94min. Universal’s latest offering is a good- humoured tale of a curmudgeonly aspiring supervillain (Carrell) whose wicked ways are transformed when the three orphaned girls he adopts to help him steal the moon end up capturing his heart instead. Engaging, if not quite a classic. Vue Ocean, Edinburgh. Due Date (15) ●●●●● (Todd Phillips, US, 2010) Robert Downey Jr, Zach Gilifianakis. 95min. This attempt to re- capture the success of previous Phillips/Galifianakis hit The Hangover falls flat with an anti-buddy road trip movie in which expectant father (Downey Jr) has to rush cross-country to the birth with annoying passenger (Galifianakis) in tow. Downey Jr is watchable, but he’s about the only thing that is. Vue Omni, Edinburgh. Easier with Practice (15) ●●●●● (Kyle Patrick Alvarez, US, 2009) Brian Geraghty, Kel O’Neill, Marguerite Moreau. 100min. See review, page 48. Filmhouse, Edinburgh.
✽✽ Enemies of the People (15) ●●●●● (Rob Lemkin & Thet
Sambath, UK/Cambodia, 2009) 93min. See Also Released, page 48. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Fat City (15) ●●●●● (John Huston, US, 1972) Stacy Keach, Jeff Bridges, Susan Tyrell. 100min. See Festival Focus, index. Part of Heartworn Highways: Cinematic Americana. Glasgow Film Theatre, Glasgow. Full Metal Jacket (18) ●●●●● (Stanley Kubrick, UK, 1987) Matthew Modine, Dorian Harewood, Lee Ermey. 109min. Technically effective and narratively balanced depiction of raw Vietnam recruits as they endure basic training and the even greater horrors of the 1968 Tet offensive. One of the better Vietnam movies. Sloans, Glasgow. Fred: The Movie (12A) ●●●●● (Clay Weiner, US, 2010) Lucas Cruikshank, Pixie Lott, Jennette McCurdy. 83min. Cack spin- off film of nonsense Nickelodeon TV show about the tedious adventures of wholesome teenager Fred (Cruikshank). Selected release. Future Shorts (E) (Various, Various) 90min. An international initiative offering a monthly showcase of the finest short films from around the world. The Banshee Labyrinth, Edinburgh. The Green Hornet (12A) (Michel Gondry, US, 2011) Seth Rogen, Cameron Diaz, Christoph Waltz. 118min. See Also Released, page 48. General release from Fri 14 Jan. Gulliver’s Travels 2D (PG) ●●●●● (Rob Letterman, US, 2010) Jack Black, Jason Segel, Chris O’Dowd. 87min. Tiresome ageing man-child Black plays himself in this film that doesn’t so much deviate from Swift’s landmark work of satire as transform it into a flimsy piece of pop culture-obsessed fluff. Gulliver becomes a mail clerk shipwrecked on an island of tiny folk who finds favour with the local royals but is troubled by the machinations of governor Edwardian (O’Dowd). Unfunny and lacking cohesion. General release. Gulliver’s Travels 3D (PG) ●●●●● (Rob Letterman, US, 2010) Jack Black, Jason Segel, Chris O’Dowd. 87min. See above. General release. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (12A) ●●●●● (David Yates, UK/US, 2010) Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint. 146min. The seventh installment of the wildly popular wizard franchise is an atmospheric but emotionally hollow and rather rushed take on Rowling’s original, with a strong performance from ever-dependable Grint but little else to recommend it other than as an appetiser for next summer’s grand finale. General release. How to Marry a Millionaire (PG) ●●●●● (Jean Negulesco, US, 1953) Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable. 96min. Notable for being the first Cinemascope comedy, which isn’t completely successful. But who cares when you’ve got Bacall, Monrie and Grable playing three foxy ladies who rent a New York apartment in order to trap them some millionaires?. Scotsman Screening Room, Edinburgh.
The Illusionist (12A) ●●●●● (Sylvain Chomet, UK/France, 2010) Voices: Jean- Claude Donda, Eilidh Rankin. 83min. The product of five years’ work in an animation studio that Chomet (Belleville Rendezvous) set up in Edinburgh when he fell in love with the capital after attending its International Film Festival, this is an uncannily accurate portrayal of Edinburgh and Scotland. The story is an unfilmed script from Jacques Tati and the main character, an ageing magician whose beloved act no longer interests the rock’n’rolling 1950s youth, is based somewhat on Tati himself and is carefully and emotively rendered by Chomet and his team. Cameo, Edinburgh. It Happened One Night (PG) ●●●●● (Frank Capra, US, 1934) Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Rosscoe Karns. 105min. Pursued across the States by a roving reporter, a runaway heiress eventually falls for his charms. The first film to use buses and motel rooms as a backdrop and still come up trumps, it remains a classy peice of work. New print. Glasgow Film Theatre, Glasgow.
