RENTAL Beg! (18) 110 mins *‘k‘k‘k‘k

When it premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 1994, The List raved about Beg! The film has never been seen since. Finally released on video, it remains one of the most astonishing, bold and original British movies of the 905. A gory, sexually charged, grotesque whodunit set in a crumbling hospital, it marries director Robert Golden's sumptuous visual style with the physicality of Fringe veterans David Glass and Peta Lily. Think Peter Greenaway shooting Hammer horror but Beg! still rises to a class of its own. (Showcase) (AM)

200 Cigarettes

(15) 98 mins ****

Offbeat comedy slinking straight to video despite a very funny script and an exceptional ensemble cast. Indie stalwarts including Christina Ricci, Courtney Love, Janeane Garofalo and Martha Plimpton sparkle as they career around New York on New Year's Eve in search of the perfect person to help them start off 1982. Ignore the excesses of silliness - the appalling tacked-on ending, the Elvis Costello motif, Dave Chapelle’s over-the-top performance and this is fun with fluorescent fishnets on. (CIC) (HM)

The Debt Collector

(18) 105 mins ***

Billy Connolly continues to make avenues into serious acting with his portrayal of ex-gangster, turned sculptor, Nicky Dryden, who is hounded over his past crimes by Gary Keltie (Ken Stott) the arresting officer who put him in prison. Despite stylish direction and strong performances, holes in the plot are irritating. Stott's near-psychotic policeman’s motivation for his witch hunt never materialises past doing it 'for the good of the people’. This doesn't wash with Hollywood blockbusters and is even less convincing here. (Film Four) (MR)

The Faculty

(15) 104 mins and

With self-reference thoroughly explored and exploited in the three Scream films, what’s next? Self-self- referential horror movies with the cast of Scream 4 talking about how crap the first three were? Maybe, but

104 THE LIST 7-21 Oct I999


Having a Whale of a time: Brendan Fraser. Redgrave in Gods And Monsters (Fox Pathe, 15, 94 mins *tit). Available to rent

for now Robert Rodriguez’s The Faculty provides self-referential science fiction. Ripping-off Invasion Of The Body Snatcher’s plot, a bunch of Mid-West American high school kids find their teachers turning murderous as they’re infected by parasites from outer space. Good fun hokum and a terrific monster. (Buena Vista) (MF)

Return To Paradise

(15) 107 mins kirk

Midnight Express is the reference point for this drama about three pals vacationing in Malaysia, one of whom is sentenced to death for possession of hash. Unaware that Lewis (Joaquin Phoenix) has been rotting in prison for two years, Sheriff and Tony (Vince Vaughn and David Conrad) are approached back in New York by Anne Heche’s lawyer and told the only way to save Lewis is to go back to Malaysia and serve three years in prison apiece. Obviously, much soul searching ensures. (Universal) (MF)

Message In A Bottle (12) 126 mins Hr

’Movies don’t come much better' claimed one tabloid an outright lie. There are lots of films that don't star The Exceedingly Dull One, Kevin Costner, here playing a widower who has never dealt with his wife’s death. Paul Newman is his ex-alcoholic father, Robin Wright Penn a divorcee intent on finding the man behind the message in a bottle she found on a beach. Despite satisfying performances frOm Newman and Penn, the movie remains sentimental American drivel. And Kevin Costner is in it. (Warner) (SB)


Black Cat, White Cat

(15) 124 mins ***** No one does this sort of madcap magic

realism better than Kusturica, whose previous hymn to the Serbo-Croatian gypsy community was the life-affirming Time Of The Gypsies. This riotous, vibrant comedy tells the story of Zare and his incompetent crook of a father, Matko who, having messed up a black market deal, intends to marry Zare off to the sister of a powerful gangster, a woman so tiny her name is Ladybird. Chaos ensues. Like fine bootleg whisky, this is intoxicating stuff. (Artificial Eye £15.99) (PD)

