SERIES 7: THE CONTENDERS (18) 84 mins 0...
Dawn, eight months pregnant, is on her final run of The Contenders. She must eliminate the competition any way she can. Last man (or woman) standing wins. But she never counted on coming up against childhood sweetheart Geoff. This is the reality game show — Survivor, Big Brother etc — taken to its logical conclusion. Brutal, bloody, exploitative and low on production costs, this perfectly distils all the elements of cheap US TV. from the sensationalist voice-over to the dodgy reconstructions. Billed as a black comedy. this is a scarily realistic satire. the scariest thing being that in five years we could easily be watching this on TV. For real. (FilmFour VHS and DVD rental)
THE TAILOR OF PANAMA
(15) 105 mins 0...
When Andrew Osnard (a rather excellent Pierce Brosnan, playing the flipside of his 007 persona). a despicable cad of a British spy. is
behaviour. he enlists the help of ex-con turned tailor (Geoffrey Rush). Flattered by the responsibility, Harry starts to make up
1 12 THE LIST 4—18 Oct 2001
elaborate political yarns to appease Osnard. But the effects are
devastating for his
family, friends and the fragile government. This is director John Boorman's best film in years, featuring a watertight script from
John Le Carre and
Andrew Davies. and
great performances all
round (including a cameo by Harold Pinter). What more could you want? A wonderfully entertaining thriller. (Columbia Tristar VHS rental: DVD retail) (Paul Dale)
THE THIRD MIRACLE
(15) 113 mins .00
l 1i H U" il )l
. --..........,..,..... Q
Ed Harris as a priest? Before you start fretting. don't worry: obviously studying at
the Sean Connery
school of acting, Harris sticks with what he knows and plays the priest as if he's a
flawed cop or a
commando. Sent to
investigate claims of a
modern day American woman being a Saint, Harris finds himself
falling for the woman's daughter (Anne Heche
in kooky mode as ever) and discovers miracles
in unlikely places.
Poetic cinematography and a laudable lack of
sensationalism work in the film's favour, but the
slow pacing means it drags where it should soar. (Buena Vista VHS rental) (Louisa Pearson)
AN EVERLASTING PIECE
(15) 99 mins .00
A digression from his
; usual material,An sent to Panama for bad
Everlasting Piece sees Barry Levinson struggle
for balance between ' political significance and
flippant comedy. We follow the fortunes of two
' hairpiece salesmen.
EO’érlasting __ Piece
Colm and George, in troubled Northern Ireland. Anna Friel shines. bringing an energy and vivacity to bleak settings. and a shamefully underused Billy Connolly takes his most diverse role as a lunatic ex-wig weaver. Levinson's representation of an IRA Without threat. and as a halfbaked source of humour, however, deprives the film of taste and depth. Nevertheless. a fun, enjoyable film, certainly worth watching on a night in with some non-sectarian friends. (Columbia Tristar VHS and DVD rental)
The Captive (Artificial Eye VHS and DVD retail) Chantal Akerman's tale of double life and obsession based on the writing of Marcel Proust.
The Phantom Menace (DSA DVD retail) Two DVD set with over six hours of extras and previously unseen material. See Ewan McGregor desecrate Sir Alec's memory yet further. For George Lucas acolytes only. Pokemon 3 (Warner VHS and DVD retail) Third installment of the Japanese kids' animation phenomenon that '8 starting to lose steam.
Rugrats In Paris (Paramount VHS and DVD rental) A better deal for the kids. this follow-up to the first big screen outing of the popular TV characters. Sadly neglected series among the current wave of kids' stuff. Valentine (Warner VHS and DVD rental) Lame post-Scream stalk ‘n’ slash thriller starring
former Bond girl Denise i
A 90s noir classic with absurd twists
DOCUMENTARY TRIPS MONEY CAN’T BUY WITH
MCGREGOR 8801, Sun 7 Oct, 9pm 0...
With so many 'survival' programmes on TV, it's only the lure of Ewan McGregor that makes this one an attractive prospect. The premise? McGregor gets taken on a ten-day trip through
the rainforest with
survival expert Ray Mears. Right at the start they admit that a whole crew is needed for such a venture. displaying a refreshing lack of pretence.
Going in as a romantic (‘I want to hear what it's like at night'), McGregor soon becomes a realist. Putting soaking wet clothes back on every morning really doesn’t look like much fun and to his credit, McGregor handles it well, keeping the jokes going even when he's plainly miserable as sin.
One man who isn't miserable is Ray Mears. Looking pasty and out- of-shape, he's an unlikely hero, but when it comes to finding food and water or avoiding deadly bugs. he's your
man. With Ray on hand there‘s no thrill of danger
here but it‘s an intriguing
FILM THE USUAL
Channel 4, Sun 7 Oct,
Film history has shown that the final-reel plot twist can be a useful marketing tool. Low
budget British thriller The
Crying Game scored a modest hit based on its ‘she-was-a-he’ revelations. while Hitchcock implored audiences not to reveal Psycho's secrets. Bryan Singer's The Usual Suspects takes the Hitchcockian notion of the ‘McGuffin' (the
i plot turn that makes a - nonsense of everything ? that has gone before) to
a new level. Not since
j Dorothy's revelation that
her trip to Oz was nothing but a dream has a film so wrong-footed
its audience. The
. problem with using such an outrageous device is I that it makes repeat
viewings much less compelling; I mean,
surely everyone knows
by now that the film's
shadowy arch-villain Keyser Soze is really
Kevin Spacey's gimpy
crippled guy Verbal Klimt? Don't they? Nonetheless. Singer's
90$ noir is w0rth a second look, not least
_ for Christopher McOuarrie's sinewy
script and the brilliantly devious characters. (Allan Radcliffe)
DOCUMENTARY UNTOLD: AN
INDIAN AFFAIR Channel 4, Sun 7 Oct,
' 8pm on.
Channel 4's three-part documentary aims to unravel the relationship
between India and
ms; coducts An Indian Affair
Britain, from a time of tolerance and successful trading to the cold hostility of the Raj. Presented by Anglo- lndian historian Maria Misra. the first programme concentrates on the story surrounding 'Clive Of India“. a hero of the British Empire, exposed here as a corrupt trader. During the late 18th century. Clive not only did a roaring black market trade in silks.
' spices and arms but he
also collaborated with crooked Indian merchants to meddle in local politics. His
involvement in a plot
against the Bengali government brought about the collapse of the economy, paving the way for British interference in the region.
Misra is a charismatic presenter with a nice line in barbed comments and analogies;
particularly poignant is
her description of Clive as an economic