FILM VIDEO REVIEWS
A year on from the UK launch of lumlere Home Video, the label has set up its own arthouse label - lighthouse — which will draw from the company’s vast library and introduce European and cult titles into the sell-through market. At first glance, the label looks to have rich and diverse terms of reference - first out are Alain Corneau’s period adventure, Fort Saganne, and Walerian Borowczyk’s erotic drama, la Marge, with Paul Bartel’s Eating Raoul and Rene Clement’s thriller Plein Soleil to follow at the end of next month.
Fort Saganne is a widescreen epic with the scope and texture of a great novel. Following the exploits of a French lieutenant at the turn of the century, the film plays period costume niceties with the grittiness of desert warfare, and sets personal endeavour against wider social and political movements. The cast could not be bettered: ten years ago, Gerard
ﬁt ‘ i ‘ ’. , Depardieu was slim enough to pass as a genuine classic adventure hero, and he is ably supported by Catherine Deneuve and Philippe lloiret.
la Marge comes with less credible credentials, perhaps, but it is a fine example of mid-70$ European erotic
-. cinema: this has its advantages (the
presence of Euro soft porn queen
5 Sylvia Kristel and Warhol muse Joe
; Dallessandro) and disadvantages (Pink Floyd and 106C during honking
scenes). The plot is of postage stamp dimensions, but there is a charged
intensity to much of the action before repetition settles in. (AM) Fort Saganne (15) and la Marge (18) are released by lighthouse at £14.99 each.
:— DARK WATERS
If Trauma showed that Dario Argento is off the boil and on the way down, then llark Waters shows that Mariano Baino is there to fill the gap. His feature debut may fall short of being the new Inferno or Deep Red, but its visual composition is at times inspired, although the convoluted narrative is a major stumbling block.
Filmed in the Crimea amidst a production history that makes Apocalypse flow seem like a breeze, Dark Waters brings sophisticated Westemer Elizabeth to the secretive island monastery to which her father
was mysteriously linked. Add to this a murderous religious sect, a blind visionary painter, raging female hormones, an underground monster, crap make-up, great fire effects and an increasingly annoying gothic organ theme and the result is more like a patchwork of genre references than a film in its own right.
It is, however, gloriously Italian, despite the Russian and British hands involved. Baino has a tremendous eye for horror: the nuns holding crosses silhouetted against the sky, the beach strewn with dead fish and the candle-
lit cave through which a bloody stream 3
flows are worth the rental alone. (AM) , llark Waters (18) is available on the
3 Metro Tartan label from Wed 7.
BATMAN: MASK or THE PHANTASM
Those who struggled out of bed early enough on recent Saturday mornings might have come across a series of TV cartoons that were a bit too dark and stylishly animated to be wasted on a
kids’ audience. Batman: The Animated Series soon built up a cult following but, aside from two Edinburgh Film
Festival screenings last month, the ; feature-length version has been consigned to a video release.
Another cloaked dude in a mask has 1 been going around Gotham City ; knocking off some old-time gangsters, l but the Caped Crusader has been I getting the flak. While his alter ego is l battling it out on this level, Bruce 1 Wayne is suffering emotional conflicts as the former love of his life returns to the scene.
The story draws upon the film noir flavour prevalent in the crime films around the time of Batman’s literary birth, and the character animation is very much along the shovel-jawed lines of Bob Kane’s DC Comics originals. But now we’re post-Dark Knight and post-Tim Burton, so the backgrounds and cityscapes are computer-generated in glorious ‘Dark Deco’ style. A visual amalgam of , Batman’s history, with interesting j twists on the myth for avid fans, as well as a vocal cast that includes Dana Delaney, Dick Miller and Mark A Hamill as The Joker. (AM)
Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm (PC) is released by Warner Home Video at i £10.99.
j I Fatal Instinct(151(‘ar1
j Reiner's film noir spoof
( certainly has more hits
2 than the Ho!.\'/1ol.\'/Iop
5 Secret squad can manage.
The casting is a big help:
1 Sean Young has always
‘ been the perfect femme
fatale. while Armand
Assante. Kate Nelligan
and Sherilyn Fenn lit the
Basic Inst/"ac! meets
Double Indemnity genre
like a glove. (Warner)
I Guyver: Dark Hero ( 15)
A live-action blend of
Japanese comic book
inspiration and American action movie. our transforming hero finds
himself in Utah stopping aliens (who are suspiciously post-Godzilla 1 iii their rubber suits) from taking over Earth. lt's childish. it's extremely unlikely and it‘s not all
that entertaining. (20:20 Vision)
I Short Cuts ( 18) Robert Altman's upmarket soap is played to perfection by its ensemble cast and is so brilliantly constructed with overlapping narrative strains that its indulgent length is an advantage. A master's depiction of the state of LA and its citizens. (Fox)
I Monolith (13) It's rare
that a decent seience fiction movie comes along and. when it does. chances are it‘s denied the big screen treatment its effects deserve. Two US cops chase a murderous lifeforce through LA. into the bowels of the city and. finally. into confrontation with aliens. A decent cast lifts this above the typical video trash-heap. (First Independent)
I linjoy in your home for one night only: the odd smalltown jealousies of Painted Heart (18. Tartan). the emotional precision of Anthony llopkins‘ performance in Remains Of The Day (U. Columbia Tristar). the angel/devil role model struggle for a teenager‘s respect in Robert De Niro’s directorial debut A Bronx Tale ( 18. l’olyGram). and the skilfttl balance of hard violence and four-handed character study in Kalifornia (18. 20:20 Vision).
