115$ Jim." MIX “9‘”

mainly because its action is not tightly plotted or logical. so it lacks the essential logic of farce. On a less technical level. it's just not that funny. Two second rate actors (Michael Caine and Dylan Moran) plot to rip off an English gangster who has lent money to a seedy Dublin club owner (Michael Gambon). Disguise and deception are necessary to maintain the illusion. of course. and it's all done comically badly. Miranda Richardson 's cameo as a gangster Godmother is more worthwhile than the rest of the film. (Steve Cramer)


The List's Video/DVD jockey Paul Dale

names is favourite release of the year.

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Todd Haynes’ tightly measured eulogy to the 503 cinema of Douglas Sirk is a must for anyone's collection. The film re-imagines Sirk’s precious 503 US small-town suburbia with a camp glee. Julianne Moore, Denis Quaid. Haynes and the costume and set departments have raised the bar incredibly high for anyone attempting this type of cinematic homage in the future. The DVD of the film also boasts some great extras.


BBC3, Sun 14 Dec, 10.30pm 00

Welcome to groundhog Gazza day. Entertaining as much of this dDCumentary is (who can resist the sight of a drunken Gascoigne blasting out some Phil Collins karaoke in an empty pub?) you can't escape the nagging feeling that the Channel 4 series which first exposed his delusional. compuISive nature has done the definitive tragi- cornedy take on the former Geordie genius. This simply feels like a tack-on. the ‘stOry' moved on by his brief sojourn in the lower reaches of the Chinese leagues.

True to form. we get the full gamut of Paul Gascoigne: there's Joker Gazza performing a hilarious fake magic trick with a lit cigarette: Gullible Gazza being taken for a ride by oriental street-traders: Depressed Gazza bleating about how unhappy he was as a Child on discovering his compulsive-obsessive nature involved eating more cake than he actually needed. The technical term for that. Paul. is greed. And now. surely. we've had our fill of Gazzamania.

(Brian Donaldson)



Five, Mon 15 Dec, 9pm 0.

The starring presence of Juliet Stevenson is reason enough to give any television drama a chance. even if said drama happens to crop Lip on dear old Five. Indeed. that brilliant. sensitive actress is the only reason to sit through this infuriating one-off 'factual' drama ab0ut a woman's struggle to understand

her son's autism. Stevenson is typically impassioned as Christine Shields. the high-powered banker who quits her job to plough all her energies into researching her oldest son's condition. Shields' guilty need to comprehend Nicky's illness might have reSulted in a poignant story. But a parallel plot in which Hugh Bonneville's Dr Andrew Wakefield (the man who linked the MMR jab to


autism) is ponrayed as a vilified hero. rather than a charlatan who foolishly published his half-baked theories based on mere circumstantial evidence. completely undermines any power the film might have had. The result is a flabby tabloid-tastic. cliche-ridden movie of the week posturing as serious factual drama. (Allan Radcliffe)


BBCZ, Sun 21 Dec, 9pm 0000

You'd have thought that those intrepid. nerdy investigative types (aka the Theroux-ROTTSOn- Moore triptych) would have discovered all there is to discover about the common or garden American fascist. But Louis Thereiix is back on the case. making them (and occasionally himself) look daft. deranged and deluded. Theroux's tactic. as ever. is to get as churnmy as he can. while making it known that he fails to share their world view. This elicits some fine


Channel 4, Boxing Day, 2.50pm .00

Oscar Wilde once said ‘children begin by loving their parents; after a time

they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them’. Which, given the bedtime stories he imparted to his two young sons, is hardly surprising. Filled with about as much festive spirit as a Boxing Day turkey, this trilogy of animated children’s tales is at turns macabre, mournful and vaguely depressing. But, it must be said, also touched by genius. Wilde knew how to string together a good yarn, and didn’t shy away from the big issues just because he was writing for the young ones.

In The Nightingale and the Rose, an aloof princess promises to dance with a young student if he brings her a red rose. When the student’s garden fails to yield one, the nightingale sacrifices her life - in a most unpleasant manner - for the cause of true love. But her death is in vain, and romantic love proves to be elusive. The Selfish Giant has a happier outcome, with the eponymous big fella learning to care for others, but still death and disappointment raise their heads. While in The Devoted Friend, we find manipulation, bullying and the untimely demise of the so-called chum.

It’s all good Christmas fare, with each tale wrapped up in its own distinct style of charming animation. Voiceovers from Pete Postlethwaite, Fiona Allen and Anna Chancellor, to name but three, and a touching musical score, make this pleasant, thought-provoking viewing. (Kelly Apter)

moments here. when a skinhead starts to get agitated over Louis' unconfirmed Jewishness and when he confronts white supremacist Tom Metzger about his favourite bar. a Californian karaoke club populated mainly by people who aren't white. But the best. and most depressing images belong to the 1 1-year- old Gaede twins. a blonde musical duo known as Lamb and Lynx. You may want to laugh or Cry. but it's more likely that you‘ll stare in disbelief as these twins of evil start sieg heiling to their white power folk anthems. (Brian Donaldson)



Channel 4, Christmas Eve, 3.20pm 00

At this time of year, there's nothing better than a spot of family TV to bring everyone together. But don't rely on this one for inducing peace. love and warmth. for this version of Jack and the Beanstalk is

cheerless. charmless and dull.

Turning the fairytale on its head. they've made Jack (Matthew Modinel a property developer whose latest resort happens to be built on a giant skeleton. To cut a long. boring story short. Jack discovers an ancient land at the top of a beanstalk. It turns out that his ancestor the original Jack wrth the cow and beans turned the paradise into a barren dustbowl by nicking the life-giving golden goose. DeSpite the presence of old stars Vanessa Redgrave. Dickie Attenborough and Honor Blackman there's just not enough sparkle in the convoluted plot to keep you going. It gets your goose. is a right turkey

and other such bad puns. (Ruth Hedges)


BBC1, Boxing Day, 6.30pm 000

Literary adaptations on the telly are as much a part of Christmas as mince pies and figgy pudding. Though not at the top of everyone's list of perennial seasonal favourites. misspelt Victorian novel The YOU/7g Visrters has a certain intrigue attached to it thanks to its author Daisy Ashford. who was a mere slip of a girl of nine when she penned the comic tale.

Lyndsey Marshal is goofin seductive as Ashford vapid hussy of a heroine Ethel Monticue. who enj0ys the affections of buffoonish love rivals

I 1 Dec 2003-ti Jan 2004 THE LIST 129