video reviews


Jerry Maguire (15) 133 mins * 3k H

Tom Cruise was unlucky not to pick up an Oscar for his turn as sports agent Jerry Maguire, out on his own with only one client on his books after an attempt to bring morality back into his profession backfires. Cruise has the grin down to a fine art, but he has matured in range and credibility, bringing some emotional depth to the film's feelgood factor. Strong support comes from Cuba Gooding Jr, who did triumph when the statuettes were handed out. (Columbia Tristar)

Mars Attacks! (12) 101 mins a: * t

Terrific Visual effects are barely enough to save the day in Tim Burton's botched sci-fi spoof. IndIVidual scenes are fun enough in their own right, but nothing links together to give the sense of a complete movie. The bug- eyed little green men are brilliantly nasty, but the fragmented narrative has too many characters in too many unconnected situations, leavmg the audience impressed With the film’s look but somehow bored With it all at the same time. (Warner)

I Shot Andy Warhol (18) 100 mins * x H

An attention-grabbing performance by Lili Taylor prowdes the backbone for a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of radical lesbian Valerie Solanas. A street hustler With a hyperactive brain, Solanas vents her wrath on mankind while we Witness elements in her dysfunctional upbringing. Warhol’s entourage at The FactOry are revealed for the sycophants they no doubt were, but it’s Taylor who is the star, catching Solanas's unique personality mix of pure anger and feisty humour. (BMG)


* *ahHr Unmissable

t t r it Very ood

* t it Wort a shot

* tr Below average

it You’ve been warned

Basquiat (15) 106 mins ***

Andy Warhol also features in this biopic of Haitian artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and believe it or not David Bowie has his looks and personal quirks down better than Jared Harris. While not everyone Will be convinced by Basquiat’s legacy as an artist of much importance, the film brilliantly uncovers the pretentions of the New York art scene, which gorges on fashion and hype. In the title role, Jeffrey Wright is a genuine discovery. (Fox Guild)

Grace Of My Heart

(15) mins * ht sir

Loosely inspired by the life of Carole King, Allison Anders's unjustly neglected mowe is a heartfelt statement about one woman's determination to find her own v0ice. llleana Douglas plays Denise, a singer- songwriter Whose talent and identity is over-shadowed by the men in her life and in the music industry. The period detail is perfect, Douglas runs the full emotional gamut and an excellent soundtrack features a memorable collaboration between Est Costello and Burt Bacharach. (CIC)

Normal Life

(18) 98 mins it *

Luke Perry and Ashley Judd play a couple who rob banks to finance their stab at the American Dream -- the mm is that he's a cop. The performance from Judd JUSI doesn’t ring true,‘ when ’dark moods' rock Pam's psychological stability, Judd is clearly ’acting’ a ’character', and so audience sympathy goes out the Window. In the end, it's not far above being a TV-moVie-of-the- week with more swearing and a bit of nudity. (First Independent)

Twm Town

(PG) 95 mins * t at at

Anarchy ensues when the badly behaved LeWis boys set in motion a brutal revenge plan after their dad suffers an accident at work. Kevin Allen's Swansea-set film got two thumbs down from certain critics and audiences, but that's probably because it gives two middle fingers up to all- comers. The energy is infectious, as fast-paced farce develops into a Wild contemporary IWist on Jacobean revenge tragedy Mad for it (PolyGrani)

Puppy love: everyone and their dog will be hissing Glenn Close's Cruella De Vil now that Disney's live action 101 Dalmatians is on sale (U, 99 mins. £16.99, * it t)

26 THE lIST 29 Aug—ll Sep I997

Extase (PG) 82 mins and:

Love is the drug: Hedy Lamarr in Ecstasy

Long before even Irvine Welsh's parents were a twinkle in anyone's eye, Czech director Gustav Machaty shocked the world with Ecstasy (or Extase in its original form). The film has become legendary for an extended naked swim and romp through the woods by actress Hedy Lamarr. done in the days before she was a Hollywood star; but the real reason it was banned in America and Britain and openly denounced by Pope Pius XII - was the scene in which Lamarr's face betrays the ecstasy of the title when she reaches orgasm with her lover. Yes, it was fine to show harsh moral judgement on an adulterous woman, but not her sexual desires and release. The film's erotic charge has been muffled by the ensuing years, but certain inventive camera shots and symbolic editing sequences raise Extase to superior melodrama. The video quality is far from perfect there are scratches, crackles and lines on the image - but that's hardly surprising, as Lamarr and her millionaire husband spent a fortune trying to buy up every existing print of the film to save her embarrassment. Fortunately for film

history, they failed.

Eureka Video’s other intriguing archive release this month is Bogus Bandits (PG, 88 mins, £10.99, 1r * t) which combines Laurel and Hardy's trademark clowning with an operetta about outlaws and aristocrats. (Alan Morrison) I Extase is available now on the Eureka Wdeo label, priced £12.99.


In The Folds Of The Flesh

(18) 85 mins it t at

Mock-Freudian childhood traumas shot in flashy Widescreen skewed angles liven up this completely barking Italian

; melodrama Two women and a bloke

live in a big house and some other

blokes get decapitated it has : something to do With the strange disappearance of the father of one

character, and there are flashbacks to Na2i cOncentration camps. Bollocks, but premiere league bollocks all the same (Redemption £12 99)

Frank Skinner Show


(15) 62 mins 1:

Frank Skinner is a great stand-up, but this feeble collection of brief clips from his TV show is assembled in such a way that stagnates the flow of jokes. The material banned because of ’bad taste' is Surprisingly mild, and the audience hilarity sounds like it has been boosted by canned laughter In comedy terms, this Video is the compilation of crap 8- sides and demos that only a sad conipletist need bother about (PNE Price tbcl

The Wedding Party

(U) mins * at

This black-and-white feature from 1963 is exactly what you might expect from a group of film school students over-eager from watching the output of the French nouve/le vague. Brian De Palma is one of three credited directors guilty of overplaying most scenes beyond the ioke and irritating the audience With constant talk and speeded-up footage. Robert De Niro and Jill Clayborough make their screen debuts in the story of a young bridegroom haVing second thoughts when inVited to his bride-to-be’s upmarket family home. (Allied £10.99)

The Pillow Book

(18) 126 mins *4: H: t

This is Peter Greenaway in his most completely realised form, where the richness of image, word and sound combine to great effect and Ewan

McGregor gives an additional appeal to :

a meticulously paced story of revenge and eroticism. Greenaway's intricate frames Within frames transfer well to the TV format, probably because it's a Spin-off from Video editing technology that gives his recent films their particular look. Even the subtitles are written in a gorgeous calligraphic scnpt. (VCl/Film Four £14 99)