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 Rising (18) ●●●●● (Paula Heredia, US, 2009) 62min. Powerful documentary portraying the indomitable grass-roots movement to end female genital mutilation in Africa. Glasgow Film Theatre. Agora (12A) ●●●●● (Alejandro Amenábar, Spain, 2009) Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella, Oscar Isaac. 126min. Controversial but uninvolving Spanish historical epic telling the story of Hypatia, a female philosopher in Roman Egypt and her relationship with her slave. Has attracted some criticism from the Religious Anti Defamation Observatory. General release. 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. Selected release. The Ape (18) ●●●●● (Jesper Ganslandt, Sweden, 2009) Olle Sarri, Francoise Joyce, Sean Pietrulewicz. 81min. Enigmatic and taut Nordic noir from Ganslandt about an irritable man who wakes up on his bathroom floor covered in blood. Part of Nordic Noir season. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. 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. Babe (U) ●●●●● (Chris Noonan, Australia, 1995) James Cromwell, voices of Christine Cavanaugh, Miriam Margolyes. 92min. An orphaned pig falls under the eye of a kindly collie and begins to think he’s destined for glory at the regional sheepdog trials. Obviously for kids, but there’s enough skewered humour (hail the psycho mice!) for adults too. The Hippodrome, Bo’ness. The Back-Up Plan (12A) ●●●●● (Alan Poul, US, 2010) Jennifer Lopez, Alex O’Loughlin, Eric Christian Olsen. 103min. See Also Released, page 44. General release from Fri 7 May. Bandslam (PG) ●●●●● (Todd Graff, US, 2009) Vanessa Hudgens, Gaelan Connell, Lisa Kudrow. 110min. Tweeny pop, high school adventure chronicling budding impresario Will Burton (Connell) and his rock’n’roll band’s desperate attempts to win a battle-of-the-bands competition. Glasgow Film Theatre. Beyond the Pole (15) ●●●●● (David L Williams, UK, 2009) Rhys Thomas, Stephen Mangan, Mark Benton. 87min. Based on a Radio 4 comedy series, writer- director Williams’s semi-improvised mockumentary follows the hapless efforts of amateur explorers Mark (Mangan) and Brian (Thomas) to raise consciousness about global warming. Shot in a fake vérité manner, it’s a sporadically amusing adventure, in which the lead actors struggle to handle the material’s awkward tonal shifts. Glasgow Film Theatre. Black Sea (15) (Federico Bondi, Italy, 2008) Ilaria Occhini, Dorotheea Petre, Vlad Ivanov. 95min. Bondi’s first feature chronicles the changing relationship between an elderly widow and her young Romanian caretaker, touchingly portraying divides of age and culture. Part of Italian Film Festival. Filmhouse, Edinburgh.
The Blind Side (12A) ●●●●● (John Lee Hancock, US, 2010) Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Kathy Bates. 128min. Based on the moving true story of Michael Oher, a black teenager from the Memphis projects with burgeoning sporting talent, who is adopted by WASPs, led by Leigh Ann (Bullock). It’s been a huge success stateside, hailing from a mildly offensive line of American sports films, blandly but effectively directed by Hancock with Bullock valiantly delivering some of the worst dialogue ever uttered south of the Dixie line. Selected release. 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. Selected release. A Boy Called Dad (15) ●●●●● (Brian Percival, UK, 2009) Ian Hart, Kyle Ward, Charlene McKenna. 