CATWOMA (12A) 104 min 0

41'3'V1’ /‘

When mousy graphic designer Patience Phillips (Halle Berry) accidentally learns dangerous secrets about an anti-ageing cream soon to be launched by global cosmetics corporation Hedare, security guards flush her down a waste pipe into the river, where she drowns. But a mysterious Egyptian cat breathes new life into her, and she is reborn as the ass-kicking, whip-cracking Catwoman. The experience of watching Catwoman is the direct opposite of this feline resurrection: you feel as if your living soul is being sucked out through your eyes and ears. I would rather eat soiled cat litter than watch this mind- rotting super-heroine movie again. Why did the producers hire French director Pitof, whose first film, Vidocq, was like watching a hyper- kinetic pop video on fast-forward? And why dress Oscar-winner Halle Berry in skin-tight, fetishistic leather- gear then slice her performance into sushi-like slivers, rendering invisible both her curvy beauty and her thespian talents? Although Patience doesn’t remember Catwoman’s aberrant nocturnal activities, they confirm what weird old ‘cat lady’ Ophelia (Frances Conroy) tells her: that she is now the servant of the


Very loosely based on the classic Korean folk tale Jang (. Hongryun, A Ta/e of Two S/sters hegrns wrth srsters Sun‘r and So Yeon (lm Soo—Jung and Moon Geun-youngr returning hour,- after a prolonged but unspecrfred rllness. Therr {ll'l'|‘.'£ll precrprtates lamrlral unrest and a series of supernatural events. Retus‘Ing to be contained wrthrn Just one genre. director Krm JI-woon has crafted an at once rntense. hroodrng psychodrama and a genuinely (:hrllrng horror frlm. It's lrlmed almost exclusrxei‘, In one hOuse ~ the dark furnishings and lack of natural lrght create the shadowed corridors and hrdden corners semng to heighten terrsron (and act as a metaphor for the family's

ancient Egyptian goddess Bast, and no longer subject to the rules of polite society. Yet Berry’s hopelessly one-dimensional performance manifests no conflict between the passive Patience and her actively vengeful alter ego. Sharon Stone is also wasted as Catwoman's would- be nemesis, Laurel Hedare, the scorned, ageing wife of Hedare’s boss (Lambert Wilson), and a woman not above hawking skin-damaging beauty products if she can save her own marble-like skin.

Since Pitof started out as a visual effects artist on Jean-Pierre Jeunet

adumbrated secrets). Wrth rts wrder themes of the rnelter:tual

nature of language and the rnvasron of the SilllCIll‘, of the home (in this case by an 'evrl' stepmother) the trlm delrvers a social commentary on the breakdown of the family unrt.


(15) 102min COO

Miaow, that's gotta hurt

and Marc Caro's Delicatessen, his profligate use of CGl is no surprise. The fight scenes, though, are shockingly bad: not even his eye- punishing editing can disguise the wholesale use of acrobatic stunt persons. Equally embarrassing is the romance between Patience and handsome cop Tom Lone (Benjamin Bratt) which, although consummated (off-screen), resembles a drippy pre- teen photo story. And the scene in which Patience deliriously snorts catnip is destined to become a camp classic. (Nigel Floyd)


Delicater paced. thrs rs a trlm that doesn't pander to the Clothlng shot '>.-..'\,- A: - Ar ;-. u : .' ' Western need for regular and cheap thrrlls. Nothing rs ohwous and hrs; grr‘f' raw: or. t'we a, 2:" f'xzf : .z r :»-' ' and from the very beginning you are asked to trll rn detarls and psychosis tr‘at ear; "n I“, z ' a.

D'GCC lhmgs together In yOur own mrnd. Jee—x‘roon learnt hrs Spams ‘. flr'irliifi' .Ja "‘e Rosa " a " « '3 ‘5:er

trade in the theatre and indeed the trrst ‘15 mrnutes could almost be an Asran take on a Punter play as each of the

ott’ ll()!l‘ Hanna" Ann/:13 f’ " x" T'W: tam:

STU/.1» l) .1 “Cut. i.i'.’

characters Crrcles each other Interacting so rntensely ‘.'.’|‘Ill tear. ms tzarev, ;;"<;‘ tarw : 1 ' ‘~' :1 z w '~ I. pathos. venom and emotional reticence yet wrthout explanatron rsnt :nte'este r " r, x r t r . ' : : ~ ' x as to the rOOt Of the emotions on display. (Gordon Eldrettr exer‘ l‘-(;fi~f:fsf;dl”", "L02; ’lii "r: ‘.. r ' r " < ' ' I Selected release from Fr/ 73 Aug. See prev/en. page It). r‘ s sh<:.'.r"g; .s a v ' 'r : n’ r' ' T ' C; ' . ' ' . ; r. j ,1: r . " . "

Decay and the family unit r" g.

12 THE LIST 12—19 Aug 2004

vuLoI-OH! (PG) 89mm 0