Film Also Showing: You've Got Mail, Titanic Town, Painted Angels, Practical Magic

You've got mail nora ephron (pg) n Titanic Town Roger Mitchell (15) Painted angels jon sanders (15) n Practical Magic Jamie Blanks (18)

I WOULD have taken bets before watching You've Got Mail that Meg Ryan would be seen at some point wearing bedsocks. The movie, written and directed by Nora Ephron, is another soft-centred homage to her cuteness, I'm afraid. She plays Kathleen Kelly, a cute New Yorker with a cute hairdo who, unbeknown to her boyfriend (Greg Kinnear), has been making friends on the Internet with Joe Fox (Tom Hanks), who in turn has kept it from his girlfriend (Parker Posey). Why they have to keep their e-mail habit under wraps is a mystery, since all they chat about is bagels and coffee and how much they love Manhattan. You know, cute stuff.

The twist is that Kathleen and Joe, who correspond pseudonymously as Shopgirl and NY152, are at daggers drawn in real life. He's a corporate nasty whose new book superstore is threatening her cosy little bookshop with extinction. (It's called The Shop Around The Corner, a nod to the Lubitsch comedy on which Ephron's film is based.) So follows a long, laboured duel between them and their literary tastes. She takes Pride and Prejudice as her sacred text, he quotes approvingly from The Godfather, and they both - groan - discover a different side to themselves.

Ephron can turn a snappy line when the occasion demands, but she's no great shakes as a director; most of the time we seem merely to be watching Hanks and Ryan frown over their laptops. The solving of the romantic complications is perfunctory to the point of offensiveness - Kathleen's break-up scene with her boyfriend is barely recognisable as human interaction. As with Ephron's last big hit, Sleepless in Seattle, enjoyment largely depends on your goodwill towards its two stars. Click for cyberdump.

When a film about Ireland features a rendering of "Danny Boy" within the first five minutes, you're inclined to fear the worst. Yet Roger Michell's Titanic Town turns out to be an admirably gritty account of a Belfast family in the Troubles, circa 1972.

Julie Walters plays Bernie McPhelimy, a housewife whose conscience is awakened when she sees her best friend gunned down on the street. Armed with righteous indignation and little else, she begins an outspoken campaign for peace that sets her at odds with the IRA, her neighbours and, most poignantly, her own family. Walters, whose playing I've always found too broad, is terrific here, a Valium-popping worrywart who nevertheless finds courage from somewhere to face death threats and the scorn of her nearest and dearest (Nuala O'Neill makes a fine debut as her aggrieved teenage daughter). The dowdiness of the era is convincingly captured, while a superb acoustic score by John Martyn furnishes the appropriate gradations of light and shade.

Painted Angels is a kind of anti-Western, recounting the little-known story of young women who, in their efforts to escape destitution, fetched up on the frontier with only their bodies to sell. Set in a grim little boom town during the 1870s, the film focuses upon a quintet of working girls whose labours are overseen by a watchful madam (Brenda Fricker).

The hardship of their lives is explicitly detailed, be it the prospect of a night shift with a queue of filthy locals, the humiliation of amateur theatricals to impress a visiting bigwig, or the ever-present threat of violence and disease. Jon Sanders' feature debut is a cheerless affair, rendered no easier by its funereal pace and drab palette of duns and greys. Not a fun night out, but its careworn integrity commands respect.

You might have hoped that Scream and its sequel had dealt a mortal knife- wound to the teen slasher movie. No chance: here comes Urban Legend, an almost insultingly glib rehearsal of horror-flick tropes. There's a killer on campus - again - whose signature is dispatching his victims after the fashion of an urban myth. That you may fail to recognise any mythic overtones is beside the point; all the movie demands is that you jump from your seat as one gruesome death follows another. The debut director Jamie Blanks - there's a promising name - seems to be aiming for a world record number of genre cliches in a single feature, an accolade I'd hand over on condition that he never makes a sequel.

All films on general release from tomorrow

Arts and Entertainment
Kathy (Sally Lindsay) in Ordinary Lies
tvReview: The seemingly dull Kathy proves her life is anything but a snoozefest
Arts and Entertainment

Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boy

Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig in a scene from ‘Spectre’, released in the UK on 23 October

Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap

Arts and Entertainment

Poldark review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Katie Brayben is nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Carole King in Beautiful

Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

    War with Isis

    Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
    Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

    A spring in your step?

    Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

    Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
    Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

    Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

    For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
    Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

    Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

    As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
    The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

    UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

    Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

    Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
    Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

    Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

    If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
    10 best compact cameras

    A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

    If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
    Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

    Paul Scholes column

    Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
    Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
    Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?