In his last screen outing, 1994’s Clear and Present Danger, Tom Clancy’s heroic spook Jack Ryan was promoted to deputy director of the CIA. Eight years on, he has inexplicably been demoted to the role of humble junior analyst, possibly because he has lost a good two decades off his age and is now embodied by hunky Ben Affleck instead of haggard Harrison Ford.

But if Ryan has gone backwards, the world has most definitely moved on. The setting is the present and a nuclear warhead has fallen into the wrong hands, namely those of a group of terrorists funded by a neo-Nazi industrialist played by Alan Bates. ‘Hitler was stupid,’ he opines. ‘He fought America and Russia, instead of letting them fight each other.’

He plans, therefore, to detonate the nuke on US soil, setting the bomb off in Baltimore during the Super Bowl. The Russians will

shoulder the blame and, before you can say Dr Strangelove, the former Cold War enemies will be involved in a devastating nuclear exchange. Naturally, the only person who can prevent armageddon is


Of course, Clancy never would say, Dr Strangelove. Plodding and earnest, The Sum of All Fears couldn’t be further from the cynicism and darkly comic lunacy of Kubrick’s film. Director Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams), however, is suitably po-faced and handles the action efficiently. Affleck, too, is solid, if lacking in charisma, but his scenes with his doctor girlfriend (Bridget Moynahan) fail to spark. Ryan’s rapport with his mentor, CIA director William Cabot,

coMt DY DRAMA LA SPAGNOLA (15) 90min see

A black comedy drama about love and revenge. despair and survival, La Spagno/a is set in the Australia of 1960. The film's prevailing spirit. however, is emphatically Mediterranean.

Lola, the Spanish woman of the title. is a walking compendium of Latin cliches: voluptuous. fiery and operatic. When her fellow immigrant husband Ricardo deserts her in the film's opening scene running off to join his blonde Australian mistress she throws herself to the ground screaming.

Calmly stepping over her. Ricardo then compounds his crime of desertion by using the family savings to buy a shiny new sports car. leaving Lola (popular Spanish actress tola Marceli) and her fourteen-year- old daughter Lucia (impressive newcomer Alice Ansara) destitute.

l ola plots revenge. but it is neglected Alice who seems likely to become the main victim of her obsession.

Scripted by actor-turned-Awriter Anna-Maria Monticelli and directed by her husband Steve Jacobs. La Spagno/a is clearly a labour of love. a

12 THE LIST 15) 2’2 Aug 700?

Plodding, earnest and po-faced

played by the ever-dependable Morgan Freeman, carries more emotional weight.

The Sum of All Fears’ makers would like you to believe they have their fingers on today’s geo-

political pulse. But the film’s evasions (the book’s

(Jason Best)

project steeped in its author's memories of a multicultural. multi- lingual immigrant childhood in 19603 Australia. Bill the film also owes much to the riotous. carnivalesdue spirit of Federico Fellini ~ a kitchen scene involvrng l ola's visiting sister Manola (Lourdes Bardolome). a phallic courgette and a chorus of boiling

terrorists are Arabs) and implausibilities are fatal flaws. We can just about swallow the notion that Ryan alone possesses the necessary insights into the character of Ciaran Hind’s dark horse of a Russian president but the idea that, time and again, he will be on the spot to perform some muscular derring-do stretches credibility beyond breaking point.

I General release from Fri 76 Aug.

Cultural stereoptyping

saucepans could have come straight from Fellini‘s Amarcord. Some will find La Spagno/a‘s humour and its cultural stereotypes a little crude for their tastes. For others. its blend of comedy and melodrama will prove deliciously piquant. (Jason Best) I Selected release from l "n l6 Aug.

Films screening this fortnight are listed below with certificate, star rating, credits, brief review and venue details. Film index compiled by Miles Fielder

About a Boy ( ll) 0... ((‘hris and Paul Weill. l7K/l'S. 2002) Hugh (iranl. Nicholas Hoult. Toni (‘ollette. 101mm. (irant breaks free of his posh fop screen persona to play layabout Will Freeman in this wining adaptation of Nick Hornby's novel. Supporting a loal'ers' life of telly. booze and birds with wealth from his late father. Freeman's womanising brings him into contact with Marcus (Hoult). the young son of suicidally depressed Fiona (Collette). who proceeds to change the wastrel's life. The Weitz brothers keep things bright and breezy. but top honours go to (irant and Hoult who spend the filth swapping places as the titular character. Dominion. Edinburgh.

Amadeus - Directors Cut (PG) 0... (Milos Forman. 178. 198-1) Murray Abraham. Tom Hulce. Elizabeth Berridge. l72min. Whether we need a new version of l‘orman's Oscar-winning life of Mo/art is a moot point. Screenwriter Peter Shaffer's story of Vienna court composer Antonio Salieri and his plot to engineer the downfall of Wolfgang Atnadeus Mozart. a ‘giggling. dirty-minded creature' with a (iod~given tnusical talent. thankfully remains intact. But what is most clear frotn a repeat viewing is the undiminished quality of Abraham's performance. giving depth to a glitterball of a movie whose colourful surface could otherwise be too diverting. l?(}(‘ Renfrcw Street. (ilasgow. Austin Powers 3: Goldmember (l2) O. (Jay Roach. US. 2002) Mike Myers. Michael ('aine. Beyonce Knowles. 90min. For the second sequel to the enormously popular spy spoof. Myers has written himself a third villainous part so that his sixties super spy now has to deal with not only [)r iivil and Fat Bastard. but also a fella with a golden . . . The three villains (three and a half if you count Mini-Me) once again turn to titne travel to rid themselves of the interfering Powers. opting to go back into the past to kidnap Austin‘s dad. Nigel ((‘ainel Heather (iraham. Michael York and Robert Wagner return as. resrwctively. American agent l-‘elicity Shagwell. Attstin's boss Basil Exposition and Dr iivil's Number Two. (ieneral release.

Bend it Like Beckham (12).... ((iurinder (‘hadha. UK. 2002) Parminder K Nagra. Keira Knightley. Jonathan Rhys- Meyers. l l2min. The parents of llounslow teenager Jess (Nagra) want her to concentrate on her studies. to learn how to cook traditional Indian food. and to marry a respectable young man. Jess. however. is far more passionate about playing football. and is asked by fellow schoolgirl Jules (Knightley) to join the local women‘s' learn. As with Blur/i mt l/lr’ Beach and ll'ltut's ('oukt’ngf’. writer-director (‘hadha confidently tises comedy to explore social. racial and familial issues. with football a device to investigate what it means to be young. female and self-confident in conlernporary Britain. ()deon. Kilmarnock. Blue Velvet ( 18) com (David Lynch. ['52. Wish) Kyle Macl.ach|an. Dennis Hopper. lsabclla Rossellini. l20min. In small-town Middle America. would-be boy detective Macl.achlan finds a severed car on sortie waste ground. When the police shoo him away he decides to do some investigating of his own. A singular fusion of the cosy and the terrifying which blends kitsch and nightmare. B-movie detection and brutal sex to deconstruct our complacent vision of normal society. This is film-making of remarkable imagination and skill. l'('l. liast Kilbride.

Coyote Ugly ( l3) 0. (David McNally. l'S. 2000) Maria Bello. Piper Perabo. John (ioodman. ml min. Presumably the high concept pitch for this latest slice of wish fulfilment was