Keanu Reeves stars as a computer hacker in a nightmare future where the world's population resides in virtual reality. Special effects drive the story as Reeves attempts to break the matrix and reinstate the real world, for better or for worse.
After watching the film, Anthony Quinn felt seized by the urge to: "a) make a bee-line for the nearest stiff drink; and b) write one of those more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger laments for the decline of a great 20th-century art form". But The Guardian called it "a wonderfully enjoyable pulp classic - an unalloyed treasure from first to last". It "mangles the senses in a wildly entertaining fashion", said The Times. For The Mail, "Its self- consciously mythic tone very nearly conceals the fact it is not saying anything. It's like a Lamborghini filled with concrete: useless and inert, but undeniably elegant."
Special effects and little else are on offer, but would you really want anything else from Keanu Reeves?
The Matrix is out on general release, certificate 15. 139 mins
The more surreal and sour side of the writer is aired in Alan Dossor's revival of Alan Bennett's comedy set in a living room in Leeds. Stars Thelma Barlow and Bernard Gallagher as Mam and Dad, with sets by Julian McGowan.
To Paul Taylor, Enjoy was in 1980 "a piece that was ahead of its time in a manner lost on critics who can barely see to the end of their own notices"; this rendition is "downroarious" and "heartily recommended". The Daily Telegraph charged that Bennett is "not at his most subtle", but nonetheless "this is also a tender play". The Stage wrote that the direction "accommodates the play's sour tones without sacrificing the comedy". The Yorkshire Evening Press decided that the play has found "a proper home at last". The Sunday Times was "never sure whether to laugh or cry".
Belatedly acclaimed, Enjoy has justifiably taken Leeds by storm with the help of some fine performances.
Enjoy is at West Yorkshire Playhouse until 26 June. For bookings and enquiries, call 0113-213 7700
Thirty paintings assembled in the National Gallery supplemented by a number of etchings and drawings chart the changing features of the old master from youth to old age. The work is by Rembrandt himself and his contemporaries.
Tom Lubbock could imagine a "religion of humanity in which the work of Rembrandt, especially the self-portraits, had a leading role. Contemplating them would be one of the central rites." But, he added, "The exhibition does not encourage religiosity, however. It's too thorough." "Together they create a truly rounded portrait of this most sympathetic genius," wrote the Daily Mail. "I can think of no other room of paintings in the world at this moment so moving and disquieting as the central room of the Rembrandt show," said The Guardian, adding that, in truth, "Rembrandt reviews you".
Another exhibition of an unimpeachable master. Not a comprehensive collection, but
few will quibble. Rembrandt by Himself is at the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London to 5 September. For enquiries call 0171-747 2885
Peter Quilter's musical of the trials and tribulations of a boy band. Five smiling, clean-cut unknowns are plucked from obscurity and turned into stars. The songs include a selection written by Keith Beauvais, who also wrote for Take That.
"It's not Pinter, but then it was never going to be," sighed Rachel Halliburton. She predicted, "with the deepest depression, that this musical will go far". "The songs are high-quality anodyne pop," decreed the Daily Mail. "Chris Ellis's lighting is tremendous and the whole event is put across with real verve and no little technical skill." "The songs," admitted London's Evening Standard, "sound convincingly boy-bandish... But who," it asked, "wants such imitations when so much of the better, real thing, from assorted famous groups, is readily available?" "Let me entertain you?" asked the FT: "I think not."
Pecs provide the talent in a bland assortment of cliches formed into a plot. Fans should stick to Boyzone.
Boyband is at the Gielgud Theatre, London W1. For bookings and enquiries call 0171-494 5065