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 Alice in Wonderland (PG) ●●●●● (Tim Burton, US, 2010) Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter. 108min. A sequel of sorts that takes in elements of both Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, this finds Alice (Wasikowska) as a teenager returning to Underland, which has long since fallen into the tyrannical grip of the Red Queen (Bonham Carter). Dark and visually arresting, yet not quite as emotionally involving as Burton’s very best work. General release. Aliens in the Attic (PG) ●●●●● (John Schultz, UK, 2009) Ashley Tisdale, Robert Hoffman, Austin Robert Butler. 85min. Likeably frenetic sci-fi adventure about a family’s attempt to fight off knee high alien invaders. Cineworld Parkhead, Glasgow; Cineworld Fountainpark, Edinburgh. 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. Empire, Clydebank; Vue Ocean, Edinburgh. Anna May Wong – Frosted Yellow Willows: Her Life, Times and Legend (12) (Elaine Mae Woo, US, 2007) 50min. From humble beginnings in a Chinese laundry Anna May Wong went on to star in films such as Toll of the Sea (1922), E A Dupont’s Piccadilly (1929) and Josef von Sternberg’s Shanghai Express (1932). Followed by a Q&A with director Elaine Mae Woo. A Monorail Film Club presentation. Glasgow Film Theatre. Annie Hall (15) ●●●●● (Woody Allen, US, 1977) Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts. 93min. Classic New York comedy. Part of Glasgow International Comedy Festival. Gilmorehill G12, Glasgow. Astro Boy (PG) ●●●●● (David Bowers, US, 2009) Voices of Nicolas Cage, Kristen Bell, Freddie Highmore. 93min. A popular manga in Japan since 1952, and a cult TV show in the US since the early 1980s, Astro Boy makes a bid for worldwide domination in this flashy but flatly realised animation. A robot child cloned by Dr Tenma (voiced by Cage) from the DNA of his dead son, the titular space age Pinocchio (Highmore), is rejected by his father and banished to the robot graveyard that surrounds the city. Selected 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.
Odeon Wester Hailes, Edinburgh. The Blind Side (12A) ●●●●● (John Lee Hancock, US, 2010) Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Kathy Bates. 128min. See review, page 45. General release. Blue Velvet (18) ●●●●● (David Lynch, US, 1986) Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Isabella Rossellini. 120min. In small-town Middle America, would-be boy detective MacLachlan finds a severed ear on some waste ground. When the police shoo him away he decides to do some investigating of his own. A singular fusion of the cosy and the terrifying which blends kitsch and nightmare, B-movie detection and brutal sex to deconstruct our complacent vision of normal society. This is filmmaking of remarkable imagination and skill. Part of The Sound of Film season. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. The Bounty Hunter (12A) ●●●●● (Andy Tennant, US, 2010) Jennifer Aniston, Gerard Butler, Christine Baranski. 110min. Comedy about a bounty hunter who is assigned to hunt down his bail-jumping ex- wife. General release. Bugsy Malone (U) ●●●●● (Alan Parker, UK, 1976) Scott Baio, Jodie Foster, Martin Lev. 93min. Musical spoof of Prohibition-era gangster films. Scotsman Screening Room, Edinburgh. Busting (18) ●●●●● (Peter Hyams, US, 1974) Elliott Gould, Robert Blake, Allen Garfield. 92min. Not content with busting small fry criminals, non-bent coppers Vice Detectives Michael Keneely (Gould) and Patrick Farrel (Blake) go after the kingpin, threatening to bring down the hierarchy of corrupt police on their heads. Underrated, near seminal 70s New York policier. Recommended. Part of Cult! USA season. Glasgow Film Theatre. Carmen (12A) (Italy, 2009) Anita Rachvelishvili, Jonas Kaufmann, Erwin Schrott. 210min. George Bizet’s masterful creation filmed live at Teatro all Scala in December 2009. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Carry on Camping (PG) ●●●●● (Gerald Thomas, UK, 1969) Sidney James, Kenneth Williams, Barbara Windsor. 88min. Oooh-er. Let me give you a hand getting your tent pole up, etc, etc. Everyone’s trying to get into everyone else’s sleeping bag in this classic outing for the usual team. One of the best, with a mild smattering of nudity. Part of Glasgow International Comedy Festival. Cineworld Renfrew Street, Glasgow. Case 39 (15) ●●●●● (Christian Alvart, US, 2009) Renée Zellweger, Jodelle Ferland, Ian McShane. 109min. Zellweger plays a social worker who adopts a malevolent girl with the ability to use her victims’ worst fears to terrify them to death. While creditably avoiding the usual supernatural trappings, Alvart’s unwise positioning of the story within a social work context makes Case 39 both ludicrous and morally dubious. Selected release. Chicken Little (U) ●●●●● (Mark Dindal, US, 2005) Voices of Zach Braff, Patrick Stewart, Joan Cusack, Gary Marshall. 80min. Fast paced, fun and corny animation but with its heart in the right
