Whaddaya mean, you don't want to watch Crocodile Dundee and The Wizard Of Oz again this Christmas? Oh, well, how aboutthe video store. Tom Lappln rifles through the best of the releases over the last twelve months. and picks twenty to take home andtry. I Dick Tracy (PG). Remember the hype? This is actually worth taking out in a kitsch sort ofway. ifonly for the production values. The plot is tosh but Madonna smoulders reliably. and Warren Beatty makes a complete dick of himself. rather entertainingly. (Touchstone rental)

I Presumed Innocent ( 15) Everyone probably knows the ‘twist‘ ending by now, but if not it's worth

catching Harrison Ford as

the uptight state prosecutor faced with the task of proving himself innocent ofthe murderof colleague Greta Scacchi. (Warner rental)

I Crimes And Mlsdemeanours (15). Woody Allen's last reasonably entertaining film dwells on the tortured guilt of an opthalmologist (Martin Landau) who has his girlfriend bumped off to retain his respectability. Alan Alda also excels as an egotistical TV producer. The laughs are still there. but don‘t overshadow the central story. (MCEG Virgin Vision rental).

I Hobocop ll (18) One for the blood ‘n‘ guts buffs out there (you know who you are). More action and less plot than its predecessor, it still manages to impress with its special effects and appal with its morality. Great gadgetry, glorious gore. (MCEG Virgin Vision rental)

I Criminal Law (18) Don't sit through this hoping Gary Oldman‘s American accent is going to slip. It never does. He plays a lawyer questioning the validity of his profession when he realises that the client he hasjust successfully defended was actually guilty of rape and

chocolate spread. (Palace rental)

I Hidden Agenda (15) Ken Loach‘s Northern Ireland film features his usual political commitment in the context ofa tense and intricately plotted thriller revolving around the murder ofan American

. lawyerand subsequent governmentcover-ups. I Thought-provokingif

' occasionallydifficult

: viewing.(Fox rental)

. IArachnophobia(PG)

Spiders. spiders and more spiders. lfyou hate the

f eight-legged beasties.

this'll make you very

, uncomfortable indeed. lf not. it’s a run-of-the-mill horror thriller with a nice

cameo from John Goodman as the exterminator. (Buena Vista)

I Reversal Of Fortune ( 15) Jeremy lrons got an Oscar for his portrayal of Klaus van Bulow. convicted of murdering his super-rich wife. but beating the rap on appeal. His performance is certainly a

magnetic one.although

the courtroom intrigue can get a bit wearing after a while. (20:20 Vision)

I Misery ( 18) The critically-acclaimed chiller adapted from the Stephen King story stars Kathy Bates in an Oscar-winning role as a psychopathically obsessive fan holding her idol. author James Caan. hostage. More emphasis

. on performances than

action. although the violence that does ensue is pretty horrifying. (First

. Independent rental)



j They’re lurking at the back oi the shop, ! hiding in the shadows. Ignored by a

fickle public who would rather

v entertain an empty-headed Pretty Woman or spend time in the company

of Three Men and a Little Lady. But now

the tide is turning, now they're fighting

back. Nothing can stop the Attack oi the Straight to Video Movies. Dr ‘films not released theatrically‘, if

you’re a distributor. Or even ‘video

premiere', if you’re an upmarket magazine. Whatever you call them, the point is there are a lot of unfamiliar titles up there on the shelves of your

local rental shop that didn't quite make

it into the Odeons and Cannons. Immediately the viewer is

suspicious; having been stung before - by dodgy sequels, formulaic drivel and

the poorest of TV movies, isn’t it safer

to go for something that your best mate

said was ‘a good laugh’ when he saw it

at the cinema six months ago?

Not always. Let’s face it, Look Who's Talking Too isn't going to win any Oscars just because it had a big-screen outing. Considering that more and

. more movies are being ‘dumped' for a

week or so in multiplexes just to honour a contract that demands a screen showing before being consigned to video, the quality threshold between

. ' I 3 the cinema and video premiere is

I" "III." III III! I Cl" it Hit"

I King Of New York ( 18) A pretty decent gangster movie that was a big success in the USA. Plenty ofviolent action as mobster Christopher Walken returns from jail

- getting fuzzy. We might expect Dolph

Lundgren’s latest muscle flexation to he make a sudden appearance on VHS, but someone like Clint Eastwood? Nevertheless, Clint's latest Pink Cadillac will only be showing at a

video store near you.

It's a frustratingly unpredictable field at the moment, but video certainly has the potential to become the medium for more challenging movies, for off-centre films that are difficult to market, for classy TV movies from abroad, and for films by independent companies who don't always have the

, financial clout to secure theatrical

while The Ambulance languishes on . the shelves, ready to resuscitate the 1 home video industry. (Alan Morrison) Ten of the year’s top video premiere 1 titles in alphabetical order: I 1. Absolute Strangers (First ' Independent) Ex-Fonz Henry Winkler . on top form as hubby of comatose wife fighting courts and protesters in attempt to have their unborn foetus aboned.

