FILM / Critical round-up

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The Independent Culture
ALIEN 3

'A dullish action picture encased in a pretentious and ultimately underdeveloped shell.' Derek Malcolm, Guardian.

'In our worst nightmares we couldn't have imagined Alien 3 (or Alien 3 as the film-makers insist on calling it) could have been this bad.' Nigella Lawson, Daily Telegraph.

'The mother-versus-foetus issue of feminist politics is at the heart of Alien 3 . It gives the space opera a terrestrial resonance. 'You've been in my life so long,' Sigourney (Weaver) mutters on her hunt-the-monster expedition, 'that I'm part of the family.' It's true what they say: to its own mother, no baby is ever ugly. But the close association between malevolence and maternity, between women and evil, between female sexuality and monstrous destructiveness, is a disturbing coupling.' Alexander Walker, Standard.

'Murkily directed through what looks like a bowl of oxtail soup by pop video whizz-kid David Fincher, Alien 3 never really recovers from its clumsy start, busily hurrying towards its absurd finale.' Kim Newman, Empire.

WATERLAND

'A sensitive and skilful transcription by Peter Prince of Graham Swift's highly-praised novel about a teacher who reaches crisis-point.' Derek Malcolm, Guardian.

'This most interior of novels . . . is the ultimate unfilmable book. The fact that it does survive, and make sense, is in no small part due to the central performance of Jeremy Irons as the middle-aged history teacher.' Nigella Lawson, Daily Telegraph.

'What are we doing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania? Short answer: looking for an American audience.' Nigel Andrews, Financial Times.

'The canal-crossed flatlands of the Fens are eerily windswept, with American director Stephen Gyllenhaal brilliantly capturing the isolation and stillness that contains life, death and sex dramas beneath the seemingly static lives and landscapes.' Angie Errigo, Empire.

LOVERS

'A rewarding Spanish film set in Fifties Spain. The characters have been seen many times: a virginal fiancee; a weak-willed fiance; a lustful mistress who will not let go and plots to remove her rival . . . Yet this is not a slab of commercial sleaze. Here is a tale of mad Spanish love . . . based apparently on the truth and marvellously alert to time and place.' Geoff Brown, Times.

'(Vicente) Aranda has not imbued this true story with enough depth for the grand tragedy to which he aspires. We are never given any reason to care about these lovers, and Franco's Spain serves merely as a backdrop.' Catriona O'Shaughnessy, Time Out.

JERSEY GIRL

'A largely strained romantic comedy about a Cinderella from the wrong side of the Hudson determined to find Prince Charming in New York's glittering canyons.' Geoff Brown, Times.

'I thought this might be a Lana Turner bio-pic. Miss Turner, once known as the Sweater Girl, was famous for making woollen garments bulge in all the right places. But no: this movie bulges in all the wrong places and the Jersey invoked is the place not the pullover.' Nigel Andrews, Financial Times.

'Director Burton Morris clings desperately to his Pretty Womanesque formula, but still injects sufficient humour to overcome Jersey Girl's mind-bending predictability. Harmless Friday-night fun.' Matt Mueller, Empire.

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