What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?



Dir: Robert Aldrich

With: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford

Runtime: 132 minutes

MUCH lampooned, not least by French and Saunders, Robert Aldrich's 1962 Oscar winner (Best Costume, dahling) is best enjoyed in the outrageous original. The Baby Jane of the title is played by Bette Davis, while Joan Crawford is her wheelchair-using sister Blanche. Both were once big in the movies, before the pictures got smaller, natch, and now they are trapped in a big old mansion together reliving the past. Both Davis and Crawford take huge chunks out of the scenery as sibling rivalry goes from bad to bonkers, but it is Davis who has the edge when it comes to scarily unhinged. And you thought your family Christmas was a trifle testing at times.

Glasgow Film Theatre, January 7-9.

Playing For Keeps (12A)


Dir: Gabriele Muccino

With: Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Noah Lomax

Runtime: 105 minutes

IT is hard not to view Gerard Butler's latest, which he also produces, as anything other than a wish fulfilment fantasy. He gets to play for Celtic and Liverpool, he's given a Ferrari and is pursued by a bevy of beautiful women, including Uma Thurman and Catherine Zeta-Jones, while lamenting Jessica Biel's one that got away. Directed by Gabriele Muccino, Playing For Keeps casts Butler as former football hero George, who finds his life at a crossroads once injury ends his career. Landing in Virginia in an attempt to reconcile with his soon-to-be-remarried ex-wife (Biel) and son (Noah Lomax), he becomes a Little League football coach, only to find several desperate housewives complicating his plans. Butler is clearly having fun but audiences will cry foul at the shameful predictability, uneven humour, awkward sentiment and, ultimately, the poorly-sketched, unsympathetic characters.

Reviewed by Rob Carnevale