ARTS / Video

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The Independent Culture
Johnny Suede (15). The slight but enjoyable tale of one man and his quiff. Brad Pitt plays the hopeless singer with the Ricky Nelson fixation launching doomed attempts to make it in the music biz, and with girlfriends Yvonne and Darlette. Wrily comic in the Jim Jarmusch style - which isn't surprising as director Tom DeCillo was Jarmusch's cameraman on Stranger than Paradise - and a natural for video. Laurence Earle

Far and Away (15). Epic, Oirish nonsense, which would not be in the shops so soon if it hadn't been such a thumping flop. Tom Cruise plays a peasant lad with strapping teeth, who fights his way from the west of Ireland to America and the arms of Nicole Kidman. The director is Ron Howard, who was once in Happy Days and has plainly never left. Anthony Phillips

Turtle Beach (15). Dull drama, written by Ann Turner (who directed the intriguing Celia, and should on this evidence have left it at that), offers Greta Scacchi as an Australian photo-journalist investigating the plight of the Vietnamese boat-people. Despite the film's avowedly worthy intent, the combination of Scacchi and tropical beach can lead to only one thing - a wet T-shirt showdown which (aptly perhaps in view of the title) makes a mockery of a serious subject. Jane Dalgleish

American Me (18). Released straight to video, but nevertheless well worth the effort, is this tough gangster movie, the big-screen directorial debut of actor Edward James Olmos. Unlike most products of an over-played genre, American Me concentrates on the deeper psychological results of a career in California's Hispanic gangs: the inability to form stable relationships with members of the opposite sex, the tendency to shoot your friends, and so on. J D

The Rapture (18). Michael Tolkin's directorial debut proves that the writer of The Player was no one-hit wonder. Here, he brings the same combination of humour, wit and rigour to bear on an altogether more controversial subject - America's born-again Christians - and subverts expectations by suggesting it could all be true, divine retribution, Last Trump and all. Mimi Rogers, of Someone Who'll Watch over Me fame, impresses as the telephone operator with a hot-line to God. J D

All tapes are new releases, for rental from most video shops.