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If you want to go to the cinema on your own - or, with friends, of course - then see my recommendations below.


Some films are hard to watch. MONSTER (cert. 18 1hr. 39mins.) is a harrowing tale, basically true, of a woman serial killer of 7 men, only one of which might be called justified. Portraying Aileen Wuornos, however, is Charlize Theron, an actress of not inconsiderable beauty and intelligence. Her interpretation of the real life Aileen is remarkable. Yes, make-up has assisted the look but the acting is very powerful and first time director, Patty Jenkins, displays real talent. The always riveting Christina Ricci also gives a believable performance as Aileen's lesbian lover.

Charlize Theron

In answer to questions at the Press conference I attended, Charlize said she felt incredibly lucky and priveleged to get such a role and to work with such a gifted director. She said that she knew she would walk away challenged and changed. Aileen wrote letters to a friend from Death Row for 12 years and these helped Charlize to discover physical as well as mental attributes. When questioned about accepting the Oscar, Charlize admitted to not being a good public speaker in very large groups, but was most grateful for having been given this person to portray after 10 years in the film business portraying stereotypical women


CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS (cert. 15 1 hr. 37 mins.) is also a true story - this time a documentary. In spite of an over indulgence for recording all events on their home-movie camera, the Friedmans were an apparently normal middle-class family living in the affluent New York suburb of Great Neck. One Thanksgiving police officers, who have intercepted a pornography delivery, rush into the house, accusing Arnold Friedman and his youngest son Jesse of hundreds of shocking crimes against young boys.

CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS

The disintegration of the whole family is shown through exerpts from the films and interviews with Elaine Friedman and two of the three sons. It is unusual to have a film that does not come down one way or another as to the innocence or otherwise of Arnold and Jesse, both of whom pleaded guilty finally in order to try and reduce their sentences, but always maintained their innocence.

A quick mention of BLIND FLIGHT (cert. 15 1hr 38 mins.), another film based on a true story and, like the others, sometimes difficult to watch. It's the story of the capture and incarceration of Brian Keenan (Ian Hart) and John McCarthy (Linus Roache) in Beirut for over four years. The hostages, so different in character, form a close friendship, which helps them survive the long, terrible years. Excellently acted, the film is well directed by John Furse (making his feature film debut) like a series of chamber orchestra pieces.


Also released are two films aimed at either end of the age spectrum . SCOOBY-DOO 2 Monsters Unleashed (cert. PG 1 hr. 39 mins.) In this the gang - Velma (Linda Cardellini), Fred (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar) Shaggy ( Matthew Lillard) and, of course, Scooby-Doo - are in danger of losing their reputation when an anonymous masked villain wrecks mayhem on the Coolsville with a monster machine that re-creates classic Mystery Inc. foes like the Pterodactyl Ghost, the Black Knight Ghost, Captain Cutler's Ghost and the 10,000 Volt Ghost. What can I say about it? Well, it's only really suitable for young children (and my 5 ½ year old grandchild agrees that younger than his age might find the film too frightening), and perhaps not TOO boring for their parents or grandparents!

scooby doo 2

And for the mature adult there is THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST (cert. 18 2 hrs. 6 mins.) . A film about the last twelve hours of Jesus of Nazareth's life, you will need a strong stomach to take the oceans of blood that Mel Gibson revels in as Jesus is tortured and in agony virtually the whole time. Apparently it is not a very accurate rendition of the four Biblical Gospels on which it is based, in spite of the use of Aramaic and Latin - with English sub-titles. Who will the film appeal to? I would guess those passionately interested in Christ or lovers of horror films.

Some films are hard to watch. MONSTER (cert. 18 1 hr. 39mins.) is a harrowing tale, basically true, of a woman serial killer of seven men, only one of which might be called justified. Portraying Aileen Wuornos, however, is Charlize Theron, an actress of not inconsiderable beauty and intelligence. Her interpretation of the real life Aileen is remarkable. Yes, make-up has assisted the look but the acting is very powerful and first time director, Patty Jenkins, displays real talent. The always riveting Christina Ricci also gives a believable performance as Aileen's lesbian lover

In answer to questions at the Press conference I attended, Charlize said she felt incredibly lucky and priveleged to get such a role and to work with such a gifted director. She said that she knew she would walk away challenged and changed. Aileen wrote letters to a friend from Death Row for 12 years and these helped Charlize to discover physical as well as mental attributes. When questioned about accepting the Oscar, Charlize admitted to not being a good public speaker in very large groups, but was most grateful for having been given this person to portray after 10 years in the film business portraying stereotypical women.

It's certainly worth looking further afield to find where this film is showing. Highly recommended but challenging.


A TRIP TO THE THEATRE
APRIL/MAY 2004

Similar to The Buddy Holly Story, in that it tells the story of a young singer, using music from the 50s, and yet different in that the musical, JAILHOUSE ROCK-THE MUSICAL at the Piccadilly Theatre is a show based on a film rather than the life story of a singer. However, there are so many similarities to Elvis Presley's own life that the audience looks for an Elvis type performer: unfortunately, while Mario Kombou has a really good singing voice, he shows none of Elvis' zest for living and somewhat lacks personality. There is a terrific performance by the black actor, Gilz Terera, who dances, sings and acts with all the pzazz lacking in the main character. The audience appeared to be having a great time, particularly at the end when Kombou, as Vince, comes to the front of the stage and gets all of us joining in with the singing!


Carlie Newman

Jailhouse Rock

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