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ALEX COX Selected DVDs

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nations could a renaissance prince like Alex Cox be so thoroughly left out to dry. Filmmaker, broadcaster, scriptwriter and north western regenerative soul, Cox’s portfolio is once again available for reassessment on these fabulously packaged DVDs.

First up there is Cox’s magic realist take on the story of punk’s first couple Sid And Nancy (Momentum £19.99 000 /Extras 000 ) and their inevitable dance towards death. This looks and sounds great but the film is still a bit of a mess due in large part an all pervading romanticism very much at odds with the blackly nihilistic characterisations. Also Drew Scofield’s Johnny Rotten is embarrassing. But a non-hammy Gary Oldman and a brilliant turn by

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Chloe Webb as the downward- spiralling Nancy make this a must for punk archivists. The extras here include a short interview with Alex Cox that looks like it has been lit by an undergraduate plumber, the obligatory director’s commentary and, best of all, a lovingly produced palm-sized book on the making of Love Kills as the film was known in the US.

Straight To Hell (lLC £19.99 000 /Extras 00000) was Cox’s grand folly. A piece of high-camp Spaghetti Western pastiche starring dangerous selected eccentrics of early 805 pop culture. A thoroughly silly desert heist movie starring the likes of Courtney Cox, Joe Strummer, an incredibly young Cathy Burke, Elvis Costello and of course The Pogues. More influential than it is often given credit for (who can deny the influence on Roderiguez‘s From Dusk Till Dawn). The extras are excellent here, they include a documentary called ‘Back To Hell’ which revisits the film’s main stars 20 years on, plus a great Pogues video.

Highway Patrolman (ILC £19.99 00000/Extras 00 ) is Cox’s masterpiece, part Bunuel, part Rossellini and a whole lotta Electra Glide In Blue it tells the story of rookie Highway Patrolman Pedro Rojas (Roberto Soza) and his descent into corruption, superstition and a vengeful insanity. From Bob Dawson’s excellent title sequence to the heartbreaking finale this is pure class. The extras are, however, negligible.

Highway Patrolman stars Soza and Bruno Bichir pop up again in Death And The Compass (lLC £19.99 0000 /Extras 000 ) as drug addicts one and two. This loose, quirky, obtuse adaptation of a Jorge Luis Borges story has Peter Boyle as Inspector Lonnrot hunting down notorious outlaw Red

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105 Dancer In The Dark, Ratcatcher

106 Paul Whitehouse, Bad Girls


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Scharlach (Christopher Ecclestone in one of three very odd roles) through a gothed-up Liverpool. This is a colour-coded nightmarish trip through history and circumstance; invariably not everyone's cup of blood but worth the journey if you like comic book pacing.

The low budget Three Busineessmen (lLC £19.99 0000 /Extras 00 ) sees Cox finally channelling his love of Bunuel (The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeousie) into something concrete. When two businessmen come to Liverpool they are abandoned by the staff in their hotel and so set off into the night to find a restaurant that will serve them. Talking about everything and nothing they unwittingly travel through Rotterdam to Tokyo and finally onto the desert believing they are still in Liverpool. This is a strange one; part educational movie, part Louis Malle’s My Dinner


With Andre, part Beckett, all packaged by Bunuel’s iconoclastic wit. While Cox and Miguel Sandoval in the leads are excellent, this is simultaneously ambitious and banaL

As for Cox, will these new DVD releases enable him to carry on making his own unique brand of cinema ? ‘It depends how many people buy them!’ says Cox, who is working on The Revenger’s Tragedy while campaigning to renationalise Britain’s railways (check out his website: “You are not supposed to put your own money into your films or your daughter on the stage. But I suspect I will do the former. . .’ (Paul Dale)

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"L // '."n’ THE LIST 97