A CRITICAL GUIDE / Video

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
NEW RELEASES

The Fugitive (15, Warner, out Fri). Most people remember a runaway train and a runaway performance. Harrison Ford plays Dr Richard Kimble, wrongly convicted of murdering his wife. After a near-miss with a derailed train (amazingly, not even nominated for a special-effects Oscar), which hurtles at his back like some monstrous modern fury, Ford has to be one step ahead of the police - and the real criminals. Thinking even faster is Tommy Lee Jones, who runs away with the film, as the pursuing US Marshal - implacable but witty, tossing off one-liners as well as convention, a loner and a leader. A worthy Best Supporting Actor, but he so outshines Ford, he might have won Best Supplanting Actor.

The Wrong Trousers (U, BBC, out now). Further adventures of Wallace the inventor and his mutt, Gromit, the Plasticine pair who seem to have become national heroes. To me they're a little too ingratiating to be great animation stars: while Wallace cosily bumbles on, Gromit fawns fetchingly, with wide, fluttering eyes. But Nick Park's Oscar- winning animation can be beautiful as well as brilliant - as in a shivery sequence with a plaintive Gromit left out in a blue light and a driving silver rain; or the climax, when Wallace walks upside-down along a museum ceiling, past giant prehistoric skeletons. Video lets you play the film frame by frame - viewing it as meticulously as it was made.

Amongst Friends (18, Polygram, out Wed). There are heavy debts to Scorsese in this light thriller of kids getting into crime and painfully mixing it with the big boys. But the lads are Jewish not Italian, and rich and bored rather than poor and desperate. Derivative and predictable, it's not without redeeming touches, especially in the wry portrayal of some of the Jewish elders.

The Cement Garden (18, Tartan, out Wed). Fittingly dingy adaptation of Ian McEwan's novella of adolescence. Director Andrew Birkin conveys the incestuous relationship credibly and without sensationalism. Charlotte Gainsbourg is excellent as the sister, teetering on the brink of adult allure.

THE FIVE BEST TAPES

Death in Venice (15, Warner, to buy at pounds 9.99). Dirk Bogarde puts on the rouge as the composer obsessed with an androgynous 15-year-old boy in Visconti's painterly version of Mann's novella.

Three Colours: Blue (15, Artificial Eye). Kieslowski's ethereal essay on the freedom of desolation, featuring an enigmatic Juliette Binoche and a soaring score.

This Boy's Life (15, Warner). Moving adaptation of Tobias Wolff's memoir, with De Niro and the promising Leonard DiCaprio.

Five Easy Pieces (18, ITC, to buy at pounds 12.99). Vintage, early Jack Nicholson: a fast-living drop-out is stopped in his tracks by love.

Paris, Texas (18, Connoisseur, to buy at pounds 15.99). Wim Wenders' doomy, poetic road- movie. With Harry Dean Stanton as the wanderer and Nastassia Kinski the lost object of desire. Never better than when it's going nowhere. Retail tapes may be rented from some shops.

Comments