Film: Videowatch

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The Independent Culture
The Daytrippers (15), pounds 12.99

FINDING WHAT appears to be a love letter addressed to her publisher husband Louis (Stanley Tucci), Eliza D'Amico (Hope Davis) sets off to Manhattan to sort out what must surely have a rational explanation. Only her entire family decide to come along for the ride. Benefitting from a fine cast, Greg Mottola's debut reneges on what it initially promises to be; namely, a hand-me-down Neil Simon ensemble caper.

Gradually, Mottola's script works its way under the skin of its characters, shoring up the passable line in fish-out-of-water and family tension gags with an intelligent exploration of love and loyalty. Along the way, the direction never loses its light touch; indeed, Mottola manages to invest an otherwise trite conclusion with a refreshing open-endedness.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (18), to rent

FINALLY GRANTED a rental release a quarter of a century after it did the theatrical rounds, Tobe Hooper's notorious low-budget slasher flick has stood the test of time. Sure, the production values are almost non- existent and your average episode of Scooby Doo would give the screenplay a run for its money. But there are plenty of trashy shocks to be had here. The family of cannibalistic hillbillies, for instance, are a gothic rehash of elements from Psycho and Deliverance. Moreover, in the case of the set design, rarely have a few old bones and a bag of feathers been put to such effective use. And who knows, too, if the shaky camera-work and low-grade film stock might not need re-evaluation post-Blair Witch? On the down side, the torments heaped upon the surviving young girl are filmed with a questionable glee.

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