Film: Video Round-Up
Friday 21 May 1999
The director Joe Dante has rummaged around in this box of tricks before. From its malevolent, pint-sized antagonists (action figures fitted with military computer chips) to its Spielberg-gone-bad tone (a struggling small-town toy-maker's son lands a squad of the "Commando Elite"), Small Soldiers is Gremlins with a corporate merchandising twist. Or a blood- stained Toy Story, if you like. While these miniature ethnic cleansers are on the loose (they're programmed to wipe out an unfortunately drippy bunch of alien misfits), Dante's trademark subversive wit is equally rampant. However, bar Dennis Leary's turn as a ball-busting empire-builder, Dante's usually dependable bad taste here has neither the legs nor the originality of Gremlins.
My Name is Joe (15)
This is where the Peter Mullan bandwagon started to roll. Mullan plays Joe, an alcoholic odd-jobber whose shaky attempts to stay off the sauce don't prevent a romance between him and a good-living health worker, Sarah (Louise Goodall). When a local loan-shark starts leaning on a member of his football team, Joe steps in and reverts to the only ways he knows to get himself out of trouble: violence and booze. All your favourite Loachisms are present: as politically trenchant as ever about the vicious circle of deprivation, Loach leavens the mix, even borrowing from his own Kes for football light relief. Most affecting, though, is the central love-affair which, unlike Carla's Song, say, puts emotional truth before politics.
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving, study suggests
- 4 Ben Affleck asked TV chiefs to hide slave-owning ancestry, new hacked Sony emails published by Wikileaks claim
- 5 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould on the creative concerns of a prequel, season 2 and the mind-numbing realities of the small courts
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Glastonbury 2015: Emily Eavis says Prince rumours 'completely untrue'
One Direction: Louis Tomlinson launching his own record label, has already 'signed two acts'
Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens: Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill admits he was suspicious of 'Star Trek guy' JJ Abrams
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate