in economic free-fall. UGC Renfrew Street. Glasgow; Filmhouse. Edinburgh.
Panic Room (15) 0000 (David Fincher. US. 2002) Jodie Foster. Forest Whitaker. Jared Leto. l l2min. Panic Room may well be more style than substance but it nevertheless soon has the viewer gripped. Jodie Foster‘s rich. emotionally bruised divorcee and her teenage daughter have barely taken possession of their new Manhattan home when they have need of its fortiﬁed. hidden chamber aka the panic room. On their ﬁrst night in the place. they are forced to take refuge there when three intruders break in and what follows is a tense. cunning game of cat and mouse. Foster gives shades to her character that the script doesn‘t deserve. and of the bad guys. Whitaker is doleful and honourable and Leto is cartoon-like as the loud-mouthed Junior. FTH Cinema. Falkirk: Discovery Theatre. Isle Of Bute.
Pollock ( I8) 000 (Ed Harris. US. 2002) Ed Harris. Marcia Gay Harden. 122min. Yet another tortured anist story. The life of American abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock is recreated with a formulaic approach. revealing nothing new about the famous painter. Though the acting and directing remain relatively unﬂawed. the script falls ﬂat. It also requires the audi- ence to be overly sympathetic to a woman- ising wife-beater. No thanks. FTH Cinema. Falkirk.
Replay (La Repetition) (l5) (Catherine Corsini. France/Canada. 2001) Emmanuelle Beart. Pascal Bussieres. 95min. Ten years after a friendship turned sour two women. Nathalie and Louise. meet again. But their past involving jealously and a suicide attempt cannot be easily forgotten. Adam Smith. Kirkcaldy.
Resident Evil (15)» (Paul W.S. Anderson. US. 2002) Milla Jovovich. Michelle Rodriguez. Eric Mabius. lOOmin. Having successfully put Mortal Kombat into our cinemas. Anderson tries the trick again with a riotous take on Resident Evil. After a secret experiment releases the T-Virus into an underground genetic research facility know as The Hive. Alice (Jovovich) is led inside by crack commandos Rain Ocampo (Rodriguez) and Matt Adison (Mabius) on a mission to discover what caused the leak- age. lt‘s action all the way. and as with the games the further into the adventure we go. the more difficult the opponents (zombies in this case) are to overcome. But the ﬁlm swiftly descends into an action ﬂick for pre- pubescent boys. Hence all of gratuitous shots of Jovovich‘s considerable talents. General release.
Return to Never Land (U) oo (Robin Budd & Donovan Cook. US. 2002) Voices of Harriet Owen. Blayne Weaver. Corey Bunon. Min tbc. Wendy has grown up and now has two children of her own. The oldest. Jane. having witnessed the dev- astation caused by the blitzkrieg conditions of World War II. no longer believes in Peter Pan and stories of ‘faith. trust and pixie dust‘. That is until the night before she is to be evacuated to the countryside. when Captain Hook kidnaps her mistakenly believing that she is Wendy. Jane rediscov- ers the magic — unfortunately the viewer doesn’t. Everything about the film is dated. from plotting to animation. Cineworld. Falkirk.
Scooby-Doe (PG) oo (Raja Gosncll. US. 2002) Freddie Prinze Jr. Sarah Michelle Gellar. Matthew Lillard. 87min. Scooby the movie starts well. pitching itself somewhere between tribute and send-up of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon. The casting is astute. best of all. Matthew Lillard as stoned slacker Shaggy. Even the computer-generat- ed Scooby himself isn‘t lacking in charm. But Scooby-Dot) sadly fails to live up to the promise of its opening reel. Admittedly. the film's bold playpen colours are fun and there are some clever gags that will score with the show‘s pothead following. But the jokes soon wear thin. General release.
The Scorpion King (12) ooo
(Chuck Russell. US. 2002) Dwayne Johnson. Kelly Hu. Michael Clarke Duncan. Min tbc. This prequel to and spin-off from The Mummy Returns. is a much less star-
studded affair than the Indiana Jones-style adventure. The Scorpion King remains firm- ly in ancient Egypt where the evil ruler of the notorious city of Gomorrah is busying himself laying waste to the various nomadic tribes of the surrounding desert. On the verge of extinction. the few remaining tribes pool their resources and hire an assassin. Mathayus (Johnson aka The Rock). to inﬁl- trate the enemy camp and kill a sorcerer whose visions give the Gomorrah‘s ruler the upper hand. Discovery Theatre. Isle Of Bute. The Shipping News (IS) oooo (Lasse Hallstrom. US. 2002) Kevin Spacey. Julianne Moore. Judi Dench. l 17min. Annie Proulx‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about a depressed middle-aged father who takes his daughter off to his family‘s ancestral home in barren Newfoundland after the unfaithful wife (though love of his life) is killed in a car wreck. is an eccentric black comedy. but also a raw. melancholy yarn. What hope. then. for arch sentimentalist Hallstrom not leaving Proulx‘s masterpiece ﬂoundering? None it would seem. yet against the odds Hallstrom delivers a water- tight piece of drama. directed and acted with beautiful restraint. particularly by Spacey who plays the depressed protagonist Quoyle. Odeon. Dunfermline; Odeon. Kilmamock. Shrelt (U) 0.... (Andrew Adamson. Vicky Jenson. US. 200]) Voices of Mike Myers. Cameron Diaz. Eddie Murphy. 90min. Shrek will have Walt Disney turning in his cryogenic freeze tank. This truly sub- versive animated film takes pot shots at fairytale mythology. while singling out Uncle Walt‘s beloved Snow White. Cinderella. Pinocchio. et al. Under the guise of a quest to rescue a princess from a dragon undertaken by the eponymous green ogre (which kids will love). Shrek also ruth- lessly pillages corporate Disney. satirising its theme parks and executives. And who‘s behind all this? Producer Jeffrey Katzenberg of Disney rival studio DreamWorks. also formerly head of. yep. Disney. Selected release. Snow Dogs (U) 00 (Brian Levant. US. 2002) Cuba Gooding Jr.. James Coburn. Nichelle Nichols. 