place. Grosvenor, Glasgow. Chloe (15) ●●●●● (Atom Egoyan, US/Canada/France, 2009) Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried. 91min. Based on Anne Fontaine’s French drama Nathalie, Egoyan has relocated this tale of a middle-aged woman, who is worried that she may no longer be desirable to her husband and decides to pay a prostitute to test his fidelity, to Toronto. Dramatic and psychological credibility are ultimately squandered as the director veers into erotic thriller territory. Cineworld Parkhead, Glasgow. The Crazies (15) ●●●●● (Breck Eisner, US/United Arab Emirates, 2010) Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson. 101min. Eisner directs this timely remake of George Night of the Living Dead Romero’s 1973 survivalist classic about a biological weapon accidentally discharged into the water supply of a small town, turning the inhabitants into rampaging lunatics. General release. Crazy Heart (15) ●●●●● (Scott Cooper, US, 2009) Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Keane. 111min. Based a novel by Thomas Cobb, leisurely southernfried character study Crazy Heart focuses on the travails of down-on-his-luck western singer- songwriter Bad Blake, played by the remarkable Bridges. General release. Departures (12A) ●●●●● (Yojiro Takita, Japan, 2008) Masahiro Motoki, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Ryoko Hiriosue. 130min. When cellist Daigo (Motoki) is made redundant after his orchestra is disbanded he finds work as assistant to Sasaki (Yamazaki), preparing bodies for funeral rituals. Winner of the 2009 Oscar for Best Foreign Film. The Hippodrome, Bo’ness. Dogtooth (18) ●●●●● (Giorgos Lanthimos, Greece, 2009) Christos Stergioglou, Michelle Valley, Aggeliki Papoulia. 97min. Three teenagers are confined to an isolated estate by their parents. Realising that his son has reached an age at which certain urges need to be met, the patriarch brings a woman into the household so that she might have sex with him. Part of Greek Film Festival. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Donnie Darko (15) ●●●●● (Richard Kelly, US, 2002) Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze. 113min. Mesmerising science fiction fable. Scotsman Screening Room, Edinburgh. Easter Parade (U) ●●●●● (Charles Walters, US, 1948) Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Ann Miller. 109min. Astaire, true to type, plays a song-and-dance man on the look out for a new partner. Enter Garland stage left, and the result is an enjoyable if lightweight musical that brings together Hollywood’s top genre stars for the first and only time. A film that lives for its Irving Berlin numbers. Scotsman Screening Room, Edinburgh. Exit Through the Gift Shop (15) ●●●●● (Banksy, UK, 2010) 85min. In his first foray into filmmaking, mysterious artist Banksy places the issue of identity at the centre of his pseudo-documentary on street
art. It’s to his immense credit that he gives a potted history of the art form in an interesting and funny way, and most impressively, the questions about identity, society and life that the filmmaker posits over the course of this anarchically intelligent documentary feature mirror those found in his artwork. Cameo, Edinburgh. Extract (15) ●●●●● (Mike Judge, US, 2009) Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig. 92min. See review, page 43. General release. Fantastic Mr Fox (PG) ●●●●● (Wes Anderson, USA, 2009) Voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Adrien Brody. 88min. Anderson’s inspired choice of stop- motion animation pays off in this beautiful and idiosyncratic adaptation of the well- loved children’s tale. Brunton Theatre, Edinburgh.
✽✽ The Father of my Children (15) ●●●●● (Mia Hansen-Love,
France/Germany, 2009) Chiara Caselli, Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, Alice de Lencquesaing. 110min. Inspired by the fate of French producer Humbert Balsan, this impressively mature second feature from writer-director Hansen-Love is both a convincing portrait of the punishing realities of funding arthouse cinema and an affecting study of a family coping with an unexpected bereavement. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (15) ●●●●● (John Hughes, US, 1986) Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Grey, Charlie Sheen. 103min. A sunny Spring day in Chicago is far too good to spend locked in a classroom so the irrepressible Ferris Bueller feigns a malady, cuts classes and promises his two best friends a day to remember. Characteristically Hughes teen comedy that scores with fresh dialogue and appealing characterisations, but has the drawback of some laboured farce and the need to make meaningful statements. Cineworld Renfrew Street, Glasgow. Fireman Sam: The Great Fire of Pontypandy (U) (Jerry Hibbert, UK, 2010) Voices of Steven Kynman, David Carling, Su Douglas. 62min. Animated adventure in which the plucky fireman’s whole town is threatened when a scout camping trip accidentally leads to a forest fire. Vue Ocean, Edinburgh. The Flea (PG) ●●●●● (Dimitris Spyrou, Greece, 1990) Pantelis Trivizas, Vassilis Kolovos, Dimitra Hatoupi. 108min. Living in a remote village in the mountains near ancient Olympia, 12 year-old Ilias’ efforts to regularly produce a handwritten newspaper, The Flea, go largely unnoticed until an Athenian journalist shows up to cover the story. Part of Greek Film Festival. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. From Paris with Love (15) ●●●●● (Pierre Morel, France, 2010) Jonathan Rhys Meyers, John Travolta, Kasia Smutniak. 92min. Run-of-the-mill Parisian race-and- chase espionage pot boiler. General release. Future Shorts (18) (Various) Aiming to develop a wider audience for short film, Future Shorts returns with another excellent international programme produced within the last few years. This month’s programme
46 THE LIST 18 Mar–1 Apr 2010