reviews RENTAL 5 The Jackal

3 (18) mins * t

Scottish director Michael Caton-Jones

comes a bit of a cropper With his

5 Overblown attempt to update Frederick

T Forsyth’s Day Of The Jackal for the 905.

' Bruce Willis is the cold-hearted assassm whose true identity is known only by

Cuddly IRA terrorist Richard Gere. As a travelogue set to the music of Black

; Grape and MasSive Attack, it works; unfortunately it’s meant to be a thriller,

; and that's where the problem lies. (CIC) (AM)

f The Wings Of The Dove (15) 98 mins *ttivk

lain Softley av0ids all the pitfalls of the

costume drama With this emotionally

i devastating adaptation of Henry James' novel. Helena Bonham Carter gives a career-best performance as a spirited 'modern'—thinking woman

whose plot to pair off her lover with a Sickly American heiress begins to

backfire. For once, the foreign locations aren’t merely decorative;

everything ~ from the tight dialogue to the body language and raVishing

, photography is used to reinforce the characters' behawour. (Buena Vista) (AM)

_ Excess Baggage

: (12) 97 mins ink

V Alicia Silverstone swaps her Batgirl

. costume for producer's role in this

1 disappOintingly slight comedy adventure. She stars as a spoilt but unloved rich kid who fakes her own kidnapping in order to get her father’s

i attention. What she doesn’t expect is

for the car in which she hides to be stolen by streetwise himbo BeniCio Del Toro nor for romance to start sparking between them. None of the

7 characters are three dimensional and

' Silverstone’s trademark cuteness isn’t

j enough by itself to lift the mowe.

(Columbia Tristar) (AM)

The Blackout (18) 94 mins rut

' Treated rather harshly by audiences

and critics after the success of The

Funeral, Abel Ferrara's portrait of drink and drugs excess is a long howl of anguish from a tortured soul. Matthew

Modine gives total commitment to his

portrayal of a Hollywood star who's

conVinced he killed a woman during a

92 THE UST 9-23 Jul 1998

, 1 f _’ \ \ . Size isn't everything: Bradley Pierce meets the little people in The Bo (PolyGram, U, 86 mins, tank). Available to rent from Mon 20 Jul


binge. Much of the film doesn’t work particularly the Dennis Hopper bits ~ but The Blackout is proof that no one

can find more painful poetry in degradation than this director. (Film Four) (AM)

Devil's Advocate

(18) 139 mins * 1t it

Oooh, lawyers: aren't they nasty pieces of work? Cinema's eaSiest targets come in for a beating once again as young hotshot Keanu Reeves is lured to New York by a law firm run by the DeVIl himself The film is rather predictable throughout, but there are some nice Visual touches and, in the later stages, when Al Pacino takes over, it’s an entertaining pantomime It's a shame that Charleze Theron’s emotionally powerful performance as Reeves' young Wife is lost amongst the theatrics. (Columbia Tristar) (AM)

Myth Of Fingerprints

(15) 87 mins * t *

Av0iding easy climaxes and resolutions, this close study of a family reunited for Thanksgiving celebrations has a screenplay that examines its characters microscopically. Tensions come to the bOil indoors while the rural New England Winter creeps on outside. The

cast, including ER’s Noah Wyle, give

subtle performances, but on the whole the audience are set at Just too much of a distance for events to become truly COnVincing. (Columbia Tristar) (AM)


Mrs Brown (PG) 103 mins i: ‘k ‘A' *

Judi Dench gives a masterclass in screen acting as Queen Victoria in this

; modestly intentioned drama, which

went from BBC Scotland’s racks to worldWide acclaim. Billy Connolly is also excellent as ghillie John Brown, taking a Highlanders no-nonsense

approach to Her Majesty’s continued

grievmg. The film prefers close character study to sumptuous period set-pieces, and that only enhances its

appeal on the small screen, (Buena Vista £14.99) (AM)

' The Threepenny Opera

(PG) 205 mins * * t

In the early days of sound, films were often shot simultaneously on the same sets in different languages. Over the



Alexander Mackendrick

VT " Kg. 111': 9'“: { ‘\

Too many crooks: the cast of The Ladykillers

Alexander Mackendrick - Sandy to his mates - made more than his fair share of classics, of which Sweet Smell Of Success remains many folks' fave. Still, this trio of Ealing comedies filmed between 1948—55 marks the man as a master of suspenseful comedy who teased some truly inspired

performances out of his cast.

In Whisky Galore! (PG, 82 mins, * x t), Hebridean islanders battle their colonial masters for a cargo of Scotch with shortbread-esque twee but often amusing results. The Man In The White Suit (U, 85 mins, * at * * t) is the tall tale of a research scientist (Alec Guinness) scamming his way round the northern mills, eventually creating an indestructible fabric. Farcical set- pieces threaten to damage the sheen of perfection but the film, like Sidney's molecule machine, bubbles along beautifully, often exploding when

Guinness is on screen.

Guinness is also in tremendous form in The Ladykillers (U, 97 mins, * lr air it), probably the best known - and certainly the most often repeated at Christmas of the three. Charading as a chamber ensemble, a gang of crooks succeed in coaxing money out of little old ladies. That is, until they meet Katie Johnson whose wits are more than a match for any of them.

(Brian Donaldson)

I Whisky Galorel, The Man In The White Suit and The Ladyki/lers are available now on the Warner Home Video label, priced f4. 99 each.

decades, it's the German version of GW. Pabst's The Threepenny Opera that has kept in the public eye, probably because the Brecht and Weill songs naturally seem most at home in their original tongue. On this tape, however, there is a rare opportunity to compare German and French versions, With both films included in their entirety Neither has the genuine low- life feel or audience alienation effect that Brecht achieved in the stage musical, but their cinematic qualities set design, lighting are eye-catching in their own right. (BFl £15 99) (AM)

Head Above Water

(15) 89 mins *

The pairing of Cameron Diaz and Harvey Keitel should cause a ripple or two, but a poor script and disastroust misjudged tone turn What cOuld have been a Hitchcockian comedy thriller into an implausible farce. Keitel is terribly miscast as a pipe-cheWing father figure who is forced to help his beautiful young Wife (Diaz) dispose of the dead body of a former bOyfriend. Dire. (Warner) (AM)

Vampire Wars

(18) 55 mins t at a:

There’s more plot crammed into this first instalment of a new anime drama than all of the summer’s cinema blockbusters put together. A film star With rare blood, a gang of vampire

terrorists (who are actually from outer space), a Commie sympathiser tough guy hero, dispensable CIA agents ~ all knocking heads in a bloody and excessively Violent adventure that's Just a little too misogynistic to enjoy. (Manga £1 1.99) (AM)

Sergeant York

(U) 129 mins * 1r *

HaVing consCientiously objected to World War I, AIVin York goes on to single-handedly slaughter twenty Germans, achieVing herOic status. Sergeant York casts Gary Cooper as a dimWit woodsrnan whose life is led by the laws of the land first, then the Gospels and finally the Constitution, turning him from yokel hero into bayonet-Wielding warrior Overblown and overlong, Howard Hawks' film is still a movmg contribution to the biopic genre. Hawks' Air Force and The Dawn Patrol, along With Mervyn LeRoy’s Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, are also available. (Warner Big Picture £5.99) (BD)

REVIEWERS THIS ISSUE: Brian Donaldson, Alan Morrison l


l t i ii i at unmissable l t * t t Very 00d l l t H: Wort a shot I at t Below average l it You’ve been warneg }