ARTHOUSE CLASSIC E
TH DRAFTSMAN’S CONTRACT
(BFI DVD rental/retail) OOOO
Picture this. A bunch of blokes dressed up like a Laurence Llewellyn Bowen stag weekend in a Jacobean c0untry house. One of them. a draughtsman. is commissioned to produce drawings of the house. And picture this tale framed by the austere ga7e of Peter Greenaway's camera. Sound unpromising? Well, hold your horses. Beneath this mannered facade lies a rollicking. sexy thriller. a compelling whodunnit that. in the best tradition of Agatha Christie. doesn‘t reveal its denOuement until almost the last frame. On top of that. the 41 minutes of extras on this DVD include a brilliant introduction by Greenaway. You simply have to own it.
LUCIANO PAVAROTTI: LIVE IN BARCELONA (E) 93 min
(Union Square Music DVD retail) COO.
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Within hours Of Pavarotti's 1989 performance at the Gran Teatre Del Liceu. the theatre mysteriously burnt to the ground. Whether it was the red hot pasSion of the big man's performance or a spark from the vociferous applause.
nobody knows. But knowing that his ornate surroundings are doomed makes the Italian tenor's recital even more poignant. A DVD can never come even remotely close to the live experience. but Pavarotti delivers this collection of 23 of his favourite arias with such effortless power that at times you're transported to another world.
MUSICAL MEMORIES STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN (PG) 116min (Momentum Pictures. DVD rental/retail) COO”
From 'Please Please Mr Postman‘ and 'My Cuy' to 'What's Going On' and ‘Cloud Nine'. it was the Funk Brothers who worked Motown's musical assembly line. It was these guys who made Stevie. Marvin. Diana et al superstars. And this is their funny. passionate and pOignant story. With interviews and banter between the musicians themselves interspersed with the hits plus a reunion concert. Most pleasingly. the wrongfully neglected and tragic figure of bass player James Jamerson emerges as a kind of point of focus in Paul Justman's documentary. You don't have to be a fTIUSIC nut to love this film. You iust need a little s0ul. (Rodger Evans)
708 SITCOM SYKES
(E) 650min (BBC/Network VHS/DVD retail) .0.
Very much a product of its time. Sykes is the latest escapee from those hallowed BBC comedy dungeon vaults. This selection, taken from the 1972 series. sees the show return after a seven year hiatus
and. although in colour. it's ostensibly a retread of previous episodes. Long time associate Hattie Jacques features again, providing the comic rebuff to Sykes' many nonsensical suburban exploits. and akin to his silent farce classic The Plank. this is a veritable who's who of classic British talent — Peter Sellers. Roy Kinnear and Jimmy Edwards all pop round in support. Dated but definitely relevant. (Simon Dehany)
KIDS WHO KILL
CIVII WAR EPIC
TO KILL A KING (12A) 102min
(Pathe VHS/DVD rental/retail) OOO
In lieu of the inevitable fall of the British monarchy in the next :30 years. Mike Barker's choice of subject matter in To Kill a King is an interesting one. Centred around the rise of Cromwell and his New Model Army and the fall of King Charles I. this rapidly executed film tries to convey the speed and chaos of
events. Tim Roth. Rupert Everett and Dougray Scott gum and flounce for all they are worth. but Barker's direction is strictly by the numbers. Too reminiscent in structure and pace to a historical TV drama to be really effective. this does offer the viewer an insight into the murderous and unpleasant choices that Lord Fairfax had to make. Close but no clay pipe. (Simon Dehany)
CRUSI‘Y NONSENSE‘ ZENBEATS
(Smith & Co Sound and Vision DVD Retail) 0.
This inusrc DVD is apparently ‘a nod to the Spiritual side of dance music'. although it appears to be aimed at people who reach meditative states via big fat doobies rather than intense self—
BATTLE ROYALE SPECIAL EDITION & LE SOUFFLE (18) & (15) 109min & 75min
Yeah, like we need any more touchy feely films about high school massacres and abused youth. Like
(Both Tartan Video DVD/VHS rental, retail) Both 0...
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discipline. The 18 tracks feature the likes of Earthdance. Mantra and Helios. and to accompany this unexceptional hippie trance come shifting visuals of figures. fires. forests, pixelated butterflies and abstract shapes. It doesn't really pass the test of sober entertainment — and it's nothing to do with the similarly named Ninja Tunes releases — but as audio—visual wallpaper for the addled it's passable enough. (James Smart)
sokinidaggers in Battle Royale
we care. These two very welcome releases from Metro Tartan remind us of a better time when it felt good to get your rocks off watching kids kill kids just for kicks. With its sequel coming out over here at the end of May this year, Battle Royale: Special Edition is a very necessary purchase. Kinji Fukasaku’s 2000 violent futuristic satire centres on a bunch of school kids who, having been kidnapped and placed on a remote island, are forced to kill each other - by any means necessary, in order to win an ultimate reality TV game challenge. Fukasaku, who died aged 70 last January (after completing filming on Battle Royale 2: Requiem), accessed his impressive back catalogue of Yakusa and sci fi exploitation movies to imagine a deeply sadistic hyperreal not so distant Japan where the kids were clearly not all-right. The film - which still hasn’t been released theatrically in the US - is spectacularly violent and more fun than watching a room full of monkeys electrocute themselves. This two-DVD set contains a newly created DTS audio track and loads of
behind the scenes extras.
Damien Odoul’s inspired fantasy Le Soufer is an entirely different bag of fish but no less cruel. Teenager David (Pierre-Louis Bonnetblanc) lives in a remote, male-dominated French farmhouse. In the course of one day he plays loud music, fights with his dad, gets drunk and accidentally kills his best friend. Or does he? Touched by the soft porn hand of the great 19705 Polish director Walerian Borowczyk (Blanche) this remarkable monochrome meditation will haunt long after you stop watching. So imbued with a dreamy sense of murderous childhood is the film that it is on nodding terms with the cinema of Jean Cocteau, which in itself is remarkable in this day and age. The extras on Le Soufer are minimal. (Paul Dale)
1718 Mar 900-". THE LIST 1 1 1