99min. This unremarkable Disney comedy follows a Miami-based dentist as he discovers his pre- viously unknown Eskimo roots. Though competently made and featuring a reliable lead and cast. it still struggles to raise a decent laugh. Not unwatchable. but nothing s cial. Circuit Cinema. Livingston. Spider-Man (I2) eooo (Sam Raimi. US. 2002) Tobey Maguire. Kirsten Dunst. lZlmin. A big budget blockbuster based on a best-selling superhero comic book — you‘d be right to expect spectacular effects and bland storytelling in a flashy but ultimately dull film. Go see Attack ofthe Clones for that particular exercise in bring- ing in the box ofﬁce bucks. Spider-Man. by contrast. is a delightfully unexpected mix of spectacle and engrossing human drama. It‘s surprising that Raimi. who made his name with the highly stylised genre pastiche (The Evil Dead) should focus so much on charac- ter. The cast acquit themselves well. although Dafoe hams up the villainy. But Raimi‘s lead. Tobey Maguire. brings just the right amount of knowing humour to Parker/Spidey. which is emblematic of Raimi's whole. winning approach to the film. General release. Spirit: Stallion oi Cimarron (U) 000 (Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook. US. 2002) Matt Damon. James Cromwell. Daniel Studi. 84min. Spirit is an animal fable in which none of the non-human char- acters speak. We do. however. get inside the heart and head of the movie‘s eponymous equine hero thanks to narration by Matt Damon (conveying Spirit‘s thoughts) and songs by Bryan Adams (his feelings). Above all. Spirit. a wild mustang living in the Old West. yearns to run free - until a lasso lands him in the hands of the US cav- alry. While some viewers will be roused by Spirit‘s questioning of the US myth of Manifest Destiny. others will be stirred by the quality of the animation. which seam- lessly integrates traditional hand-drawn ani-
mation with computer-generated images. General release.
Split Wide Open (l5) (Dev Benegal. India. 2002) Ayesha Dharker. Rahul Bose. Laila Rouass. lOOmin. Set in modern day Bombay. Split Wide Open pits those locals who have embraced the modern world — mobile phones. ﬂash cars - against the impoverished street urchins. Ster Century. Edinburgh.
Star Wars Episode 1: the Phantom Menace (U) ooe
(George Lucas. US. 1999) Ewan McGregor. Liam Neeson. Natalie Portman. l32min. On the surface. the plot structure isn‘t a million light years away from the original Star Wars. ln visual terms. The Phantom Menace stands alone in the cinematic universe. At times you‘d think there was more animation than live action on screen - and maybe it's this toning down of the human element that has left the film lacking soul. Ster Century. Edinburgh.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (PG) 00 (George Lucas. US. 2002) Natalie Portman. Hayden Christensen. Ewan McGregor. l43min. A very slight improvement to Episode I. Attack of the Clones suffers from a bad script and sappy acting. Ten years on. the Republic faces a mounting separatist move- ment. necessitating the introduction of a clone army to assist the overwhelmed Jedi. Coupling this plot-line. romance blossoms between Padme Amidala (Portman) and Anakin Skywalker (Christensen). Flashy special effects don‘t salvage this tension- less series of bloated action scenes. Attack of the Clones will only please the truly besotted fans. Selected release.
Stuart Little 2 (U) 00 (Rob Minkoff. US. 2002) Michael J. Fox. Geena Davis. Hugh Laurie. 77min. The inevitable money-spinning sequel to the unlikely yarn of a small. white mouse adopted by a mid- dle-class New York family. A new playmate for Stuart arrives in the shape of a small
canary. who falls into the passenger seat of his toy car as Stuart races through the city streets. Stuart invites his new friend back to his house. but an evil falcon is on his tail. It doesn‘t get any more twee than this. The voices work well enough and the CG] ani- mation is good. if not adventurous. The problem is that it‘s distinctly lacking in humour. for both kids and adults. General release.
QSunahine State (15) me (John Sayles. UK. 2002) Edie Falco. Angela Bassett. Timothy Hutton. min. The Sunshine State is Florida. The ﬂctional setting of John Sayles' new film is Delrona Beach. a community upon which change is being forced. Property developers are buying up land now seen as a prime location for build- ing condominiums and golf courses for the incoming rich. Sayles takes a complicated subject - how little control everyday people have over change in their lives — and treats it intelligently. opting not for ﬂashy specta- cle or cheesy sentiment. but well-crafted storytelling and solid drama which he infus- es with a great deal of wry humour. GFT. Glasgow; Cameo. Edinburgh.
Tape (15) 000 (Richard Linklater. US. 2002) Ethan Hawke. Uma Thurman. Robert Leonard. 86min. A reunion of high school friends Vince (Hawke) and Johnny (Leonard) turns sour when Vince accuses Johnny of raping his childhood sweetheart. The dialogue spices up when the girl in question. Amy (Thurman). turns up and destroys the picture of a rape that the guys have built up. Each version of that nights events justifies the protagonist‘s personal standpoint. so it‘s difficult to know who to believe. Set entirely in a motel room and played out in real time. the theatrical roots of Tape. adapted from a Stephen Belber play. are accentuated by Linklater who opts to ﬁlm in the style of the great German auteur Rainer Wemer Fassbinder (The Tears of Petra Von Kant. in particular). GFT. Glasgow.
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