Sir Ian McKellen (deceased) and Lynn

from Mon 4 Oct

RENTAL eXistenZ (15) 93 mins *‘k‘k‘k

eXistenZ Is the ultimate virtual reality game, developed by top designer

_ Jason Leigh in eXistenI

Allegra Geller (gorgeous, talented Jennifer Jason Leigh). She Is worshipped as a god. like all game designers in this near-future North America. by the industry and consumers alike. After a bungled assassination attempt, Geller escapes with security guard Ted Pikui (gorgeous. talented Jude Law) not into the expected towering metropolis, but a weird rural landscape. Before long Geller seduces Pikul. not into bed, but into eXistenZ's hyper-real virtual


Like most computer game worlds. there are puzzles to be solved. goals to be achieved and it's very entertaining watching Geller and Pikul work out the mechanics of their new environment. much of which is surreal In the extreme. In a grotty Chinese restaurant, for example, during a lunch break from the virtual fish factory in the woods they find themselves working in, Pikul assembles a 'bone gun’ from the remains of his disgusting meal, realises he wants to kill someone and promptly does.

Eventually, the line between reality and virtuaiity blurs and it's not clear to the players nor the viewer whether we're in the game or not. Not new territory for Cronenberg, (see Videodrome) which of course means he's doing what he does better than anyone else. Ultimately, eXistenZ (both the film and the game) promises more than it delivers, adding up to no more than a good episode of The Mlllght Zone. And, while uncharacteristically slight for Cronenberg, this is no bad thing. (Miles Fielder)

- Available to rent on Alliance Atlantis from Mon 18 Oct.

Bart Wars (PG) 88 mins *quk

Cutely roguish as little Barty continues to be, he is far from the star of this latest quartet of animated excellence. Over the course of an hour and a half he is upstaged by Homer as Mayor Quimby's bodyguard and Fat Tony as the JFK-alike’s potential assassin; Santa’s Little Helper and his twisted stomach; and Lawrence Tierney as a tough store detective with a breadstick problem. And among the celebs putting themselves on the block are Willem Dafoe and Mark Hamill. (Twentieth Century Fox £14.99) (BD)

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

(18) 97 mins *uhk

The 1978 John Carpenter original paved the way for a whole sub-genre of horror movies: stalk ‘n’ slash thrillers which combined teenage girls, lingerie, psychos, knives and suspense. Unsurprisingly, none of Hal/oween's rip-offs including its sequels - scare as effectively as the first. And neither does H20. Apart from some development of Jamie Lee Curtis's original character and a plethora of Scream-style in jokes (playing on Psycho, Friday The 73th, Scream 2), it's business as usual, although it's nostalgic fun for all that. (Buena Vista 13 14.99) (MF)

Dancing At Lughnasa (PG) 91 mins ***

Donegal sets the scene for this tale of five sisters living a little too close for

comfort. One summer their brother Jack, a priest, returns from his post in Africa complete with a few new bats in the belfry and sends everything in the Mundy household pear-shaped. The formerly repressed sisters suddenly find release and all sorts of joyful episodes ensue. Mad Father Jack is hilarious but Sophie Thompson outshines Meryl Streep and co with her portrayal of blackberry-picking Rose. (VCVFilmFour £14.99) (JC)

The Last Days Of Disco (15) 120 mins*

Normally, Whit Stillman is an accomplished director of wordy art movies. This however, is a whole other bucket of monkey wee. It tells of a bunch of bland, self-centred idiots whose transition from studentdom to the real world is mirrored in the death of disco and the commencement of the eighties. The clique of pallid twentysomethings whine and moan, snog each other, and then it ends. Surely there is some kind of EU ruling banning this sort of thing. (Warner £9.99/widescreen £10.99) (MR)


Simone Baird, Julie Clark, Paul Dale, Brian Donaldson, Miles Fielder, Hannah McGill, Alan Morrison, Mark Robertson

STAR RATINGS 1H: *** Unmissable * a: * it Very ood «Hui: Wort a shot 1hr Below average * You’ve been warned