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Eraser (18). Arnold Schwarzenegger, as we know, makes two kinds of film: cutesy comedies in which the spotlight is usually on his considerable parenting skills, and bloodthirsty shoot'em-ups in which the bad guys often have accents even more impenetrable than his own. This hunk of scrap metal falls squarely in the latter category. Arnie plays John Kruger, an agent with the Witness Protection Program (indistinguishable from his other man-machine roles) who's assigned as a bodyguard to a government big gun, and director Charles Russell (The Mask, The Blob) is quite shameless when it comes to drooling over the fancy hardware. Thoughtlessly plotted and scripted, with no sense of fun, this is a lazy, patronising movie; the set- pieces are unremarkable and the one-liners extraordinarily limp.

There are at least five videos out this week that you'd want to turn to before Eraser. Overlooked on its theatrical release, La Madre Muerta (18) is a disarmingly confident thriller spiked with a generous dose of black humour; writer- director Juanma Bajo Ulloa stuffs murder, obsession, mental disability and a bizarre love triangle into a gnarled, consistently surprising plot.

Nothing Personal (18) is Thaddeus O'Sullivan's portrait of Belfast on the eve of the 1975 ceasefire. The film is a laudable, if dramatically contrived, expression of a Protestant viewpoint, and it has an excellent cast, led by James Frain, John Lynch and Ian Hart. Fans of heritage drama could do worse than Beaumarchais (15), Edouard Molinaro's featherweight adaptation of a never-performed play about the 18th-century playwright- diplomat-inventor. Equally undemanding is Les Apprentis (15), an odd- couple comedy by Pierre Salvadori (Wild Target). The movie charts the deteriorating friendship between a slacker and a struggling writer, and confirms Salvadori's gift for wry, unforced humour.

Finally, easily the video of the month: Robert Bresson's 1945 film Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (12). With a gleaming Cocteau script, and a glorious performance by Maria Casares, the film, Bresson's second feature, is arguably his greatest - uncharacteristic of the austerity that was to follow, but in some ways, more effective for its seeming lack of rigour.

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