Film Index PROFILE
EMMA THOMPSON Born 15 April 1959, London. Background Her mum Phyllida Law is a respected Scottish actress who has appeared alongside her wee lassie in The Winter Guest and Peter’s Friends while her dad Eric only went and created The Magic Roundabout. Her sister Sophie appeared in EastEnders as the seriously disturbed lover of Phil Mitchell who eventually kills herself on their wedding day.
Comedy career Although Thompson has become synonymous with costume dramas such as Howard’s End (for which she won the Best Actress Oscar) and Sense and Sensibility (for which she won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar), her early career in comedy helped carve her future. As part of a pretty impressive Cambridge Footlights line-up including Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, she won the first ever Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1981 and went on to appear in The Young Ones, Tutti Frutti and The Tall Guy.
What’s she up to now? The sequel to Nanny McPhee is here with another family needing the desperate help of the bewarted and big-toothed government- sponsored Mary Poppins figure. On the Nurse Matilda books which resulted in Nanny McPhee ‘I think I liked them because they’re not patronising. They’re very well written and kind of grown-up in their funniness, but still extremely appealing to children. They reminded me a little bit of my dad’s work on The Magic Roundabout which was appealing to children even though they didn’t know what the word mollusc meant or what Dougal meant when he was rushing around trees going, “I’m going to take this up with the government!” It’s that slightly grown-up but very mad writing that’s always appealed to me and it was, I suppose, an attempt to make something that was as enjoyable for an adult to watch as it is for a child.’ (Matt Black) ■ Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang is on general release from Fri 26 Mar.
48 THE LIST 18 Mar–1 Apr 2010
✽✽ Lourdes (U) ●●●●● (Jessica Hausner, Austria/France/Germany,
2009) Sylvie Testud, Lea Seydoux, Gilette Berbier. 99min. See review, page 43. Glasgow Film Theatre; Filmhouse, Edinburgh. The Lovely Bones (12A) ●●●●● (Peter Jackson, UK/US/New Zealand, 2009) Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon. 135min. Adaptation of Alice Sebold’s popular novel. General release. Lysistrata (PG) ●●●●● (Yorgos Zervoulakis, Greece, 1972) Jenny Karezi, Kostas Kazakos, Anna Fonsou. 100min. Adaptation of Aristophanes’ ancient Greek play about Lysistrata, the Athenian who rallied other women and proposed that they refuse to have sex with their men for the duration of the war that was ruining their country. Part of Greek Film Festival. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Maggots and Men (18) (Cary Cronenwett, 2009) 53min. Shot on black and white 16mm and Super-8 film stock, this experimental historical narrative set in post-revolutionary Russia re-tells the story of 1921 uprising of the Krinstadt sailors. CCA, Glasgow. A Matter of Life and Death (PG) ●●●●● (Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger, UK, 1946) David Niven, Kim Hunter, Roger Livesy. 104min. Wonderful film that rises above its beginnings as a piece of wartime propaganda about goodwill between Britain and the US. Niven is an RAF pilot who finds himself before a heavenly tribunal when he bales out of his burning plane. A witty and stylish fantasy with a fair share of on-target satire. The Hippodrome, Bo’ness. Micmacs (12A) ●●●●● (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, France, 2009) Dany Boon, André Dussollier, Nicolas Marié. 104min. This slight but enjoyably manic satire from Amelie and Delicatessen director Jeunet sees eccentric Parisian loner Bazil (Boon) draw on a bunch of insane refuseniks for help when he is left with a bullet in his cerebellum following a freak accident. In evoking the ghosts of Buster Keaton and Jacques Tati and displacing them in an anarchic underground world peopled by the forgotten and abused, Jeunet is clearly on familiar ground. Fun and innovative stuff. Glasgow Film Theatre; Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Monsters vs Aliens (PG) ●●●●● (Rob Letterman, US, 2009) Voices of Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie. 94min. Can a self-doubting but individualist team of monsters overcome a mob of self- confident, mass-produced aliens? Eye- popping to watch, leavened with self- referential humour that makes it easy to digest, but also playing things so painstakingly safe that any resonance evaporates the moment the end credits roll. Empire, Clydebank; Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Mugabe and the White African (12A) ●●●●● (Lucy Bailey/Andrew Thompson, UK, 2009) 90min. Documentary about Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s aggressive land reform programme and the effect it has had on white-owned farms and their inhabitants. The film follows the brave fight of farmer Michael Campbell to hold on to his farm and live peacefully. Glasgow Film Theatre; Filmhouse, Edinburgh. My Last Five Girlfriends (12A) ●●●●● (Julian Kemp, UK, 2008) Naomie Harris, Brendan Patricks, Kelly Adams. 87min. See Also Released, page 45. Selected release. My Name is Khan (12A) ●●●●● (Karan Johar, India, 2010) Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Tanay Chheda. 145min. Romantic Hindi melodrama in which Indian superstar Khan plays a Muslim man with Asperger’s who decides to follow his estranged betrothed across America when they run in to trouble after 9/11. Vue Ocean, Edinburgh. Nanny McPhee (U) ●●●●● (Kirk Jones, UK, 2005) Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Kelly Macdonald, Celia Imrie, Angela Lansbury. 97min. Hodge-podge tale of privileged revelry, cliché and antiquated morality that plays like a wretched pro- childbirth psychedelic farce fable.
