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 Age of Stupid (12A) ●●●●● (Franny Armstrong, UK, 2009) Pete Postlethwaite, Piers Guy, Jamila Bayyoud. 90min. Marrying Britain’s honourable tradition of dystopian sci- fi with the eco documentary form, Armstrong’s film is an aesthetically pragmatic, ethically dogmatic attempt to save the world. More or less a documentary study telling six stories from four continents, the film’s strength lies in their variety, and the compelling use of sci-fi as a framing device, with Postlethwaite playing a character looking after the Global Archive in the future. Gilmorehill G12, Glasgow. All About Steve (12A) ●●●●● (Phil Traill, US, 2009) Sandra Bullock, Thomas Haden Church, Bradley Cooper. 98min. Bullock plays Mary Horowitz, a dowdy crossword-compiler who, after a blind date with news cameraman Steve (Cooper), embarks on a cross-country chase to stalk her unwary quarry. With repeated non-jokes about rape, child deformity and an idiotic finale, this makes for toe-curling stuff. Selected release. Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel (U) ●●●●● (Betty Thomas, US, 2009) Voices of Justin Long, Anna Faris, Jason Lee. 88min. The singing chipmunk trio contend with the pressures of high school, celebrity and rival female band The Chipettes. General release. Always–Sunset on Third Street (E) (Takashi Yamazaki, Japan, 2005) Mutsuko Hoshino, Ryunosuke Chagawa, Norifumi Suzuki. 133min. 1958-set film about the family life of a small car repair shop owner in a lower town district of Tokyo. This screening will be preceded by documentary short Common Cormorants in Tokyo–A Visit to their Colony at Shinobazu Pond. Part of New Japanese cinema season. Gilmorehill G12, Glasgow. An Autumn Afternoon (PG) ●●●●● (Yasujiro Ozu, Japan, 1962) Chishu Ryu, Shima Iwashita, Shinichiro Mikami. 113min. A widower arranges for his beloved daughter to be wed and subsequently takes to drink to overcome his sorrow. Ozu’s final film, during the making of which the great director’s wife passed away. It’s sad, sweet and beautifully observed. Part of Ozu season. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. An Evening with Mark Kermode Film boffin Mark Kermode steps out from behind the critic’s pen to talk about his autobiography It’s Only a Movie. Glasgow Film Theatre; Cameo, Edinburgh. 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. Part of An Introduction to European Cinema course. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Armored (12A) ●●●●● (Nimród Antal, US, 2010) Matt Damon. 87min. Dumb reinforced heist flick about a security guard for an armoured truck company who is co- erced into stealing a truck containing $42 million. Cineworld Renfrew Street, Glasgow; Empire, Clydebank. Astro Boy (PG) ●●●●● (David Bowers, US, 2009) Voices of Nicolas Cage, Kristen Bell, Freddie Highmore. 93min. See review, page 48. General release. Avatar (12A) ●●●●● (James Cameron, US, 2009) Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez. 166min. Set in 2154, Cameron’s much-hyped Avatar focuses on a paraplegic marine named Jake Sully (Worthington), who arrives on the distant moon of Pandora with a mission to help displace its indigenous population. But, after winning their trust, Jake finds his allegiances gradually shifting. High on technical flair but short on storytelling ambition, this visually stunning sci-fi epic sadly remains deeply flawed. General release. Bandslam (PG) ●●●●● (Todd Graff, US, 2009) Vanessa Hudgens, Gaelan Connell, Lisa Kudrow. 110min. Tweeny pop, high school adventure chronicling budding impresario Will
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Burton (Connell) and his rock’n’roll band’s desperate attempts to win a battle-of-the-bands competition. Odeon at the Quay, Glasgow; Odeon Wester Hailes, Edinburgh. Battle for Terra 3D (PG) ●●●●● (Aristomenis Tsirbas, US, 2010) Voices of Luke Wilson, Rachel Evan Wood, Brian Cox. 78min. See review, page 47. General release from Fri 12 Feb. The Beat That my Heart Skipped (15) ●●●●● (Jacque Audiard, France, 2004) Romain Duris, Niels Arestrup, Linh-Dam Pham, Emmanuelle Devos. 