video reviews


Sleepers (18) 140 mins * ***

Whatever the truth of the source novel about a quartet of young men's tightly plotted revenge on the system that abused them, the movie is a gripping piece of entertainment. Barry Levinson begins with a nostalgic period piece, moves into a reform school expose and ends with an explosive courtroom drama. Jason Patric and Brad Pitt head a young and attractive cast, while Robert De Niro adds weight to the role of the priest on whose decision the success of the vendetta rests. (PolyGram)

Ed's Next Move

(15) 84 mins *‘k‘kik

Well, well an American indie that comes out of nowhere and sweeps everyone off their feet. Our hero, Ed, arrives in New York City from Winsconsin and takes time to adjust to city life while clumsily wooing a girl in a band. Although the film prods the lunacy of the big city, nothing too threatening is allowed to intrude into the gentleness of this particular romantic comedy. It works because actor Matt Ross makes Ed a genuinely sweet guy without resorting to geeky stereotypes. (Film 2000)

Steal Big, Steal Little (12) 91 mins it

One of the more interesting and ambitious flops of the past twelve months finds Andy Garcia playing twin brothers, identical in all but their personalities. Robby has sold out to American commercialism; Ruben is a happier man for sticking to his Latino roots. Numerous sub-plots complicate the central story of their enmity over a contested inheritance, but the real problem with Fugitive director Andrew Davis’s fable is that, for all its range, it has very little depth. (Fox Guild)


(PG) 240 mins * int *

Kenneth Branagh’s complete, sumptuous version of the Shakespeare play confirms that he has almost singlehandedly created a niche for the

Bard within the contemporary film industry. His style and interpretations may not be as inventive as, say, Baz Luhrmann’s, but Branagh's films draw on theatrical traditions and develop them into something that is undeniably cinematic. Huge sets and an all-star cast Gerard Depardieu, Robin Williams and Charlton Heston join the expected British thespians more than fill the widescreen frame. (Columbia Tristar)

Home For The Holidays '

(15) 98 mins **

Jodie Foster's second stab at directing focuses on the pains, frustrations and affections of a family spending Thanksgiving weekend together. Beneath the kisses, we soon see a group of peOple struggling to connect, but it‘s the director/audience connection that proves most elusive of all. Powerful performances go some way towards compensating for an otherwise uncomfortable experience, and we're all sure to have personal memories of family reunions as reference points which isn’t always a good thing. (PolyGram)


Diabolique (18) 103 mins 1r

Isn’t it strange that, having ripped off the ending of Les Diaboliques time and time again, Hollywood can't even get that right in this dreadful remake. Insipid Isabelle Adjani and femme fatale cliche Sharon Stone conspire to murder the former’s bullying husband Chazz Palminteri, but the corpse goes walkabout. No one even tries to sort out characters and relationships, so there's no tension and no mystery. In fact, at times you think scenes are missing or the reels are in the wrong order. Dia-bollocks, more like. (Warner £10.99)

Inside Edge (E) 58 mins ***

'The ultimate guide to inline skating' boasts the cover true enough. ’This video will not only leave you skating, it will make you happy to be alive’ —I don’t think so. Filmed in Venice Beach, this step-by-step video manual to what's often known here as rollerblading has instructor Bettina

Mother knows best: Lauren Bacall gives Barbra Streisand the finishing touches in The Mirror Has Two Faces (1 5, Columbia Tristar rental, Hit)

28 TIIEUST 27 Jun—10 Jul 1997

RETAIL Woody Allen

Various titles

.7)“ , ~63“ A bigger pictu

re: Woody Allen oes widescreen

'We enjoy your films. Particularly the early. funny ones.‘ Words of praise for Woody Allen from a bunch of aliens in sardust Memories. But the commendation has a bittersweet touch, which the director examines

throughout the film - should someone with a talent for comedy be content

when he makes 'em laugh. or should he search for deeper meaning.

When it appeared in 1980, Stardust Memories annoyed critics and frustrated fans; but looking back. it's a key film in the broadening out of Woody Allen the comedian into Woody Allen the filmmaker. Surrounding his screen self with a gallery of Fellini-esque grotesques, Allen studies fame, arrogance and misplaced devotion with an honesty that truly conveys the pressures facing an artist. In this new widescreen release, we can also appreciate how he uses the frame and the demands he makes of cinematographer Gordon Willis's black and white photography.

Stardust Memories is one of seven Allen titles being released in their proper screen ratio. Some - Sleeper, Bananas", Love And Death, Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex - fall into the ‘early funny ones' category, demonstrating how Allen is the master at slipping comic lines about his unending Jewish neuroses into any given situation. Others - Interiors and A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy - show him toying with a cinematic style closer to that of Ingmar Bergman. Taken together. this set of films hints at the versatility and willingness to experth stylistically (if less so in subject) that now makes Allen one of America's most consistently intriguing

filmmakers. (Alan Morrison)

I All films available from the Warner Home Video Elite Collection, from Fri 30

Jun, priced £ 12.99.

Bigelow giving straightforward lessons on basic and more advanced moves, while MTV-style bits and pieces are thrown in for cool effect. Skating lessons for the video-literate generation, it certainly encourages you to feel that the sport’s not beyond your grasp. (Chilli Video £14.99)

Behind Convent Walls (18) 91 mins r:

Supposedly translated from a Stendhal short story (yeah, maybe by Sid James), Walerian Borowczyk’s nunnery frolics proves that flashes of nudity don't equal eroticism. There’s no discernable plot on offer, only the bad behaviour of an order whose uniform would appear to be 705 blue eye-liner, ruby- red lipstick and a tendency to keep wimples on even when habits are discarded. More masturbation than meditation. (Redemption £13.99)


(18) 79 mins **

When an unsatisfied wife brings home the escaped convict who raped her, tragedy is inevitable. Russ Meyer’s I964 melodrama has plenty of nudity for its time, but also an uncomfortable morality. The backwoods atmosphere

smoulders with heat and sexual repression, but the fact that the leading lady gets turned on by rape, only to then be punished for her desires, suggests that the exploitation king is dangerously misogynistic at heart. (Allied Troma £12.99)

Short Cuts Vol 1

(PG) 88 mins *‘A’* *

The best short films go way beyond being calling cards for directors eager to make their first feature they’re an art form in their own right. At last here we have a collection of international excellence. First up, from Scotland, comes Peter Capaldi’s Oscar-winning Tartan Short, Franz Kafka ’5 It’s A Wonderful Life, a delicious mix of gothic angst and Hollywood cheer. Also on the bill are two offerings apiece from Australia and the US, including Matthew McConaughey as a Texas Deputy in Judgement and the 'suicide is not the answer' comedy of Swingers. (Downtown £12.99)

STAR RATINGS **** 1: Outstanding * it t * Recommended * t * Worth a try it * So-so * Poor