Films screening this fortnight are listed below with certificate, star rating, credits, brief review and venue details. Film index compiled by Paul Dale ✽✽ Indicates Hitlist entry
Africa in Motion Short Film Competition (15) (Various) 120min. A selection of innovative and original films by African filmmakers from a variety of countries and backgrounds. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Africa in Motion After Hours (15) (South Africa, Various) 95min. Programme of spooky and strange South African short films including Mark Jackson’s The Hell, Aurora Drummer’s Friction and Anton Kotze’s Safari Obscura. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. African Animation for Children (U) (Various) 80min. Films from South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria showcase a variety of techniques, forms and styles and are targeted at a variety of ages, from the very young to an older teenage audience. Part of Africa in Motion. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. All the Best: Fun Begins (PG) (Rohit Shetty, India, 2009) Ajay Devgan, Sanjay Dutt, Bipasha Basu. 142min. Bollywood love story where the suitor’s quest is beset on all sides by a family enmity, a gangster and a meddling stepbrother. Cineworld Renfrew Street, Glasgow. American Movie (15) ●●●●● (Chris Smith, US, 2000) Mark Borchardt, Mike Schank. 104min. Smith and producer Sarah Price’s documentation of oddball Wisconsin filmmaker Mark Borchardt’s efforts to get his Great American Movie made is amusing and fascinating. Borchardt is more Ed Wood than Orson Welles, but American Movie’s makers admire his tenacity, and their non-judgemental approach has been rewarded with a strange and wonderful film. This screening will be preceded by short film Heavy Metal Jr. A Monorail Film Club presentation. Glasgow Film Theatre. An American Werewolf in London (15) ●●●●● (John Landis, US, 1981) David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Griffin Dunne. 97min. See Also Released, page 51. Selected release from Fri 30 Oct. Antichrist (18) ●●●●● (Lars von Trier, Denmark, 2009) Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg. 108min. When middle class couple Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Defoe’s son dies in a freak accident they retreat to their woodland cabin to heal. But soon guilt, confusion and some undefined eschatological force puts them in a very different place. A fine slice of unbridled and unpleasant pantheistic horror that’s underlined by themes of grief and guilt. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Apocalypse Now Redux (15) ●●●●● (Francis Ford Coppola, US, 1979/2001) Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall. 202min. Coppola’s new, longer cut of his Vietnam war masterpiece includes more of Duvall’s crazy chopper commander Kilgore, a second encounter with the Playboy Bunnies, a new sequence set on a remote French plantation adding historical background and Brando expounding upon the insanity of war. It isn’t an improvement, but considering the circumstances under which it was filmed - in the Philippines where everything from hurricanes to heart attacks plagued the cast and crew – you want to see everything they got on film. Brunton Theatre, Edinburgh. Army of Crime (15) ●●●●● (Robert Guédiguian, France, 2009) Simon Abkarian, Virginie Ledoyen, Robinson Stévenin. 139min. This convincingly acted film is an honourable addition to the body of works made about the French Resistance in World War II. Guédiguian here focuses on the story of the Paris-based Manouchian group, who during 1943 launched a series of guerilla attacks on Nazi targets and were denounced as the ‘Army of Crime’, before their show-trial and execution by the authorities. Cameo, Edinburgh.
✽✽ Atletu (The Athlete) (15) (Davey Frankel, Rasselas Lakew,
Ethiopia/US/Germany, 2009) Rasselas Lakew, Dag Malmberg, Ruta Gedmintas. 89min. This intriguing and elegant hybrid of documentary and biopic tells the inspiring story of the Ethiopian marathon runner Abebe Bikila, who in 1960 became the first African athlete to win
gold at the Olympics. This screening will be preceded by a short promotional film by the Global Concerns Trust on their projects in Malawi. Part of Africa in Motion. Filmhouse, Edinburgh.
