tilt )l’ll,‘ THE AVIATOR (12A) 169min 0000

The flying man of the title is Howard Hughes, the director of early Hollywood classics Hell’s Angels, Scarface (1932) and The Outlaw. But it’s not Hughes the maverick filmmaker who Martin Scorsese concerns himself with. Scorsese, as is his wont, tells the story of a man recklessly risking all for his desires.

He throws us straight onto the set of Hell’s Angels and unveils Hughes as an auteur with the bravado of a seventies Coppola. More importantly for the aviation thrust of the movie, the film production scenes amply demonstrate Hughes’ love of airplanes. It’s also here that Scorsese has his own filmmaking trick up his sleeve with a spectacular aerial action sequence that hitherto has been missing from his impressive portfolio.

With the showboating and exposition out of the way, The Aviator moves into the storylines that push the film to its near three hour runtime: Hughes love of Hollywood leading ladies and the corporate battle between the Hughes’ owned Trans American Airline and

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Hughes is the archetypal Martin Scorsese protagonist: terrible with relationships especially women. heroically flawed, and emotionally unstable. Scorsese is in his element here, Hughes could be Jake La Motta, Henry Hill, Jesus or Genghis Khan. Leonardo DiCaprio meticulously depicts the maverick entrepreneur in all his guises. from the off he cleverly conveys (through body language) the ailments that would beset Hughes - noticeably OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and deafness. It’s a stunning performance.

The scenes depicting Hughes’ relationship with Katherine Hepburn are particularly remarkable, both for Cate Blanchett’s faultless impersonation of the quirky madam and for Scorsese’s self consciously sly references to Hepburn’s most memorable cinematic moments. Scorsese brings a similarly cinephile air to the courtroom scenes centred around sketchy senator Ralph Owen Brewster (Alan Alda, giving his best performance in years) and Hughes’ greedy nemesis, Pan Am head Juan Trippe (Alec Baldwin). Howard Lord of the Rings Shore’s inconsistent score sucks but hey, it’s a tiny bugbear in an otherwise technically magnificent movie. (Kaleem Aftab)

its rival Pan Am.

makes National lr‘easuie a by the numbers adventure. it's nevertheless a serviceable actroner'. with a playful comic tone and a series of reasonany thrilling set pieces.

With no foul language. vrrtually no violence, and with heroes and villains that are porntedlv ‘nrce guys'. National Treasure is a resoluter good~natured movie. And if betrays not a hint of irony With regards to detailing. at great length. of the ultrrnate consumer hunt. for stolen Arab treasure. (Miles Fielder) I General release from Sun .i’ti Dec. HIGH SCHOOL IAHCE'

SLEEPOVER (PG) 89min 0

Director Joe Nussbaum was responsible for Gearge Lucas rn Love. a deservedly popular inter'net short which contained more entertainment in nine minutes than the full 89 of this. his full directorial debut. Sleepover is

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Irttle more than a hurried photocopy of the far superior Lindsay Iohan vehicle Mean Girls.

Julie (Alexa Vegai and her four adolescent chums slrp away from a sleepover to enter a scavenger hunt against a dornrnant school (le(ltl(f. wrth the prize berng to sit beside the fountain at lunch break. Never rnrnd the heavy handed corporate placements for mall products such as Domino's. Coke and Old Navy Sleepover also blindly accepts social conventions without challenging them: the poisonous message at its centre rs that berng seen to be cool is all that matters. Even a brief glimpse of a dog wearing hrgh heels can't make this Sleepover werth packing your pyrarnas for, rEddre Harrisoni

I Selected release from Fri 7 7 [)et



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Fi/m editor Paul Dale selects his top five films of the year And then some.

Its been one hell of a year for Cinema I can‘t think of a better one in recent memOry. Getting this list down to any tangible length has been a Irttle bit of a struggle. Some of the almost rans: Tarantino's Kill Bill 2 thrilled me. Kitano's Zatdrchi made me want to kiss the sky. of the many great dOCumentarres released here this year, My Architect. Basque Ball and Andrew Jarecki's Capturing the Fried/trans moved me the most to tears. I was also impressed by The Incredibles. Dogvi/Ie and Yamada's Twr/rght Samurai. Of the Sumptuous new prints on offer I rejoiced to have another chance to see Performance and Andrei Rub/8v in particular.

My criteria for picking a top (we was that the films either had to disturb. destroy or reconstruct the way I think: Andrei Zvyagintsev‘s ominous horror flick The Return certainly did that. Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Uzak (Distant) is the best film I have seen about mano a mano friendship in my life. Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind blew me away with its labyrinthine madness. Van Sant's Elephant was 8518in the best film that the great Hungarian director Bela Tarr never directed and. of course. there was Park Chan-wook's masterly revenge thriller Oldboy (pictured). a film whose influence wrll be felt well in to this century. (Paul Dale)

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I Selected releazr; 90") Fri .77 Dec.

‘r’ I»: . -1 r x THE LIST 55