THE WEEK IN REVIEW

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The Independent Culture
THE MOVIE

INDEPENDENCE DAY

overview

Roland Stargate Emmerich directs the biggest B-movie ever made, a special effects collision between a 1950s alien pic, a 1970s disaster movie and a military-saving-the-world thriller with (as if you cared) Jeff Goldblum.

Adam Mars-Jones hailed all-American, "gloriously no-nonsense nonsense". "A kids movie for adults ... not exactly credible, cathartic or even memorably silly," surmised the Guardian. "Forget subtext. This scrappy, spectacularly juvenile remake of War of the Worlds," adjudged Time Out. "The mother of all doomsday dramas," yelped Variety. "An outsize, indigestible popcorn feast," scoffed the Times. "A fast-moving, feelgood apocalypse," conceded the FT. "The odd thing about it is that it isn't ever scary, and it's hardly ever thrilling," sighed the Spectator.

145 mins, cert 12. Is there a cinema where it isn't playing?

In just five weeks it has taken $230,877,807 at the US box-office. Grade 'A' schlock.

The children's musical of Albert Lamorisse's classic short film about a lonely Parisian boy and a mysterious red balloon, adapted and directed by Anthony Clark and composer Mark Vibrans, designed by Ruari Murchison.

Paul Taylor and his six-year-old were charmed. "The show achieves lift off... a nice line in unforced poignancy." "Nothing about this production falls short of excellence," exclaimed Time Out. "By the heartstopping climax everyone I could see, myself included, was in tears," cheered the FT. "Heavy on whimsy," opined the Standard. "Promises more magic than it delivers," grumbled the Telegraph. "Very young kids must find it cloying," regretted the Observer. "Younger members of the audience erupted in noisy delight," noted the Guardian.

Mornings and afternoons only at the Olivier, National Theatre (0171-928 2252) to 31 August.

You don't need a child to enjoy it. Far more interesting than many a large-scale musical.

After the hiatus caused by the Olympics, the jury in Steven Bochco's baroque 23-chapter murder trial series reached its verdict. There then followed a further cliff-hanging episode and final clinching evidence.

Thomas Sutcliffe regretted the weak denouement but saluted the series. "It was all just procedure, really, but it was compelling." "The first 22 chapters had us captive and convinced that sophistication and Made- in-America need not be mutually exclusive," agreed the Telegraph. "I thought I'd had a reasonable return of entertainment," declared the Times. "Worth waiting the 23 weeks just to see a smile on the face of defence lawyer," grinned the Mirror. "Murder One's passe marriage of video technology and voyeurism," carped the Guardian.

The final three episodes are repeated in a bumper package on BBC2 tomorrow at 10pm.

Great run, shame about the finish. Surprise! Series two is on the way... foolishly without defence lawyer Daniel Benzali.

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