video reviews

Mother Night

(15) 109 mins *‘k‘k‘k *

Nick Nolte fulfils all his potential brilliance as an American playwright living in Germany who accepts a self- sacrificing role as a spy during World War II while posing as a Nazi sympathiser. In New York after the war, however, he is continually under threat of discovery and wanted for trial in Israel. The film, based on a Kurt Vonnegut novel, is a complex web linked at personal, political and historical levels. The US Government

manipulates, then abandons, a man of honour who knows within himself that, no matter what good he did for his country, he played a part in allowrng the Holocaust to happen.

Even the soundtrack, using

compositions by Arvo Part, is suitably

meditative and haunted.


Dayfight (12) 106 mins * *

If the Current wave of disaster movies harks back to the thrills of the 19705, then Daylight is the new Poseidon

Adventure but in story outline only. A

gigantic explosion seals off an underground roadway, making it necessary for Sylvester Stallone’s disgraced ex-emergency chief to save a group of surVivors and find personal redemption in the process. Poor characterisation and a dreadful ending deaden the action. (CIC)

In Love And War (15) 108 mins *

Richard Attenborough’s attempt to Create an epic love stOry from the true- Iife experiences of Ernest Hemingway flops because of miscasting. During World War I, medical orderly Hemingway falls for American nurse

Agnes Von Kurowsky, but history and personal obstacles ensure their great romance can never be realised. O'Donnell is mostly at fault, although perhaps the problem is that his pOrtrayal of the writer as an arrogant, spOiIt brat is too accurate; it certainly ensures that we've no sympathy

24THEU3T 11—24 Jul I997

Hostage to fortune: Mel Gibson and Rene Russo hear from the kidnappers in

regarding the improvement of his love life. Even Sandra Bullock doesn't give the film any appeal or sense of passion. (Entertainment)

That Thing You Do!

(PG) mins «1: * t

No marks for originality, but Tom Hanks's debut feature as director is Iikeable enough, due for the most part, to the array of young, good-looking talent on display. Four guys from Philadelphia (plus girlfriend in the shape of Liv Tyler) make a stab for rock 'n’ roll glory at the mid—point of the 60s, but find that rising fame and personal ambition don’t always go smoothly together. A foot-tapping tale, with a catchy Oscar-nominated theme song, it’s pretty much the same story as we’ve already seen in The Commitments and Backbeat. (Fox GUIld)

Crimetime (18) 114 mins t* it at

Universally derided on its cinema release (but not in this publication), George (The Vanishing) Sluizer’s serial killer movie has plenty going on below the surface narrative. Struggling actor Stephen Baldwin increasineg identifies With the murderer (Pete PostIethwaite) he plays in a TV crime reconstruction programme, while the real killer thrills in the media glamorisation of his acts. SIurzer uses neat tricks to blur the line between reality and illusion, teasing

the audience’s expectations and

satirising the public’s eagerness for death served up as prime-time entertainment. (First Independent)

The Frighteners

' (15)105 mins Hum

After discovering Kate Winslet in Heaven/y Creatures, director Peter Jackson reverts to his first love —- a dark scarefest that marries slapstick comedy to more disturbing material. Michael J. Fox plays a fake parapsychologist whose friendship With three ghosts allows him to con gullible suburbanites. When he stumbles upon the restless spirit of a mass murderer, however, he’s in danger of ioming the dead himself. Dazzling effects and a brave shift in tone midway set this apart from the usual studio horror thrills. (CIC)

Ransom (18, Buena Vista rental, ****)


Femmes fatales: Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly in Bound

RENTAL Bound (18) 104 mins *ir‘kir

When, within ten minutes or so of running time, both your female leads are

getting down to it accompanied by a pseudo-jazzy soundtrack, you could be

forgiven for thinking that you've stumbled into the tackiest of video exploitation worlds. But sibling filmmakers Larry and Andy Wachowski are a smarter breed of cookie, so once the lesbian sex scene is out of the way (and money-making sales across the world are assured) they can concentrate on creating as tight a crime thriller as ever crawled out of the


Jennifer Tilly stars as the squeaky-voiced girlfriend of a mafia money- launderer, who teams up with Gina Gershon, the androgynous ex-con who's decorating the apartment next door, in order to steal a cool 52 million. In terms of plot construction, Bound is as good as Blood Simple and Red Rock West at hitting the audience on the chin with unexpected but plausible twists. The girls' makeshift plan doesn’t take into consideration the unpredictability of human responses to the situations that emerge, so we’re kept guessing who can be trusted right to the end. Stylisth shot, with moments of dangerous humour, Bound has all the right elements for perfect

pulp viewing. (Alan Morrison)

I Bound is available to rent from Mon 7 4 Jul.

Fled (18) 94 mins 1: *

Lawrence Fishburne and Stephen Baldwin are chain-gang convrcts shackled together and on the run, but put aSide all thoughts of The Defiant Ones. Where the Curtis-Poitier movre addressed the racial issues of the age and entertained into the bargain, this thriller leaves the Viewer feeling cheated by a plot that doesn't make a lot of sense. Suffice to say that not all the bad guys are really bad and the good guys ain't always angels themselves. Flashy fast Cuts don't cloak the stOry’s weakness, and even the leads don’t seem all that involved -v there’s certainly none of the animosity or bonding that would lift the mowe (MGM)


Last Man Standing (18) 95 mins * sir

Akira Kurosawa's samurai-for-hire classm Yojimba has already been remade as a western A Fistful Of Dollars v— and director Walter Hill's intention here is to give the same story a gangster tWist. But despite the 30s Depression setting and the period clothes, the Texas setting and desert dust stops Last Man Standing from moving on from Sergio Leone’s

spaghetti-fest. Bruce Willis is the tight- lipped loner who wanders into town, sells his gun-totting skills to the highest bidder and pits two gangs against each other. Violent and utterly empty, with Christopher Walken strangely under- used. (Entertainment £14.99 fullscreen, £15.99 vvidescreen)

The Fugitive (15)125 mins am Mr

The plot concerning wroneg conVicted Harrison Ford's attempts to discover the true identity of his Wife's murderer isn't as entertaining as the second story that develops between our man-on- the-run and Tommy Lee lones’s US marshall on his tail Some great set- pieces - particularly that early train crash ~ can now been appreciated in Widescreeri Also released in Widescreen Neil Jordan's lush horror film Interweiv With A Lariip/re I l 8, 1 17 mins, ir t i 4:) wrth Tom Cruise proving far better than expected, and plague disaster moVie Outbreak (IS, 123 mins, t 1k it), in wli:( li Dustin Hoffman Struggles to convince us he could even bean action hero in medical inode. (Warner £12.99 eat‘li’i

STAR RATINGS it t t it t Outstanding * t in ii Recommended * if: ‘k Worth a try t * 50-50 1: Poor