FILM / Critical Round-Up

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MAN BITES DOG

'After Man Bites Dog, Reservoir Dogs seems a model of restraint. This is because this festival award- winner from Belgium dares to accompany its violence with copious draughts of black humour and use irony as its main attacking weapon. A dangerous game when many may well see it as a game in the worst possible taste.' Derek Malcolm, Guardian

'Purely on a gut-level, it may offend; as an exploration of voyeurism, it's one of the most resonant, caustic contributions to the cinema of violence since Peeping Tom.' Geoff Andrew, Time Out

'. . . The film has absurdist intentions but instead achieves the rare combination of being amateurish, intermittently disgusting and - much worse - excruciatingly boring . . . There can be only one response to the supposedly burning question, 'Why am I watching this?', and that is: 'Because I have been stupid enough to buy a ticket'.' Hugo Davenport, Daily Telegraph

SINGLES

'Cameron Crowe, the writer-director of Singles, is bidding fair to become the Woody Allen of the twentysomethings, though he comes from the West Coast and lacks the New York film-maker's manic introspection. For here is a witty, perceptive, refreshing movie about six young people becoming thoroughly mixed up over relationships.' Hugo Davenport, Daily Telegraph

'Singles is too many plots competing for one charm franchise. Crowe runs from one romance to the other like a conjurer with his spinning plates, but the only charisma on offer is of the 'Keep smiling at all costs' kind.' Nigel Andrews, Financial Times

SOFT TOP HARD SHOULDER

'Some people, obviously, like it a lot; though they must have a strong stomach for whimsy and an indulgence for comedy stretched thin . . . like dining out on a meringue.' Geoff Brown, Times

'The film is gentle without being totally amorphous, charming without being overtly sentimental, but keeps on promising more than it achieves. (Peter) Capaldi and (Elaine) Collins, augmented by Frances Barber, Phyllis Logan and Simon Callow, seem like a good cast who never quite have enough to do.' Derek Malcolm, Guardian

SARAFINA]

'Sarafina] is the one film of the week in which no one 'meets cute'. But that is no commendation. The Soweto-set South African musical has stepped off the stage into the quicksand of location shooting. The sinking feeling is instantly recognisable.' Nigel Andrews, FT

'The camera zooms, tracks and takes wing in a helicopter; the last scene with Sarafina's mother (Miriam Makeba) is sticky with sentiment. This film, with its obvious excesses and misjudgements, has something more important: a passionate, fighting heart. Whoopi (Goldberg) was right to take part.' Geoff Brown, Times

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