EPIC Gladiator (15) 149 mins

j 4 w " “(Q‘s-r ~~;- . ' $ I o r' .‘ 'O-a.‘v*‘ \‘3 l 9 3 "\ tints-s» is t" u *- 9. ‘0'

Fierce, bloody and spectacular

Gladiator heralds the return of swords, sandals and all things Roman and epic. Russell Crowe plays Rome's mightiest warrior, General Maximus, who, having vanquished the Goths in the Empire’s last battle, is charged by the dying Emperor (Richard Harris) with routing out corruption in his beloved capital city. But the Emperor's jealous heir, Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), has other plans for Maximus, and though his assassination attempt fails, Maximus is sold into slavery in a far distant land. And so the stage is set for a tale of revenge as Maximus literally fights his way back to Rome from

one gladiatorial arena to another.

The hand-to-hand combat scenes are fierce, bloody and spectacular, from Maximus’ initial fights at the North African estate of his new master (Oliver Reed in his final role) to the melees involving chariots and tigers in Rome's awesome Colosseum. The more fights Maximus wins, the more popular he becomes with the Roman public, a problem for Commodus who can't afford to have his most famous gladiator murdered. And so a complicated play of power develops. Less interesting is the political intrigue which brings into play Commodus' sister (Connie Nielson) and his opponent in the senate (Derek Jacobi, who made his name in the BBC drama I, Claudius), a subplot that slows the action and doesn't go anywhere.

Still, Ridley Scott's a director with a strong eye for visuals; he ensures Gladiator looks stunning throughout. Crowe once again mixes muscles with grim determination to fine effect, but it’s Phoenix who excels; bringing pathos to what might have been a stereotypical villain he proves himself to be a talent to be reckoned with. (Miles Fielder)

Available to rent from Universal from Mon 23 Ott



(18) 117 mins

Hollywood meets Loaded rr‘; a (orarrre- fuelled portrayal of male drsrntegratron that survrves (hrefly through the tone o" rts a( trng You (an see \.'.hy at tors oi the (alrbre of Sean Penn and Kevrr‘. Spa<ey \'.ere drawn to Davrd Rabe’s strrpt, based on lirs o‘wn play, rt's unwell- drawr‘. and \.'~.rordy, wrth e< hoes of Davrd Mamet and Jay M( Inerney, and rts theme of male frrendshrp grves them plenty to get therr teeth rnto The at trng rs great, b:.t you've pretty mm in got the measure of rt by hallxzay tnrough 'lx.rlet"odor‘.r(n rlvlark FISlIPI"

Nora (18) 106 mins

If Nora Barnat le, the love of James Joy(e's lrfe, hadn't gone past frrst base on their fzrst date, would thetr relatzonsrrrp have beee drfferent It's sou-retr‘rrng you'lz ‘.'-.render about

‘.'.'at( hrrtg l’at Murpl‘rys ‘sirn versron of Her ,ove affa r lor loyte's Jealousy and susprt :ons 'trle tnerr .rves, see'nrngly triggered by thrs one

rnr rdent Enzar‘. MtGregor and Susan Lynr h are (()Itv:It( mg as the lovers, as the drama unfolds rn Ireland and Italy But by the end of what should be a passrt‘)na'.ely movrng love affarr, Nora rust doesn't gurte hrt the rrght note LAllrarrre Atlantrsl rL()trISd Pearsom

Permanent Midnight (18) 84 mins

Another mysterrous strarght-to-\rdeo release, Permanent Midnight rs an adaptatron of Hollywood televrsron and film s( rrptxzrrter Jerry Stahl's red raw (or‘rfessronal autobrography about hrs years as a drug addrtt Ben Strller makes a good enough rob playrng Stahl, tne slea/ebag who was shootrng up rr‘. a hosprtal torret \.\.'hrle hrs \‘rrfe ‘.‘.as grvrng brrth to therr‘ baby, whrle llr/abeth Hurley underwhelms on(e agarn as hrs Tnglrsh wfe Maybe lrnseltot'.'n Jrust doesrr't lrke rts vrtes drsplayed 1'or all to see on the brg