Cineworld Parkhead, Glasgow. Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (U) ●●●●● (Kirk Jones, UK, 2010) Emma Thompson, Ewan McGregor, Ralph Fiennes, Maggie Gyllenhaal. 109min. See Also Released, page 45 and profile, left. General release. La Nina Santa (The Holy Girl) (15) ●●●●● (Lucrecia Martel, Argentina/Italy/Netherlands/Spain, 2004) Mercedes Moran, Carlos Belloso, Alejandro Urdapilleta, Maria Lache. 104min. This film is set during a specialist medical convention at a provincial hotel, which happens to be the home of glamorous divorcee Helena (Moran) and her schoolgirl daughter Amalia (Lache). When one of the visiting doctors (Belloso) rubs himself up against the teenager in a crowded street, the Catholic Amalia decides that this is her divine calling to save the man from his sins, even though he’s also caught the eye of her mother. Part of Martel season. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Nowhere Boy (15) ●●●●● (Sam Taylor-Wood, UK/Canada, 2009) Kristin Scott Thomas, Thomas Sangster, Aaron Johnson. 97min. Artist Taylor-Wood turns feature director with Nowhere Boy, a portrait of John Lennon’s (Johnson) adolescence. Scott Thomas and Anne-Marie Duff come off best in this 1950s period tableaux but, shorn of Lennon’s rapier wit, Johnson comes over as just another moody pretty-boy, railing at the world to conceal his lack of self-understanding. Odeon at the Quay, Glasgow. Oil City Confidential (15) ●●●●● (Julien Temple, UK, 2009) Lee Brilleaux, Wilko Johnson, John B Sparkes. 180min. Following on from The Filth and the Fury and The Future is Unwritten, this is the alleged third part of Julien Temple’s documentary punk trilogy. Temple goes back to punk’s evolution by revisiting Dr Feelgood – the Canvey Island rockers whose raw primitivism paved the way for the punk agenda. Glasgow Film Theatre. Old Dogs (PG) ●●●●● (Walt Becker, US, 2009) John Travolta, Robin Williams, Kelly Preston. 84min. See review, page 45. Selected release. Once Upon a Time in The West (15) ●●●●● (Sergio Leone, US, 1968) Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards. 165min. Probably Leone’s best film, this classic western details in operatic fashion the drive of crooked railroad magnate, Fonda, to cheat widow Cardinale out of her land, until lone stranger Bronson comes to town. Brilliant Morricone score, achingly slow pacing, and an enthusiastic use of the wide screen mark this out as an idiosyncratic gem. Part of The Sound of Film season. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Orphans (18) ●●●●● (Peter Mullan, UK, 1999) Douglas Henshall, Gary Lewis, Stephen McCole. 105min. Four orphans of varying ages attempt to come to terms with the death of their beloved mother during one dark, stormy night in Glasgow. Mullan’s feature directing debut mixes emotional frankness with humour verging on the surreal to great effect. While individual set pieces and performances impress, the whole thing comes together remarkably. The Hippodrome, Bo’ness. Peacock Season (E) (James Wren, UK, 2009) 16min. Star-studded short film about a comedian taking a show to the Edinburgh festival featuring Reece Shearsmith, Rhys Darby, Adam Hills, Nina Conti, Richard Herring, Glenn Wool, Lucy Porter and Paul Foot. Part of Glasgow International Comedy Festival. Gilmorehill G12, Glasgow. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (PG) ●●●●● (Chris Columbus, Canada/US, 2010) Brandon T Jackson, Steve Coogan, Uma Thurman. 118min. Big screen adaptation of Rick Riordan’s first fantasy adventure novel featuring Greek mythology-baiting child Percy Jackson. Possible franchise? We think so. General release. Perrier’s Bounty (15) ●●●●● (Ian Fitzgibbon, Ireland/UK, 2009) Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Jim Broadbent. 84min. See review, page 44. General release from Fri 26 Mar.
