New Films

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The Independent Culture
AT FIRST SIGHT (12, 128 mins)

Director: Irwin Winkler

Starring: Val Kilmer, Mira Sorvino

There's a double whammy for Val Kilmer's blind masseur when he first finds love (with Mira Sorvino's architect) then gets his eyesight back in Irwin Winkler's drama by numbers, appar-ently culled from the casebook of Oliver Sacks. The actors work hard to bolster the endless soap-operatics, but it's hard going all the way. West End: Plaza, Virgin Fulham Road. And local cinemas

EXISTENZ (15, 97 mins)

Director: David Cronenberg

Starring: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jude Law

See The Independent Recommends, right. West End: ABC Tottenham Court Road, Clapham Picture House, Odeon Camden Town, Odeon Marble Arch, Odeon Swiss Cottage, Plaza, Ritzy Cinema, The Tricycle Cinema, UCI Whiteleys, Virgin Fulham Road, Virgin Trocadero, Warner West End. And local cinemas


Director: Marshall Herskovitz

Starring: Catherine McCormack, Rufus Sewell

In this mustily old-fashioned costume caper, Catherine McCormack plays a lowly beauty in 16th-century Venice who resorts to the oldest career in town, setting off a cavalcade of bed-hopping and arch dialogue against a backdrop of pretty period scenery. Rufus Sewell (as a handsome aristo) acts like his mind's on other things. West End: Barbican Screen, Notting Hill Coronet, Odeon Swiss Cottage, Virgin Fulham Road, Virgin Haymarket, Warner Village West End. And local cinemas

IN DREAMS (18, 100 mins)

Director: Neil Jordan

Starring: Annette Bening, Aidan Quinn

Made for DreamWorks, this fascinating folly has Annette Bening's hapless psychic tuning into the crimes of a shadowy child killer. In the meantime, Neil Jordan drapes an otherwise stock chiller template with all manner of lurid dream scenes and nods to both Freud and fairytales (Bening's daughter is abducted during a school production of Snow White). By turns seductive and stupid, it boils over in a noisy splutter of exotic ingredients. West End: Empire Leicester Square, Virgin Trocadero. And local cinemas

KNOCK OFF (18, 95 mins)

Director: Tsui Hark

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lela Rochon

Dateline 1997. The Hong Kong handover is underway, and Westerner abroad Jean-Claude Van Damme has his mitts full tackling a band of Russian bombers. Van Damme connoisseurs can sit back and tick off the checklist: the strung-together stunt sequences, the casual xenophobia, the haphazard plot lurches. These are all present and politically incorrect. West End: Virgin Troca-dero. Local: Acton Park Royal Warner Village

SOLOMON & GAENOR (15, 103 mins)

Director: Paul Morrison

Starring: Ioan Gruffudd, Nia Roberts

A pre-First World War, Valleys-set Romeo and Juliet, with Welsh lass Nia Roberts tumbling into the hay with Ioan Gruffudd's Jewish kid while her horny handed, anti-Semitic family look on in horror. Sensitive and well-acted, the film nonetheless turns clunkingly heavy handed in its final reel. West End: ABC Panton Street, Screen on the Hill

THE WATERBOY (12, 89 mins)

Director: Frank Coraci

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kathy Bates

Adam Sandler is the gormless aquarian - ferrying water refills for a low-rent American football team - in this juvenile romp that reunites the director and star of last year's infinitely more likeable The Wedding Singer. Essentially, this little-man-as-hero caper serves as little more than an indulgent showcase for Sandler's puppy dog skills. Play his cards right, and the man could wind up as the Jerry Lewis for the new millennium. Bungle it, and he'll go down as this decade's Steve Guttenberg. West End: Odeon Camden Town, Odeon Kensington, Odeon Marble Arch, Odeon Swiss Cottage, Odeon West End, Ritzy Cinema, UCI Whiteleys, Virgin Chelsea. And local cinemas