Tuesday 09 June 1998
Director: Gregg Araki
Starring: James Duval, Rachel True, Nathan Bexton, Shannon Doherty
One-man film factory Gregg Araki returns to the nihilistic landscape of Totally F***ed Up and The Doom Generation with another hallucinatory journey through an LA underground inhabited by young ambisexual drifters, sado-masochists, druggies, airheads - and, this time around, a few aliens for good measure.
It's good to see the elegantly wasted James Duval, as alienated teen Dark Smith, returning to his low-budget roots with Araki after a starring role in Independence Day. Intoxicating stuff.
Red Corner (15)
Director: Jon Avnet
Starring: Richard Gere, Bai Ling, Bradley Whitford
Richard Gere usually exercises a bit of discrimination when choosing his projects, but his very public pro-Tibet stance must have blinded him to the failings of this clunking piece of anti-Chinese propaganda.
In Beijing to sell trashy American TV programmes to a Chinese network, Gere finds himself framed for murder and railroaded by the brutal legal system. But the insights Red Corner offers into the Chinese brand of totalitarianism are swamped by the cliched depiction of ruthless party cadres (they practically say "We have ways of making you talk") and repetitive courtroom scenes, which mostly revolve around the issue of whether Gere can hear the simultaneous translation of proceedings through his headset.
Dad Savage (18)
Director: Betsan Morris Evans
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Kevin McKidd, Helen McCrory, Joe McFadden, Marc Warren
Patrick Stewart sheds his Star Trek image to play Dad Savage, a tulip- growing, Country & Western-obsessed East Anglian crime boss who turns very nasty indeed when two of his employees try to run off with his life savings.
Strikingly shot in the bleak expanses of the Lincolnshire fens by first- time director Betsan Morris Evans, this is an original stab at re-inventing the British thriller. There are strong performances, but a Usual Suspects-inspired structure of flashbacks within flashbacks conspires to make a raw, brutal little story frustratingly hard to follow.
The Taste of Cherry (PG)
Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Starring: Homayon Ershadi, Adolhossein Bagheri, Afshin Bakhtiari
The joint winner of last year's Palme d'Or has taken a year to get a release over here, and it's not hard to see why. In precis - an Iranian man drives around the outskirts of Tehran looking for someone to help him commit suicide - it sounds like the average multiplex-goer's worst nightmare of an art movie.
But thanks to highly naturalistic performances and the purity of director Abbas Kiarostami's shooting style, it's a hypnotic and ultimately moving experience, so long as you can adjust to the pace.
The Wedding Singer (12)
See Recommendation, right
Hurricane Streets (15)
Director: Morgan J Freeman
Starring: Brendan Sexton III, Shawn Elliot
Brendan Sexton III, who made an impression as the high-school bully in Welcome to the Dollhouse, is touchingly awkward as Marcus, a 15-year- old on the mean streets of New York, whose criminal lifestyle is offset by an almost saintly care for the no-hopers in his gang.
But despite raw performances from the young unknowns, gritty detail and a sheaf of awards from the Sundance Film Festival - the film never steers sufficiently clear from the usual kids and crime cliches.
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