FILM / Video

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CLIFFHANGER (Guild 15 98mins) The 'no-brainer' par excellence, full of sound, fury and Sylvester Stallone (who doesn't make his recent mistake of trying to act). The mountaineering stunts leave the jaw slack and the mouth ajar, an observation unfortunately also true of the 'plot': mid-air robbery goes horribly wrong, forcing criminal psycho John Lithgow and gang to rescue their three suitcases of bloody dosh from perilous peaks and the over-eager FBI. Completely formulaic (there's a climax every five minutes); the violence is virtuoso though - if your stomach proves strong enough for kicking sessions and splatter bullets to the head.

SHADOW OF THE WOLF (Entertainment 15 100mins) A genuine oddity - someone actually thought this Dances with Wolves Goes to the Arctic would make money. Not that it's bad, just muddled in its choices between the epic and intimate. Is the film about its set-pieces - there's a whale ride - or is it about the thoughtless white man destroying the life of Agaguk (Lou Diamond Philips) and the Inuit people? The tundra scenery is impressive, which is more than can be said for the acting and cod-mysticism that accompanies it. Finally you're more bored blind than snow blind, despite baddie Donald Sutherland practising the best sneer this side of Elvis.


WHITE CHRISTMAS (Paramount U 100mins) rolls around again with the tedious inevitability of . . . well, Christmas. This outing is at least attractively packaged in a special box set, which also features the soundtrack on cassette. So if you should be determined to drag up and mime to 'Sisters', now's your chance. Retail price: pounds 16.99.

THE CLINT EASTWOOD WESTERN COLLECTION (Universal 18) also travels the special edition route, with High Plains Drifter, The Beguiled, Two Mules for Sister Sara and the seldom-seen Joe Kidd. A snip at pounds 34.99.

LONGTIME COMPANION (DV8 15 96mins) has never been previously available on video. Could it be the 'delicate' subject matter?: the beginning of the Aids epidemic in 1981 and the effect on a group of gay men as friends died, homophobia reigned and cures were sought. The picture too often plays like tactful, adult soap opera, yet it's that very quality which makes it more widely accessible.

Finally, buffs would do well to check out GOLDEN AGE FILMS, VRL's new video label specialising in silent- movie treats. Its opening salvo offers Valentino in The Eagle, D W Griffiths's Intolerance, Emil Jannings in Faust and Von Stroheim's ravishing Queen Kelly.