106min. Gangster and wannabe pianist Thomas (Duris) and his friends spend their days and nights violently managing refugee squatted flats for greedy Parisian developers but his secret ambition is to become a concert pianist. Director Audiard and screenwriter Tonino Benacquista’s second feature together (their first was the superb Read My Lips) is a stunning remake of James Toback’s 1978 small thriller Fingers. Cameo, Edinburgh. The Book of Eli (15) ●●●●● (Albert Hughes/Allen Hughes, US, 2010) Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis, Gary Oldman. 118min. Man has destroyed the earth and all that is left is a ravaged post apocalypse landscape. Loner Eli (Washington) wanders through Mad Max style communities with just one aim – to protect the sacred tome that could hold the key to the survival of the human race. General release. The Box (12A) ●●●●● (Richard Kelly, US, 2009) Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, Frank Langella. 115min. Based on a short story by science fiction writer Richard Matheson, this features Diaz and Marsden as a young couple in dire financial straits who are offered a unique way out. Presented with a wooden box with a red button on top, they’re told if they push it, someone they don’t know will die and they will be given $1 million. Interesting up to a point, but ultimately confounding and irritating. Vue Ocean, Edinburgh. The Boys are Back (12A) ●●●●● (Scott Hicks, Australia, 2009) Clive Owen, Laura Fraser, George MacKay. 104min. An adaptation of Simon Carr’s memoir of raising his two boys in South Australia, this is a small-scale but quietly pleasing drama about the difficulties of parenthood. Owen plays a sports-reporter whose laid-back lifestyle ends abruptly when his wife Katy (Fraser) dies from cancer. Joe struggles to reconcile the pressures of his day-job with his family responsibilities and his relaxed parenting philosophy is stretched to the limit. Selected release. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (15) ●●●●● (Blake Edwards, US, 1961) Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Mickey Rooney. 115min. The iconic Hepburn has never made neurosis look so good, and while this adaptation of Capote’s novella may have numerous redeeming features (not least the exquisite cinematography by Franz F Plane and the swinging soundtrack by Henry Mancini), it is she who remains responsible for making it such a well-loved classic. Glasgow Film Theatre; Scotsman Screening Room, Edinburgh. British Animation Awards Programme 1 (15) (UK, Various) 70min. A rare opportunity to see the fantastic range of animation made in Britain over the past two years. The audience gets to vote for the winners in three categories, via forms issued at each screening. Programme One includes Sarah Wickens’ What Light (Through Yonder Window Breaks), Greg & Myles McLeod’s The Moonbird and Phoebe Boswell’s The Girl with Stories in Her Hair. Glasgow Film Theatre; Filmhouse, Edinburgh. British Animation Awards Programme 2 (15) (UK, Various) 75min. The best of all things new, British and animated. Vote for the winners. Programme Two includes Andy Glyne’s My Blood Is My Tears, Barnaby Barford’s Damaged Goods and Stephen Irwin’s The Black Dog’s Progress. Glasgow Film Theatre; Filmhouse, Edinburgh. British Animation Awards Programme 3 (15) (UK, Various) 80min. Another chance to view and vote for your favourite British Animation Awards nominee. Round Three includes Leo Bridle & Ben Thomas’s Train of Thought, Thomas Hicks’ Unicycle Film and Rafael Sommerhalder’s Wolves. Glasgow Film Theatre. Brothers (15) ●●●●● (Jim Sheridan, US, 2009) Natalie Portman, Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal. 104min. Susanne Bier and Anders Thomas Jensen’s 2004 Danish drama is given a prestige Hollywood makeover, resulting in an engrossing, if flawed drama. Maguire plays Marine captain Sam Cahill, who leaves wife Grace (Portman) and their children to fight in Afghanistan. Erroneously reported missing, Sam’s irresponsible brother (Gyllenhaal) helps Grace to run her family home, leading to confrontation when the soldier finally returns. Selected release. Casablanca (PG) ●●●●● (Michael Curtiz, US, 1942) Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Dooley Wilson. 102min. You must remember this . . . Bogart being impossibly noble, Bergman torn between two lovers, Claude Rains playing both ends against the middle, devious Nazis, a fogbound airport, a piano-player tinkling that tune. A wonderful hill of beans and a wonderful new digitised print, too. Glasgow Film Theatre.
