video reviews


The Last Of The High Kings

(15) 100 mins it an:

In Ireland in 1977, kids came of age to the sound of Thin Lizzy. Jared Leto stars as the seventeen-year-old son of an actor father and mad, nationalist mother, who spends the summer before his exam results are due trying to secure his first shag and throw a massive beach party. The film overplays the eccentrics, particularly Catharine O'Hara's warrior queen matriarch, and moves towards its climax with an episodic, bits-and-pieces approach. (First Independent)

The Van

(15) 96 mins 1r 1k ‘k

Ireland again, but this time the concerns are more adult as Stephen Frears directs the final part of Roddy DOyle’s ’Barrytown trilogy'. Colrn lvleaney and Donal O’Kelly play best mates whose friendship is seriously put to the test when they go into the chip van business together during the 1990 World Cup Finals. The dark tone - unemployment, male mid-life crisis, etc sits awkwardly with some of the humour, making this more complex and flawed than The Commitments or The Snapper. (Fox Guild)


Copycat (18) 118 mins sir.

It’s one thing to take the conventions of the thriller genre and keep audiences on the edge of their seats; it’s another to blatantly use the premise of a terrorised woman for gratuitous entertainment, Sigourney Weaver’s agrophobic criminal psychologist is but through trauma after trauma when police detective Holly Hunter asks for her help on a case, making her a prime target. The scenario of a killer replicating famous serial murders from recent history only glorifies such acts and casting Hunter in a role clearly written for a man doesn't excuse the misogyny. Distasteful stuff. (Warner £14.99)


Brothers In Trouble (15) 98 mins sir * f

The subject of Udayan Prassad's film is fascinating the difficulties facing a group of illegal Asian immigrants in Britain in the 19505 but its dramatic focus is less sure. Om Puri is impressive as the head of the packed household, but it’s Angeline Ball who gives a prizefighter’s performance as the Irish waif whose arrival complicates proceedings. A touch too melodramatic and set-confined for its own good. (Connoisseur £12.99)

Riff Raff

(15) 95 mins *erer

When it premiered a few years back, Ken Loach’s tragi-comic tale of life on a London building site got to the heart of the disillusioned Britain of the early 90s and launched the film career of Robert Carlyle. It’s perhaps the best of a selection of Channel 4 films being re- released at budget price, enabling collectors to create their own first class library of British cinema. Other titles include Wild West, Naked, Bhaji On The Beach, Lamb, Angel and The Supergrass (First Independent £4.99 each)

Two Deaths (18) 96 mins 1r 4r

| While 1989’s Romanian Revolution

= rages outside, a wealthy doctor hosts a dinner for some friends, using the occasion to explain the strange combination of desire and sacrifice that defines his relationship With his housekeeper. One by one, the men also have to face up to painful inCidents in their past. More like a piece of intellectual theatre than a real film, Nicolas Roeg's latest seems trapped by its dinner party scenario no matter how much the camera moves around the table and the talking is interrupted by cuts to the street or flashbacks, A study of destructive pasSion and emotional Cruelty, from which only Michael Gambon emerges With dignity. (Tartan £15 99)

Grappler Baki (15) 45 mins * t t A mysterious karate expert rises to the

finals of a competition Only to find himself pit against an opponent who

- V‘\\" a?

Revenge is sweet: Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler vent their wrath on their ex-hubbies in The First Wives Club (PG, CIC rental, ii i it)

video reviews FILM


Bedside vigil: Helen Mirren and Aidan Gillen in Some Mother's Son


Some Mother's Son (15) 108 mins *‘k‘kir

With a new British government attempting to restart the stalled peace" process in Ireland, the video release of Terry George's political drama has renewed relevance. The opening news footage of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher quoting St Francis of Assisi sets the proceedings firmly in the early 19805: the IRA’s military activity is being met by equally vicious government methods non-jury courts and secret police brutality. Played out against this background is the plight of the IRA prisoners in the H-block, hunger-

striking for political status.

George, who also wrote In The Name Of The Father for director Jim Sheridan, cleverly shifts the focus of the drama to the mothers - the ever excellent Helen Mirren and Fionnula Flanagan - of two young prisoners. The mothers' campaign for their sons' liberty inevitably politicises both women, one already pro, the other anti-IRA. The heart-rending drama of the mothers' decision to respect their sons' efforts to starve themselves to death powerfully illustrates the tragic impact of the ongoing war on the

Irish people.

Some may find the humanising of members of the IRA controversial, but the film’s refusal to demonise or glorify the opponents in the war signifies understanding of a complex political situation, here examined in a piece of

mature filmmaking. (Miles Fielder)

specialises in ripping out optical nerves and arteries With his bare hands. The animated fights look great, the Violence is strong for the certificate, and there’s more of a story than might be expected given the short running time (Manga' Mean 8; Mercenary £9.99)

Robinson In Space (PG) 80 mins * * * 1k

Patrick Keiller’s unexpectedly absorbing literary trip across the capital in loncloo stylistically prepares us for a Wider look at England in Robinson In Space Paul Scofield again proVides a genial voiceover with comments about his unseen companion Robinson, informing us about the likes of Oscar Wilde, Daniel Defoe and Alan Turing as we are taken to various man—made sites of interest south of the border. It sounds remote, but somehow manages to be as entertaining as a llllTlK essay can be. (Academy £15 99)

331/3 Revolutions Per Monkee (U) 54 mins air

Here’s a prime case of what can go wrong when 'artistic freedom' becomes psychedelic embarrassment, Originally broadcast in 1969, this TV special features The Monkees stripped of their identities by Brian Auger, and undergomg a process supposedly akin to the evolution of man by acting out

I i

individual musical indulgences. And so Mickey Dolenz murders ’I'm A Believer', Davy Jones does a cringing toytown skit called 'Goldilocks Sometimes' and the others don't get off either. It all ends with a long, messy version of 'Listen To The Band'. Worse than the blushes caused by the band’s recent comeback t0ur. (Warner Music Vision £10.99)

The X-Files: Tempus Fugit (15) 91 mins ***

The latest mystery for Mulder and Scully to premiere on video concerns a plane crash caused by a blinding beam of light. When one passenger claims to have been an alien abductee, the weirdness of the situation deepens. Fans of the programme with plenty in their pockets might also want to snap up one of 40,000 individually numbered box sets (£79.99) containing the entire second series and exclusive interViews With creator Chris Carter. In a similar, but noticably lighter vein, the 60s-set SCI-fl conspiracy series Dark Skies has its pilot episode and two subsequent instalments released on a pair of tapes in both rental and retail (£12.99 each) formats. (Fox £14.99)

STAR RATINGS s t ‘k * Outstanding at t t a: Recommended * * ir Worth a try fr * 50-50 a Poor

3o May—12 Jun 1997 THE “ST 29