RENTAL Virus (18) 95 mins * *

Seeking refuge from a typhoon, Donald Sutherland and Jamie Lee

C urtis's salvage crew board an abandoned Russian military vessel. Duh! An alien lifeform has taken possession of the ship's hi-technology and animates it with murderous intentions. D’oh! You see, it's not the computer, but the humans that are the virus - geddit? Cross The Poseidon Adventure with Alien and what have you got? An unimaginative science fiction B-movie that should never have made it onto the video store shelves let alone into any self-respecting cinema. (Universal) (MF)

Brown's Requiem (18) 100 mins **

A disappointingly conventional thriller based on James Ellroy’s novel, this boasts neither the complex plotting nor crystallisation of time and place of the SOs-set LA. Confidential. Instead, it’s merely sub-C handler. Alcoholic ex- LAPD cop turned PI Fritz Brown is hired by sleazeball Freddie ‘Fat Boy' to rescue his sexy teenage sister from a mobster. Unsurprisingly, his investigation is complicated by cops, criminals and women. Michael Rooker makes a convincing lead, but the film's not a touch on the book. (High Fliers) (MF)

One True Thing (15) 122mins in):

This is a ’look how much unrecognised work your poor mother does while you're selfisth pursuing your own selfish path’ movie, starring Meryl Streep as the homemaker cruelly underestimated by her high-flying family until she falls ill. An old- fashioned Family Values melodrama, it’s really only of use to ungrateful wretches in need of guilt therapy and mothers in need of affirmation. Despite a subtle script and elegant performances by Streep and Renee Zellweger, it has nothing very new to say. (Universal) (HM)

Tea With Mussolini

(PG) 113 mins *

A warning for those who don’t mind a decent period flick: this isn’t one. Set in 1934 Florence, a pontificating group of

118 THE "81’ 2-16 Dec 1999

English ladies take tea every day and suffer a famous American singer who is overly brash and vulgar. When World War ll starts, they are all taken into custody, save a few old frescos and, in the process, learn much about each other. The impressive cast is hindered a great deal by Cher who should have been taken out in the opening scenes. (Universal) (SB)

RETAIL The Lodger

(PG) 93 mins *****

There are those who feel that silent cinema is a lumbering, anachronistic, overly expressionistic and thorOughly laughable artform. The Lodger is the kind of thing which puts them firmly in their place. Hitchcock's 1926 tale of London and a serial killer (The Avenger) lurking in the foggy shadows is tense and tremendous. Visually enhanced digitally and heightened emotionally by a stirring score from Divine Comedy's Joby Talbot, this was a major highlight of the Edinburgh Film Festival. And it should be a centrepiece of your collection. (BFI Video £15.99) (80) Goodness Gracious Me Live

(15) 73 mins *hhlr

When on TV they were good, they were brilliant; when they were bad it was all a bit confusing and embarrassing. This video sees the comedic quartet doing their live thing in the illustrious locale of Wembley Conference Centre. The sketches are predominantly a ‘best of’ from the TV shows with some new turns from familiar characters. The fantastic 'going out for an English' restaurant sketch should be held in as high regard in twenty years time as Monty Python’s parrot sketch is today. (Vision Video £14.99) (MR)

Central Station (15) 106 mins * t **

In the busy yet monotonous sprawl of urban Rio, a retired teacher makes ends meet by writing letters for the illiterate at the central train station. A hardened and cynical woman, she nonetheless helps a homeless boy trying to find his father. As the pair battle against each other and endure some pretty appalling luck, they learn about themselves with a startling

Warrior games: Toshiro Mifune shows he's not all mouth in the magnificent Seven

Samurai (BFI Video. PG, 190 mins *****). Available on retail priced £15.99 and DVD priced £19.99

RENTAUDVD Cruel Intentions (15) 93 mins hr

turn nasty.

watching this. (Brian Donaldson)

degree of honesty that somehow never becomes sentimental. A subtle film with a great deal of beauty. (Miraniax £14.99) (SB)

The Governess (15) 110 mins * ‘A’ *

It is 1840 and young Jewish woman Rosina (Minnie Driver) leaves London and takes a job on the Isle of Skye to support her mother and sister after her father’s passing. While there, she falls in love with Charles Cavendish (Tom Wilkinson), the head of the household in which she is employed. Beautifully set, filmed and well acted, this is reminiscent of much that is good about Jane Campion’s The Piano, but lacks enough tension to give it a real edge. (Alliance Atlantis £14.99) (MR)

Sitcom (18) 80 mins * * ‘k

In a tale of domestic dysfunction predating the Dogma antics of Festen, a bourgeois French family gather in their country home. But when father brings home a pet rat, sexual mayhem is unleashed. This is situation comedy but not as we know it. The son comes out of the closet, the daughter attempts suicide and mum gets aroused with all the wrong people. Not as shocking as intended, but Francois Ozon’s black humoured farce nevertheless explodes the good life. (Alliance Atlantis £15.99) (MF)


(18) 132 mins 111*

Nabakov's tragic tale of the most forbidden of loves has inspired equal

Putting a new spin on an old idea is a concept which can usually be fully encouraged. Francis Ford Coppola turned Joseph Conrad's journey along the Congo into a masterful depiction of Vietnam and hell; The Tempest was reworked to wonderful campy sci-fi effect in Forbidden Planet; and even Steve Martin could be heartily congratulated for altering the shape of Edmond Rostand's Cyrano De Bergerac and making new points in Roxanne. However, updating Choderlos de Laclos's story of lust, savagery and betrayal from the 18th century French court to a Manhattan high school turns into an irritating waste of anyone's time. Particularly since you are better off returning to either of the screen adaptations of the tale made in the late 80$. Dangerous Liaisons and Valmont; no one in this cast is a match for the farmer’s Malkovich, Close and Pfeiffer or the latter's Firth, Bening and Tilly. Ryan Phillippe and Sarah Michelle Gellar are the scheming step-siblings Sebastian and Kathryn who seduce and dump their way through life. When she places a bet with Sebastian that he will be unable to bed professional virgin Annette (Reese Witherspoon, who can and has done better). things

Though nothing that happens is anywhere near as despicable as the climactic misuse of the Verve‘s Bittersweet Symphony which is presumably meant to instil emotional drama as the corrupters meet their fate. By which time, of course, you want all and sundry to suffer as you have while

I Available to rent or buy on DVD at £79. 99 by Columbia Tristar on Mon 13 Dec.

before in countless other worthy

but it's the kind of well-made but safe


Robertson ' STAR RATINGS i i * v: a: t Unmissable ' v: * * it Very l it ‘k * Wort a shot * ir Below average ' i * You've been warned

Family plot: Cruel Intentions

frenzies of rapture and wrath and it came as little surprise when Adrian Lyne (Fatal Attraction and Indecent Proposal) declared his intention to get his hands on Lolita. And it’s not the disaster you’d expect with Jeremy Irons doing his Iron—ic thing as Humbert and Dominique Swain irritating but OK as Lol’. Ennio Morricone’s lush score and Lyne keeping the crass sexual metaphors to a minimum make this a decent enough version. (20th Century Fox £14.99) (80)

Eve's Bayou (15) 104 mins it t *

During one long hot summer deep in 19605 Lomsiana, ten-year-old Eve uncovers family scandals involving jealousy, murder and voodoo. The period detail is nicely recreated, the script literary and the acting - from a fine cast headed by Samuel L. Jackson - faultless. All of which would make a great movie if we hadn’t seen it all

Hollywood dramas. Kasi Lemmons’s film didn't win any Academy Awards,

cinema that usually does. (Alliance Atlantis £14.99) (MF)

Simone Baird, Brian Donaldson, Miles Fielder, Hannah McGiIl, Mark