video reviews

When The Cat's Away

(15) 87 mins 1m Hm

When Chloe returns from holiday to find her cat missrng and puts a neighbourhood search into action, it’s the cue for the brightest ensemble piece for ages. Colourful apartments, sun-drenched Parisran streets and eccentric characters give bounce to a feelgood movie that isn't entirely simplistic. The portrait of neighbourly bonding may be idealistic, but given the backdrop of bUilding ’renovation’ and the eviction of older residents, it’s really an against-the-odds tribute to multi-ethnic, cross—generational community spirit. (Artificial Eye; also retail at £15.99)

Laws Of Gravity

(18) 95 mins *1? **

It's impossible not to compare Nick Gomez's edgy US indie to Scorsese's Mean Streets, but Laws Of Gravity holds its own. Two petty thieves laid- back Jimmy and short-tempered Jon walk an urban minefield as their involvement in crime escalates from shoplifting to selling guns. The use of hand-held camera and overlapping dialogue gives a sense of the buzz of the streets as well as a fly-on-the-wall intensity during the interior scenes. (PolyGram)

Jack (PG) 110 mins H

Coppola's fantasy about a boy with a genetic disorder that causes him to age at four times the normal rate is misconceived from the very start. Children will surely be disturbed knowrng that the lead character will die before he's out of his teens, thereby denying the audience any feelgood element amidst all the sermonising. Robin Williams is an old hand at the kid-in-adult’s-body school of acting, but also lets himself fall into the direct0r’s pool of sentimentality. (Buena Vista)

Escape From LA (15) 96 mins it * John Carpenter harms his own

reputation and the standing of his ClaSSIC 1981 satirical actioner Escape

From New York with this pointless, entirely disappointing sequel that relies on genre cliches rather than rivalling the first film’s originality. This time Kurt Russell is let out to track down the US President’s terrorist daughter, but deSpite the wacky minor characters who appear along the way, the whole shebang falls flat. (ClC)


When Saturday Comes (15) 94 mins *irir

Pure Roy Of The Rovers stuff as potentially great player Sean Bean loses his job, messes up his relationship with Emily Lloyd and can't stay off the booze long enough to turn up for a trial with his Sheffield footballing heroes. The on and off-field action joins together nicely, letting us cheer on the sporting make-believe while noting the grim-up-north dramatics. (Guild Pathe £12.99)

Carrie (18) 94 mins * * 1r

Stephen King's book about a troubled adolescent girl’s revenge against taunting classmates via her telekinetic abilities gains an uncomfortable note of cruelty in Brian De Palma's screen version, released here in wrdescreen. Sissy Spacek brilliantly captures the pain and vulnerability of this high school horror Cinderella, but Piper Laurie as her religious nut of a mother is terrible. (Warner Terror Vision £12.99)

The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant

(1 S) 124 mins it

The theatrical origins of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 1972 film linger in its five- act, one~room structure. Dialogue- heavy to the point of becoming static, the film asks a lot of its actresses, who deliver long speeches in single takes while clothed in laughably dated camp costumes. The story of a woman indulging in the JOY and pain of a lesbian affair becomes wrapped in inertia. In A Year Of Thirteen Moons (18, 124 mins, «r it) is, if anything, even more unapproachable. Inspired by the smcide of an ex-lover of the director, it becomes a very personal portrait of the last five days in the life of a transsexual. The ’experimental’ techniques border on the pretentious

Blinded by science: Keanu Reeves discovers the secret of cold fusion - no. really in Chain Reaction (12, Fox Guild. rental, it)

22 THELIST l8Apr—1 May 1997

Altar states: Stellan Skarsgard and Emily Watson in Breaking The Waves

RENTAL Breaking The Waves

(18) 158 mins ****~k

In a modern world where movies often seem to be nothing more than pre- packaged, glossy adverts for plastic toys and tie-in soundtracks, it's rare to be drawn so completely into a film that you're unable to form complete sentences when the final credits roll. Lars Von Trier’s allegory on the redemptive power of love is uncompromising in its emotional assault on the senses, and as such it restores faith in the cinema.

Emily Watson - surprisingly, but deservedly nominated for a Best Actress Oscar - plays Bess, a young woman whose inherent emotional openness has been twisted by her upbringing in a stern Scottish Calvinist community. When her husband, Scandinavian oilorig worker Jan (Stellan Skarsgard). is paralysed in an accident, Bess makes a binding, self-destructive pact with God that causes her much anguish and sets her at odds with the church.

Robbie Muller's hand-held photography conveys the turmoil in Bess's soul and draws us into the heart of her dilemma. Perhaps the most heart- breaking, yet ultimately uplifting film of the decade, Breaking The Waves transcends religious beliefs to argue that essential goodness will always triumph over adversity. (Alan Morrison)

l Breaking The Waves is available to rent from Mon 28 Apr.

and the hysterical, with subtitles working overtime. And the scene in the slaughterhouse is Just plain unwatchable. (Connoisseur £15.99 each)

A Boy's Life (18) 80 mins * t it

Not to be confused with the Robert De Niro/Leonardo DiCaprio feature of a similar name, this compilation of three American shorts depicts the developing sexuality of a trio of gay boys during childhood and adolescence. Todd (Safe) Haynes's Dottie Gets Spanked shows a yOur‘g boy’s fascination With a TV Sitcom despite his macho father's insistence he try more manly Viewing, A Friend Of Dorothy follows actOr and director Raoul O’Connell through a gagging-for-it first term at college, and Trevor, Peggy Raiski's 1994 Oscar winner, finds a ray of sunny humour in the pressures that drive too many gay teenagers to suicide. (Connoisseur

corruption and moral decay towards the end of the century. The acting is truly world class, with Christopher Eccleston and Peter Vaughan worthy of special mentions. (BMG £16.99 each)

The Searchers (PG) 115 mins *****

A regular in the Top Ten Best Films Of All Time list, John Ford's seminal Western features John Wayne’s best performance as a man driven by his own racist leanings to rescue and perhaps kill, because of the resulting 'taint' on her being his young niece, who has been kidnapped by murderous Indians. Redemption is not easily, or completely, won in a genuine classic of the cinema Ford and Wayne also team up for the Biblical parable Three Godfathers (U, 102 mins, 4m), which mixes light comedy with a lot of sentiment as three bankrobbers save a new-born baby out in the desert. Shifting the landscape to World War ll,

£15.99) They Were Expendable (U, 129 mins, it in: t it) sees the director and actor

Our Friends In The celebrate the herorsm of the US Navy

North while also questioning the manner in

which officers frequently treat their men as sacrificial pawns. (Warner Screen Classics, £5 in two-for-£10 deal from 22 titles in John Wayne

(15) 340/280 mins fir * t it it BBC2's ambitious epic, taking four characters through the personal and

social changes of the past three collection)

decades, was one of the most I satisfying television series of the 90s. STAR RgT'NG: i

I r I h | i A *t*** utstan mg dealfism c arshes inf/fit po itical reality “H” Recommended ! 5 and riends iip su ers against tie * * * Worth a W i practicalities of domestic life, while it * So-so . Britain stumbles through an era of * Poor