Critical round-up

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The Independent Culture
WHITE MEN CAN'T JUMP

'This is The Hustler for basketballers . . . Edited with a feral grace by Paul Seydor, White Men Can't Jump never pauses even to ponder its wry message of racial togetherness. Instead the film is as fast, buoyant and full of feinting rubato as basketball itself.' Nigel Andrews, Financial Times

'The movie tries hard to be streetwise and accurately observant about working-class America, but keeps letting a glint of Hollywood show through in the rather over-familiar Sheldon style.' Derek Malcolm, Guardian

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

'It could have been the worst Disney syrup. Instead it is the best Disney blend of comedy and romance . . . The songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (of The Little Mermaid) break into this arcadia with wit and ease.' Nigel Andrews, Financial Times

'Beauty is given a post-feminist tweak: this girl with brown eyes, ful- some lips and a pert little nose has both looks and brains, and never takes things lying down.' Geoff Brown, Times

SPOTSWOOD

'A first cinema feature by Mark Joffe, this Ealing-esque story about an efficiency expert battling with an outdated moccasin factory glides along with dry wit, a keen visual sense and a kindly heart.' Geoff Brown, Times

'The moral of the piece is that there's more to life than money, though recent events might suggest otherwise. Never mind, movies are for dreaming.' Derek Malcolm, Guardian

OTHELLO

'To say a film looks good is generally to excuse its other faults. But from the moment we see the funeral march with which the film opens, with Michael MacLiammoir's Iago imprisoned in a raised cage and surveying the carnage of his rage against Othello, we know that the camera is not lying. It is serving the text as Welles perceives it.' Derek Malcolm, Guardian

'This is Shakespeare re-invented for the camera. Welles supplies an Othello verging on the overripe, shooting many of his scenes in powerful close-up. ' Geoff Brown, Times

'Expertly merging a theatricality that savours Shakespeare's poetry with startlingly cinematic cutting and images (one hopes the film will be shown in its original 1.33 format), Welles' achievement appears ever more remarkable with the passing years.' Geoff Andrew, Time Out

AS YOU LIKE IT

'Shakespeare's words remain, more or less, but nothing good comes of them.' Geoff Brown, Times

' 'All the world's a stage' is a preamble and director Christine Edzard means it: in her modern- dress version of Shakespeare's comedy, the forest is an urban wasteland, the exiled duke lords it over a group of down-and-outs, and Orlando versifies with an aerosol can.' Tom Charity, Time Out

'It starts to work half an hour from the close . . . Before that we feel like victims of a mobile theatre experiment, moving our camp stools from one daft venue to the next as we follow a bunch of under-rehearsed actors belting it out into the void.' Nigel Andrews, FT

BLUE ICE

'I'd rather fall down the apples and pears and break both daisy farms than sit through it all again.' Nigel Andrews, Financial Times

'The film invites comparison with Caine's Sixties role as Harry Palmer. Caine ambles through it in much the same amiably deadpan, tongue-in- cheek way, delivering himself of lines like: 'This is the sort of place where defrocked vicars come with young boys and hang themselves afterwards.' ' Hugo Davenport, Daily Telegraph

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