ROMANCE/DRAMA/ADAPTATION PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (U) 127min 000
It goes without saying that Matthew MacFaydan is no Firth (who practically lay down a new template for this most mysterious of characters) and Hollywood‘s favourite Brit actress Keira Knightly performs well as Elizabeth Bennett. But the real stars of this adaptation are the cackling Bennett sisters. Rosamund Pike. Jena Malone and Talulah Riley as Jane. Lydia and Mary respectively are ebullient supporting characters. lighting up the screen when it is their turn to sulk. laugh and Cry. Director Joe Wright and screenwriter Deborah Moggach have done an adequate job in cutting Austen's material down to size. allowing time for the secondary tales to develop while never losing sight of the all pervading romance between Mr Darcy and Elizabeth. Like the novel. it makes for a tale full of plot twists and emotional turbulence without ever acquiring the mannered subtlety of
Do we really need another adaptation of Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice. with both the Gurinder Chadha’s Anglo-Bollywood Bride and Prejudice and that Colin Firth BBC TV mini series appearing in the past decade? The answer. as it turns out. is yes,
although Chadha might be a bit miffed as this version. especially the first half. is practically a word for word remake of Bride. only without the kitsch dancing.
DOCUMENTARY THE ARISTOCRATS (18) 89W."
It’s a lot to live up to, telling the ﬁlthiest ever joke in the whole kit’n’ caboodle history of stand-up comedy. But let me assure you, the joke, told over and over by 100 comedians in this uproarious documentary ﬁlm, is by far and away the ﬁlthiest joke this reviewer has ever heard - and I’ve heard them all, including the one about ‘grannylingus.’
Director and stand-up comic Paul Provenza’s ﬁlm derives its title from the name of a joke told by comedians to other comedians since the bawdy days of vaudeville. When told straight it’s not a particularly good joke, but what it does do is provide comedians with a golden opportunity to ad lib, as well as giving them carte blanche to be as ﬁlthy as their fevered imaginations will allow.
Provenza’s ﬁlm cuts straight to the chase, as numerous comics, beginning - memorably - with the great George Carlin, tell the joke in the ﬁlthiest manner possible. At this point, 20 or so minutes in, it seems as it the ﬁlm has shot its load. But as the next 70 minutes of what is essentially a series of head-shot interviews unspools, the comedians - Billy Connolly, Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, Eddie lzzard, Hank Azaria, Michael McKean, to name check but a few - analyse, deconstruct and reconstruct their beloved joke in ways that are both extremely insightful and impossible to imagine. At one point The Aristocrats is told from a feminist perspective, at another the cast of South Park tell it, at another the actor Kevin Pollack tells it in the voice of Christopher Walken, and at another still ‘the Aristocrats’ is regaled in mime.
Beyond being utterly hilarious and really quite shocking, Provenza’s ﬁlm (made with his pal Penn Jillette, one half of the deconstructionist magicians Penn & Teller - and they also tell it, with a broken Coke bottle) says a lot about the nature of stand-up comedy and the people who are compelled to do it. And that makes The Aristocrats a great documentary. (Miles Fielder)
I Selected release from Fri 9 Sep. See preview, page 39.
42 THE LIST 8-22 89;) 2005
other great Austen film adaptations. most notably Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility. (Kaleem Aftab)
I General release from Fri 76 Sep.
SKATEBOARD BlOPlC LORDS OF DOGTOWN (1 2A) 107min O
skate'n‘surf documentary Dogtown and Z—boys in 2001, former Z—boy and skateboard hero Stacy Peralta has made the utterly unwise decision to write the fictional treatment of his and his pals‘ story for Hollywood. Lord. does it stink. On the one hand every lame cliche you'd expect of a mainstream treatment of a cult subject is present and incorrect. up to and including the obligat0ry romantic interest. On the other. director Catherine Hardwicke attempts — cack- handedly — to evoke the milieu of rebellious teen spirit with relentless shaky-cam photography, which. as with her previous directing effort. the pubescent girl/bitch drama Thirteen, is as annoying and pointless as trying to have a conversation with a kid with an attention deficit disorder.
Despite (or perhaps because of) having a bucket-full more money than Peralta had for Dogtown and a cast of faces that includes Heath Ledger (about the only good thing in the film) and Rebecca De Mornay. Lords falls flat at every turn. It says a lot that the original film. largely a montage of photographs with a few vox pop interviews. the odd bit of archive footage and a cranked to eleven soundtrack. is so much more dynamic and involving than this fiction version of the lives of a gang of street kids who revolutionalised skateboarding back in the 1970s
The real problem. of course. is that while Dogtown and Z-boys was guilty of self-aggrandisement. the film was made in the right spirit by someone close to his subject. Lords of Dogtown (even the title's crap) by contrast. has been made to exploit the success of its predecessor. (Miles Fielder)
I General release from Fri 76 Sep.
FOOTBALL DRAMA GREEN STREET (18) 109min 0
German director Lexi Alexander obviously does not know much about London geography. Millwall in Tower Hamlets? 'Tottenham were in town last
night' —- as if they were not from London. West Ham fans singing 'west London is wonderful‘. It's clear from other parts of Green Street that
Alexander did eventually discover
where West Ham is located but she did not take time out to listen to the accents or she would have told actor Charlie Hunnarn that his overcooked Cockney accent should be used only in Mary Poppins.
The story is no better. Elijah Wood plays Matt Buckner. a Harvard student kicked off a journalism course because he won‘t stand up to his high society roommate. He comes to London and. through football violence. learns to be a man. All this film succeeds in doing is glorifying
violence; although by having the movie
end with a death. no doubt the director misguidedly sees Green Street as a cautionary tale. The big moment comes when Millwall are the
I opposition in the FA Cup. Yep. the
same weak plot as last year's lame The Football Factory. Green Street is struggling in Division Three next to someone like Alan The Firm Clarke's Premiership storytelling.
I General release from Fri 9 Sep.
DRAMA/ADAPTATION THE JEALOUS GOD (12A) 95min coo
The British film industry might sound more like a punchline than a mark of quality these days. but as this thoughtful. if unglamorous. offering shows. we're still the masters of the low key family drama. All sheepskin coat and chip on his shoulder. Catholic teacher Vincent (Jason Merrells) tries to escape his mother's apron strings by romancing Laura (Mairead Carty). the town's new librarian. all the while avoiding the amorous attentions of his sister-in-law Maureen (Denise Welch). Unpromising as the cast of soap actors sounds — Merrells graced Cutting It. Watch Coronation Street and Carty Family Affairs — they craft characters of real emotional depth. particularly Carty who smoulders between Madonna and Whore as the Protestant love interest. The religious strife is never too dour though. and the mordant wit — while courting Vincent and Laura watch Room at the Top. also written by John Braine - occasionally gives way to scenes of elegiac beauty. as director Steven
Woodcock lingers on the rugged
Reminiscent of Terence Davies' Distant Voices. Still Lives in both the period-perfect tone and the
- squabbling. repressed kin. Jealous
God orin threatens to descend into farce midway through with a bi/arre cameo from Roy Catchphrase Walker. Say what you see Roy? It‘s a low key gem. (Dave Martin)
I Showcase, Paisley from Fri 9 Sep.