79min. See review, page 44 and profile, right. Selected release from Fri 30 Apr. The Cable Guy (12) ●●●●● (Ben Stiller, US, 1996) Jim Carrey, Matthew Broderick, Leslie Mann. 96min. When he settles into his batchelor pad, hoping to enjoy an easy life of cable television, architect Steven Kovacs (Broderick) didn’t anticipate a cable installer who will go to any lengths to become his friend. Misjudged comedy with the hyperactive Carrey in conniving form, full of spot-the-scene humour. Cameo, Edinburgh. Carmen (12A) (Italy, 2009) Anita Rachvelishvili, Jonas Kaufmann, Erwin Schrott. 210min. George Bizet’s masterful creation filmed live at Teatro all Scala on the opening night of the new opera season. The Hippodrome, Bo’ness. Caught Short (15) (UK, Various) 70min. A montage of short works by emerging filmmakers, curated by students from Edinburgh Skillset Screen and Media Academy. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Cemetery Junction (15) ●●●●● (Ricky Gervais/Stephen Merchant, UK, 2010) Jack Doolan, Tom Hughes, Christian Cooke. 95min. Largely free of the excruciating irony that has dominated their TV work, Gervais and Merchant’s story of three friends living in suburban England in the 1970s is a tender, touching tale that’s unashamedly feel good. Romance drives the plot but there are also lashings of teenage angst. General release. Centurion (15) ●●●●● (Neil Marshall, UK, 2010) Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, David Morrissey. 97min. Marshall takes us back to the ancient world of 117AD as the Romans try to ‘civilise’ Britain. An entertaining action piece with some sturdy performances, sustained tension and vicious combat. General release. Cherrybomb (15) ●●●●● (Lisa Barras D’Sa/Glen Leyburn, UK, 2009) Rupert Grint, Robert Sheehan, Kimberley Nixon. 85min. Grint throws off the Ron Weasley shackles in this Skins-style teen romp. Showcase Cinema, Paisley. City of the Living Dead (18) ●●●●● (Lucio Fulci, Italy, 1980) Catriona MacColl, Christopher George, Giovanni Lombardo Radice. 93min. Surreal and sublime zombie antics from Fulci, loosely based on the nightmare visions of HP Lovecraft. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Clash of the Titans (12A) (Louis Leterrier, US, 2010) Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes. 105min. Classic Greek myth gets the modern special effects treatment. Selected release. Combat Shock (18) ●●●●● (Buddy Giovinazzo, US, 1986) Ricky Giovinazzo, Veronica Stork, Mitch Maglio. 98min. Cult classic chronicling the decline of a neglected war veteran through poverty and abandonment – a disturbing New York portrait. Part of FAB Fest. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Cosmonauta (12A) (Susanna Nicchiarelli, Italy, 2009) Pietro Del Giudice, Susanna Nicchiarelli, Marianna Raschillà. 87min. Early 1960s-set story of two young siblings who are eagerly following the progress of the space race, urging on the Soviet cosmonauts. The pair grow older and
apart, and when the assertive Luciana (Raschillà) starts dating, her odd brother proves to be a hindrance. Part of Italian Film Festival. Glasgow Film Theatre. Crying with Laughter (18) ●●●●● (Justin Molotnikov, UK, 2009) Stephen McCole, Malcolm Shields, Andrew Neil. 93min. A foulmouthed comedian takes a ‘bad trip down memory lane’ in confused but occasionally compelling low budget Scottish thriller. Grosvenor, Glasgow; Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Cryptic Nights: Craftwork (E) (UK, Various) 90min. The monthly night that aims to bring emergent artists, filmmakers and performers into the public eye. This month digital film and arts creators onedotzero return with the best in DIY short films and promos. CCA, Glasgow.
