FILM: VIDEO REVIEWS

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
Shakespeare in Love (15)

Universal, rental & DVD retail HHHH

John Madden's romantic romp is the most successful attempt to rescue the historical costume drama and make it attractive to the masses. Marc Norman's screenplay, polished by Tom Stoppard, imagines Will (Joseph Fiennes) suffering from writer's block as he struggles with his latest comedy, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter. Gwyneth Paltrow is radiant as the muse who inspires him to write, though Fiennes, as usual, takes refuge in his eyebrows to convey suitable devotion. Despite the abundance of Elizabethan cliche, this is a deeply engaging picture and shouldn't be missed.

Dark City (15)

Entertainment, DVD retail HHH

This surreal fantasy thriller from Alex Proyas reveals a netherworld where sunlight is unknown and thousands of Nosferatu look-alikes glide around the streets at night resetting residents' memories and rearranging the architecture. Rufus Sewell becomes privy to their activities and, after an experiment goes wrong, is left in possession of strange powers. The only one that realises something is amiss in the dark city, he sets out to unmask the alien puppet masters. A perfectly cast Kiefer Sutherland plays a limping madman while Richard O'Brien's alien dictator is a sight for sore eyes.

Rush Hour (15)

Entertainment, DVD retail HHH

Your enjoyment of Rush Hour will depend solely on how you feel about Chris Tucker. Some people split their sides at the mere mention of his name, but for others his mile-a-minute squawk is akin to nails down a blackboard. In Brett Ratner's comedy-thriller Tucker plays a struggling detective assigned to babysit Jackie Chan's Hong Kong cop as he visits New York. Essentially, the plot is the same old stuff - mismatched partners, suitcases of money, flying fists, exploding vehicles - though the combination of Chan and Tucker is a peculiarly winning one and just about keeps things trucking along.

Your Friends and Neighbors (18) Universal, rental HHH

The follow-up to In the Company of Men is as vicious a treatise on the relationship between men and women as we have come to expect from American independent film-maker Neil Labute. Jason Patric is the most detestable of these characters as he plays a sex-crazed gynaecologist who hates women. Catherine Keener at least borders on sympathetic as she plays a copywriter who has grown tired of her husband's (Ben Stiller) chatter during sex. She seeks solace in Natassja Kinski's paranoid gallery attendent. As Stiller says, "When it comes down to it, it's all about fucking."

Comments