st reerr ( olumbrar erles l'relderr

Up At The Villa (12) 115 mins

Pre-war llorenre rs the settrng for thrs

adaptation of Somerset Ivlaugham's novella, rn whreh Mary rKrrstrn Stott Thomasr, a retently \'\.'rdo\.ved Englrsh rose, attratts the attentron of (rusty governor James Fox and slrrk playboy Sean Penn. Irnrnrnent war farls to rouse the rnterests of the Prrnress rAnne BancroftI and the rest of the upper- trust ex-pats, as they prefer bla( krnarl, de<eptron and lrvrng the 30s versron of la vrda l()( a rnstead Thrs rs a sub- Eng/rs‘lr Patient meander whrch farls to get but of neutral gear desprte respectable performances by Penn and Bancroft rUnrversaIr rMark Robertson)

Cotton Mary (15) 128 mins

Merrhant Ivory, Brrtarn's orrgrnal perrod dramatrsts ta<kle SOs (()l()nral Indra

wrth Greta S(d((ltl as an ex-pat mother

who, unable to breast-feed her new- born, looks for help to hosprtal orderly Cotton Mary, played by TV (hef Madhur Jaffrey But Mary wheedles her way rnto the farnrly home and begrns usrng her new found l)()\.‘.’(.‘r" to

destrut trve effe<t Taking longer to (‘ome to the bor? than one of IvIadhur's ramb bnunas, thrs flrmsy tale really drags and the antr-t lrmat {It endrng leaves you \w’onderrng where the last two hours of your lrfe ‘.‘~.r(‘III rUnrversal» «'Mark Robertson!


East Is East (15) 92 mins

As hrlarrous as =t rs movrng, thrs tale of domestrt trouble and strrfe set \.'r.'rthrn an anter-raual household rn Salford (rrt a I971 rs a gem Chrp shop owner George Khan rGenghrs to hrs krdsl enfor( es tradrtronal Pakrstanr values upon hrs famrly, rn( ludrng arranged ntarrrages for hrs sons But they’re havrng none of that and nerther rs Mrs George, the perpetual house drplornat Spot-on performanres, an anar'mrr sense of fun and great perrod detarl rlook out for the runnrng spate-hopper gagI make thrs a must see rFrlmFour £14 99! IMrles Frelder‘»

Once Upon A Time In ChinaAnd America (15) 100 mins

ere Jarkre Chan's S/rang/ra/ Noon, thrs Chrnese Western (ombrnes the best elements of these two genres The plot rs unusually substantral for a martral arts rnovre, but as always rt rs the frght stenes whrth (ommand the attentron Produted by Hong Kong's legendary Tsur Hark and drret ted by Sarnmo Hung, this last-pa(e(l a( tron adventure shows starlet Lr's rn( redrble skrlls to therr full advantage Ihe subtrtles (ould be (learer, but with at tron thrs good, do you really (are what they're sayrng7 rIIong Kong Classrts {I3 99

wrdest reen orrgrnal language, {12 99 lnglrsh dub, {1.9 99 on DVD

(Kristy Knaggsr

Pokemon (U) 96 mins

If you hate the (artoon and (an't

reviews VIDEO/ DVD

Ghost Dog ..;'.

Kult Kids Favourites

Young Frankenstein 1

The Green Mile

American Psycho ' 6 r '

The Big Boss

Zulu Dawn ~

Live And Let Die '

understand the fuss, don't watt h tl:.s Othermse, prepare for som r valuab'e lessons about frrendshrp, frghtrng, arxr, wart for rt, the morality of (lonrng Ilie IIIII‘()(lU( tory short, P/katiru’s ‘~./a(ar/orr, tells us :t's better to work as a team through a serres of seenrrngly at rrll rnduted seguentes The feature fa'es better as (loned super-Pokemon lr.le\.‘.'t\=.'o threatens to take mm the \.‘.()rl(l, anless our ltt‘l'()I( Pokemon trarners (an stop hrrn It's srll‘,,

l)I't‘(l.( tabre and ser‘rtanentai arid probably passe by now. but krds'rl lane :1 rWarner {lb 99, H9 99 or‘. l)\. l) 'loursa Pearson!



Very good

Worth a shot

Below average You've been warren:

)7 Sen 5 ()1'. THE llST 117