The Critics: Video

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The Independent Culture
Titanic (12). James Cameron's vapid historical epic prioritises spectacle over substance, and verges on crassness throughout; it's also, as you know by now, the highest-grossing movie in history. The film's many fans and defenders seem not to care that Cameron's script is virtually sub-literate in parts, and that the first half of this three-hour-plus movie is lethally dull (not to mention clogged with some of the most ridiculous cliches ever seen on screen). Predictably, the film kicks into high gear as soon as the ship goes down, though it's worth noting that in Cameron's version of events, the lookouts fail to notice the looming iceberg because they're busy watching Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet snog. Winslet emerges unscathed, which is saying something since she's required to quote Freud and babble on about Picasso. The same cannot be said for DiCaprio, who, on the basis of this film, Total Eclipse, and The Man With the Iron Mask, should never be allowed to appear in any movie that is set before 1980.

Deconstructing Harry (18). Woody Allen's most proudly bilious work to date amplifies the director's self-congratulatory and self-loathing tendencies to an unprecedentedly shrill pitch. Allen himself plays Harry Block, an obnoxious, middle-aged author whose screwed-up life and vindictive fiction frequently overlap, much to the misery of all around him. As always, there are some funny lines, though not nearly enough to prevent the film from seeming irredeemably rancid.