video reviews


Fever Pitch (15) 97 mins *****

Nick Hornby brilliantly opens out his own novel, turning it into a romantic comedy that observes mismatched love as sharply as obsession with football. Colin Firth shows an ease with comedy as an Arsenal-daft English teacher whose relationship with a colleague seems doomed by an all-consuming worship of his team. Dramatically, the film is given a gift by Arsenal's thrilling 1988/89 season, and by the time the final whistle blows, viewers will be rooting for the Gunners as much as for the on-screen lovers. (VCl/Film Four; also retail at £14.99)

Donnie Brasco (18) 120 mins HM

In the late 70s, FBI agent Joe Pistone (Johnny Depp) goes undercover in a push to bring down the Mafia, but the close friendship he strikes with ageing hitman Lefty Ruggiero (Al Pacino) will surely lead to a death sentence for one of them. The workings of the gangster world are laid bare in Mike Newell's movie, which has moments of tension and violence, but is essentially driven by character and performance. Pacino is excellent as the dogged foot-soldier who knows he has been passed over, while Depp undergoes a psychologically convincing change of character as Joe begins to relish his new role a little too much. (Entertainment)

The Saint

(12) 110 mins hr

Val Kilmer’s attempt to join the premier league action heroes self-destructs with this dull version of the still popular TV series. With an array of dingises (some striVing too hard for laughs that sit ill at ease with the rest of the movre), Simon Templar takes on a megalomaniacal Russian politician (Rade Serbedzija) who's attempting to steal a formula for cold fusion. There are a couple of large-scale action set- pieces, but Hollywood needs to learn

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that throwing money at a problem doesn't make it go away. (CIC)

A Self-Made Hero

(15) 105 mins *****

There’s a more serious edge to Albert Dehousse’s fantasies than those of Billy Liar or Walter Mitty it's France, during World War II, and he's creating a fictionalised place for himself within the heroes of the Resistance. As little deceits accumulate until Albert's whole life is a lie, Jacques Audiard’s inventively directed film works on so many levels historical, metaphorical, personal. La Haine proved Matthieu Kassovitz was a director of note; here he wins his acting plaudits. (Artificial Eye; also retail at £15.99)

Kansas City

(15) 110 mins tit

Robert Altman's perfect recreation of the city of his childhood is brilliant on mood but suffers from a couple of self- indulgent performances. The jazz is hot on the soundtrack, as Jennifer Jason Leigh kidnaps politician’s wife Miranda Richardson in order to get back at her boyfriend (Dermot Mulroney) who’s in trouble with some heavies. Leigh and Richardson seem to be having their own, private competition to outdo each other in overstated mannerism. (8M6)

Space Truckers (12) 89 mins **

Lots of dollars go down the tubes as this offbeat sci-fi movie fails to get off the launching pad. Dennis Hopper and Stephen Dorff are the truckers of the title, taking food across the galaxy when they’re attacked by pirates, led by peg-legged Charles Dance. The problem is that the film stops short of its many quotia: not funny enough, not gory enough, not thrilling enough. Even the effects come over as tacky. (Entertainment)


The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg

(U) 91 mins *****

Even the great Hollywood mu5icals don't have the guts to go all the way

Porn in the USA: Courtney Love stars in The People vs Larry Flynt

(18, 124 mins, ****). Available to rent from Wed 29 Oct.

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in The Funeral, the murder of their youngest brother causes m J , gangsters Walken and Chris Penn to seek revenge \ivhile weighing‘upi’tifir . i'. pasts. Eschewing the historical scope of The Godfather, Farrara's film,“ _ _ . focuses tightly on a family group that's about to implode. as 'valii'estofi , - honour and respect become perverted by violence. Each actor is all'o’tiredat‘ié . least one showcase scene and, unusually fer such a macho genre, the] women (Sclorra. Isabella Rossellini) emerge as powerful figures whose voices go unheard.

A similar journey of painful redemption is undergone by Lili Taylor in The Addiction as she injects blood like a junkie and, true to her role as a philosophy student, debates sin and salvation. The drug metaphor is not the film‘s only goal; what‘s on show here. with archive footage of Nazi concentration camps and Vietnam atrocities, is mankind’s addiction to evil. (Alan Morrison) '

I The Funeral and The Addiction are available to rent from Mon 27 Oct. See Readers Offers to win copies.

with Kafkaesque overtones. The master of suspense was often intrigued by stories of mistaken identity (North By Northwest, for example), but instead of setting up adventure thrills, here he puts Henry Fonda through hell when an innocent family man is accused of being an armed robber. Also confronting punishment for crimes not his own, is Montgomery Clift in Hitchcock's / Confess (PG, 92 mins, a: it t), although as a priest he’s further trapped by the sanctity of the confessional when he is told of a murder. (Warner £10.99 each)

The Long Kiss Goodnight

(18) 114 mins ****

Geena Davis plays a schoolteacher suffering from amnesia who suddenly (and, yes, quite implausibly) discovers that she used to be a deadly secret agent. When her daughter is kidnapped, she reverts to skills she thought were long laid to rest in the past. A cracking piece of action nonsense, Renny Harlin's film has plenty of spectacle and, in Samuel L. Jackson, someone who can turn the comedy sidekick role into a masterclass on scene-stealing. (Entertainment

and have every line of dialogue sung. Jacques Demy's restored classic (the colour-co-ordinated design is as vibrant as ever and subtitles grace a remixed soundtrack) is a delight which rests on Michel Legrand’s jazzy score. A mechanic loves a shop assistant, but when he's away on military service, she realises she's pregant and marries another man. Sentiment is held at bay by Demy's treatment of the working- class characters and settings (a garage, the railway station), and yet he taps into the real jole de vivre of young love. (Tartan £12.99)


(18) 141 mins air ht * *

There are plenty of peOple who have challenged the veracity of Lorenzo Calcaterra's novel, but who cares when the story is this engrossing. A quartet of childhood friends are sent to a juvenile detention centre when a prank goes fatally wrong. Abused by the prison guards, they concoct an audacious plan later in life to allow two of their number to walk free from a murder trial. Part rites-of-passage nostalgia piece, part prison 'issue’ movie, part courtroom drama, Sleepers has the combined power of several

cinematic genres rolled into one £14.99) breath—taking drama. (PolyGram £14.99) STAR RATINGS The Wrong Man ***** Unmissable . emu Very (PG) 100 mms **** Hr: Wort ashot Alfred Hitchcock puts aside his usual * t Below average ' black humour for a much bleaker film * Y0” V9 been wa'md‘

23 Oct-6 Nov 1997 THEUSTTI