Another year and another selection of great films from the Middle East Film Festival Middle East, both ancient and modern. The focus of this year’s festival is the massively varied cinema of Egypt, with rare screenings of Youssef Chahine’s romantic drama Cairo Station and Chadi Abdel Salam cherished 1969 historical epic The Night of Counting the Years. Newer features include enjoyable Iranian ostrich farm comedy Song of the Sparrows (pictured) and Turkish/Dutch documentary On the Way to School which follows a young primary school teacher’s attempts to run a remote Turkish Kurdish school. Season ticket deals available. ■ Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Fri 12 Feb.
Chocolat (12) ●●●●● (Lasse Hallström, US, 2001) Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench. 121min. Adapted from Joanne Harris’s novel, Chocolat unfolds ‘once upon a time’ in a tranquil French village where sexy unwed single mother Vianne (Binoche) opens up a chocolaterie during Lent. Her magical confections are soon having a liberating effect on various locals, though her actions incur the wrath of the reigning count (Alfred Molina), who fears that the traditional order may be irrevocably damaged. Unfortunately, Hallström’s (The Cider House Rules) feelgood fairytale relies on its calculatedly cosmopolitan cast and glossy production values to disguise its lack of substance. Scotsman Screening Room, Edinburgh. The Class (15) ●●●●● (Laurent Cantet, France, 2008) François Bégaudeau, Esmerelda Ouertani, Franck Keita. 130min. One teacher, one class, one term and a whole load of problems. Remarkable social realist drama. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. The Closed Doors (al Abwab al Moghlaka) (15) (Atef Hetata, Egypt/France, 1999) Mahmoud Hemida, Sawsan Badr, Ahmed Azmi. 118min. Set during the Gulf War and telling the story of a young man who embraces fundamentalist ideas as a way of handling his burgeoning sexuality, Hetata’s feature touches on several contemporary Egyptian taboos, examining both their social and political implications. Part of Middle Eastern Film Festival. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2D (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. Vue Ocean, Edinburgh. Cutter’s Way (18) ●●●●● (Ivan Passer, US, 1981) Jeff Bridges, John Heard, Lisa Eichhorn. 105min. Boozy Vietnam vet prods his aimless mate Bridges into action after he thinks he has witnessed a murder. Low-key, downbeat and culty thriller. Part of Cult! USA season. Glasgow Film Theatre. Daybreakers (15) ●●●●● (Michael/Peter Spierig, US, 2009) Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Isabel Lucas. 97min. It’s 2017, and the undead now outnumber the living. A virus has spread across the earth, turning its inhabitants into vampires. With their blood supply dwindling, the vampires must find a way to sustain their source of food. Intelligent, gory and thoroughly entertaining horror from talented German sibling filmmaker duo. General release. Did you Hear About the Morgans? (PG) ●●●●● (Marc Lawrence, US, 2009) Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker, Natalia Klima. 103min. Fish out of water comedy pairing Grant with Jessica Parker as married thespians going through a rocky patch. Their relationship begins to show signs of recovery when they are sent into a witness protection scheme after clocking a murder. General release. Dirty Dancing (15) ●●●●● (Emile Ardolino, US, 1987) Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze, Jerry Orbach. 100min. The plot – in the summer of 1963 bad boy Johnny (Swayze) meets good girl Baby (Grey) and teaches her hip grinding, eventually winning the respect of her parents. Sure it’s full of stereotyping, bad dialogue and a pre-teen sugar coated prurience, but 20 years on Dirty Dancing still has the ability to send a generation of women all gooey. Sloans, Glasgow. Disgrace (15) ●●●●● (Steve Jacobs, Australia/South Africa, 2009) John Malkovich, Jessica Haines, Eriq Ebouaney. 118min. Adapted from JM Coetzee’s acclaimed novel, this presents a suitably stark vision of post-apartheid South Africa. Commendably, the filmmakers haven’t attempted to turn the source material into a liberal, feel-good parable, and Malkovich’s middle-aged professor is a compelling blend of intellectual arrogance, predatory instinct and physical vulnerability. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Early Spring (PG) ●●●●● (Yasujiro Ozu, Japan, 1956) Chikage Awashisma, Takako Fujino, Ryo Ikebe. 144min. Ozu, one of Japan’s post-war masters of the cinema, paints a detailed and witty portrayal of a young Japanese couple and the many characters who