What starts out as an edgy urban thriller descends into soft porn trash before climaxing with a ridiculously pretentious finale. But let’s rewind a bit. After New York writing professor Frannie Avery (Meg Ryan) becomes a witness in a murder investigation, she begins an affair with detective James Malloy (Mark Ruffalo). A young woman has been mutilated in a pattern of serial killings and Frannie may have seen her in a seedy Manhattan bar on the night she was butchered. But what Frannie saw in the bar’s darkened cellar was the victim giving a man with a distinctive tattoo on his arm a blowjob. So, when Malloy comes calling to her apartment and she notices the same tattoo, Frannie begins to suspect the cop’s the killer. Yet, despite her concerns about Malloy, or rather because of them, Frannie starts to sleep with him.

Yep, it’s that old chestnut: women are turned on by bad guys. Here, it’s a particularly unpalatable conceit, because professor Avery is a smart, single, bored woman and her bad boy is a psychopath. And initially it’s difficult to swallow, because the first

half plays like a gritty thriller. Are we to take Frannie’s questionable actions - and the film - literally, or is this metaphor?

That soon becomes a moot point, as Frannie’s erotic re-awakening involves Ryan writhing around on her bed pleasuring herself and flashing her breasts by candlelight, all filmed in a style you’d expect to see in a late night ‘erotic thriller’ on five. So by the time the film climaxes at the base of a big red lighthouse, where Frannie

Soft porn trash dressed up as art

gets over her fear of cock (or something), the film is smeared with pretentiousness.

You’ve got to wonder why big star Ryan (not to mention talented newcomer Ruffalo) and veteran filmmaker Jane Campion (The Piano director, here adapting Suzanne Moore’s novel) would choose to make this trash. Worse still, they have the cheek to dress it up as art.

(Miles Fielder) I Genera.l release fro/7‘ Fri (7’ .7 Oc.‘

COMEDY cmssic JOUR DE FETE (U) 70min 0000

Four years before he famously caused chaos at a seaside resort on holiday as Monsieur Hulot Jacques Tati's Franc0is the postman cycled into the sleepy French village Samte-Severe-sw-lndre and did likewise. Initially. the conscientious. though bumbling. postie is subjected to a series of pranks by the locals. who are excited by the arrival of their annual fair. A screening in a tent of a documentary film about the hi-tech modern American postal service prompts the mean-spirited rural folk to ridiCule Franc0is' backward. backwater ways. But when he updates his methods. mimicking the American obsession with speed. it's the pranksters' turn to Suffer.

Cue a series of great Visual gags: FrancOIs hitching a ride on the back of a truck. sorting and stamping letters as the vehicle carries his speeding bike along the road: Francois flying past two men hitching up a horse and cart. depositing a letter under the nag's tail as he goes. It's all par for the course for the great French comedian. In fact. Tati cheekin lifted some of the gags direct from his short film. l_' Eco/e des Facteurs (School for Post/neiii. completed two years earlier. The result is a slapstick gem.

This re-lSSUe of JOt/l‘ de Fete is in the original Thomson- colOur. a process that became extinct before prints of the film could be shown back in 1949. Previously. the film was only available as a black and white version that Tati filmed as a precaution, in case the colour process was not perfect. (Miles Fielder)

I Cameo. Edinburgh from Fri 37 Oct.

Postman Francois and his black and white banana skin

28 THE LIST fit? Oct '3 N()'. 'flii'fi


(18) 98min 0..

Tobe Hooper's (974 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre always seemed to be a film that attracted more controversy than it probany deserved. In the UK it was elevated into something of a bole neire by the Ferman autocracy doth/n at the censor's office. Whatever you think of that film, however. it was hugely influential. and its legacy is only now really beginning to show among a clan of obsessive. youngish filmmakers who were entranced by Leatherface and co the first time round

Marcus Nispel. the Frankfurt-born director of promos for Janet Jackson and Faith No More. clearly thought a remake for a new generation was in order. And things do get off to a great start. with a faked police broadcast of the real events of August 20. 1973 when police were dispatched to the remote farmhouse of Thomas Hewitt in TFETVIS County. Texas where they found the butchered remains of 33 victims. This leads into a giddy recreation of the events that led up to the discovery (kids in a camper van pick up a hitcher who kills herself. they break down blah blahi but things fall apart pretty quickly as Nispel iworking with Scott Kosar's 'make over" version of Hooper and Kim Henkel's original screenplay) makes it pretty clear that this is a straight. accessible version of a trashy. arty original that does not intend to take any risks either visually or thematically.

What the hell, it's pretty scary in parts. f3‘."./llllll‘.ll)g in its own regulation sea of hysteria and blood. It may be worth checking out after a skinful. (Paul Dale)

I General release from Fri 3/ October

Halloween horror with Leatherface and his clan


(U) 128min 0000

Charlie Chaplin's blunt ended. brave and genuinely (o, aus 194i) satire gets to take a walk in a brand new print. Petulant critics vilified the film on its initial release. though why they did this is anyone‘s guess. This was Chaplin's seventh film as director and his first that was fully in sound. It is also posslbly the only one of his mowes that will really stand the test of time (being one of only two films during WOrld War 2 to openly attack Hitler).

n. S" h l t. n j, I \ ‘k y. I” , \, J r 1’ )

Anti fascist rhetoric and comic invention

Chaplin plays the dual role of devoted German military pilot and amneSia Victim Schultz. and VlClOLlS dictator AdenOid Hynkel. The two men bear an uncanny resemblance to each other. Schultz. a Jew. returns to his neighbourhood ghetto from the sanatorium Just as Hynkel's army is closing the place down and he gets dragged into a comedy of errors.

As a filmmaker Chaplin doesn't have a feel for tone or structure of someone like Leo McCarey (director of the far superior political satire. Duck Set/pi, so he allows a few longeurs to develop but generally the thing here is the set pieces and the brilliance of the comic invention. Plus. if you don't weep at Schultx's final speech you'd better check yOur pulse. (Paul Dale)

I Fi/iiihouse, Edinburgh from F/‘/ 7 Nov