London Lite Thursday, 24 September 2009 33 Dancerisoutofstep THIS psychotic and pretentious biopic of Jesco White -- a trailer- park yoof who turns into a demented, bottle- wielding schizophrenic mountain-dancer who thinks hes Jesus, following a lighter fluid- sniffing problem as a kid -- wouldve been an effective government TV ad for nipping narco- curiosity in the bud. Much more effective than that one for drug-driving, which stars a car of googly-eyed friends who look about as scary as a basket of kittens. M DE L White Lightnin Cert 18, 90 mins HHIII REVIEWSCINEMA doesntliveuptothebilling Bizarre love triangle: Zahn and Aniston, and Harrelson (below) Jensawinnerin lovewithaloser Bird of a feather: Disneys first nature documentary is stunning Disneyknowshowto shakesitstailfeather Disneys first foray into nature documentaries explores the flamingo with a study carefully treading the line between astonishing and super-cute. British film- makers Matthew Aeberhard and Leander Ward originally set out to marvel at Tanzanias Lake natron. But they soon realised the 1.5million flamingos that flock to the lake during breeding season were far more stunning subjects. The photography is often breathtaking and the story frequently tragic. even though Mariella Frostrup tries to ruin it with her throaty smokers narrative, its still lovely. M DE L Management Cert 15, 93 mins HHHHI The Crimson Wing Cert PG, 77 mins HHHHI Fame Cert PG, 107 mins HHIII at resists the urge to sentimentalise his performance -- Lopez appears to be a good man who just wants to do the right thing. And Foxx, despite sport- ing a haircut that makes him look alarmingly like Didier Drogba (i kept expecting him to trip over his cello in the penalty box), seems to capture the slippery, shape-shifting mixture of lucidity, anger and bewilderment that characterises Ayerss mental illness. Unfortunately, however, The soloist is just plain dull. Director Joe Wright (Atonement) takes a hammy, heavy- handed and ultimately confusing approach to the story. Just what is the point of the movie? Wright seems to insist that music can be a soothing, inspiring and transformational influence -- like, duh -- and that friendship is impor- tant -- double duh. B UT beyond these trite observations (and, boy does he bang on about them endlessly, merciless- ly, tediously) theres abso- lutely nothing else here. There are infuriatingly pointless sub- plots, including one which has Lopez at loggerheads with his editor and with ex-wife, Mary (in real life Lopez is happily married) and another which has him battling with lawn- ruining raccoons which, at one point, sees him covered in coyote urine (my notes mention the phrase lots of wee so there may be other instances of urine-based capers, but i really cant remember). neither thread adds anything to the story. i have a friend who suffers from schizophrenia so i know mental illness can be awful and hugely testing. But a film about mental illness really doesnt have to be. Oscar pitch: Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr in The Soloist iTs not a good sign when the release of a film starring one of Hollywoods biggest actors is accompanied by zero promotion. But a movie with Jennifer Aniston is never going to be a complete turkey even if you name her sue, dye her hair a mousy ginger colour and dress her in cheap-looking power suits. in this quirky indie film, Aniston is a travelling art saleswoman who attracts the attention of Mike (steve Zahn), a loser who works as a motel nightwatchman. There is no way sue would really have let bordering-on- creepy Mike into her hotel room in the first place. yet the second she accepts his offer of cheap wine, Mike is totally smitten and his crazy, cross- country stalking becomes worryingly endearing. stephen Belbers film does lose its way for a bit when sue gets back with her yogurt mogul ex, Jango (Woody Harrelson). Mike follows her to seattle, finds a job in a Chinese restaurant -- a cue for some inexcusable Asian stereotyping. But this is an indie romcom, and we all know how its going to end. And the fact that Mike has any success at all with a woman whos so obviously too good for him makes for a heart- warming, and often very funny, film. LP THERES nothing like watching talented whippersnappers pirouette across the big screen while giving Aretha Franklin a run for her vocal chords, to make you feel like an old hippo without an ounce of talent. It happened in 2006s High School Musical just as it happened in Alan Parkers 1980 film Fame before it. And it happens again here in Kevin Tancharoens remixing of that original film. The bones of the story remain as cameras track a bunch of kids attending New York City High School Of Performing Arts from audition day through to graduation, and the film is shot in the same effective russet tones. Every stage-school box is ticked; preppy girl whose heart lies in hip hop but whose parents write cheques for classical piano; timid actress wholl fall for any sexy soap actors line to get a role; devastated dancer whose teacher tells him hell never quite be good enough to go pro, and the other dancer who already is. Tancharoen used to be Madonnas choreographer which explains why the dance routines in his directorial debut are so much stronger than anything else. Singers, actors and, in particular, instrumental musicians take back seats to the whirling dervishes. One dancer, Kherington Paynes Alice, seems to have been something of a muse for the director -- although her limited dialogue implies he wasnt so besotted as to ignore she neglected her acting homework. Fame features some nice, semi-rousing set pieces in lunch rooms and at fancy-dress parties, and Megan Mullallys turn as the kooky singing teacher is heart-warming enough. But it lacks the grit of the original and is the sort of overly earnest, American mush that would never have been made by a Brit. Martha DE LacEy Inspiration: dancer Kherington Payne as Alice rEVIEWS index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html44.html45.html46.html47.html48.html49.html50.html51.html