The Week in Review

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
THE FILM LETHAL WEAPON 4

Overview:

The fourth instalment of the light-hearted thriller follows the now wrinkly Detectives Riggs and Murtaugh, played by Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, taking on the Triads.

Critical View:

"To its credit, Lethal Weapon 4 does strive to bring a fresh tang to a stale recipe," conceded Ryan Gilbey. "There are enough references to Riggs's age to create some interesting synchronicity between the actor and the role." The Guardian was enthralled: "The pre-title sequence is a special treat." "Approach [it] in a kindly spirit and it's fun. Don't and it's depressingly stupid," warned the Daily Mail. "A harmless way of letting off steam."

Our View:

As a no-holds-barred actioner, Lethal Weapon 4 can't be faulted; as a thought-provoking fable, don't even think about it.

On View:

Lethal Weapon 4 is out on general release. Certificate 18, 128 minutes.

YOUR VIEW...

... ON LETHAL WEAPON 4

MOE FAHED,

36, Contractor, London

"A nice film, funny and entertaining. I think it's more of a comedy than the other ones. They have started to ham it up, to take the mickey out of it, which is good I think."

MARK FREEDMAN

24, pharmaceutical rep, London

"The stunts were magnificent. Action was superb. Everything you would expect from a Lethal Weapon film. Great plot with the triads, much more fighting scenes than in the last two. I thought it was the best out of the lot."

DONALD DIETER LE, 26, traveller, London

"It was predictable. All the characters were the same, which was meant to be a bonus but I found that it didn't really make it any different to the last three."

INDIGO

STEPHENSON,

24, student, London

"Mel, Mel, Mel. I love you. I am here for a Mel-fest. The rest of the film didn't appeal to me, I am a novice when it comes to actions films, these are the only ones I have seen. But Mel makes it and he is still a fit action-man even though he is a bit old."

THE EXHIBITION MIRROR IMAGE

Overview:

An exploration into how artists have represented reflected images in painting over the centuries, at London's National Gallery devised and curated by Jonathan Miller.

Critical View:

"Miller uses pictures to demonstrate perception, and perception as a clue to pictures," said Tom Lubbock. "Yet to see [an] image as impossible or paradoxical is to miss the point." The Daily Telegraph noted: "If Miller's explanations occasionally verge on the banal, his explanations are invariably fascinating and take his audience on a journey of inquiry that ranges from the science of optics to anthropology, psychology and art history." "We live in the age of the exhibition as a multimedia event," noted The Spectator. "But `Mirror Image' represents as highly a developed example of the phenomenon as we have seen... makes one look at paintings in a different way."

Our View:

The distinguished polymath has presented us with a comprehensive and captivating examination of the nature of reflection in art that will revitalise your outlook on the world.

`On View:

Mirror Image: Jonathan Miller on Reflection' is showing at the National Gallery until 13 December. Mon-Tues, Thurs-Sat 10-6 Wed 10-8, Sun 12-6. For enquiries call

0171-747 2885.

THE PLAY HANDBAG

Overview:

Following his controversial debut Shopping and Fucking, Mark Ravenhill's latest offering, subtitled The Importance of Being Someone, explores contemporary disasters in child-rearing.

Critical View:

"Ingenious and highly entertaining," cried a delighted Paul Taylor, noting "a heady mixture of inter-textual high jinks, tough, sexually explicit black comedy, and moments of desperate anguish." The Financial Times declared: "Whole PhD theses could be written on Handbag. [Ravenhill] is - it is now more evident - a searing, intelligent, disturbing sociologist with a talent for satirical dialogue and a flair for sexual sensationalism." The Times was less impressed: "Years of experience of attending Fringe theatres still haven't inoculated me against staged atrocity... If Ravenhill is arguing for the value of loving, biological parents he goes a bizarre way about it."

Our View:

Prepare to be horrified. As provocative as its predecessor, Mark Ravenhill's latest offering is a shrewd, witty survey of the complications of parenthood in the age of biological engineering.

`On View:

Handbag is running at the Lyric Studio, Hammersmith, until 10 October.

Mon-Sat 8pm, tickets pounds 5. For bookings and enquiries call 0181-741 8701.

