heroines who are more intelligent than their male counterparts. The Abduction Club. nevertheless fails to fill the potential of

OPERA TOSCA (PG) 124min 00

Not for the faint hearted. Tosca requires a certain amount of stamina. But Benoit Jacquot‘s new adaptation for film demands no less than Olympic levels of endurance.

Puccini‘s tale of jealousy and passion between the two doomed lovers. Tosca and Cavaradossi. has been taken from the stage with disappointingly little imagination. While in theatre. exaggeration is the key to opera‘s physical expression. here.

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Modern historical adventure

its novel premise. The plot and characters both ultimately fail to transcend the ordinary. though the presence of promising prospects Myles and Rhys adds a welcome spark to proceedings. Like director Stefan Schwartz‘s last film. Shooting Fish. The Abduction Club is 90 minutes of light. but immediately forgettable. entertainment.

(Nick Dawson)

I General release from Fri 79 Jul.

Disappointingly unimaginative

dramatic gesticulation abounds in close-up for two hours with no escape. When from the stage. notes soar up into the rafters. taking with them your heart. here. the lips move s-s-slightly out of synch and any spell is broken.

Jacquot. perhaps in an effort to pre-empt such criticism. tries to demonstrate the recording of the piece into the film. lntermittently. the orchestra and soloists (Tosca: Angela Gheorghiu; Cavaradossi: Roberto Alagna and Scarpia: Ruggero Raimondi) are shown performing in their caSual attire. glowing in highly saturated.

grainy black-and-white film.

There is nothing wrong with the performances. the costumes are flawless and the sets exquisite: it's just that altogether as a conception it doesn't work. Opera’s largeness demands space to perform. and filming as if the words exchanged are simply dialogue cramps its style. (Ruth Hedges)

I GFT, Glasgow from Sun 27 Jul.


A middle-aged Italian woman‘s life changes forever when her husband is run over and suddenly dies. Lonely

and distraught. with only her interfering

mother as company. the widow's grief is thrown into chaos after discovering that her husband has had a secret gay lover for seven years. An emotional

Pedro Almodovar territory

the widowed and cumurdgeonly Adrien (Michel Serrault). who regards the female newcomer With considerable suspicion: how. he wonders. can a woman on her own possmly manage Such a workload? An unexpected box-office success across the Channel. where it attracted over two million spectators. The Girl from Paris is a confidently shot debut feature from writer—director Christian Canon. The opening shot of the camera swooping over the landscape

38 THE LIST 1.”, .Jul -1 Aug 70")?

rural France. yet the film is actually a sympathetic ponrait of the difficulties of contemporary agricultural life. where livelihoods have been decimated by mad cow disease. And it's also an impressively acted character study. which charts the wary friendship that gradually develops between two individuals seemingly divided by age. gender and background.

(Tom Dawson)

I Film/rouse. Edinburgh from Fri 26 Jul: GFI'. Glasgow from Fri 9 Aug.

rollercoaster ensues. as the widow

searches out the gay lover and the 'alternative family' he has surrounded himself with. Here the sparks really fly. as the two bereaved battle to come to terms With their grief and the rest of their life.

Director Ferzan Ozpetek. who created a buzz with his previous offering The Turkish Bath . now treads territory that is straight out of Spanish genius Pedro Almodovar's work. Ignorant Fairies suffers in comparison. It needs greater visuals. stronger drama and passions. and quirkier performers. Instead. it is often muted and low-key. However. it constantly surprises. forcing the Viewer to confront whether one ever can understand a person‘s life lully. Ozpetek is aided and abetted by a game cast. particularly Margherita Buy on blazing fOrm as the widow. and Stefano Accosisi as her young gay rival. (John Binnie)

I Fi/rnhouse, Edinburgh from Sat 20 Jul.