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. This screening will be followed by a discussion with some climate scientists. CCA, Glasgow. 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. Cameo, Edinburgh. Alice in Wonderland 2D (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. Glasgow Film Theatre. 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. Cineworld Parkhead, Glasgow; Cineworld Fountainpark, Edinburgh. American: The Bill Hicks Story (15) ●●●●● (Matt Harlock, UK, 2009) 110min. Overly stylistic, patchy and awkwardly put-
together run-through of the hectic life and times of this comedy preacher who died of pancreatic cancer at the tragically young age of 32. Selected release. An Invention for Destruction (E) ●●●●● (Karl Zeman, Czech, 1958) 81min. Cartoons, puppets and live action are blended in this Jules Verne homage in which a mad scientist misuses a dangerous invention. Part of Zeman season. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Annie Hall (15) ●●●●● (Woody Allen, US, 1977) Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts. 93min. Two decades before Sex And The City had its first orgasm, Annie Hall was laying bare the mores of modern, urban romance to devastating effect while also zoning in on the specific psyche of Allen Konigsberg: anti-Semitic paranoia, metaphysical angst, the search for true love. There’s a highly charged on-screen electricity between Allen and Keaton, glorious vistas of the old New York and hilarious set pieces – Alvy fighting with lobsters, the scene of his childhood home below the rollercoaster – and a stream of one-liners to end them all: ‘Don’t knock masturbation; it’s sex with someone I love.’ They really don’t make ‘em like Annie Hall anymore. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. 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. Glasgow Film Theatre. The Artist’s Cinema (E) (Various) 90min. LUX and Independent Cinema Office curated selection of films featuring works by visual artists Keren Cytter, Aurelien Froment, Amar Kanwar, Deimantas Narkevicius, Rosalind Nashashibi and Catherine Sullivan with Farhad Sharmini and Akram Zaatari. Glasgow Film Theatre. Avatar 3D (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. IMAX Theatre, Glasgow.
Jack Cardiff It’s been just over a year since the great British cinematographer looked down the lens for the last
time. Both cities pay tribute to Cardiff in the next few weeks with screenings of the films featuring his very best work, including the new digital print of Pandora and the Flying Dutchman and the films he is best remembered for – his post-war work with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger including Black Narcissus (pictured). In Glasgow there will also a Father’s Day treat with the screening of Richard Fleischer’s brilliant The Vikings (1958) plus an outing for Joseph L Mankewicz’s rarely screened The Barefoot Contessa in which Cardiff immortalised the savage beauty of Ava Gardner. Craig McCall’s excellent recent documentary Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff is also showing. Ticket deals available. ■ GFT, Glasgow & Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Sun 30 May.
Avenge But One of my Two Eyes (12A) (Avi Mograbi, Israel/France, 2005) ●●●●● 100min. Passionate picture exploring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and concentrating on the power of dialogue. The myths of Samson and Massada teach young Jewish tourists that death is preferable to submission; meanwhile Palestinians in the Intifada are acting on the same lesson. Institut Français d’Ecosse, Edinburgh. The Back-Up Plan (12A) ●●●●● (Alan Poul, US, 2010) Jennifer Lopez, Alex O’Loughlin, Eric Christian Olsen. 103min. Lopez returns to film acting in this bland, generic comedy about a single woman who opts for artificial insemination. Of course Mr Right (O’Loughlin) breezes into her life just as she learns she’s pregnant. General release.
