otherwise witty script. Buy it only if you're related to one of the cast. (William Parish)



(1 2) 1 19min

(Columbia Tri-Star Home

Video DVDNHS rental/retail) 000

m o it a l i set

Cpl I lllt.) I:€{-.., I

0’ SW

Och. it's not that bad. despite trying to be a sort of lady Dead Poets’ Society. Julia Roberts plays a bohemian history of art teacher who tries to open the minds of her privileged young female students in a stuffy. early 1950s college. What saves this movie from slushy hell is that although she does win many hearts (natch) and at least raises the

l Douglas) over their

ranch and the soul of his ' nephew (Brandon de

Wilde). with Patricia Neal maternally sexy as their

1 housekeeper. Foot and

mouth in the herd brings

i simmering tensions to

boil, but the Oscar- winning. stark black and white cinematography

' ensures there's prickly ; heat throughout.

Although Douglas and Neal also scooped Academy Awards for their roles. this is Newman's film. Minimal extras. (Jay Richardson)


(15) 109min

' (Paramount Home

subject of women's roles

in society. she actually fails to introduce practical feminism overnight. And while, against your better judgement. Roberts is always nice to watch. the best performances come from Kirsten Dunst. Julia Stiles and especially the exquisite Maggie Gyllenhaal. (Ashley Davies)


(1 2) 107min

(Paramount Home Entertainment DVD retail) OOOO

A nostalgic elegy for the American West and a slaughter of its sacred cows, Hud is as awkwardly compelling as its titular anti-hero. Paul Newman's amoral. swaggering stud is all raw. bristling id, forever locking horns with his principled father (Melvyn

Entertainment DVD




A worthy revisionist Western. if a tad slow. Elliot Silverstein's 1970 A Man Called Horse is a

well-meaning but

patronising treatment of a Sioux tribe that

' assimilates an English

aristocrat. Played by a noble-looking Richard

Harris. captured John Morgan is initially a beast of burden for an

' elderly squaw. but gains

the respect of his

captors after scalping an enemy, marrying the

chief’s sister. then

' succeeding him when

he is killed in battle. The

3 Ritual of the Sun scene is still harrowing and . technically impressive.

but the film never gives

us any point of view

except Morgan's. leaving

his fellow braves

inscrutable to the end. Minimal extras. (Jay Richardson)


(15) 101 min

(Tartan Video DVD retail) 0...

Well groomed and visually striking Ming (Andy Lau) joins the police to work on the inside for a mobster. Dishevelled but

; Mimi;

i engaging Yan (Tony

Leung) is shunted out of

- the regular force to

become the mobster's

f right hand man and T police stooge. Their a parallel lives wind

towards an inevitable collision as both become

' weary of their respective

roles and seek a way back to their true calling (Ming and Yan, geddit?) This unfailingly stylish Honk Kong thriller is light on the usual posturing while rewarding its two huge leads with a superior script and some compelling character development. Directors Lau and Mak entertain with astute pacing while keeping the action sequences strictly Newtonian. (William Parish)


(E) 89min (City Slang/Labels DVD


This outstanding performance was captured from Calexico's 2003 visit to the Barbican. London. Managing to encapsulate the elements that have made them a force to be reckoned with on the live circuit. this is essential viewing for fans. With support from the Mariachi band Luz de Luna and French guest

vocalist Francoise Breut

it's a full complement that takes to the stage. effortlessly intertwining polished musicianship

with suave showmanship into a gig

that reflects the Tex Mex

collective at their ‘road

movie' styled best.

Twenty tracks make the playlist. and include a ten minute version of the

blistering ‘Crystal

Frontier'. Bonus material consists of several interesting shorts about the band and desert culture. (Simon Dehany)



(E) 98min

(Geffen DVD retail) 0...

Still making peerless. mind-bending rock

music like they have

been for a quarter of a

century. this debut DVD

corrals together

. moments of promo

video magic from Hoboken's wisest R'n'R owls. reflecting on their Geffen Records years when they began to




break, to a degree. into

the mainstream. The extras as with

most music DVDs are

what make this truly worthwhile. Commentaries and

interviews from movie directors like Todd Haynes. Richard Kern

and Tamra Davies prove the Youth have many

smart friends who make their promos for them. Then there are the fan

diaries. home videos and a bashful Spike Jonze giving us a guide through photos he's

taken of the band. An ; insightful. enlightening f package.

I (Mark Robertson)

Steve Cramer muses on a golden age of theatre realised in a cinematic medium in response to the launch of the AMERICAN FILM THEATRE


Alan Bates in Butley (1976)

The 80s have a lot to answer for. It was an era of cultural vandalism in many areas of the arts, not least the theatre. But a particularly painful blow came with the end of a project that attempted to blend cinema and theatre. The American Film Theatre, with its series of cinematic versions of such greats as Pinter’s The Homecoming, Storey’s In Celebration and lonesco’s Rhinoceros, found a means by which the intimate atmosphere of theatre could be conveyed without self-consciousness.

This might not sound difficult, yet for years the film industry mangled beyond all recognition great works of drama. There were exceptions: William Dieterle and Max Reinhardt’s A Midsummer Night's Dream, starring Dick Powell, Mickey Rooney, James Cagney and Olivia De Havilland, still holds up well, 70 years after it was made. But generally, attempts to render theatre as film were toe curling.

And contemporary dramatists handling the kind of hard-edged issues that you can deal with in the medium of theatre were often disappointed with screen adaptations of their work. The commercial imperatives of a more expensive medium forced cutting edge scripts to euphemise, dumb down or entirely omit their strongest issues. Even worse, the attempts to film theatre just as it happens on the stage created a static and stale effect, stripping the all-important live element from theatre.

Yet film could offer advantages to the theatre medium. A location shot represents a narrative shorthand it’s difficult to achieve in the theatre, while close ups and cut-aways are not necessarily to the detriment of a stage piece. If used with sensitivity, these effects are every bit as important as lighting in the theatre. All of this, and more, were created by this American Film Theatre series. Peter Hall’s production of Pinter’s The Homecoming, encapsulates all the bleak, primal comedy of the stage production with much of it’s original cast. Ian Holm, Pinter’s then wife Vivian Merchant and Cyril Cusack are wonders to behold amongst the perverse savagery of the family at the centre of the story. So too is Alan Bates in Simon Gray’s Butley. Probably at the peak of his powers at this time, Bates’ performance as an embittered and blithely malicious academic, trapped by his affection for a younger man, is witty and moving. There’s much more to follow these, and I recommend that lovers both of film and theatre enhance their collections with them. (Steve Cramer)

I The Homecoming and But/ey are out now, £79.99 each.

8—22 Jul 2004 THE LIST 9?