RENTAL moralising, but he does tease some good performances out of his cast, Mrs Brown notably Faye Dunaway as the world-
(PG) 103 mins ****
Judi Dench deserves an Oscar for her performance as Queen Victoria — it’s a masterclass in sCreen acting. Billy Connolly also excels himself as John Brown, the hirsute Highlandman who thawed the monarch’s heart after the death of her beloved Prince Albert. A wonderful character study, Mrs Brown is the perfect case of a small film that has gone on to surprismgly big things. (Buena Vista)
(18) 92 mins 'k‘ki'
In space, no one can hear you scream 'plagiarism’. Sure, Paul ’Shopping not Boogie Nights’ Anderson rips off ideas from countless horror and sci-fi mOVies, but the main problem With Event Horizon is that it cuts the characters' indiVidual stories so close to the bone, the psychological terror can never really begin to take hold. And so it's all gore and flashy deSign as a rescue crew start liVing their worst nightmares in the flesh when they board an experimental craft that has been missing for years. (CIC)
(PG) 114 mins it at
Carl Sagan's stOry of man's first contact with extraterrestrial intelligence is given lush screen treatment by Robert Zemeckis, but flounders due to its excesswe running time. Jodie Foster gives a typically earnest performance as the research scientist who picks up a communication Signal from another planet and is chosen to travel on an interstellar deVice to meet Our new neighbours. The film's visual set-piece owes rather a lot to Kubrick’s 2007 and is only one instance of a sad lack of imagination. (Warner)
Albino Alligator (18) 94 mins * w 1:
Failed heists seem to be the Video department‘s flavour-of—the-month (see panel for Pa/ookavr/le, and once again we have a trio of crooks whose robbery doesn't go to plan. Holed up in a basement bar, they're as trapped by their own conflicts as by the police. Kevin Spacey's debut as director is heavy handed when it comes to the
g (15) 90 mm b. sTAR RATINGS i
s.- K ‘ I ‘ y r so t t * Unmissable I W: Ludo, who wants to be master of tne a a a k Very good i
'. Wind, is shocked when a violent army * s: * Worth a shot . Presidential hotline: Harrison Ford calls for help in Air Force One wages war on his peaceful race and '* * Below average i i (Buena Vista. 15, 120 mins. *tt).Available to rent from Mon 16 Mar. kills his father. The power of the ‘ You ve been warned i i
weary bartender. (Columbia Tristar)
House Of America
(15) 92 mins at *1?
Brother and Sister Sid and Gwennie sit in the heart of Wales and dream up romantic notions of America. As they drift further into an incestuous relationship and their mother slips into senility, it’s left to younger brother Boyo to be the sole voice of reason. A claustrophobic script hinders Marc Evans’s film from tapping into the s0ur poetry of the stOry, but the characters' feeling of entrapment comes over very strongly. (First Independent)
(15) 114 mins radar
Another ClaSSy film lost at the cinema box office, 787 deserves to be seen if only for Samuel L. Jackson's commanding and charismatic performance. He plays a disillusioned sCience teacher who moves to LA from New York after an attack by a pupil,- when he meets With more aggresSion, he’s less willing to play by the book. Director Kevin Reynolds skilfully manipulates audience perceptions and washes the film in beautiful amber tones, giving the ending a bleak ineVitability. (Warner)
(15)114 mins *irir
A handful of female Viewers have admitted to being touched by this tale of a teenager searching for true romantic love (and discovering her first sexual pleasures) in gorgeous Tuscany. But given the manner in which the older male characters — and director Bernardo Bertolucci's camera — eye the fresh beauty of LiV Tyler, it's hard not to take it all as coming from a male viewpoint. This taints the innocence of the girl’s quest and convinces us that there’s not a man on screen who really deserves her. (Fox £12.99)
(15) 83 mins **
There's still too much of the theatre left in this adaptation of DaVid Mamet’s play. the characters wander endlessly
Heist society: William Forsythe, Vincent Gallo and Adam Trese in Palookaville
Palookaville (15) 88 mins «it at * *1
For those of you sick and bloody tired of filmmakers' apparent inability to deal with crime in a non-spleen splitting way. one of 97's sleeper hits.PanokavilIe, comes as welcome respite.
The tale, inspired by the writings of ltalo Calvino, tells of a trio of honest losers - Sid (William Forsythe), Russ (Vincent Gallo) and Jerry (Adam Trese) — who yearn for 'a momentary shift in lifestyle’ for themselves and their loved ones. This leads them to continually plan, execute and fail miserably to pull off the perfect heist - the only casualty is a slabbering pooch who dies in horrid, if terribly amusing, circumstances. When you realise that their extensive research involves taking notes from B-movies such as Armored Car Robbery and that Russ somewhat inconveniently has a sleazy cop for a brother-in-law, the writing is very much on the prison wall.
The ensuing mayhem leads to a finale which ties everything up neatly without seeming over-contrived. Alan Taylor's movie is warm without being mushy and funny without being head-spinningly hilarious, with the three leads all bringing off likeably spot-on performances. One for murdered-out Tarantinees everywhere. (Brian Donaldson)
I Pa/ookavi/le is available to rent from Fox Pathé now.
around the antique shop set and hatter the Viewer Wlill a tornado of words This fits thematically, however, as it's about people who are all talk and no action - shop owner Dennis Franz and poker buddy Dustin Hoffman (makng too much of his ‘performance‘) make their plans for a rare coin robbery that never happens No real friendship CXists between the men, and l\.r1.:hael Corrente’s direction tradm on. the air of mutual suspicion (VCl/Fiim Four
(15) 116 mins ink 1r
Helena Bonham Carter is an English dress dOSigner in Paris, hanging out With her arms and acting conVinc ineg in a foreign language Love, desire and the angst of young professionals are the same the world over, it seems, but this isn't Quite the Gailic Friends some reViews would have you believe The humour is clever and insightful, but VOICing the characters‘ thoughts introduces a certain srnugnes‘s ~ that's compounded by tne fashion/alrn worlds they inhabit (VCa/Filin Four £14 99)
universe is at stake and, as always seems to happen in these things, siblings unaware of each other's existence are battling on opposing sides Full of cod rnytl‘iology, the story is riddled with fantasy cliches and animation that's good but not exceptional. The creator of Appleseed and Ghost In The Shei/ hits the post and misses his hattrick (islanga
The Night Stalker
(PG) 75 mins it: 3k *
X—Fii’es’ creator Chris Carter has name- checked the 1970s TV series Kor’rhak as his main inspiration, but although there’s a supernatural twist to iiilS murder mystery (and the authorities cover up the evrdence), it's a far irgkter affair The pilot episode has Darren 1.1cGavzn as a loudrnouth reporter who's conVinced a series of murders in Las Vegas have been carried out by a Vampire. In its sequel, The Night Strangier 1 t it ), an almost identical plot is transferred to Seattle The voceover is straight out of the pulp Crime genre and, although silly, it's enterta;ning as paperback TV (PNE, £10 99 each)
6*19t.1ar 1998 THE LIST 109