RECORDED DELIVERY

A critical guide to the week's videos

Basquiat (15) Fox, rental, 25 Aug. Julian Schnabel's debut feature, a pop star-studded biopic of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, is a bizarre undertaking bordering on the tasteless in light of their ferocious rivalry in the Eighties. Adding to the film's controversy, Basquiat's father refused to allow Schnabel to use his son's paintings, so that Schnabel had to paint them all himself. Nevertheless, for an artist's vanity project, it isn't at all bad. It paints a surprisingly understated portrait of a black artist forced to live the white world of art, and the problems arising from his meteoric rise. There are some remarkable performances, particularly from David Bowie (above) who does a fantastically camp yet melancholy Andy Warhol, while Jeffrey Wright's Basquiat has a beguilingly boyish charm.

White Man's Burden (15) Fox, rental, 25 Aug. The elementary twist to Desmond Nakano's tale is that blacks hold the power and the underdogs are white in his imaginary America. John Travolta plays Louis, a loyal factory hand who, after a series of misunderstandings, loses his job and subsequently his house and family. He ends up taking his boss (Harry Belafonte) hostage in an attempt at recompense. An interesting and potentially powerful storyline which is handled naively, fails to sustain a sense of drama, and comes to a clumsy and abrupt end.

Normal Life (18) First Independent, rental, 25 Aug. Directed by John McNaughton, responsible for the controversial Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, this depressing film is unlikely to attract the same sort of kudos. Luke Perry - of Beverly Hills, 90210 fame - sports a grim moustache in this equally grim tale of Chris (Perry), a well-intentioned but dim policeman and his deranged wife, Pam (Ashley Judd). An astronomy enthusiast, Pam's daily routine is listening to deafening heavy metal and smoking innumerable joints while reading Stephen Hawking. After running up enormous credit- card bills in astronomical accessories, Pam refuses to take responsibility, so Chris is forced to grow yet more facial hair and become an armed-robber. A warning to women who refuse to do housework.

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