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Opening two days before the end of 1994 meant that Vanya on 42nd Street qualified as one of the finest films of the year by a mere whisker. It's a rich and intelligent work with an immaculate pedigree: Chekhov via David Mamet (adapting duties) vi a LouisMalle (directing, unobtrusively) via Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory (the former acting, the latter directing the play within the film). The performances - particularly Shawn and Julianne Moore (above) - are gorgeous; and just as you may not noti ce theintroductory epilogue slipping into the play proper, so you won't realise what a grip the movie is exerting until the lights come up.

Meanwhile, Princess Caraboo is a jolly piece of fluff, with Phoebe Cates; Above the Rim is a predictable sports movie - but it's a rousing ride, with the best soundtrack in town.