Imaginary Heroes (18)
Walk on Water (15)
Who Killed Bambi? (tbc)
Friday 01 July 2005
The Dandy Warhols eventually find success in Europe, leaving the volatile Newcombe to stew in competitive rancour, though he only has himself to blame: the typical BJM gig tends to collapse in a chaotic fight, quite often between members of the band.
Timoner is right in the thick of it, and catches some classic scenes of rampant delusion and egomania. Some have tried to cast Taylor and Newcombe as the Mozart and Salieri of their day – but with so much dope in the air the new Cheech and Chong is more like it.
Unhappy Families I. This feature debut by X-Men 2 writer Dan Harris begins with the suicide of a school champion swimmer and proceeds downwards from there.
The emotional fall-out is shared around the boy's brittle, frustrated mother (Sigourney Weaver), his stubbled, boozing father (Jeff Daniels) and bruised younger brother (Emile Hirsch), each of them marinated in the kind of suburban misery we've seen more incisively observed in both The Ice Storm and American Beauty.
Self-consciously barbed dialogue and meaningful glances flicker through its gloomy course, by the end of which you'd rather eat the press notes than endure another minute in the company of these dismal masochists. Weaver gets to deliver a furious set-piece tirade against trailer trash, but that just adds a whiff of snobbery to the general stink.
Gilles Marchand, who won plaudits for scripting the French psycho-thriller Harry, He's Here To Help, now directs his first feature film, with mixed results.
Sophie Quinton plays an ingénue nurse troubled by fainting fits and a suspicion that the smooth young surgeon (Laurent Lucas, the innocent at the heart of Harry, He's Here to Help) who prowls the hospital corridors at night may be drugging young women patients for his own dastardly purposes.
For a while the intrigue is disconcerting, and cinematographer Pierre Milon's palette of antiseptic whites and ice blues may well give you the creeps. But the plot then swings off its hinges and credibility is dealt a poisoned needle that causes the film to die a very slow death.
Macho Eyal (Lior Ashkenazi) is a crack Mossad agent deputed to hunt down an old Nazi who's been on the run for years. So, posing as an Israeli tour guide, he battens onto the war criminal's grandchildren (Knut Berger and Carolyn Peters), only to find that these peacenik kids are all right – even if they are Germans. Director Eytan Fox is looking to lay a few ghosts and reach out the hand of reconciliation, which is ambitious at least. Sadly, once the action shifts from Israel to Berlin, the film becomes mired in earnest wish-fulfilment as years of inveterate prejudice and hatred seemingly melt away. If the drama were as strong as the optimism it would collect many awards.
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