Powell and Pressburger: trancenders of the reality pri

A Matter Of Life And Death

(U) 104 mins *ir‘kit

This much-loved, fondly remembered Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger movie stars David Niven as the fighter pilot who bales out of a flaming plane without a parachute. Death is surely inevitable. But we’re talking Britain’s most famous transcenders of the reality principle here; Niven’s body may end up lying in a hospital bed with surgeons busily at work, but his soul is elsewhere.

It’s being discussed in heaven, in fact, where a bureaucratic mix-up means Niven has survived a crash in which he was supposed to have perished. Now a friend (Roger Livesey) must justify Niven’s existence in a celestial

The Tigger Movie

(U) 77 mins aft/ii In 1921 when AA. Milne gave his young son Christopher Robin a yellow bear for his first birthday, he could never have foretold the enormity of what was to follow. The Pooh Bear empire prompted a merchandise frenzy second to none, with adults shamelessly carrying their obsession way beyond the realms of decency. This latest feature will no doubt fan the flames of interest in the residents of the Hundred Acre Wood, bringing parent and child together in a sticky melange of honey and memories. Identical in many ways to 1977’s The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh, this new yarn finds Pooh, Piglet, Tigger et al still living a charmed life of tea parties and afternoon naps. Only this time, somebody’s lost the spring in

'the wee stripey fella decides that being one of a kind in't cool'

nciple courtroom, where Niven claims his new-found happiness with earth girl Kim Hunter makes him a must for continued existence. Marius Goring plays Heavenly Conductor Number 71, a dead, petulant parole officer figure who shuttles between sublime superiors and Niven’s anxious semi- terrestrial.

Mischievoust utilising monochrome for the fantasy sequences and colour for ’reality’ (thus reversing the Wizard Of Oz expectation), this is as fresh and innovative a film as the pair's The Red Shoes and Powell's Peeping Tom. These are films that prove categorically that British filmmakers can be as visually adept as any worldwide.

(Tony McKibbin) I Glasgow:GFT from sunday 23 Apr; Edinburgh Fi/mhouse from Fri 28 Apr

their step.

Having proclaimed loudly and often, that ’the most wonderful thing about Tigger is l’m the only one’, the wee stripey fella decides that being one of a kind isn’t quite as cool as he'd first thought. A literal quest for the Tigger Family Tree ensues, with every branch in the forest combed for potential feline relatives, but to no avail.

The gang try to rally round, but this Tigger's not for bouncing and embarks instead on a journey of discovery through snowstorms and avalanches. It’s touch and go for a while, but a happy ending eventually makes its presence felt, because even Tigger is smart enough to recognise that with friends like Pooh, Piglet, R00 and Eeyore, who needs family?

(Kelly Apter) I Now showing

new releases FILM

Snow Day

(PG) 90 mins and

The tagline to this family comedy is 'anything can happen on a snow day’. Proof is in the pudding as Chevy Chase, for the first time in years, appears in a movie that is actually funny.

Chase plays weatherman Tom Brandston whose ratings are on the slide as the public reject his traditional routine in favour of slick network rival Chad Symmonz (John Schneider). His network manager Tina (Pam Grier) orders Tom to spice up his act by wearing costumes straight out of a comic book.

Tom’s homelife, meanwhile, does nothing to reduce his stress. His wife (Jean Smart) is more interested in business then family affairs. His oldest son Hal (Mark

Chevy Chase makes a funny movie!

Webber) has fallen in love with the school babe (Emmanuelle Chirque) much to ; the displeasure of his best friend Lane Leonard (Schuyler Fisk) who would like to ?

date Hal herself. His pursuit of girls annoys younger sister Natalie (Zena Grey) who has been waiting all year for a snowstorm so that they can battle the infamous snowplough man (Chris Elliot) to win the legendary extra snow day.

All these elements combine to produce a movie that will warm the coldest of

hearts and keep kids amused over the holiday period. (Kaleem Aftab) I General release from Fri 27 Apr

Plp7pl Longstocklng (U) 8 mins ** There's something vaguely disturbing about a nine-year-old girl who parades down the street singing “Oh what a fabulous day, I’m happy as can be" having just watched her father being washed out to sea. Equally disturbing is a child of that age who can neither read, write or count and runs amok in her neighbour’s house causing untold damage. But maybe that's being churlish. After all, Pippi Longstocking's anarchic behaviour has won her a place in the hearts and on the bookshelves of many a child since Astrid Lindgren first unleashed the world’s first riot girl.

With a storyline not dissimilar to the truly awful Home Alone, this uninspired feature finds our heroine a lone tenant in the family home, continually outsmarting

Anarchic behaviour, uninspired film

~‘ “m

two bungling burglars as they attempt to relieve Pippi of her gold-laden treasure f

chest. Mild diversions such as a farcical trip to school and Pippi's strongman shenanigans at the local circus do little to pad out the plot. Any charm the musical numbers may once have held has been all but ruined by the vocal lead, who sings in that nasty nasal twang particular to the stage school brat. In its defence, the animation is visually striking, not least because of the eponymous star's flaming red hair and fantastic stocking collection, and some of the slapstick humour should

have the youngsters giggling in their seats. But in an age of sophisticated children's %

films, Pippi Longstocking, with all her exuberance, fails to deliver. (Kelly Apter) I Selected release from Fri 74 Apr

Us) At The Villa

(1 ) 116 mins **

Philip Haas pumped new blood into the period drama with the weird Angels And Insects, so expectations were high that he had done the same with this adaptation of Somerset Maugham’s novella. Certainly, advance publicity whetted the appetite with their talk of the film’s frank sexuality, intelligence and excitement.

This was the sort of adaptation, we were promised, that Christopher lshervvood could not deliver when he tackled the book in the buttoned-down 19405. Moreover, it assured us that this was a date movie which couples would be talking about for hours afterwards.

And so they might, once they have managed to raise themselves from the coma into which the film is likely to have sunk them. For despite the big claims of the filmmakers, Up At The Villa turns out to be a rather static and dull affair, which fails in virtually every genre it dips into. On the plus side, Kristin Scott Thomas looks gorgeous as Mary Panton, a penniless English widow living off the generosity of others in a Florentine villa. Finding herself with an unwanted corpse on her hands, she is also torn between her starchy fiance’ (James Fox) and a rakish American playboy (a miscast Sean Penn).

The film has some interesting things to say about the curse of reputation, and interestingly tries to mirror Mary’s bourgeois social milieu with the Fascists taking command of pre-World War ll Florence. Even so, this is a dry and unengaging production that consistently fails to make much of any of the entertaining opportunities "open to it. (Stephen Applebaum)

I Selected release from Fri 74 Apr

'3 rather static and dull affair'

‘i'3—2H7 Apr '2_ooo‘ his LIST 27