Thursday 13 May 1999
Financial whizz Joe Ross (Campbell Scott) has developed a market-busting formula for his company but does anyone appreciate his talents? Only, it seems, a quirky personal assistant (Rebecca Pidgeon) and a no-nonsense jet setter, Jimmy Dell (Steve Martin), Joe meets by chance.
David Mamet directs his own screenplay which means the metaphysical undertones of the switch-back plot are indulged to the full. The end result is an OK, sub-Usual Suspects thriller is needlessly complicated by verbose exchanges.
That said, Martin and Pidgeon's performances, both exuding ambiguous menace, ignite the occasional spark of tension.
Pitched as kids entertainment with enough to keep the over-14s awake, Eric Darnell and Tim Johnson's computer-animated feature doesn't quite succeed with either intention. "Z" is a worker ant, appealingly voiced by Woody Allen, who refuses to submit to the will of the commune either in his forbidden love for Princess Bala (Sharon Stone) or his belief in the mythical Insectopia. Z's real problem is his anonymity, and the same failing blights the animation itself. Z and his co-workers are so faithfully rendered, physiologically, you can barely tell them apart. (A Bug's Life by contrast substituted cute for accurate). Still, the prevailing theme of individuality vs conformity is given an engaging spin as Allen gets to reprise his customary neurotic kvetching ("I was the middle child in a family of five million"). Also pleasing are the brown and black hues of his subterranean home: a neat literal touch and a contributory factor, no doubt, in Z's existential crisis. A pity then that, a couple of bravura sequences apart, the film's mature wit is sidelined by its fatuous plot.
A Perfect Murder (18)
This loose reworking of Dial M For Murder has Michael Douglas as an amoral tycoon (is he anything else these days?) who offers Viggo Mortensen, the lover of his waspish wife Gwyneth Paltrow, $500,000 to kill her, in order that he can claim her inheritance. Though Douglas is the obvious villain, director Andrew Davis's strength is to remain poker-faced about Mortensen's motivations. His character seems to be a conflation of two from Hitchcock's original. It's a liberty but worth it, particularly if you can put up with Paltrow's dim heroine. As Davis's previous film, The Fugitive, there's something to chew on beneath the blockbuster sheen.
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
- 3 Amal Clooney gives excellent answer to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
The Jump 2015 line-up: Joey Essex, Phil Tufnell, Heather Mills and co take to the slopes
Game of Thrones season 5: Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson is all for more male nudity – as long as it’s not him
Grumpy Roald Dahl letter warning student to 'eschew beastly adjectives' rediscovered after 35 years
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures