video reviews


Michael Collins (15) 127 mins * 1k **

Neil Jordan's long-cherished project finally makes it to the screen as a thoughtful, gripping and honest account of one man's determination and a nation's struggle to assert its own identity. Liam Neeson is a charismatic revolutionary figure leading the guerilla war against the imperialist British state, with fine support from Alan Rickman, Aidan Quinn and Julia Roberts (Warner)

The Craft

(15) 97 mins 1? * *

The Witches Of Eastwick meets Heathers as a quartet of female outsiders at an American high school get together to bring revenge on their detractors With a little help from the dark forces. When the situation gets out of hand and the pranks become Vicious and cruel, the Split in the girls' ranks brings danger to themselves. Designed With a teenage audience in mind, The Craft makes the most of its sexy yOung stars and is heavy on atmosphere. The supernatural showdown suggests that it's little girls who are made of slugs and snails and puppy dogs’ tails. (Columbia Tristar)

Mr Reliable (15) 108 mins *htv 4r

Australia continues to throw up off- beat charmers, as this riotously funny celebration of the country’s spirit proves. Based on the true story of the siege at a petty criminal’s home which, bizarrely, ended in wedding bells rather than bullets Mr Reliable revels in a sunny, upbeat tone tinged by the constant threat of tragedy and a serious backdrop of Vietnam and civil unrest. The cast is uniformly marvellous. (PolyGram)


(18) 92 mins it:

Mark (’Marky Mark’) Wahlberg takes a break from those Calvm Klein ads to scare the pants off Reese Witherspoon. She’s the sweet, all-American girl; he’s the nice guy she begins dating, who steadily goes psycho when he doesn‘t get his own way. Melodrama and

excess combine to strangle any originality out of a story that grows increasingly hackneyed as it progresses. (CIC)

Jingle All The Way

(12) 89 mins *

How many shopping days left until Christmas? Only one for Arnold Schwarzenegger as he tries to find the last remaining Turbo Man action figure for his son, but faces a major battle against other desperate shoppers. Running gags collapse in exhaustion, the slapstick fights are painful only in the comic sense and the message that greed-is-bad doesn’t fit the film's must- have premise. A turkey, whatever the season. (Fox Guild)

Blood Simple

(18) 95 mins t Hm

Hot and sweaty, tight and nasty, the Coen brothers’ debut heads deep into the rotten heart of Texas as a hitman is hired by a jealous husband to kill his wife. Tables are turned, crosses are doubled and corpses just aren't that easy to get rid off. The film has been available on video before, but this relaunch comes nicely after the Coens got their just rewards at the Oscars for Fargo. (Electric £13.99)

A Night In The Life Of Jimmy Reardon

(15) 90 mins 1H *

One of River Phoenix’s lesser known roles, but he‘s superb as a sexy schoolboy trying to score With a young socialite, while finding himself seduced by a divorcee, who's also haVing an affair With his father. The rest of the cast and the film as a Whole don't share the star’s charisma, but it's worth catching to note how an average teen movie could be transformed by the right actor. (Imagine £12.99)

The Deerhunter (18) 176 mins *‘k‘k‘k‘k

A true masterpiece, crammed With astonishing performances, Michael Cimino's Vietnam War movre combines moments of seat-edge tension With the Vibrancy of American blue-collar life. It’s the three-act structure that gives it its power. The Russian roulette scenes are memorable in themselves, but The Deerhunter's real impact

Myths of time: Drago and Dennis Quaid bring legend to life in Dragonheart (PG. CIC rental, ***l

28 THE LIST 16-29 May i997

Fair weather friends: Kate Winslet and Christopher Eccleston in'lude


(15)117 mins thunk

With his North of England road movie, Butterfly Kiss, and his Multiple Sclerosis drama, Go Now (starring Robert Carlyle), Michael Winterbottom became a name to watch out for. His cinematic credentials were confirmed with Jude, a masterly period romance based on Thomas Hardy’s

controversial novel, Jude The Obscure.

More akin to Breaking The Waves than Emma or Sense And Sensibility, Jude is not pleasant historical escapism, rather a tragic romance that situates its drama within a working-class social context that contemporary audiences can't help but relate to. It's a chilling exercise to draw parallels I between Jude Fawley and his cousin Sue Brideshead's experiences of poverty, homelessness, unemployment, ill health and unavailability of education with years under a Conservative government.

Christopher Eccleston and Kate Winslet as the doomed lovers give powerful, raw performances, hard-edged and tender, which will be difficult to top in their future careers. Locations as diverse as Edinburgh and New Zealand provide the evocative period settings, but it’s the equally harrowing and touching drama that impresses the most. While there is no lapse into cheap sentiment, you‘ll switch your video off with tears in your

eyes. (Miles Fielder)

comes from the sections on either side: if we hadn’t seen the closeness of the community at the wedding festiVities, we wouldn’t fully comprehend the devastation that follows the soldiers‘ return from war. Released in Widescreen, as is another masterful epic starring Robert De Niro, The Mission (PG, 120 mins, ****). (Warner Elite £12.99 each)

The Eighth Day (PG) 113 mins * it t

laco Van Dormael's follow-up to Toto Le Heros is far less sure-footed, although its bold shifts from drama to comedy to sentiment to melodrama actually appear confident rather than confused. Harassed businessman Daniel Auteui! has his life transformed when he meets Georges, a young man With Down’s Syndrome, and their adventures together touch the heart and open the eyes If only the final moments hadn’t made the mistake of taking the 'disabled people are touched by angels' line, then it would have left Rain Man standing (Electric £15.99)

The Hotel New ; Hampshire

(18) 100 mins 1* x x *

Tony Richardson has an almost completely successful attempt at transferring the bizarre and Surreal

g With the same panache as George Roy j Hill's The World According To Garp. A

qualities of John ering's writing onto the screen, although perhaps not quite

torrent of events sexual, mostly descend on a strange family occupying

a hotel in New England, but these trials only serve to illustrate the combined neuroses of modern-day America. (Imagine 02.99)

i Through The Olive i Trees

. (U) 103 mins * art at

Narrative and documentary brush

together as lran's top directOr, Abbas Kiarostami, documents life in the

rubble-strewn landscape in the north of his country. But the non-profeSSional actors in his fictional film have their

own backstory -- former builder

Hossein has been courting shy Tahereh for years, only to be turned down every time because of his poverty ~i

and their real lives intrude into the

supposed narrative A wonderful

; portrait, stripped down to essentials, of i the problems of rural life in a difficult enVironment (Artificial Eye £15.99)




l 3 t t t t * Outstanding j * t it t Recommended 3 a. * it Worth a try i t 1* So-so j ‘k Poor