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The Independent Culture
THE VANISHING (FoxVideo 15 105mins) Director George Sluzier remakes his own European classic for the US market. Result: a thrill-free disaster with all the tell-tale fingerprints of studio interference, right down to a moment when the obsessed hero, Kiefer Sutherland, rises from the grave, courtesy of the heroine, Nancy Travis. The original was cold perfection; the only performer here up to that high, heartless standard is psycho-killer Jeff Bridges as the chemistry teacher with kidnapping (and worse) on his mind. Available 10 January.

THE TEMP (CIC 15 93mins) Blissfully bad. Paranoid boss Timothy Hutton thinks his new secretary, Lara Flynn Boyle, is out to get his job and control of Faye Dunaway's troubled cookie company. Lots of freak accidents (Oliver Platt is stung to death), freak dialogue and a finale so botched all you can do is stare at the screen in disbelief. None of which disguises the plot's fundamental masculine fear of strong women climbing the corporate ladder wrong by wrong.

MAD DOG AND GLORY (CIC 15 93mins) Like Damon Runyon with swear words. But what a rebuke to those who insist Robert De Niro can't play comedy. They surely haven't seen him sing and dance around the corpse of a murdered mobster while wafted aloft by love for Uma Thurman - a 'gift' from grateful loan shark Bill Murray, whose life De Niro, a police evidence technician, has saved.

EQUINOX (Guild 15 103mins) Those old movie twin cliches refurbished but hardly reactivated by Alan Rudolph. Matthew Modine plays both the hitman and the wimp, Lara Flynn Boyle displays unexpected wit as the girl the wimp wants.

FIRE IN THE SKY (CIC 15 105mins) Based on the 'true' story of Travis Walton's abduction by little green men on 5 November 1975. His companions being suspected of murder offers more drama than the time on board the alien craft - something of a flaw.


Our Alien competition winner is: Miss M Varney, Ruddington, Nottingham. Answers: Ellen Jones. H R Giger.

(Photograph omitted)