I floir Et Blanc ( is) Startlineg unique in its i presentation and subject matter. this low budget. black-and-white film lingers on in the mind well after the final credits. A shy accountant is hired by a fitness centre and 1 begins to enjoy his sessions with a coloured masseur; as he contrasts his timid internalised world with such hands-on physicality. the viewer begins to realise. drop by - narrative drop. that a much darker masochistic
relationship is developing.
complete with beatings and broken limbs. For a chance to win a Copy of the video. see competitions page. (Electric. £15.99) I Age Of Consent ( 15) liven the most fervent fans of Powell and : Pressburger are often unsure of their work after they went their separate ways. This sunny comedy about the relationship between a painter (James Mason) and a voluptuous young girl (Helen Mirren) on an Australian beach is more Castaway than Rt’t/ S/iot's. but it shows that even at the end of his « career. Powell had an eye for Colour in dialogue. plot and design. Fora director famed for his ' work in stylised sets. the Barrier Reef location here ripples with life. (Tartan. £15.99) I Speedy (11) There's plenty ofcomic inventiveness and manic transport stunts in this new Harold 1.1oyd release. liternally cast as the underdog. Lloyd embodies the old-time i charm that's tip against
modern New York 'progress‘. llis loveable nerdiness is also put to good use in Girl Shy (U). while The Cat’s Paw (PG). one of 111s best talkies. throws his natural naivety into the fray as our hero finds himself in cosmopolitan America after growing tip in China. The linguistic tomfoolery matches the sight gags pound for pound. (Connoisseur. £ l 2.99 each) I Siegfried (U) It may be disconcerting at first to watch a silent movie in genuine silence — there is no tacked-on musical soundtrack — but within minutes the sheer magic of Fritz Lang’s vision of the Nibelungen legend holds sway. Blending romanticism and expressionism in its set design and relishing the grandeur of its characters and narrative roots. this is cinema at its imaginative best. (Tartan. £15.99) I No Skin Off My Ass (18) Skinheads. body piercing. tattooed muscles — Bruce 1.aBruce's cult gay movie is limiting its appeal even within its niche market. Low budget beyond belief. it chronicles aimless boredom in an aimlessly boring way. When the hardcore is cut. it‘s all too much tease and no delivery. (Dangerous To Know. £12.99) I Seduction: The Cruel Woman ( 18) The twisted camera angles of Monika Treut/Flli Mikesch's celebration of masochism immediately indicate that this is not going to be the traditional viewpoint on fetishistic power relationships. The film
inhabits a dreamlike
j fantasy world of
sponsored by BACARDI BLACK _
cinematically executed theatrical set-pieces. its fragmented vignettes creating asexual tension. Beguiling and noti-
con forniist: as one character says. ‘perversions are only mistmderstandings‘. (Dangerous To Know/Out ()n A Limb. £14.99)
I The Snapper ( 15) Preganey out of wedlock is bad enough in the (‘urley's Dublin household. but it's worse when Sharon refuses to name the father. Who needs a pumping soul soundtrack and the slicker cinematic values of The Commitments when you've got a hilarious Roddy Doyle script and another set of winning performances by a cast of unknowns? (Electric/Fox. L‘ 12.99)
I A round-up of recommended recent releases encourages you to reflect in the gentle Vietnamese beauty of The Scent Of Green Papaya (U. Artificial Eye. £15.99). enjoy animated adventure in whirlwind style in Aladdin (U. Walt [)isney. £15.99). head into the spicey world of Mexican gangsters in Robert Rodriguez‘s El Mariachi (15. Columbia
Tristar). do a double-take
as less Franco delivers a genuinely unsettling atmosphere in Virgin Among The living Dead (18. Redemption. £12.99). be ashamed of yourself as you enjoy the unforgivable tackiness of women-in-prison classic Bare Behind Bars (18. Redemption. £12.99). and enter the chilling medieval world of lgmar Bergman’s
The Virgin Spring (15.
L Tartan. £15.99).
20 The List 9—22 September 1994