Pilton Video Presents: Streetwise 2010 (12A) (Various, UK, 2010) 120min. Six new HD dramas and documentaries from Edinburgh’s emerging filmmaking talent. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. A Place of One’s Own (15) (Lou Yi- an, Taiwan, 2009) Mo Tzu-Yi, Jack Kao, Lu Yi-Jing. 123min. A dark comedy set in Taipei City about the trials of a struggling musician, once famous but now forgotten, and an origami artist who is trying to scrape together the funds for a life-saving operation. Introduced by Dr David Archibald, lecturer at Glasgow University. Part of Taiwan Cinefest Glasgow. Glasgow Film Theatre. Planet 51 (U) ●●●●● (Jorge Blanco/Javier Abad, US, 2009) Voices of Dwayne Johnson, Jessica Beil, Gary Oldman. 90min. Dull, mildly offensive Spanish animated feature about one astronaut’s adventures as an illegal alien on a far-flung planet. Selected release. Ponyo (U) ●●●●● (Hayao Myazki, Japan, 2008) Voices of Noah Cyrus, Liam Neeson, Frankie Jonas. 101min. Delightful animated feature from the Studio Ghibli brand about a five-year-old boy who falls for a goldfish princess. It’s funny, charming and original enough to keep adults entertained, but where it really scores is Miyazaki’s (Spirited Away) ability to understand what a child sees. Like its goldfish heroine, Ponyo may seem like a slight and slivery proposition, but it dives to uncharted depths. Cameo, Edinburgh. Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire (15) ●●●●● (Lee Daniels, US, 2009) Gabourney Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton. 110min. Unexpected and moving, the Sundance and Toronto film festivals’ top prizewinner, based on the novel Push by Sapphire, is a gem from the projects. Odeon at the Quay, Glasgow; Odeon Wester Hailes, Edinburgh. The Princess and the Frog (U) ●●●●● (Ron Clements/John Musker, US, 2010) Voices of Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith David. 97min. Set in 1920s Louisiana and featuring Disney’s first African-American Princess, this culturally important, beautiful and evocative (of a New Orleans that no longer exists) film may not have the standout musical numbers of some of its stablemates but is an old fashioned treat all the same. General release. A Prophet (18) ●●●●● (Jacques Audiard, France/Italy, 2009) Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, Adel Bencherif. 150min. Naïve youth Malik (Rahim) enters prison with a view to keeping his head down, but murderous circumstance see him aligned to the Corsican mafia who run the prison. As prison population demographics begin to shift, the cunning Malik uses all his resources to elevate his financial and hierarchical status. Plotted and executed with a slow burn complexity and rare grace, this is a wonderfully mature piece of filmmaking. Cameo, Edinburgh.
✽✽ The Queen of Spades (PG) ●●●●● (Thorald Dickinson, UK,
1949) Anton Walbrook, Edith Evans, Yvonne Mitchell. 95min. Re-release of Dickinson’s classic in which a young officer in the imperial Russian army tries to wrest the secret of winning at cards from a strange old countess. Dickinson’s eerily prowling camera and designer Oliver Messel’s sets give this adapation of a Pushkin story an effective atmosphere. Faintly ridiculous on a surface level, but enjoyable nonetheless. Cameo, Edinburgh. Ratatouille (U) ●●●●● (Brad Bird, US, 2007) Voices of Patton Oswalt, Brian Dennehy, Brad Garrett. 110min. The Pixar masterpiece follows Remy the rat (voiced by Oswalt) as he chases his dream of becoming a gourmet chef. The Hippodrome, Bo’ness. Samson and Delilah (15) (Warwick Thornton, Australia, 2009) Rowan McNamara, Marissa Gibson, Mitjili Napanangka Gibson. 101min. Thornton’s first feature film was made on a low budget in the heat of the Australian outback, and tells the story of two Aboriginal youngsters who run away to the city, only to find it’s not quite as they had imagined. This