✽✽ Bad Lieutenant – Port of Call: New Orleans (18) ●●●●● (Werner
Herzog, US, 2009) Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer. 122min. New Orleans police sergeant Terence McDonagh (Cage) saves a drowning prisoner, earning him a promotion and a back injury. Addiction follows and as things spiral out of control momentum and perception change and nothing goes the way one might expect. Repeated viewing is necessary, cult status is guaranteed. General release. Bananas!* (E) ●●●●● (Fredrik Gertten, Sweden, 2009) 87min. See review, page 57. 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. Part of Varda season. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. 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. Gilmorehill G12, Glasgow. Bill Hicks: Relentless and Revelations (18) ●●●●● (Various, UK, 1992/1993) Bill Hicks. 90min. Two classic filmed performances of this brilliant comedian. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Black Narcissus (PG) ●●●●● (Michael Powell, UK, 1947) Deborah Kerr, Sabu, Jean Simmons, David Farrar, Flora Robson. 100min. Kerr’s colony of nuns in the Himalayas find their faith tested by desires of the flesh. An unlikely subject matter, astonishingly evocative studio settings and affectingly controlled performances are combined in a beautiful, unique film. Part of Jack Cardiff season. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Blue Poppy (E) (UK, 2008) 25min. A documentary about young Tibetan women trained in traditional medicine who leave their nomadic homelands to learn how to preserve their endangered medicinal plants. RBGE, Edinburgh. Le Bonheur (Happiness) (15) ●●●●● (Agnes Varda, France, 1965) Jean-Claude Drouot, Marie-France Boyer. 85min. Varda’s third feature explores the myth of romance and the misogynistic underside of the 1960s French family, with the happily married Francois (Drouot) entering into adulterous relations with Emilie (Boyer). Part of Varda season. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Broadway Danny Rose (PG) (Woody Allen, US, 1984) Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Nick Apollo Forte. 82min. Allen is on splendid form as manager of a stable of bottom-of-the-bill nightclub acts, who finally looks about to make it big when a fading crooner takes a sudden upsurge in popularity. Matters are complicated however by Mafia connections and a misplaced romantic involvement. Beautifully controlled narrative, sparkling screenplay and excellent
performances make this one of the contemporary master’s best. Part of Allen retrospective. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Brooklyn’s Finest (18) ●●●●● (Antoine Fuqua, US, 2010) Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke. 132min. See review, page 55. General release.
✽✽ The Brothers Bloom (12A) ●●●●● (Rian Johnson, US, 2008)
Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo. 113min. See feature, page 53 and review, page 57. Glasgow Film Theatre. Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (PG) ●●●●● (Craig McCall, UK, 2010) 90min. Documentary spanning the industrious career of cinematographer Jack Cardiff, comprising behind the scenes footage and contributions from Martin Scorsese, Kirk Douglas and Charlton Heston. Part of Jack Cardiff season. Glasgow Film Theatre; Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Cinévardaphoto (15) ●●●●● (Agnès Varda, France, Various) 94min. Three films from Varda, each reflecting on a different series of photographs – Salut les Cubains, Ulysse and Ydessa, les ours et etc. Part of Varda season. Glasgow Film Theatre; Filmhouse, Edinburgh. City of Life and Death (15) ●●●●● (Lu Chuan, China, 2009) Liu Ye, Hideo Nakaizumi, Fan Wei. 135min. Writer-director Lu Chuan’s epic account of one of his country’s most traumatic historical episodes. In the winter of 1937 the Japanese Imperial Army invaded and occupied the then capital Nanking, raping and massacring some 300,000 civilians. Understandably, given the subject matter this spectacular film makes for gruelling viewing, although Chuan’s directorial prowess shines through. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Cleo from 5 to 7 (PG) ●●●●● (Agnes Varda, Italy/France, 1962) Corinne Marchand, Antoine Bourseiller, Dominique Davray. 90min. Digital restoration of Varda’s second feature which follows French chanteuse Cleo (Marchand) in real time as she wanders around Paris before she gets the results of a medical test. Part of Varda season. Glasgow Film Theatre; Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Cop Out (15) ●●●●● (Kevin Smith, US, 2010) Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, Juan Carlos Hernández. 107min. A promising vehicle for the scatological humour that Smith has made his trademark, this features two Brooklyn cops whose friendship is tested by domestic matters, and reflects many of Smith’s usual obsessions with modern manhood. Selected release. The Darjeeling Limited (15) ●●●●● (Wes Anderson, US, 2007) Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman. 104min. Three eccentric brothers (Wilson, Brody and Schwartzman) cross India by train in an attempt to deal with the recent death of their father. On this evidence writer/director Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums is fast becoming the John Cheever of US cinema. This film is preceded by a short by Anderson called Hotel Chevalier; it is imperative you see this film in order to understand what follows. A delight. Scotsman Screening Room, Edinburgh.
27 May–10 June 2010 THE LIST 59