Impressive on a larger scale
FANTASY THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS
(12A) 179min (unable to review at time of going to press)
So, what do we want to know about The Two Towers? Well, we want to know what’s new and what’s different about the next three hour installment of writer-director Peter Jackson’s mammoth adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s epic sword-and-sorcery fantasy adventure.
Apparently, The Two Towers is darker in tone than the first film, as the Fellowship of heroes disband to undertake four separate missions in a combined effort to put pay to the evil forces of Sauron and destroy the one magic ring to rule them all. There are new characters - on the side of good Ewoyn (played by Australian actress Miranda Otto) and Théoen (Bernard Hill) and on the side of evil Gima Wormtongue (Brad Dourif). There are also two fully computer animated characters, Gollum, the slimy creature obsessed with the ring who leads Frodo into the dark lands of Mordor, and Treebeard, the walking, talking giant, well, tree.
Gollum’s being hailed as something of an innovation in CGI technology, but what’s likely to impress on a larger scale is the battle of Helm’s Deep featuring Sauron’s 10,000-strong army of Uruk-hai. The latter are computer created using a piece of software called Massive which apparently gives each and every digital opponent it’s own, individual artificial intelligence. Oh yeah, one more thing: the battle cries of the Uruk-hai were provided by a stadium filled with 25,000 cricket fans with director Jackson leading the chant. (Miles Fielder)
I General release from Wed 78 Dec.
34 THE LIST ‘7 Def; 7W)? '2 Jim QTY/é
COMEDY LIKE MIKE (PG) 100min 0
Two feet shorter than the iconic basketball legend Michael JOrGélr‘ — whose career resurgence from retirement y'ril. zinprove foliox'ring this lTlOVIOS name-check — Calm? rplayed by 4ft Gin rapper Lil' Bow Won'ri discovem a pair of \.'.'(:-atl‘.ere:: sneakers bearng the mysterious initials. MJ. and the legend: ‘He's got game'. Alongside fellow orphan pal Murph iJonathan LIDFTICKé- a: a Knights basketball game. the llltIC‘ man stands up and
urine: evably manages to slam dank and 'scnool' tne hostile NBA player. Tracey Bey'noit s Morris Chestnut... The fans gc cra/y. Calvin is recruited for the struggiii‘g NBA team and ."lS reluctant mentor. Reynolds. endures his Irritating antics as he leads the team to Success With his magic sneakers. Off (:0er. however. Crispin Glover's malevolent guardian Stan Bittleman's only concern is to casl‘ il‘, on the kid's success.
(18) 120min (unable to review at time of going to press)
Writer-direxnor Duncan Roy's debut uses the modus Operandi of almost every British sitcom — the working class aspiring to the upper class — in this examination of British society Circa 1979. Putting on the airs and graces in AKA is Dean Page iMatthew Leitchl. a
Half-hearted basketball Cinderella
Acting skills here are questionable and depth 0" c taracter lvmited. Rooert Forster's efforts are commendable as the tOugh yet i‘)ersonable coach, but Lipnicki's soppy role is easily forgotten Unimaginatzve dialogue falls feul withm the predictable cheesy plot. Worse. the basketball set‘tuences are formulaic. while cameo appearances of NBA stars and a fairytale ending (10 not impress. A half-heartc-(‘l basketball Cinderella. ilsabel Campbell,
I General release from Fri 13 Dec.
Essex boy dun good
young lad from a lower-class famin from Romford. Essex.
Dean stumbles across a way to get rich gtiick (an act repeated en masse by Essex boys during Thatcher's reign of terror). to \‘JlI. posing as a toff. And the fake toff goes off to Paris to live the life of. pretending to be the son of the sexually voracIOus Lady Francine Giyffoyn (Diane Quicki. Well dun. son. (Miles Fielderi I Film/rouse. Edinburgh, Fri I3—Sun 75 Dec.
ANIMATION HEY ARNOLD! THE MOVIE
(U) 76min (unable to review at time of going to press)
Another Nickleodeon cable TV cartoon (see Rugrals et all makes it to the big screen. And as with many TV-to—film transpositions. Hey Arnold! The Mei/re comes with a plot souped up for the big screen. Where the TV series dealt with such down to earth matters as peer preSSure and unrequited love in the school playgi'Ound. the movie has bolted on to it a story about a ruthless property developer. Scheck ivoiced by Paul Sorvinoi. who's intent on turning Arnold's cozy little blue-collar neighbourhood into a giant shopping leisure mall.
Of cOLirse. American-football headed Arnold (Spencer Kleini and his pals (who include a grandparent voiced by Simpsons star Dan Castellaneta) are having none of this. Even Helga (Francesca Smith). the girl whose aggressron towards Arnold hides her love for him, helps Out. SO too does mercenary babe Bridgit (Jennifer Jason Leighi. who provrdes the film wrth some high speed action sequences. Guess you need those when you animate at getting for three times the length of a
regular TV ‘toon. (Miles Fielder) I General release from Fri 20 Dec.
Arnold with added action