2. The Ambulance (Entertainment) Larry Cohen’s bizarre conspiracy tale of a menacing ambulance carting off diabetes patients for medical experiments.

3. Bethane: The Making of a Hero (RCA Columbia) Donald Sutherland stars as ; the 1930s Canadian doctor who gave up . his practice to fight fascism in China I and Spain. 3 4. Eve of Destruction (Guild) A murderous female Terminator-type is pursued by the scientist who made her i in her own image.

5. It (Warner) Gripping TV version of Stephen King's epic tells of the g recurring horrors that haunt a small f American town. 6. Me and Him (20:20) Surreal oddity | by director Doris (Men) Dorrie who . furthers her feminist views on male ' sexuality by endowing Griffin Dunne ! with a talking penis. : 7. Pink Cadillac (Warner) Cracking : comedy with Clint Eastwood as a ' bounty hunter who falls for his female prey.

8. Pit and the Pendulum (Entertainment) Best of the recent spate of direct to video Poe adaptations, starring Oliver Reed and directed by Stuart (Reanimator) E Gordon.

9. Prison Stories Women on the Inside (Warner) Three female directors E (including Penelope Spheeris) i contribute to this dramatic but unexploitative trilogy.

10. Seven Minutes (MGM/UA) Actor

I Meet The Applegates (15) Seriously silly stuff from Michael Lehmann as he transposes a family of Amazonian bugsinto American suburbia. There they become corrupted by materialism and temptation and riotous comedy ensues. Slapstick with the occasional pointed comment on US decadence into the bargain. (RCA/Columbia ° rental) I Awakenings (15) Robert De Niro‘s waking after a long coma, thanks to genius doc Robin Williams. lie facesa tough time readjustingto a world that has changed considerably since he dropped off. De Niro puts in a fine performance in a sensitive ifsomewliat low-key movie. (RCA/Columbia rental)

m The Edge (IS) Carrie Fisher‘s sleazy tale of the downside of showbiz fame is fairly accurately reflected in Mike Nichols movie. Meryl Streep plays a young country and western star singing her life and fighting with her alcoholic mum. Shirley MacLaine. Slabs ofgrim humour lighten the mood. (RCA/Columbia rental) I Close My Eyes ( 18) Stephen Poliakoff‘s romantic drama stars hunky Clive Owen as a man in love with his sister Saskia Reeves (sort of). Poliakoff makes the most of a slight storyline to create a genuinely sensual and imaginative film. (Artificial Eye rental)

I Silence Of The Lambs (18) Jonathan Demme‘s thriller didn‘t quite live up to the hype. but it‘s still one ofthe films ofthe year with Jodie Foster‘s

and attempts to move in on a slice of the drugs action. (Palace rental) I Roger And Me(15) Being Michael Moore‘s documentary tale of his I pursuit of Roger Smith. 1 Chairman of General | Motors. Moore attempts l l

performance as FBI agent

murder. Poorly plotted in l . . 1 Clarice Starling as worthy l

the second half. Oldman‘s performance just about makes up for the film’s defects. (RCA/Columbia rental)

I Life Is SW88! (15) A gem of a film from Mike Leigh, taking his usual acerbic look at suburban life. leavened by a somewhat more optimistic feel this time around. Jim

' distribution deals. But for the time

being, as far as most people are

. concerned, it looks as if the likes of Ghost will scare off all competition

Klaus Maria Brandauer makes his directorial debut and stars as the man who tried to blow up Hitler in the late 1930s.

of mention as Anthony Hopkins‘ portrayal of Hannibal the Cannibal. Don‘t watch it alone. (20:20 Vision rental)

I Trust ( 15) Hal Hartley‘s comedy is offbeat to the point ofwilfulness but exceptionally watchable. Adrienne Shelley plays a brattish pregnant teenager in conflict with

I GoodFellas (18) Tape of ' the year chez moi and one . , ofthose rare movies you can watch several times ' and it only gets better. Scorsese‘s epic differs

making some telling points about male bonding. Joe Pesci is exemplary as an easy-going psychopath. and de Niro gives his usual

substantially responsible. He plays a French musician forced into a marriage of convenience to aloof Andi McDowell in order to be able to stay

to elicit an explanation for f Smitl.‘s closure of the car plant in Flint. Michigan. and the loss of 35.000 jobs. It’s an alternately

Eggfigzgtthgiyztgzn tragic and hilarious tale of from the mainstream of controlled performance. in the USA. Before you her distinctly weird Steadman his small-town America-and a gangster movres by (Warner rental) can say ooh la la, true mother, Funny, moving ! doublefmendrefixatcd valuable‘gesture against a : splashing out as much i I Green Card (15) 199] lurvve breaks out and the and highly original, wife. Features an multinational from a i spaghetti sauce as blood, ; was the year Depardicu stage i5 50' for a Strange although the budget

not-so-humblc individual. (Warner rental) .

limitations tend to show. (Palace rental)

looking at the home lives ofthe mobsters and

Ending. (Buena Vista rental)

interesting use of

sex symbol. with this film

established himselfasa l

The List 20 December 1991 - 16 January 1992 81