Among Giants

(15) 94 mins * t t

Wrrter Srmon Beaufoy stays true to hrs chosen mrlreu Yorkshrre workrng class lrfe wrth thrs bittersweet romantrc drama that parrs Pete Postlethwarte’s craggy foreman wrth Rachel Grrffrth’s spunky Australran traveller. He parnts hrgh-wrre pylons. She lrkes to clrmb mountarns. So he hrres her to (om hrs team of mrsfrt Iab0urers and before you can say Yorkshrre Pud, they're rn bed together. The performances are rmpeccable, but the scrrpt lacks the brte of regronal dramas Such as Brassed Off or Beaufoy’s own The Full Monty. (Fox Pathe) (MF)

Passion In The Desert (12) 93 mins * *

Starting lrke an eprsode of The Flashrng Blade wrth a frnal hour comrng close to a shoddrly shot sub- Wa/kabout, thrs frlm, based on the Balzac short story, er| erther entrance or bore. Ben Danrels, a young captarn rn Napoleon's rll-fated Egyptran campaign goes mrssrng, frllrng rn hrs trme by escaprng from some hacked- off Bedourns and makrng pals wrth a leopard. Once hrs regrment frnds hrm, he has a chOrce: contrnue hrs beastly exrstence or return to the human condrtron. You may frnd rt hard to care. (Entertarnment) (SD)

The Only Thrill (15) 114 mins t

Sam Shepard and Drane Keaton star as a parr of lovers who are too afrard to commrt to each other. The same fate rs brzarrely befallrng therr Srblrngs, Drane Lane and Robert Patrrck, who are also farlrng to get rt together. Thrs rs, desprte a respectable cast, pure Saturday afternoon Channel 5 fodder: schmaltzy, overlong, wrth a plot woollrer than a sheep’s pocket and an endrng that would make the most sensrtrve among us squrrm. Bleurgh. (Allrance Atlantrs) (MR)

All The Little Animals (18) 112 mins t

A Srmple-mrnded y0ung man (C hrrstran Bale) runs away from home, escaprng the clutches of hrs evrl stepfather (Murder One's Danrel Benzalr) to lrve rn a forest wrth a krndly older man (John Hurt). But when hrs cruel guardran re- appears, the yOung man’s rural rdyll rs shattered. Drrected by Jeremy Thomas (better known as a producer for the lrkes of The Last Emperor and Crash) from Walker Hamrlton’s novel, thrs modern nrghtmare fairytale Suffers from hopelessly unrnsprred drrectron and an appallrngly over-Srmplrfred scrrpt. (Entertarnment)(lv1F)


Le Diner De Cons (15) 77 mins * t t *

Thrs rs a trghtly scrrpted, hrlarrous caper about affluent Parrsran men who get together every week for a drnner where each guest brrngs along an 'rdrot’ for therr amusement. When Brochant’s (Francrs Huster) vrctrm Prgnon (Danrel Prevost) starts causrng all manner of mayhem before they've even left the house, Brochant realrses he has brtten off more than he can chew. The frlm speeds along at a breakneck pace and rs clear evrdence that good Jokes need never be lost rn a translatron. (Fox Pathe £15.99) (MR)

The Siege

(15)111mins t * fr it

New York Crty rs on a knrfe-edge after a serres of terrorrst attacks, but rather than make a unrted front agarnst thrs rnvrsrble enemy, the FBI, CIA and US Army are consumed by a power struggle amongst themselves. Edward Zwrck's absorbrng polrtrcal thrrller has serrous thrngs to say about the rnner workrngs of Amerrca’s securrty servrces and the nation’s forergn polrcy. The Oklahoma bombrng rs proof that, post- Cold War, Amerrca has turned rn on rtself, and no frlm to date captures thrs

Swingers: Mike Myers and Heather Graham shoot from the hip in The Spy Who Shagged Me. Available to rent from Entertainment on Mon 24 Jan.

reviews VIDEOS

RENTAL A Simple Plan

(lS)ll3mins tttt

Breathing new life into an old story is one of the deftest tricks to pull off in the creative business. Sam Raimi has created a directorial career out of it with The Evil Dead series (comedy horrors which twisted more than a few critics’ pencils), The Quick And The Dead (3 very 905 Western) and, now, A Simple Plan.

