DRAMA LANTANA (15) 121 min 0000

Small cinematic gem from Australia

Shown earlier this year as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival’s inaugural Early Spring showcase, this small cinematic gem from Australia is at last getting a nationwide release. I say small because, like the films of fellow Australian Jane Campion, Ray Lawrence’s Lantana explores the great themes of love and loneliness in

a very quiet and considered manner.

Anthony LaPaglia, last seen playing Daphne’s irresponsible brother in American sitcom Frasier, here takes the role of Leon, a hard-nosed cop numbed by his profession and the cold continuity of his marriage to wife Sonia (Kelly Armstrong). Being a stereotypical Aussie male (‘blokes don’t cry’ etc), Leon deals with feelings of frustration and inadequacy by having an affair with a married woman from the tango class that he and his wife attend. Sonia, meanwhile, is having counselling with Dr Valerie Summers (Barbara Hershey), who is herself embroiled in marital turmoil brought on by the murder of her and her husband’s eleven-year old


Four marriages in total are brought into play, each of them wrought with guilt, pain and loneliness, and because the film opens with a close up of a dead woman’s body concealed in a dense thicket, we know that in the course of the action, one of the marriages will end in fatality.

Part murder-mystery, part psychological drama, part love story, Lantana keeps you on your toes while it also makes you think about the ways in which we deal, or rather don’t deal with emotional pain.

(Catherine Bromley) I Selected release from Fri 23 Aug.

MUSICAL COMEDY THE GURU (cert tbc) 94min 0..

Winning formula for romantic comedy

Working Title. the makers of Notting Hill and Four Weddings . . . have once again repeated their wrnnrng formula for romantic comedies based on how a hapless guy falls in love with a sassy American girl. Except this time they have dispensed with Hugh Grant and all vestiges of realism as they openly embrace the charms of Bollywood to woo their legion of fans. The result is surprisingly droll. despite the ()llCllOS and weak plot.

Ramu Gupta (eri Mistry; is a dance

16 rue LIST 22 Aug :3 Sep 2002

teacher lured to New York by a friend promising him a penthouse apartment. Upon arrival he soon discovers the reality is somewhat different. Determined to make it as a Hollywood star, Ramu unv-rittingly auditions for a porn film. On set he meets the luscious starlet Sharonna Heather Graham who takes pity on Ramu when he cannot get it up on set and offers hrrn words of advrce. Ramu's luck changes when he becomes a late replacement for an alcoholic girru at the birthday party of society girl I. exr (Marisa Tomeil. Immediately smitten. Lexr declares hrrn the Guru of Sex after he repeats Sharonna’s words of advrce to the enraptured audience.

As Ramu's l.illl(} rises so do the number of dance sequences. which are funny. though ultimately a pastiche of Bollywood rather than a homage to. among other things. the Indian industry's ability to amuse an audience wrth banal tales. ()therwrse. the latter rs a trick that Working litle have mastered. lKaleeiii Aftabi I General release from Fri :33 Aug.

DRAMA WHAT TIME IS IT THERE? (cert tbc) 116mm 0.0

After the loss of his father, Taipei street vendor Hsiao—Kang iLee Kang- Shengl agrees to sell his own wristwatch to a young woman. Shiang-Chyi lChen Shiang—Chyr). v~rho's |eavrng on a trip for Paris. Attracted to this stranger, he begins to alter clocks both at home around the city to French time as a way of keeping the girl in his memory. Meanwhile. his grieving mother (Lu Yr- Chrngi is convinced that her reincarnated husband will soon return to their lives . . .

Taiwanese \.vrrter-drrector Tsar Ming- Lrang rThe River. The Ho/ei orchestrates another of his rninrrnalist observations of urban isolation and familial dysfrrnctronality. Characters struggle to cornrnunrcate and fail to find emotional intimacy in their fleeting

EVERYTHING PUT TOGETHER (cert tbc) 85min 0..

To coincide with the recent release of Monster's Ball. here's an opportunity to investigate an earlier feature from director Marc Forster. Shot on digital video for less than Slt).()()(). Everything Put Together is an intense. unsettling work. which like The Son's Room and In the Bedroom. shows how we are hopelesst unprepared to cope with sudden bereavement.

Minimalist observation of isolation

sexual encounters. yet simultaneously Ming-Liang suggests the strange connections that can lie between individuals. lmaginatively lit by French cinematographer Benoit Delhomme. and with some deadpan comic touches. What Time is it There? unwinds in long. static takes. in which the camera lingers over people and locations. allowing viewers the space to construct their own interpretations of the film's mysterious events.

(Tom Dawson)

I Film/rouse, Edinburgh from Mon 26 Aug.

Intense and unsettling

Australian actress Radha Mitchell gives a compelling central performance as the affluent young Californian mother who loses her one-day-old baby Gabriel to SIDS iSudden lnfant Death Syndrome). While her caring husband (Justin Louis) tries to be supportive of her grief. she's treated as an outcast by previously

supportive female friends.

From the outset the soundtrack. with its ominous heart beats and muted cries. creates a mood of apprehension. heightened by Roberto Schaefer's edgy. handheld camerawork. Forster garnishes his material with horror movie flourishes. notably III the nightmarish trip to a storage facility to view Gabriel's belongings. As a satire on suburban conformity and maternal protectiveness, [Everything Put Together would have gained greater power if the supporting characters had been drawn with more arnbrgrrity. yet Forster's directorial

pi‘o\.'~./ess is clearly evident. (Tom Dawson)

I Fi/mhorise. Edinburgh from Mon 26 Aug.


The Sweetest Thing is being billed as a grrlres' answer to lads” gross out comedies such as Amer/run Pie. And it is. And it's Just as rubbish as that pre fucking pap.

So. okay. like. the plot already: Cameron Dia/ and Christina Applegate are girls that Just wanna have fun. lots of it. wrth men, many different men. lherr llatrnate. Selma Blair, however. likes to have her fun with rust one man. but when she and her' fella split. the distraught girl takes lessons in partying from her roommates. But the tables are turned when Dra/ meets Mr Right (Thomas \Jane. over the hill playing a stud

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Lame gags about girls being ‘wacky’

muftrni and she has to figure out how to replace fucking with loving.

What follows is a comedy of errors (or erroneous comedy). wherein Diaz and Jane prrssyfoot around one another. Will) friends. family and a wedding getting in the war, of true love. The lame comic gags revolve around the girls being ‘wacky‘

screeching hysterically, falling over etc. The Sweetest Thing turns Out to be the

closing credits. (Miles Fielder) I General release from Fri (St) Aug.