THE ALBUM MECHANICAL ANIMALS

Overview:

Hot on the heels of the stop-gap release Remix and Repent, the androgyne hellraiser from Hollywood returns to celebrate new forms of degradation with Mechanical Animals.

Critical View:

"A more sinister take on the same theme as Radiohead's `Paranoid Android', depicting a modern world in which the more noble aspects of humanity have been worn threadbare by drugs," said Andy Gill, observing "a retread of ideas done to death by glam and punk." "Out goes industrial banging and screeching," stated The Guardian, "in comes glam rock reminiscent of Bowie..." "Manson has attempted to put some musical flesh on the bones of his carefully contrived image," said The Times. "The result is a collection of cartoon electro-glam-rock songs that will sit comfortably on the shelf alongside almost-forgotten albums by Babylon Zoo and Gary Numan."

Our View:

Though in possession of considerably more focus than their last album, Mechanical Animals recycles ideas already dealt with ad nauseam by the likes of David Bowie etc

Marilyn Manson's ` On View:

Mechanical Animals is available from Monday, priced pounds 13.99.

THE OPERA OTELLO

Overview:

This realist interpretation of Verdi's opera, based on Shakespeare's tragedy, is set in 20th-century Cyprus with the Moor as a UN officer and Desdemona as an army wife.

Critical View:

"In bringing Otello's triumph and catastrophe that much closer to us, we must first and foremost believe what we see. And I didn't for one second... Nothing about it rang true," opined Edward Seckerson. The Financial Times expressed "sorrow for the cast that had struggled valiantly to surmount the noise and ugliness of David Freeman's pseudo-realistic modern setting... We needed a pick-me-up and we were given a depressant." "A gripping staging," contradicted The Times. "This pale-brown Otello inveighing against `the swollen pride of Islam' sets up vibrations that are relevant both historically and from a contemporary point of view... A complete knockout."

Our View:

David Freeman's pursuit of realism has stripped Otello of credibility. In the wake of the turmoil at the ROH, ENO's ill-judged reading of Verdi's masterpiece will compound the misery of operaphiles.

`On View:

Otello is on at the London Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, WC2. 7.30pm (3 October 6.30pm) until 22 October. For bookings and enquiries call 0171- 632 8300.

THE FILM LOVE IS THE DEVIL

Overview:

John Maybury's stylised biopic examines the troubled relationship of Francis Bacon and his lover and muse George Dyer. Starring Derek Jacobi and Daniel Craig.

Critical View:

Ryan Gilbey stated, "It mixes up [Bacon's] life and work as though the two were squiggles of paint on a palette, combined to achieve a pungent, unfamiliar new shade". "So sustained is the the film's experimentalism that one sometimes longs for a conventional mastershot or a close-up," remarked i-D, while Time Out raptured, "Tough, often tender, wholly compelling, and one of the finest films ever made about an artist". But the Mail fulminated: "Maybury's direction is tiresomely tricksy, and he finds it impossible imitate Bacon's nightmarish artistic style photographically."

Our View:

Unconventional without being alienating, Maybury's portrait of Bacon is refreshingly original, sensitive and utterly engrossing.

`On View:

Love Is The Devil is on general release as of yesterday, certificate 18. 90 minutes.

THE BOOK EAST AND WEST

Overview:

Despite Rupert Murdoch's controversial embargo on its previous publishers, HarperCollins, Chris Patten's account of his time in Hong Kong finally makes it to the bookshops.

Critical View:

"Given the noise that preceded it, Patten's book is almost bound to disappoint," remarks Justin White. "Whatever else it may be, it certainly isn't a blow- by-blow account of the wrangles that plagued his governorship, though it hints the truth... would be found unbelievable." "In Hong Kong Patten became... an impassioned middle-aged man," argues Prospect. "This book, with its rousing defence of the universal liberal democracy, is one of the results." The Daily Telegraph noted: "East and West does not tell us much new about East and West, but it tells us a lot about Patten. Generous to his friends, he baits his enemies, identifiably, but not by name."

Our View:

Though forthcoming about the nature of governorship, Patten withholds detail about the principal disputes that plagued him - an approach that places his book amid the common ruck of Asia surveys.

East and West (Macmillan) is available in bookshops at pounds 22.50. Next Saturday, you can see the first in the three-part BBC2 series, Chris Patten's East and West, starting at 7.20pm.

Comments