✽✽ The Beaches of Agnes (18) ●●●●● (Agnes Varda, France, 2008)
112min. This idiosyncratic cinematic self- portrait of the Belgian-born octogenarian film- maker Agnes Varda is suffused by its feminist creator’s playfully eccentric spirit, and heads off in all sorts of unexpected directions. Varda ‘walks backwards’ through her life, narrating and drawing on clips from her own films and staging reconstructions of her memories, whilst revisiting the places which have shaped her creative output. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Beetlejuice (15) ●●●●● (Tim Burton, US, 1988) Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, Michael Keaton. 92min. Recently deceased and very charming New England couple have difficulty in adjusting to the afterlife. Scotsman Screening Room, Edinburgh. Between Joyce and Remembrance (15) (Mark Kaplan, South Africa, 2003) 68min. Documentary filmmaker Kaplan chronicles the case of 22-year-old student leader and activist Siphiwo Mtimkulu and his friend Topsy Madaka who were shot and burned in 1982 by the brutal Security Police under the former apartheid government Gideon Nieuwoudt. Part of Africa in Motion. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Beverly Hills Chihuahua (U) ●●●●● (Raja Gosnell, US/Mexico, 2008) Drew Barrymore (voice), Piper Perabo, Jamie Lee Curtis. 81min. This brightly lit family comedy is a vapid fish-out-of-water confection, revolving around posh pooch Chloe (voiced by Barrymore) who gets kidnapped from Rachel (Perabo) during a resort vacation. Cineworld Parkhead, Glasgow. Beyond Biba (15) (Louis Price, UK, 2009) 55min. Documentary about the creator of BIBA, the shop that changed the face of fashion in the 1960s and 70s, Barbara Hulanicki. Followed by Q&A with Hulanicki. Glasgow Film Theatre; Cameo, Edinburgh. Birdwatchers (La terra degli uomini Rossi) (15) (Marco Bechis, Italy/Brazil, 2008) Abrísio da Silva Pedro, Alicélia Batista Cabreira, Ademilson Concianza Verga. 108min. Tensions escalate when a tribe of indigenous Guarani Indians, the Guarani- Kaiowa people, attempt to re-inhabit their ancestral land. Glasgow Film Theatre. The Boat That Rocked (15) ●●●●● (Richard Curtis, UK, 2009) Gemma Arterton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy. 134min. Life onboard the fictional 1966 pirate radio ship Radio Rock resembles a two-hour sketch show held together by popular songs of the era. Curtis clearly isn’t aiming for realism, but his return to the big screen isn’t exactly rockin’, with a wasted cast of character actors and only Chris O’Dowd (The IT Crowd) shining in a rare moment of emotional depth. Empire, Clydebank. Bustin’ Down the Door (15) ●●●●● (Jeremy Gosch, US, 2008) 96min. Featuring some brilliant surfing footage from the 70s and a compelling soundtrack, Gosch’s action- filled documentary tells the story of a group of uncompromising surfers who went to Hawaii with the aim of revolutionising wave riding. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Casper (PG) ●●●●● (Brad Silberling, US, 1995) Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, Cathy Moriarty. 100min. Everyone’s favourite friendly ghost has been living with his three bad-tempered uncles in an abandoned mansion. Glasgow Film Theatre. Ceremony (18) (Nagisa Oshima, Japan, 1971) Kenzo Kawarazaki, Atsuo Nakamura, Akiko Koyama, Atsoku Kaku. 121min. A quarter century of postwar Japanese history is commented on via a series of ceremonial family gatherings. Oshima never lets the allegory become too dense, however, and the film develops into a powerful dynastic drama. Part of Oshima season. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Chéri (15) (Stephen Frears, UK/Germany, 2009) Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathy Bates, Rupert Friend. 92min. Adapted from Colette’s controversial 1920s novels Cheri and The Last of Cheri, which centres on a six-year love affair between a young man (Friend) and an aging courtesan (Pfeiffer) and its aftermath, Stephen Frears’ film is a complex and visually exquisite meditation on ageing and loss;
themes that are effected on both a narrative and formal level. Vue Ocean, Edinburgh. The Cheviot, The Stag and The Black, Black Oil (12A) (John Mackenzie, UK, 1974) John Bett, David Maclennan, Dolina Maclennan. 90min. A film record of John McGrath’s hard-hitting play concerning the tragic story of the Highland Clearances is followed by a cinematic interpretation of Sorley MacLean’s poem ‘Hallaig’, with a soundscape by Martyn Bennett. This screening is accompanied by a panel discussion with folklorist and singer Margaret Bennet, director of Hallaig Neil Kempsell and expert on Scottish land ownership issues Andy Wightman. Part of Scottish International Storytelling Festival. See Around Town, page 33. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (PG) (Paul Weitz, US, 2009) JC Reilly, Chris Massoglia, Jessica Carlson. 108min. See Also Released, page 51. General release.
