SATIRE THE DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE
(18) 101 min
(Artificial Eye DVD VHS retarli O...
French Canadian writer- director Denys Arcand's breakthrough frlrn ill the mid-1980s was this sardonic comedy of the sexes. and many of its characters resurfaced in the same filmmakers recently released the Barbarian Invasions. An elegantly shot ensemble piece. the Decline of the American Empire has a strarghtforwarrl prentrse: a group of left»\.'.'rn) academic frrerrds and their partners meet up for a gourmet dinner at a countn. retreat. The endless talk. hos/ever. which revolves around personal experiences cf sex. love. desire. happiness and drsapi)orntment. proves astutely entertaining. with Arcand being both satirical and generous tov-rards hrs recognrsably human creations.
THRH H H FULLTIME KILLER
(18) 100min (Tartan DVD retail: 0..
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Two ass; ssins come into conflict for the title ()f top dog and the attentions of a beautiful vrdeo store clerk. O (Takashr Sorrrr‘achrr. the best rn hrs field. rs a stylish and li.:it‘l;’),.:7lt contract krile'. " rr‘esrr‘er'rsrng; panache
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110 THE LIST '- '3 Arm
by Andy Laul. rs an even more reckless. stylish and flamboyant contract killer. The adversaries cascade through fast panning and slow motion set pieces. utilising Just about every titrllatrng \isual trick in the l long Kong gun ballet genre while ditching feasibility as readily as spent cartridges. This is never boring, but it's hardly challenging. A vacuous. violent. romantic tale. IVv’rllram Parishr
NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS: THE VIDEOS
(Mute DVD Retarlr
You want redemptrxe turf, and Biblical wrath frcrr‘ a sn‘artiy i‘-i;'it;(t><f Aussie in a casual suit and loafers? Then you've got rt here. in this DVD compilation of Nick Cave's finest moments. Spanning most of hrs career. fron‘ 1981's 'In tne Ghetto to 1997's Jonathan. Cla/er directed 'lnto My Arms'. this rs a magnificent collectron of 20 of the rotherr man in blacks finest. linking the clips together with explanatory interviews and including a rarely seen promo of Bob Dylan cover ‘Wanted Man'. tlrrs drsc rs also highly purchasable for the inclusion of the Ship Song' in all its fragile glory. (David Pollockl
PAH/\NOH) ll lllil l l H THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND
(18) 101 min 0... Anchor Bay DVD retarli
Sprrallrng rnto debt and drug addiction in the early 198.):3. the great (J8 filmnraker Sam Peckrnpah vlhe '."/rlo' Harris/i. .(Jl/(l‘ut’ Dogsr ritanaged to option Holrert l udlum's hugely popular espionage
DAVID lYNCl l COLLECTION BLUE VELVET (18) 162min DUNE
(15) 177min (Sanctuary DVD retail) 0.... COO
For years David Lynch’s obsession was to make a futuristic movie called Ronnie Rocket while Mel Brooks famously dubbed him ‘Jimmy Stewart from Mars’. Before the 805, films such as The Grandmother and Eraserhead were informed by elements of horror sci-fi but when he finally got to make a proper big budget space film in Dune, the resulting mélange could hardly have been more disastrous. A battle of the planets with massive worms and Sting in armoured butterfly pants clearly wasn’t what the cinema world needed at that point; critics and audiences scoffed at the indie auteur’s grand vision and Lynch vowed never to deal with lofty budgets and artistic constraints ever again. Thankfully he kept to his word. Indeed, had Dune been a commercial and creative success for Lynch, maybe we’d never have seen the wonderfully warped Blue Velvet. Released in 1986, his bleakly beautiful imagining of smalltown America and the dark, insect-infested underbelly that lay at the heart of it all is arguably his finest work. Wild at heart and weird on top, Blue Velvet formed the template for almost everything Kyle MacLachlan did in the ensuing years, made us realise that Isabella Rossellini was more than just a celebrity daughter while Dennis Hopper created a monster that he’s never escaped (not that he’s tried particularly hard). While both DVDs have solid added extras such as excellent on-set footage and rather good interviews with the likes of Lynch, Frank Herbert, Hopper, MacLachlan and Dino De Laurentiis, the price is worth it alone for the superior film’s packaging. Mmm, velvety . . . (Brian Donaldson)
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thrrller The Oste/man l/‘/er-3/<end. It was to be his last film (sadly derided by critics at the timer. and 20 years on this VOVOUFIESIIC. violent slice of hokurn seems strangely prophetic and fresh. When carnpaignrng investigative journalist John Tanner (Rutger Haueri invrtes; his old Berkeley student buddies to an annual social gathering. the CIA convrnces him that his friends are KGB operatives. Things start going murderoust wrong as his guests are picked off and killed one
by one. It only Big Brother was like this. Peckinpah, as ever. exhibits (la/zlrng muscmar skill in the handling. Well worth checking out. the second disc contains some superb extras and, interestingly. this print was reconstructed from an old beta copy. (Paul Dale)
PUBLIC ENEMY (18) 138min
(Tartan DVD retail) 0..
Caught short on a side street. a corrupt and dissolute Korean cop is knocked into his own shit by a shadowy figure in a raincoat. This rnausprcrous event pitches Inspector Kang Chul-joong into a personal hunt for a knrfe-wrelding sociopath and on a route away from his worst vices. A quick tempered Columbo. Kang is a cornbinatron of low key slapstick and a battling
bi-polarity ranging from catatonic to incandescent. Not so much punchy as punch drunk. Public Enemy is a handsomely shot and an occasionally diverting waste of two hours. (William Parish)
Cl ASSIC REEISSUE
THE TESTAMENT OF DR MABUSE (12) 105min
(Eureka DVD retail) 0...
Made in 1933. Fritz Lang's final frlrn before fleeing Germany is both first-rate thrrller and pretty unequivocal allegory of the rise of
Hitler. Here we have the evrl spirit genius of gambler. satanrst and proto Na7r Dr Mabuse working its way into the lives of the impressionable professor. an everyrnan and a legendary inspector. Lang's three— stranded narrative and flashback structure is relatively complicated but never less than assured. A sequel of a kind to Lang's 1922 two parter silent Dr Mabuse. the Gambler/Inferno. this is an inter~war treasure and one of the truly great banned frlrns in history. (Tony McKibbinl