cooéNAME: THE CLEANER (12A) 84min .0

So-called corr edrarl Cedrrc the Entertainer ',.' ould change Mi,- name to Cedric the Complete Nor~E .ent on the et/Ideh’l: of this painfully Jr.- entertarrung 3pch er: the Jasor Bourrre rho/res Ha/rrrq wrected genuinely unfunny Jeffrele' for Mart'n Laurence (Blue Strealn and Robin Williams lF/ubberl. Les lflayfreld lreal name) plurrlb') srrrrrlar comedrc depths as our hero war-es up th a dead FBI man and a surfcase full of money but no rnrgrnrr, at .z'hr, he 1', or has: l‘r; errde-l ill, there.

Is Jake a superspy Or Just a humble )arutor who happened to stumble rn On a plot rnvolvrng a stolen mrcrochrp'.2 It's hard to tell or care. partrcularly when the kind of espionage srtuatrons deprcted Involve rmpersonatrng an outrageously camp Dutch clog dancer, l'hrngs aren't helped by a phonedwn performance from Lucy Lru as Jake's boss, and hatchet-faced desperate housewrfe Nrr:ollette Sheridan performing a demeanrng striptease that showcases her skeleton-like physique rn rts full and ghastly glory.

To add insult to rnjury. Mayfreld's soggy bogroll of a comedy has been confusingly titled to evoke fond memories of 19828 James Glrckenhaus's numbskull Cold War auctroneer Codename: The Sold/er, a battered VHS copy of whrch would be rnfrnrtely preferable to the haplessly assembled mrnstrelsy offered here. (Eddie Harrrson)

I Selected release from Frr 7 Dec.


Los Angeles. 4 July 2008. Socrety rs on the brrnk of social. eccrr ‘m.c and envrronmental collapse and an action star’boxer. a pom star and a porrce off cer are making a last stand. Writer, dlfGCiOf chhard Kelly's long-awarted fol|o\.-.'-ur. :c ZC‘C.‘ s Donnre Darko arrrves on a wave of bad press and despite an extensxe re-eart L“, Kelly. repOrts were not exaggerated. The frlm rs parnr'ully SCp'WQITTOhC aha deter/.1 er the Wrt. rntellrgence and pathos that made Donnie Darko sacl: a anode excerertce r. ASprrrng to be a SCr-fr eprc. the frlm was shot on a trr‘q. cagrget r‘r ol‘l, days. (:72; the frlm looks lrke an ‘ayant-garde' US TV show. wrth performances a card cast lead by The Rock and Sarah Mrchelle Geller) on about Elle same fee.

Whatever Kelly's yrSron was. rt was hopelessly scrambled on the way to the screen. What's left rs an undrsCrplrned mrshmash of rrr-conce neo. poor, scenes gerng nowhere and a lot of slapstick urolenee 3".) :3" rs Insanely ambrtrous and he throws Just ab0ut everyther vto the max Storca DFODHGCIBS. teenage p0rn. corporate conspiraCres. rrgged erections. t"‘e "8.8, WOrlo‘ War Three eyemhrng except belrevable characters. engagng :2 arc/gee. o plot that makes any sense. When Kelly's not aperng Dayrd Lynch he‘s coat-tar "g Kubrrck (on the 50undtrack). but he has sacrrf‘rced hrs own sehslcr :ty 3" the afar 3‘ hrs mowe rdols. In the process of realrsmg hrs satrrrc-apocazyptrc ‘. s o" o‘ meanrng of Me he has shod-cuculted hrs talent. (Jake Horsleyr

I Selected release from Fr; 7 Dec.


JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis and JK Rowling may have all the initials and most of the sales but fair-minded fantasy fans know deep down that Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy is the genre’s true shining light. Astoundingly imaginative, intellectually demanding (inspired by Milton‘s Paradise Lost) yet eminently readable, the books‘ acolytes approach this Hollywood adaptation with trepidation. Could such a complex, provocative series - atheist Pullman once claimed the novels were about 'killing God' - survive intact an encounter with God-fearing American values?

The answer is a disappointing, yet unsurprising, No. Pullman’s political- religious body The Magisterium is now a generic power-crazed entity, out to wrest control of the last remaining 'alethiometer' or golden compass, a mystical seer-like clockwork device entrusted to 12-year old wild child, Lyra Belacqua (newcomer Dakota Blue Richards). Lyra’s world is a parallel one to ours, similar in geography but with added witches, armoured polar bears and 'daemons', inseparable animal manifestations of one’s soul. Her quest into the frozen North to find kidnapped children involves her with no- nonsense explorer Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig), seductive yet shady envoy Mrs Coulter (Nicole Kidman) and practically all the British thesps overlooked by the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter franchises.

In comparison to its weighty blockbuster rivals, The Golden Compass is frustratingly fleeting. Well under two hours, it‘s a film that demands the extra detail and development for Pullman’s endeavours. What remains is a beautifully designed, still fascinating world, choppily structured and studded with often-clunky set pieces. While the film predictably omits the novel’s jaw-droppingly dark climax, to waste so many brilliant conceits the well- rendered digital daemons are more cute critters than spiritual essences - is tantamount to heresy. Those new to Pullman’s worlds might just be tempted; everyone else will experience a bruising fall from grace. (Leigh Singer)

I General release. from l‘-/ed :3 Dec.


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synonomes AND A CENTURY (15) 106mm .00.

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'1',- .V. 'THE LIST 43