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For its title sequence, The Full Monty (15) resurrects a Seventies promo film for Sheffield, a showreel that may have influenced the aesthetic Weltanschauung of a young Jarvis Cocker. It's new-town retro with a hint of Soviet optimism. Tower blocks gleam in the sun, buses cruise around new concrete roundabouts, molten steel bubbles in crucibles. A smoothly cheerful voiceover that might once have been used to advertise Dralon Zed beds enumerates the city's industrial triumphs. Then the screen blacks out with the caption, "25 years later". We're in the present day, and civic modernism has been discredited by the heritage pub, stone cladding, and the fact that Marxism is dead as Adorno. In The Full Monty's Sheffield the working man is an oxymoron. The only way male dignity can be re- invented is for blokes to get their kits off and wave their todgers in the air.

CONSPIRACY THEORY Director: Richard Donner Starring: Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, Patrick Stewart (15)

There is a sequence about 30 minutes into this initially promising thriller which suggests that there may be something more to what we're seeing than meets the eye. As a paranoid New York cabbie and the brains behind a conspiracy theory newsletter, Mel Gibson seems at first like your usual opinionated, motor-mouthed taxi-driver. The film opens with him detailing various conspiracy theories to hapless passengers who simply stare in amazement at his ability to talk - and talk drivel - without taking a breath.

Just because you're paranoid...

Conspiracy Theory Richard Donner (15) The Full Monty Peter Cattaneo (15)

david aaronovitch

It has been reported this week that the Foreign Secretary, Mr Robin Cook (henceforth to be known only as Robin), is to circulate those who lie abroad for their country with a special video, introducing himself and his policies. Previously they only received a short note reading something like "Dear colleague. My name's Malcolm. I'm another Tory. I want Britain to be at the heart of Europe. Cheers."

Mel Gibson meets Derrida

It's one of the most popular university courses. But is cultural studies of intellectual value, or a refuge for lazy charlatans?

`Scalping' exposed at Villa Park

The news agency Associated Press can always be relied upon to provide a peculiarly American perspective on what we call "football" and they call "soccer" - its reports on matches played in the States can often read like descriptions of a totally different sport.


Once they were fearsome medieval warriors; today they fight on

`Braveheart' in League of his own

If you want to understand what really happened in Italy's general election, ask Mel Gibson. Or rather, marvel at the timing with which his film Braveheart swept the Oscars last month. His tale of William Wallace's revolt against the English provided the Northern League, the volatile separatist movement that rails against the iniquities of rule from Rome, with the perfect symbol for its poll campaign.

Two hundred diners in search of a stereotype and celluloid Scots

"ODDLY enough, Trollope himself was not a great admirer of Lincoln's Inn."


BEST PICTURE: Braveheart

Film: The oscar box

Last week we asked film pundits to name their best and worst Oscar awards. Here, they give their verdicts on this year's results...

Bravehearts and statuettes

Oscars special: Susan Sarandon, the bookies' hot favourite to take the Best Actress prize at tomorrow night's Academy Awards, talks to Daniel Jeffreys As the nominees await their fate, David Thomson offers his Oscar predictions

Contempt and content for a crime without punishment


Scotland learns from epic lost to Ireland

Scotland's film industry was revitalised by Mel Gibson's decision to film much of his epic Braveheart about Scots hero William Wallace ... in Ireland, Scottish arts minister Lord Lindsay said yesterday.
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