The great nonagenarian Manoel de Oliveira's (Abraham Valley. The Letter) latest centres on Michel Piccoli's ageing actor. Gilbert Valence. whose integrity and dignity are indisputable. But will taking a part in an adaptation of Joyce's Ulysses call these attributes into question?

Clearly working wrth the fine American filmmaker John Crawford (John Malkowch) is hardly selling-out. But Valence's realisation that he's taken the role on too short notice. and that the language is maybe beyond him. leads to the very things he holds in such high-esteem being called into question. This is nothing less than a subtly worked through. marvellous meditation on fading powers. (Artificial Eye VHS and DVD retail) (Tony MCKibbin)


(15) 87min one

1mime '

W Hollywood likes to think it can ponray the lives of Sisters. mothers and daughters with style and pathos. In reality. it's become far too easy to mould complicated relationships into a digestible two-hour formula. Not so wrth Nicole Holofcener's Love/y and AmaZing. When matriarch Jane (Brenda Blethyn) goes into hospital for liposuction her children

86 THE LIST I) to Jan 2(1):)

are left to cope. and finally embrace their neuroses. Holofcener's unerring eye for the humour of unpleasant situations keeps this from being self-indulgent. while her Willingness to make her characters' phobias unattractive and self-destructive instead of endearing keeps (is hooked. The appeal of the body beautiful is a powerful force. Holofcener suggests. but maybe the plight of love is stronger. A near perfect piece. (Metrodome VHS and DVD rental)

(Anna Millar)

THRILLER NINE QUEENS (15) 113min no.

Set in Buenos Aires Just before the recent economic collapse. this thriller tells the stop; of two incompetent con men and their convoluted attempt to pull a huge philately swindle. of all things.

It's a nicely paced film. WlIh some wonderful bits of character development that w0uld put Davrd Mamet to shame. Gaston Pauls and Ricardo Darin in the leads are by turns pathetic and hilarious. And director Fabian Bielinsky keeps things bubbling along nicely. A fine feast. this is Patagonian tiner textured beef fOr the suspiCious minded. (Optimum VHS and DVD rental and retail)

(Paul Dale)



If actors were like condiments. Freddie Prince Jnr would surely be the HP Sauce of the silver screen a necessary evil that lowers the tone of the whole Culinary experience. As such. any film aimed at tormenting Herr Prince generally gets maxrmum kudos. Not so With this tritefest. Think Scary

iti'ovie. Now relate it to teen i'om-coms. Imaginative. huh?

IO T/rr/lgs / Hate About You. She's All That. Clueless and a stack mOre all come under the parody axe. Pity then that Not Another Teen Mowe lacks the charm ant irreverence that made these monies such a Success. By shooting simply for the i’eccgnition factor. this fails to be big Or clever. iColumbia Tristar VHS and DVD rental) (Anna Mi'lar:

DRAMA UNFAITHFUL (15)118min 00


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Unfaithful promises a lot more than it delivers. A remake of the French thriller La Femme Iii/icicle and directed by Adrian Lyne (he of bunny boiling Fatal Attraction fame. it stars the stOic Richard Gere as the cheated husband next to the ultra-luminOus Diane Lane as the v'.'a\,*.'.’;.ird wife. and peddles some hot tottie in the form of French gigolo Olivier Martinez.

Nevertheless. the tale of infidelity isn't sexy enough to be erotic. nor Suspenseful enough to be riveting. There's Just enOugh moralistic finger- wagging to fulfil the Hollywood notion of Justice the cheating ceiiple get their corneuppance - and the all-pen/ading message is that adultery doesn't pay. so don't do it. Hardly worth waiting two hours to find that one Out. (Fox Pathe VHS and DVD rental and retail) iMaureen Ellis‘i


The Scots love affair with the chip supper is the stuff of culinary legend. There's no better post-pub snack than a greasy poke of chips'n'cheese. while in school canteens the length and breadth of the nation every liinchtime. Caledonra's next generation of cartlio-vascular' patients are at work busrly firming up their arteries on nourishing portions of fires. (fl'()‘.‘.ltllt() in salt and Vinegar.

This playful EXsS documentary uses the annual scramble for the Chip Shop of the Year award to delve into Our thriving chippy culture. We follow lucky undercover Judge Andy Gray as he assesses the work of the ten finalists. and there's a potted history of the humble fried tattie's infiltration into the national consciousness from its origin in Belgium. of all places.

But the most entertaining contribution comes from 17st Tam Cowan. who admits to being sexually aroused by crispy golden batter. I'll leave you with that delicious image.

(Allan Radcliffe)


Channel 4, Sun 5 Jan, 8pm 00.

As a slice of politics. the wrttily titled Between Iraq and a Hard Place does everything you could wish for in a pr'imetime programme. It is provocative. educational,

EX:S has had its chips

meticulously researched and defiantly anti- establishment. Anyone happy wrth the idea that we should blithely go to war with Saddam Hussein must watch it (I write this as the farcical face-off centinues).

But the three satirists are in an awkx'rar‘d place. where the political reality is so bleak it's no longer funny. Rival lefties Michael Moore and Mark Thomas are more naturally acerbic and have negotiated this contradiction more smootth but Bremner. Bird and Fortune suppress their righteous anger in favour of an MOR cabaret style that feels all wrong. The show is like NUWS/l/g/lf with impressions.

You sense the three of them know this. They underuse Bremner as a mimic and prefer to )voke not so much laughter as gasps of shock. If they cOuId have ditched the laughs altogether. it wouldn't have seemed such a hybrid.

(Mark Fisher)


BBC1, Thu 9 Jan, 9pm 00

So. which brilliant. maverick professional is Robson Greer playing in his latest 'drama'. I wonder"? Doctor"? Detective? Hospital porter? The conundrum ienains wrth me until. five minutes hefo'e the end of t;>ile one. the

words 'due diligence' yank me out of my senii~comatose state and force me to conclude this has something to do wrth the legal profession.

Trust finds the Geordie luvvie expanding his range to include ‘cold fish with warm centre'. denoted by his wearing of a severe. slicked-back hairdo and the addition of a permanently curling upper lip. Such a pity that for this branching out he's opted to align himself With a silly script. lan McShane and a bunch of pretty. dull supporting actor‘s.

In fact. the sole reason for i.~./atcliirig this with pIeaSure would be if your copy of Robson and Jerome's Unchained Melody' was never off the turntable and your telly is constantly tuned to cable reruns of Soldier Soldier. Otherwrse. don't bother. (Allan Radcliffe)


Happiness is a show that grows. In the first episode I watched. Paul Whitehouse's character Danny the hapless self-deliisional bachelor who makes a living as the vorce of plasticine bear Dexter seemed like a one- dimensional slimebag. Enter Johnny Vegas as the loveable drunken rogue Charlie and the series was transformed into a belly laughs bonan/a.

Series two begins in much the same way.