Strained Stephen King soup

Ht )Hil’ ill? l/«lN 7/38)” DREAMCATCHER (15) 136mm .0.

Aliens: friend or foe? A noble question asked in many movies including Mars Attacks! and Independence Day. In the novel on which this film is based, horror-meister Stephen King puzzles over the proposition and takes the pessimistic view that extraterrestrials are indeed sneaky sons-of- bitches out to obliterate the human race.

But Stephen King muses on a lot of things in his work and it’s all starting to look rather familiar. Take people with spooky supernatural powers (see also Carrie and The Green Mile). They mean well but. bless 'em, they’re misunderstood. In Dreamcatcher, four childhood friends - Jonesy (Damian Lewis). Henry (Thomas Jane). Pete (Timothy Oliphant) and Beaver (Jason Lee) - can read minds and see into the future, gifts given to them by a mysterious boy called Duddits (Donnie Wahlberg). Only when the state of Maine is threatened by malign aliens (see also Tommy Knockers) and a silly sub-plot involving a battle of wills between army boys Morgan Freeman and Tom Sizemore (see also The Stand) can the boys summon their collective powers and thwart the evil hell-bent on destroying the Earth.

Dreamcatcher is thus a convoluted Stephen King soup, strained and served by screenwriter William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) and director Lawrence Kasdan (The Accidental Tourist). Although containing some truly terrifying scenes - the majority of which involve slimy worm creatures with rows upon rows of razor sharp incisors - the film, as a whole, lacks bite. (Catherine Bromley)

ll Hill l E R TRAPPED (15) 105mm .0

\‘Jhy so much 'l‘.()lt(‘,\.’. technrcal skrll and duality (fastrng were laylshed on thus lnherently rrnplausrble kidnap nrovre ls a 't‘y story. but theres no denylng Its arsceral rntenslty Charlr’ze Theron pulls out all the ernotronal stops as an Oregon housewlfe whose six-year old daughter lDakota Fannlrtgl Is kidnapped by Kevrn Bacon. hrs der named brother Prurtt Taylor Vrnce and Bacon's Courtney Love. The plan (lrctates that Theron :s held prrsoner rn 'tet desrgner lakesrde home wth the WC'OUS. yenal Bacon. whrle gentle grant Vrnce 'nrnds the captrye daughter tn a remote cabln. Meanwhrle. The-'orr's husband rlrrsh actor Stuart Townsend. absurdly vnrscast as a precooous anaesthesrologrstr rs trapped rn a hotel room wrth the armed and damaged Love.

Restless hand-held camerawork and far better acting than HOVG‘IISI serrptwwter Greg Iles'

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screenplay desemes allow d'lrector l ms Mandokl to ratchet-up the .sychologrcaI pressure. But then the tense. Involwng drama of these Interlockrng scenes gives way to an overblown chase frnale rnyolvrrtg all the n‘alor players, sundry cars. a loggrng truck and the FBI, Townsend's ser as a lrght-arrcratt prlo also plays a large land largely rrsrblel part. Mandok: claln‘s he was rnsprred by Del/verance and Straw Dogs. By the end. though. thrs rs more trred than rnsprred. lngCl Floyd»

I General release from Fr: 2:3 Aer.


icN'onAN'r FAIRIES (cert tbc) 105mm .0

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(15) 98min (unable to review at time of going to press)

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I ); lAMA THE HEART OF ME (15) 95min .0

Srsters Madelrne l()lrvra erlran‘s. and [):r a" Herr-la l‘l’l‘J-at" ’, rr'w :1 t' Hickle Ipatll Bellamy). Trouble Is. Nickle Is 'v‘;l"':r~l 1'; Ma'lr- ll“'_ truf ".rn'”; yr" aftalr With Drnalt, It's an unrnsplrtr‘g unordrrta "L‘J: frnr'rqle at” ‘-"~1 l. that Is saved from being a con‘plete waste of tzrv‘er 1. some Interestrng character portralts that re.

If all starts Wrth lvladelzne trrtdlng a su-t'x for hr-r Rlckle tells Dinah that she should break tot‘ razny walks and trollekrng beneath the sheets best trrend. Brrdre lAlrson Herd. unhapp, at WNW/s winerzwle'atr- l ma. « sends her a person letter. Wrth a classw; f.‘.ll‘1.‘l)t;l:' lrp, Madelvrw: r, . ' stops to keep her than despite hrs cheatvrg

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Uninspiring love triangle

-- THE LIST 27