John Lyttle The Business

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The Independent Culture
Teen comedies come and go - and then there's Clueless, which, with a surprise US box-office take of $23,078,221 in two weeks, looks set to be both a mainstream success and a cult hit, thanks to a script peppered with the latest in Valley Girl ("My mother was seriously Betty") and a star-making performance from Alicia Silverstone as Cher - a seriously Betty turn that ought to have Winona Ryder, if she has any moxie left after all those costume pictures, shaking in her sensible shoes.

It may also do what was previously considered impossible and actually revive the director Amy Heckerling's career after all those Look Who's Talking sequels. Harking back to her best work - 1982's other cult hit, Fast Times at Ridgemont High - the picture's commercial take-off has put her back in the bankable category. Those scripts once routinely assigned for Penny Marshall's attention may be heading in another direction, especially after Marshall's own summer-season stumble last year with the (justifiably) little seen Renaissance Man.

Never one to knowingly skip a trend, Steven Bochco hopes his next series will cream off some of the huge viewing figures generated by the OJ Simpson trial. Murder One intends to stick with a single murder trial for 16 weeks, examining the central crime from all angles save the victim's: the defendant, various witnesses, the cops, the judge, the jury - maybe even the viewer's, given that most of the OJ trial now seems conducted solely for public consumption rather than the pursuit of justice.

The reviews have been somewhat contradictory and that all-important word-of-mouth is equally contradictory (as many punters hate it as love it), but that hasn't stopped an impressive array of directors, producers and actors from trooping along to London's Royal Court theatre to see Jez Butterworth's Mojo, a study of paranoia, murder, speed and rock 'n' roll that may be the most purely exciting evening's entertainment in town.

If Butterworth is currently the hot name to drop ("The best dialogue ever, don't you think?" sighed the woman behind me), then make room also for Tom Hollander, whose performance as the sexually abused, cutlass-twirling Baby should have him being wooed by every casting director worth their salt. The play runs till 26 August; book your tickets and join the controversy - and smart dinner party conversation - before it's too late.

And still on the subject of booking before it's too late: a rare big- screen outing for Brief Encounter at London's Odeon Leicester Square to celebrate 60 years of the Odeon chain "entertaining the Nation" (it says here). Admission prices will be pegged at 50p (10 shillings being the price of a ticket in 1945, when the movie opened), and if this isn't temptation enough, the Odeon will be giving its 1937 Compton Organ - it rises out of the floor and flashes lots of pretty primary colours - a half-hour workout before the picture begins. Be there or be somewhere else.

The New Yorker film critic Terence Rafferty on Kevin Costner's performance in that $200m straight-to-video movie we know as Waterworld: "He never dreamed that filming on water would be so tough, because he thought he could walk on it."

Fans of thriller writer Patrica Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta should prepare for shocks. The forthcoming From Potter's Field is the darkest novel yet, bringing back the terrifying serial killer Gault and his accomplice Carrie and allowing them free access to the forensic pathologist heroine's house, morgue and mind. And the movie offers are pouring in: Glenn Close is the actress now being touted to play Kay in any forthcoming screen adaptation. Also hot on the trail - Kathleen Turner, Jane Fonda and every other Hollywood actress over 40.

And Cindy Crawford on her first movie, Fair Game, and on her first (attempted) nude scene: "The shower scene just felt gratuitous to me. The director said he wanted it to be about me having this moment. I said, 'Then why do you have to see my ass?' " Yeah, like we're all going to be stumping up for tickets to watch Cindy act...