In order to survive, the crime thriller genre took the opportunity to alter the terrain in the late 905 by producing movies which had to have a plot more complicated than the one before. The Usual Suspects is largely to thank or blame for that. But now, Raimi has shifted the ground by producing a twisty-turny story where the twists and turns intrigue through our ability to guess in advance and believe in totally.

On a snowy Midwestern New

Family fortunes: A Simple Plan

Year's Eve, two brothers (Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton) and a friend (Brent Briscoe) stumble upon a small plane wreckage. Inside is a Raimi- esque charred corpse and a bundle of cash to the sizeable tune of $4.4 million. Debating whether to turn the money over or stick it in a briefcase and run, they eventually opt for the latter. Naturally, the answer to their prayers is the start of their troubles. And, perhaps, the beginning of a new

cinematic era. (Brian Donaldson)

I Available to rent from Universal on Mon 37 Jan.

more rntellrgently. (20th Century Fox £14.99) (AM)

Place Vendome

(15) 113 mins 1k fr it *

Catherrne Deneuve won Best Actress at the Venrce Frlm Festrval for her role as Marranne, a woman at the crossroads of lrfe followrng the SurCrde of her crooked Jeweller husband. If you are a fan, rt rs classrc Deneuve ICIIy glacral, sexually ambrguous wrth her tough vulnerabrlrty to the fore as she strrves to re-establrsh her own reputatron rn the gem world. Other than Deneuve, the cast pull everythrng off clrnrcally, and the frlm remarns compellrng, rf a lrttle cold, to the brtter end. (ArtrfrCral Eye £15.99) (80)

New Deal Documentaries (E) 105 mins * t it

These socrally commrtted documentarres, produced by the US Government durrng the Great Depressron, offer an alternatrve to the Hollywood escaprst cmema of the trme. Of more hrstorrc than aesthetrc rnterest (though the frlmmakers are cruoal to the development of the documentary style), the frlms champron rural communrtres as a solutron to the effects of poverty. The poetrc The Plow That Broke The P/arns and The Rrver almost won drrector Pare Lorentz a Pulrtzer Prrze, Also rncluded are Jorrs lvens's The Power And The Land and HB. McClure’s The New Front/er, Also avarlable rn the Current Academy Vrdeo strand rs the Paul Robeson-narrated documentary/drama Natrve Land whrch deprcts the struggle of Amerrcan trade unrons agarnst management and the Klan. (Academy £12.99) (MF)

This Year's Love (18) 104 mins ,2 t. ,.

Thrs IS another of those mtrllrw intuit it)! romantrc comedy dramas rn («.lr ('1 there are too many people mm; for a narrow scope of attentron as tlw-r lrms rnevrtably and seamfully entwno Strll, there can be no complarnts \‘~.rll) lltt‘ cast (Douglas Henshall, Kathy 8 mm), lennrfer Ehle, Ian Hart fOr four r as they play Out the Camden notron of love Set over a perrod of three years, rt's about people berng alone and Mimi they erl do to aVOrd or marntarn that And, you guessed rt, rt's both funny and touchrng. (Entertarnment £14 99) (80)

Very Bad Things

(18) 97 mins a t *

Brrdes-to-be, avert y0ur eyes now. l-rve blokes go to Las Vegas on a stag weekend, A prostrtute dres accrdentally. lvlurder follows as the boys cover therr tracks Gurlt, fear and basrc survrval rnstrncts ensure that the body c0unt keeps on escalatrng Shallow Grave borrowed from Amerrcan rndres; now those same rndres borrow back, as a trrp to trte hardware store precedes shovers at dusk rn the mrddle of nowhere A blacker-than-black, EXCESSWely more" comedy that drspenses wrth p:a..srr;s 1y early on. (VrSron £14.99)(Alv1>

REVIEWERS THIS ISSUE: Brran Donaldson, tvlrles Freldev; . lvlorrrson, Mark RobertsOn


tr 1! r t * Unmrssable

*1 r t a Very ood

* t t Wort a shot

it 1* Below average

1' You’ve been taarrturl

20 Jan—3 Feb 2003 THE “ST 95