✽✽ It’s Kind of a Funny Story (12A) ●●●●● (Ryan Fleck/Anna
Boden, US, 2010) Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis. 101min. See review, page 46. Selected release. The Kids are All Right (15) ●●●●● (Lisa Cholodenko, US, 2010) Annette Benning, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo. 106min. Original and insightful comedy of social dilemmas telling the story of lesbian couple Nic (Benning) and Jules (Moore) and the unpredictable events that unfold when their sperm-donated son Laser sets out to find his biological father. Cameo, Edinburgh.
✽✽ The King’s Speech (15) ●●●●● (Tom Hooper, UK, 2010) Colin Firth,
Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush. 118min. See review, page 46. General release. La Fanciulla Del West (E) (US, 2011) Deborah Voigt, Marcello Giordani. 210min. Puccini’s follow up to Madame Butterfly is a Wild West opera set during the California Gold Rush. Cineworld Renfrew Street, Glasgow; Cameo, Edinburgh. Leap Year (Ano Bisiesto) (18) ●●●●● (Michael Rowe, Mexico, 2010) Monica del Carmen, Gustavo Sanchez Parro. 92min. See review, page 47. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zen (18) ●●●●● (Wai-keung Lau, Hong Kong/China, 2010) Donnie Yen, Qi Shu, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang. 106min. Neo-noir mystery and kick-ass action set in occupied Shanghai during the second Sino-Japanese War. Cameo, Edinburgh. Little Fockers (12A) ●●●●● (Paul Weitz, US, 2010) Ben Stiller, Teri Polo, Jessica Alba. 97min. The formula remains the same for this third instalment of familial comedy franchise. Gaylord ‘Greg’ Focker (Stiller) and his wife Pam (Polo) now have five-year-old twins. Greg suffers a mid-life crisis, which reactivates his psychotic father-in-law Jack’s suspicions. Robert De Niro, Blythe Danner, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand and director Paul Weitz return for more of the same. Likeable and forgettable. General release. Loose Cannons (Mine Vaganti) (15) ●●●●● (Ferzan Ozpetek, Italy, 2010) Riccardo Scamarcio, Alessandro Preziosi, Nicole Grimaudo. 113min. Warm-hearted coming-out comedy set in Southern Italy from the director of Hammam: The Turkish Bath, relating the youngest son of the eccentric Cantone clan’s struggles to escape a destiny in the family pasta factory by pretending to be gay. Typically, all does not go as planned. Glasgow Film Theatre, Glasgow.
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HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS: CINEMATIC AMERICANA Featuring small-time boxers, bible-thumping preachers, teenagers stumbling toward adulthood and outlaw country singers, this short season offers a rare opportunity to savour four idiosyncratic snapshots of 1970s Americana. From the filmography of John Huston come two lesser-known works, made in the twilight of his career. Fat City (1972) (pictured) ranks with Robert Rossen’s Body and Soul and Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull as one of the seminal boxing pictures. Shot by the great Conrad Hall in grubby, murky colour, the film’s based on the 1969 novel by Leonard Gardner and set in Stockton, California. It’s about a washed-up fighter Billy Tully (Stacy Keach) who strikes up a friendship with fresh-faced hopeful Ernie (Jeff Bridges) as he mulls over a return to the ring. Described as one of the most eccentric American films of its time,
Wise Blood (1979) is Huston’s adaptation of the Southern Gothic classic by Flannery O’Connor. Brad Dourif gives a career-best performance as Hazel Motes, a young preacher attempting to establish a new religion as he travels round a depressed southern town. Huston always frustrated auteurist critics searching for common formal and thematic threads in his work but there’s no doubt that in his flawed, obsessive drive, Motes is unmistakably Hustonian.
Adapted from the semi-autobiographical novel by Larry McMurtry, director Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show (1971) is certainly the most well known of the four pictures in the season. It’s a coming of age tale set in a dusty Texan town in the 1950s, lovingly shot in black and white by Robert Surtees and starring Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges and Cybil Shepherd. Although European in sensibility (the humanism of Renoir blended with the small-town ennui of Fellini’s I Vitelloni), it is very much in keeping with mournful American studies of changing times such as Sam Peckinpah’s Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.
Music plays a hugely important part in the four films. From Kris Kristofferson’s ‘Help Me Make It Through The Night’ in the unforgettable opening scenes of Fat City to the use of Hank Williams in The Last Picture Show. It’s fitting therefore, to round off the season with one of the great music documentaries. Centring on the outlaw country movement of the mid-1970s, James Szalapski’s Heartworn Highways has an organic, home-movie feel, capturing moments of energy, fun and camaraderie but also moments of great tenderness and poignancy. Several of the great names in country music such as Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell and a fresh-faced Steve Earle all feature but for many the real discovery will be Larry Jon Wilson, the hugely underrated country-soul singer whose rumbling, earthy baritone is perfect for warming a chilly January night. (Pasquale Iannone) ■ Heartworn Highways, GFT, Glasgow, Sun 9–Sun 30 Jan.
6–20 Jan 2011 THE LIST 51