✽✽ Citizen Kane (PG) ●●●●● (Orson Welles, US, 1941) Orson Welles, Joseph
Cotten, Agnes Moorehead. 119min. Stunningly successful biographical mosaic centring on a Hearst-like media tycoon. Welles’ first film remains scintillating viewing for its sheer technical verve, narrative confidence and spellbinding performances. Glasgow Film Theatre; Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2D/3D (U) ●●●●● (Phil Lord, US, 2009) Voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan. 90min. Vivid and likeable animated version of Judi and Ron Barrett’s 1978 children’s book set in the town of Chewandswallow, where the weather comes three times a day, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. General release. Coraline 2D (PG) ●●●●● (Henry Selick, US, 2009) Voices of Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, John Hodgman. 100min. After her family moves to Pink Mansions, Coraline (voiced by Fanning) quickly becomes bored with the large dusty house, and in particular with her hardworking parents (Hatcher and Hodgman). Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Couples Retreat (15) ●●●●● (Peter Billingsley, US, 2009) Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau. 110min. Favreau and Vaughn buddy it up as a part of four couples who hit their 40s and end up mistakenly entering into a compulsory couples therapy retreat on a luxury island resort. Cue lots of daft slapstick and a smearing of schmaltz. General release. The Cove (12A) ●●●●● (Louie Psihoyos, US, 2009) 90min. See Also Released, page 51. Glasgow Film Theatre; Cameo, Edinburgh. Creation (PG) ●●●●● (Jon Amiel, UK, 2009) Paul Bettany, Jennifer Connelly, Toby Jones. 105min. Amiel’s Creation offers a worthy, thought-provoking insight into the story behind Darwin’s earth-shattering publication of his theory of evolution and boasts a terrific central performance from Bettany. Unfortunately this rather strait-laced film doesn’t take as many risks as it should in its effort to avoid re-igniting too many age-old debates. Glasgow Film Theatre; Dominion, Edinburgh. Cryptic Nights (18) (Various) 90min. Horror-themed night showing ten earthly and supernatural short films from the BBC Film Network. Programme includes Tristan Versluis’ I Love You, Dominic Hailstone’s The Eel. Sebastian Godwin’s The Rain Horse, Paul Shrimpton’s Teleportal and Mark Cripps’ The Insane. CCA, Glasgow. Dawn of The Dead (18) ●●●●● (Zack Synder, US, 2004) Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber.Remake of George Romeo’s 1978 zombie classic, scripted by James Gunn (who graduated from trash film factory Troma to also write Scooby Doo and its sequel). The plot remains the same: when North America is overrun by a plague of zombies, a group of survivors hole up in a shopping maul where they’re besieged by the flesh eaters. The original was a wry commentary on the perils of modern day consumerism. Glasgow Film Theatre. Day of the Dead (18) (George A. Romero, US, 1985) Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Joseph Pilato. 100min. The conclusion of Romero’s zombie trilogy has the last humans holding out underground in a Florida bunker while the undead on the surface outnumber them by 400,000 to one. An ultra-black gross-
Index Film TOP 5
AFRICA IN MOTION Paul Dale recommends five films not to miss at this year’s Africa in Motion (AIM) festival
My Secret Sky Opening the fourth edition of the Africa in Motion film festival is the UK premiere of this South African film, the feature debut of filmmaker Madoda Ncayiyana. This magical realist tale of Zulu rugs, craft competitions and the need to climb out of rural poverty has been compared to Slumdog Millionaire. 8.30pm, Thu 23 Oct. Mwalimu: The Legacy of Julius Kambarage Nyerere UK premiere of this fascinating documentary about the father of the Tanzanian nation Julius Kambarage Nyerere who brought independence to Tanganyika before going on to forge the United Nation of Tanzania in 1964. If that wasn’t enough Nyerere was also a key player in the South African liberation movement. Not bad for a man who obtained a masters degree in history and economics at the University of Edinburgh in 1952. Director Lekoko Piniel Ole Livilal will be in attendance. 8.45pm, Wed 28 Oct.
From a Whisper Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu’s interesting thriller (pictured) looks at the aftermath of the US embassy bombing in Nairobi in 1998. Both contentious and empathetic the film begs some difficult questions. Kahiu will be in attendance and will be holding a masterclass at the Edinburgh College of Art on Fri 30 Oct from 2pm. 4.45pm, Sun 1 Nov.
Le Franc/The Little Girl Who Sold the World Mini retrospective of two rarely seen films by the great Senegalese filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambety (Touki Bouki, Hyenas). Do not miss. 5.45pm, Sat 31 Oct. The Athlete Engrossing and powerful biopic of Ethiopian marathon runner Abebe Bikila who took the Olympic gold medal in 1960. 8.30pm, Thu 29 Oct. ■ AIM, Thu 23 Oct-Mon 1 Nov. www.africa-in-motion.org.uk
out comedy and a very dark allegory on the American public’s ignorance of the nuclear threat. Glasgow Film Theatre. Dead Man Running (15) ●●●●● (Alex De Rakoff, UK, 2009) Danny Dyer, 50 Cent, Brenda Blethyn. 91min. See Also Released, page 51. General release from Fri 30 Oct. Deutschlandspiel – The Politics of Unification (Part 1 & Part 2) (E) (Hans-Christoph Blumenberg, Germany, 2000) 180min. Part one of Blumenberg’s docudrama about the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of East Germany, and German re-unification. Goethe Institut, Glasgow. 22 Oct–5 Nov 2009 THE LIST 53