revisiting several of the more idiOSyncratic members of the congregation. embellishing this delicate portrait of faith, hope and life in the margins. (MA Edmundson)
HORROR THRILLER KING OF THE ANTS
(Mosaic Movies DVD retail) 000
Stuart Gordon is still considered a god among many horror aficionados — Re- Animator was a genre classic. That was 19 years ago and let's just say his Output has been variable since. but this is an interesting little movie. pitch black and vicious as they come. Based on the novel and adapted for the screen by Charlie Higson. (The Fast Show. yes really) it is transposed to America and takes in murder. torture. sadism. insanity. love. revenge and blood-soaked golf clubs. More of a vicious Crime drama than Gordon‘s usual out and Out horror. Just don't expect any happy endings.
(Warner Home Video DVD. VHS rental)
I r a I W I)
Torque and reality are distant strangers. from the primary colour palette to the physics- defying set pieces and nonseiiSical dialogue. Basically. this is The Fast
and the Furious transposed to motorbikes with a requisite love story tacked on the side. Expect bike chases along the top of (and inside) moving trains. kung fu performed while in the saddle and Ice Cube and his hard ass biker gang — direct from the hood. This ludicrous trash is certainly diverting — never giving you time to take a breath. but afterwards you'll be hard pushed remember what all that bluster was actually about. Was there a plot hidden in there somewhere?
HORROR MANIACTS (18) 90min (Tartan DVD retail) O
Lunatic Joe Spinelli (Jeff Fahey from The Lawnmower Man) is sent to a high security mental institution where he meets and falls in love with fellow psychotic killer Beth (Kellie Waymire). But the course of true love never runs smooth, especially when you are clinically insane (and anyone watching this probably is). Wanting to be a sert of hybrid between Natural Born Killers and One Flew Over the Cuckoo 's Nest it succeeds only in being a cross between faecal matter and. oh yeah. more faecal matter. (Gordon Eldrett)
HISTORICAL TV EPIC SHAKA ZULU BOXED SET
(Anchor Bay DVD Retail) 0.
At one time (the 80s to be precise) our TV schedules were awash with big budget international mini series. Some were pretty good (Roots) and most starred Richard Chamberlain (The Thorn Birds. Shogun). Shaka
104 THE LIST 2!? Jun 8 Jul 2004
Zulu is neither. At its heart there is a fascinating and rarely heard (outside of Africa) stery. Born in 1787. Shaka was the illegitimate son of a Zulu chief. ln adulthood he united the notoriously fractious Zulu tribes with military force and cut a bloody swathe across Africa. creating an empire that. at its height. numbered some 2m people and sent ripples through the British Empire.
DeSpite its solid factual basis there are some fundamental problems with this endless small screen epic. For despite its delusions it reeks of TV and as such lacks the scope and majesty of its intentions. This is never more noticeable than in the battle sequences. which at times border on the farcical. DeSpite this. however, its biggest failing is that with ten episodes clocking in at a DVT-inducing eight and a half hours. it's just too long. Scenes are stretched to breaking point and beyond and the story falters.
The South African cast work hard with a cliche- ridden script: Dudu Mkhize as Nandi Shaka's mother is excellent and Henry Cele as Shaka. though slightly wooden in his delivery. cuts an impressive and enigmatic figure. But the British contingent. led by Edward Fox and Robert Powell, let the side down and seem to have opted to stay in Blighty and posted their performances in. Too steeped in African mysticism to be of major historical interest (the three midget witch doctors are a highlight). too drawn out to be an entertaining spectacle and with a paucity of worthwhile extra features on the DVD. this is only for the truly devoted African history buff. (Gordon Eldrett)
WAR DOCUMENTARY SEC
Channel 4, Mon 28
Jun, 9pm 00.
Pornography won the allies World War II. according to this Channel 4 documentary. a revelation that will come as no small surprise to D-Day veterans and surviving members of the Red Army. Saucy images and radio broadcasts — depicting British squaddies having it off with embattled French soldiers' wives — had been employed by Joseph Goebbels to undermine Gallic morale in the early years of the war. The British propaganda machine adopted this tactic with relish under the stewardship of journalist Selmot Delmer. the imagery becoming more and more extreme as the war progressed until German cities and U- boats were being showered with violent. pomographic leaflets.
The power and effectiveness of this tactic is actually somewhat undermined by the rather coy sexual images the producers have chosen to accompany the film. Yet this remains a compelling insight into the furtive ‘black‘ propaganda batted back and forth throughout the war with a tragic personal story at its centre. (Allan Radcliffe)
THE LYON’S DEN Five, Tue 29 Jun 9.55pm 000
When Rob Lowe was rescued from the straight-to-video dumpster to star in the West Wing no one COuId believe it. When he left over supposed money wrangling. no one could believe that. On seeing his first major project since leaving what was one of the finest TV dramas ever. you
wouldn't believe it either. Lowe plays John 'Jack' Taylor. a lawyer with a hot head but a heart of platinum-plated gold. Rather than working for the man in corporate Iawyerdom. he takes on cases at a Washington clinic for those without legal suppert.
The intention is to mix the vitriol and humour of West Wing with the grit and dynamics of NYPD Blue but comes up way shert. The problem is those two shows worked because of strong scripts while this pilot shoots off on half a dozen tangents and fails to resolve any of them satisfactorily.
SITCOM THE SMOKING ROOM
8803, Tue 29 Jun, 9pm 00.
The slow moving. claustrophobic comedy/drama has been on a loop ever since The Roy/e Family mundaned their way into our consciousness. We've drunk in Craig Cash '5 Early Doors. lazed around at Bedtime and feasted on Table 72. so it's little surprise that a yellow place in The Smoking Room has been found for the latest twist to the sub-genre.
Set in the putters' paradise of an uncategorised office. a selection of oddballs while away their breaks trying to put the world to rights and. in this first episode. attempt to recall the theme tune to Little House on the Prairie. Among those fighting their way
through the tug are Siobhan Redmond. Paula Wilcox and Robert ‘Mitchell and Webb' Webb. A mite predictable in places and with some truly bad comedy timing running riot. this is not quite the wheeze it promised to be. but it may be worth it to suck it and see. (Brian Donaldson)
COMEDY DOCUMENTARY COMEDY CONNECTIONS 8801, Mon 5 Jul, 10.35pm 0000
It still rankles today that the truly brilliant Father Ted came in at number 1 1 in the Beeb's Britain '3 Best Sitcom. The conspiracy theorists will point to the top ten being the sole preserves of the BBC but whatever the ghastly truth, no one will ever convince me that the Vicar of Dib/ey is either a better programme or a funnier exposition of modern- day religion.
In this edition of the excellent Comedy Connections. we hear from everyone involved in the creation of Craggy Island from writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews. the very actorly Frank Kelly (the expletive-happy Father Jack). Graham Norton, Pauline McLynn and Ardal O'Hanlon. All. of course. except Dermot Morgan. AKA Ted. who died the day after the final episode completed filming. Perhaps oddly. there is very little made of his death in this show. And as for those who voted in Britain '3 Best Sitcom. they can all feck off. (Brian Donaldson)