FILM new releases

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Battle of the sexes: Chow Yun-Fat and Mira Sorvino in The Replacement Killers

The Replacement

Killers (18) 87 mins is are

Coming to our screens with an impressive pedigree, Hong Kong action star Chow Yuri-Fat (Hardboi/ed) delivers all of the charisma and most of the thrills in this less than totally satisfying thriller from mu5ic-video director Antome Fugua.

Chow plays John Lee, a profeSSionaI assassm brought to America to do one last job before his ruthless boss will release him from any further obligations But when he cannot pull the trigger, he himself becomes a marked man, With implausibly po- faced hard men crawling out of every corner to kill him.

Understandably keen to get away, Lee seeks the help of ace forger Meg Coburn (Mira Sorvmo), only for her hi- tech operation to be reduced to glass and rubble as the killers ambush them. And so two new friends, With little in common except mutual distrust, find themselves on the run together from Lee’s former associates, as well as the police in the hulking form of detective Zedkov (Michael Rooker).

Glossy, well mounted but exceptionally routine stuff, the story has the high moral tone of the Hong Kong action mowe, but neither the pace nor Wit that makes those films so breathlessly entertaining. It's as if something was lost in the translation (Anwar Brett)

a General release from Fri 5 Jun

Dark City (15) 100 mins sk e

Director Alex Proyas' latest film part nomsh thriller, part paranOic sCi-fi ~ continues his obsesSion With the recesses of the urban landscape, which he displayed to great effect in The Crow. The tormented soul here IS John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell), who awakens in a hotel room to find he is wanted for murder, but has no memory of the Crime or of much else, for that matter. Wandering through the night- time streets in search of answers, he realises that a mysterious group of bald, overcoated beings known as The Strangers are manipulating the lives of the inhabitants and the nature of the city itself.

Boasting stunning speCial effects -

24 THE lIST 28 May ll Jun I998

Future shocks: Richard O‘Br

rooms metamorphose into new shapes and colours, skyscrapers bloom from the concrete the film is a brave attempt to max genres However, it succeeds as a mystery but is less assured in its final sci-fr incarnation. The deSign and photography are first- rate, While Sewell is effectively hollow- eyed and haunted in the lead role.

But he, and the mowe, are let down by one-note performances from William Hurt (as a police inspector tracking Murdoch) and mad scientist Kiefer Sutherland. The Iatter’s impersonation of Peter Lorre lS up there With Brando's John Betjeman turn in The Island Of Dr Moreau, in the pantheon of star indulgence (Simon Wardell)

& General release from Fri 29 May

ien and Kiefer Sutherland in Dark City


(18) 82 mins x w ii: at

Greg Araki has moved on from the days when The Living End made him a founding icon of Queer Cinema. In Nowhere, sexuality is fluid and stereotypical surfaces deceive. aliens walk unnoticed through suburbia and a TV hunk proves no dream date when he beats up a SChOOIQITI,

A group Of impOSSIbly beautiful friends go to parties, agonise over classroom crushes and mm in a different world from their parents. At first it seems there’s nothing here that Wasn't addressed in 80s Brat Pack mOVIes like St Elmo's Fire and Pretty In Pink. Look again, because Nowhere, from its nihilistic title down, has a darker tint of blood in its veins It’s as if Araki, tWisting those teen flicks on

Rachel True and James Duval in Nowhere

their head, really believes this is the generation who Will go out With a hang at

the end of the world.

It’s a pulp-fiction-sci-fi-soap-opera-horror-comedy, where laughs, camp behaviour and gore sit side by side With the screaming angst of Hole and the flash glam of Suede To SWitch styles and tones With such channel-surfing fury is a feat in itself, but Araki somehow keeps it coherent Drunk on its outrageousness, you’ll giggle your way out the em, until a hit of fresh air reminds you that you’ve just Witnessed a teenage apocalypse, (Alan Morrison)

a Edinburgh Fi/mhouse from Fri 5 Jun

FILM MUSIC Soundtracks

Does football have to have a say in everything this summer? If so, the soundtrack

album to Lost In Space (Epic

=~) is the proverbial game of two halves eight

dancefloor tracks -- from Propellerheads, Death In Vegas, Fatboy Slim and others followed by a slab of Bruce Broughton's orchestral score No one Who wants one would Want the other Apollo Four Forty's lost In Space (Theme) is future kitsch, reminiscent of those tacky 70s disco takes on Star Wars, While Broughton's input is like a stand-and-salute identikit composition by John Williams.

Due for imminent arthouse release, The Hanging Garden (Virgin 4:- Sit e it) concerns one Nova Sc‘otian man's attempts to reconcile his parents’ traditions With the modern world. LikeWise the soundtrack album fuses the Celtic musical tradition With modern arrangements. This works perfectly when Ashley Maclssac attacks old fiddle tunes in his unique style or in the contemporary folk sound of The Rankin Family and Spirit Of The West, The addition of several female singer- songwriter tracks doesn’t disturb the evocative Celtic spirit that stands strong throughout ~ and there's not a misty hillside or beard in sight. (Alan Morrison)

The James Gang (15) 99 mins is» fit a-

Mike Barker's feature debut is considerably less violent and a bit more accomplished than some other recent British releases,

Burned out of her counCil flat by loan sharks, st0ic Edinburgh mum Bernadette James (Helen McCrory) buses it to London With her four Weans to chase up her shrinking shite of a husband, Spendlove (nicer played by John Hannah) He tries to off-load her again and this pushes her into a progressively more serious crime Spree, b0urne of a desperate desire to keep her famin together Into the scenario come Spendlove’s brother Frank (Jason Flemyngl, Bernie’s devoted admirer (and maybe more), and Toni Collette as the thrusting policewoman (and new mum herself) leading the chase

DeSpite the compactness of its UK setting and its apparent TV orientation, The James Gang manages

Darren Brownlie in The James Gang

to seem like a proper film, The commercials-style gloss doesn't gurte sun, but it does look good. There's more than a Sprinkling of humour too, and some fine acting notably (thocigh perhaps too often) from McCrory If nothing else, Barker’s use of indie music makes the soundtrack a bit more imaginative than the rest of the Crop. Not great, but not that bad either. (John MacKenZie)

a Selected release from Fri 29 May