Dir: Michael Haneke
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With: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva
Runtime: 127 minutes
TO watch Michael Haneke's Palme d'Or-winning drama about the cruelties of ageing is to undergo what feels like an out-of-body experience. On the screen is an exquisitely shot, beautifully staged and wonderfully performed piece starring veteran actors Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva as a couple in the twilight of their lives. To further stimulate the emotions there is Isabelle Huppert playing their half-exasperated, wholly fearful daughter. But while the head says this is a great film from the director of The White Ribbon and Funny Games, the heart, in this viewer at least, was not won over. The entire enterprise is like a stunning ice sculpture, a thing of wonder yet fundamentally cold to the touch.
Filmhouse, Edinburgh, tomorrow-December 6; Glasgow Film Theatre, November 23-December 6
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (12A)
Dir: Bill Condon
With: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
GIVEN that some Twilight fans have described the last book in the vampire saga as anticlimactic, the final film always faced a challenge to avoid the same criticism. Sadly, its attempt to overcome this sucks given the way it toys with audience perception. But most of Bill Condon's film feels unsatisfactory. The story finds new vampire couple, pictured, Bella (Kristen Stewart) and husband Edward (Robert Pattinson) rallying fellow clans against the Volturi (led by Michael Sheen), who have come to kill their new child Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy). A large part of what follows feels derivative of X-Men given the number of new characters with special powers it introduces, while the central romance offers the usual mix of sappy dialogue and laughable situations, most absurd of which is an imprinting subplot involving werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner). But after five films and 607 minutes, the way things play out feels like particularly scant reward.
Reviewed by Rob Carnevale
Dir: Andrey Zvyagintsev
With: Nadezhda Markina, Aleksey Rozin
Runtime: 109 minutes
ELENA and Vladimir are enjoying marriage second time around, but their respective offspring from their first marriages continue to be a source of friction. Her son is feckless, his daughter is spoiled. When Vladimir falls ill the old adage about blood being thicker than water is put to the test. Moody, atmospheric, and with Nadezhda Markina outstanding as the mother and wife torn between several camps, this Russian family drama is as meaty and satisfying as best borscht. Writer-director Andrey Zvyagintsev's film was the winner of Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes last year. Never mind the British, when it comes to distinctive drama, the Russians are coming.
Filmhouse, Edinburgh, tomorrow-November 20
Dir: Giorgos Lanthimos
With: Aggeliki Papoulia, Aris Servetalis
Runtime: 93 minutes
AFTER venturing deep into left-field with Dogtooth, Greek director Giorgos Lanthimos goes several miles further with Alps. The Alps are a group of people, including a gymnast and a nurse, who care for the recently bereaved by acting as substitutes for those who have passed away. Think of them as grief-busters as opposed to ghost-busters. It's an intriguing idea, albeit one touched upon in the recent Holy Motors, and there are some grim laughs to be had. What the recently bereaved owner of a lighting shop really wants to talk about, for example, is light fittings. The humour is not enough to sustain the piece, though, as it grows progressively more barking. There's deep, then there's simply impenetrable.
Glasgow Film Theatre, November 20-22
Up There (15)
Dir: Zam Salim
With: Burn Gorman, Chris Waitt
Runtime: 79 minutes
YET more death to be explored in Zam Salim's intriguing but ultimately unsatisfying British drama. Martin (Burn Gorman) has passed away, only to enter a sort of limbo where the long-term deceased have to act as "meeters and greeters" for the new bods arriving on the other side. The ultimate goal for those who do well is to get to the place of the title. Filmed in Glasgow and Saltcoats, you'll have fun playing spot the location, and Gorman does a lovely line in deadpan acting. Ultimately, though, there is not quite enough here in the way of ideas to hold the interest to the end.
Glasgow Film Theatre, tomorrow-November 19
Lawrence of Arabia R/I (PG)
Dir: David Lean
With: Peter O'Toole, Omar Sharif
Runtime: 228 minutes
CHECK out that runtime of almost three hours. David Lean's classic biopic of TE Lawrence is good, you'll recall, but is it really that good? Yes, you'll find again if you surrender yourself to this, the beautifully restored director's cut of the 1962 seven-Oscar winner. Spectacular, funny, poignant, with dreams of greatness and a reality on screen to match, Lawrence of Arabia also features career-defining performances from Peter O'Toole, above, as the Brit who dared to dream of a united Arabia, Omar Sharif as the man who reluctantly believes in him, and Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn in supporting roles. Sublime. PS: the intermission has been restored too, so in the words of the late and lamented Corporal Jones, don't panic.
Cineworld, Glasgow, November 20; Glasgow Film Theatre, December 2-4; DCA, December 9