✽✽ La Danse – Le Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris (PG) ●●●●●
(Frederick Wiseman, US/France, 2009) Emilie Cozette, Aurélie Dupont, Dorothée Gilbert. 158min. See review, page 42. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Date Night (15) ●●●●● (Shawn Levy, US, 2010) Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg. 88min. Comedy royalty Carell and Fey play a couple from the ‘burbs who decide to escape the kids for an evening and head for a trendy Manhattan eatery. Problems start when they get mistaken for a pair of thieves being hunted down by two corrupt cops – a hit-and-miss adventure follows and a rather formulaic outlook ensures it’s all rather forgettable in the end. General release. A Day of Violence (18) (Darren Ward, UK, 2009) Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Nick Rendell, Christopher Fosh. 91min. Uncompromising and gritty feature in which a low ranking debt collector makes a deadly decision when he finds £100,000 cash in a clients flat. Part of FAB Fest. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Dear John (12A) ●●●●● (Lasse Hallström, US, 2010) Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried, Richard Jenkins. 108min. Seyfried plays Savannah, a student who strikes up a relationship with on leave soldier John Tyree (Tatum), but their romance is stymied when Tyree decides to put his military career first, and the inevitable Dear John letter results in mutual heartbreak. General release. Dirty Oil (U) ●●●●● (Leslie Iwerks, US/Canada, 2009) 73min. Narrated by Neve Campbell, director Iwerks’ sobering eco- documentary explores the catastrophic consequences of extracting oil from Canada’s Northern Alberta tar sands, which constitute an area the size of England. Alongside some impressive aerial photography, Iwers draws on the vivid testimonies of a range of interviewees. Glasgow Film Theatre. The Disappearance of Alice Creed (18) ●●●●● (J Blakeson, UK, 2009) Gemma Arterton, Martin Compston, Eddie Marsan. 100min. See review, page 42 and profile, page 46. Selected release. Dogtooth (18) ●●●●● (Giorgos Lanthimos, Greece, 2009) Christos Stergioglou, Michelle Valley, Aggeliki Papoulia. 97min. A dark fairytale for contemporary times, Dogtooth tells the story of three grown up children who have been brought up without venturing beyond the tall fence that surrounds their house. Lanthimos explores the logic and boundaries of what we deem to be right or wrong, in a situation where social norms have been removed or subverted – a deeply memorable, stylish, anarchic but assured piece of filmmaking. Glasgow Film Theatre; Cameo, Edinburgh.
✽✽ Double Take (12A) ●●●●● (Johan Grimonprez, UK, 2009) Alfred Hitchcock. 80min. Dazzling montage-based film which uses Alfred Hitchcock’s fascination with doubles as a springboard to re-examine the socio-political anxieties of Cold War-era America. Zapping between past and present, fiction and ‘reality’, cinema and television, the filmmaker interweaves a trio of narrative strands – Hitchcock’s mischievous screen persona, the escalating tension between USA and USSR and a fictional strand based on a Jorge Luis Borges story. Filmhouse,
Index Film PROFILE
IAN HART Born Liverpool, 1964
Background Ian Hart’s role as Professor Quirninus Quirrell in the ongoing Harry Potter saga is only a footnote in a role-call of strong supporting performances. Hart started out with a Play for Today appearance in 1982, followed by Ken Loach’s Land and Freedom, and playing John Lennon in both The Hours and Times and Backbeat. He’s balanced regular TV work with blockbusters like Tony Scott’s Enemy of the State. Hart’s latest, A Boy Called Dad provides him with a welcome return to leading man status.
How does his latest venture relate to Hart’s early television work? ‘Looking back on my first roles back in the day of the Play for Today, it seems about as long ago as the Isle of Man TT race of 1947. This felt like a return to that kind of subject; what the kid is going through is a very scary real-life situation, it’s a question of responsibility, and my character’s journey is an echo of what the boy is going through.’ What did Hart feel he could bring to this role as a parent? ‘I have got my own kids, so the idea of playing a character who hasn’t seen his son since he was four was a powerful one for me. The kid in this story mythologises his father, he projects what he wants his dad to be like, but when I turn up, I’m not what he expects. It’s easy to blame parents for things, but when you get older, you see it’s never as simple as that.’
Has Hart ever thought of working behind the camera? ‘I’d love to direct, but I can’t get anyone to give me money, and I can’t get on the list of prescribed writers you need to be on. I’d like to work with actors the way Ken Loach does. I love films by Cassavetes like Shadows. Now, when I see myself on screen, I’m thinking ‘why didn’t they use that take?’ I probably should have gone down the directing route 20 years ago.’ (Eddie Harrison) ■ A Boy Called Dad, general release from Fri 30 April. See review, page 44.
29 Apr–13 May 2010 THE LIST 45