VIDEO / Coming soon to a store near you: John Lyttle casts a critical eye over rental and sell-through titles now available, including Oliver Stone's JFK and Barry Levinson's Bugsy

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The Independent Culture
COUPE DE VILLE

(20/20 15 93mins)

Buoyant road comedy about three brothers getting to know one another while driving from Michigan to Florida to deliver their dad's birthday gift - the eponymous car - to their mom. The storyline, rock'n'roll soundtrack and Sixties setting are well worn, an observation that can't be levelled at Joe Roth's treatment of the heated sibling squabbling between soldier Joe Stern, lover-boy Ayre Gross and rebel-without-a-clue Patrick Dempsey. Understated and only a mite too sentimental. On release.

THE PRINCE OF TIDES

(Columbia-Tristar 15 128mins)

Psychiatrist Barbra Streisand summons gruff, disillusioned Nick Nolte to New York to help his suicidal sister (Melinda Dillion). They fall in love: she peels back his protective layers to discover the buried trauma that has blighted his life and marriage. The film's soapy, psychobabbly uplift is easy to mock, yet it is undeniably on to something: an update of the 'women's picture'. The romantic scenes are swoony, but director-producer-star Streisand's touch with actors is sound. Kate Nelligan and Nolte have seldom been better. On release.

HIGH HEELS

(Columbia-Tristar 15 109mins)

A severe disappointment from Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, and another attempt to pour those old 'women's picture' formulas into new moulds. This time it is nervous, Hollywood-influenced mother- daughter love given a series of damp, camp twists. When TV presenter Rebecca (Victoria Abril) arrives home to find her husband shot dead, the suspects include her self- obsessed mother (Marisa Parades). The story wobbles around aimlessly, from primetime news confessions, to prison hi-jinks, to solving the crime. Almodovar seems too preoccupied with the genre's cliches to explore fully the agony and the ecstasy of the maternal bond. Subtitles.

On release.

BUGSY (20/20 Vision 18 131mins)

An unsatisfactory, though gripping, pick'n'mix: a dark gangster-comic- tragedy-cum-love story which implicitly asks audiences to admire Bugsy Siegel (Warren Beatty) because, unlike his fellow killers, he has an all-American dream - Las Vegas. The casting is spot-on - Annette Bening as Virginia Hill, Harvey Keitel and Ben Kingsley as Mickey Cohen and Meyer Lansky - and James Toback's script is unsettling. Under Barry Levinson's direction, Bugsy see-saws between puppyish charm and violent psychopathic outbursts. Available 30 September.

SALMONBERRIES

(Electric 15 94mins)

Squirm-inducing drama, not what you expect from Percy Adlon (Bagdad Cafe, Sugarbaby). It is best not to linger over the plot: C & W singer k d lang is, to quote the press material 'an androgynous eskimo who falls in love with the local librarian'. On release.

THE BUTCHER'S WIFE

(CIC 15 100mins)

Demi Moore is a down-home, backwoods psychic taken to neurotic New York by the man of her dreams. Jeff Daniels brings zip to the role of a token rationalist and Mary Steenburgen does all she can as a permanently lovelorn loser. Neither could save the movie from American box-office disaster. On release.

WITHOUT YOU I'M NOTHING (Electric 18 90mins)

Sandra Bernhard in concert, mixing real-life, self-conscious showbiz glitz and black and gay culture. She runs the gamut from vacuous Cosmo Girl to Diana Ross clone to anxious homosexual. The material has an edge - especially the pointed treatment of pop standards - and her flirtations with danger keeps excitement at boiling-point. On release.

JFK (Warner 15 182mins)

Other people's obsessions can be embarrassing, especially when those obsessions are barely rational. Oliver Stone provides a multiple-choice menu of conspiracy theories concerning JFK's assassination, each one swollen with hot air. Hell, everybody did it: the CIA; the Mafia; Lyndon Johnson; the defence industry; the Women's Institute, Mother Teresa . . . Kevin Costner, as New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison, is obliged to deliver the director's political insights and pompous speeches - the final address lasts forever. Technically, a triumph, thanks to faultless editing and the black and white re-creation of the murder. On release.

NAKED LUNCH

(First Independent 18 111mins)

It would have been impossible to bring William Burroughs' graphic sex and drugs classic to the screen intact. David Cronenberg's compromise is more a mediation of the author's themes. Out goes dream logic, in comes a linear narrative about the nature of writing and, sometimes hilariously, addiction to bug powder. Lavish special-effects bring the Mugwump to uncanny life, and Burroughs' patented perversity shines through once William Lee (Peter Weller) has seen his typewriter struggle into life, has shot his wife (Judy Davis) and disappeared into the gay fantasy land known as the 'Interzone'. But these eruptions from the subconscious are just too tasteful. On release.

HEAR MY SONG

(CIC 15 102mins)

The sheer Oirishness of this addled, cod-operatic comedy can be alarming, but Adrian Dunbar delivers a finely judged turn as Mickey O'Neill, the artful impresario determined to revive his failing Liverpool music hall by finding long-lost tenor Josef Locke (Ned Beatty) and bringing him back to wow the faithful fans, not to mention Dunbar's impatient girlfriend (Tara Fitzgerald). Lots of knobby detail and cuckoo characterisations, though the finale errs on the side of the maudlin. Director's Cut: Contains Additional Footage. On release.

FREDDY'S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE - IN 3-D

(Guild 18 85mins)

Freddy's dead. Good. On release.

COMPETITION

The uncut Singing in the Rain is being released by MGM/UA Home Video. Songs and footage deleted by the studio before release have been restored. We have five sets of Singing in the Rain, Anchors Aweigh, High Society, Showboat and Gigi to give away. Simply name the film within the film that stars Gene Kelly and Jean Hagen. All answers (on postcards only) to Rain, Listings, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB. One entry per household. Closing date: 25 September.

COMPETITION WINNERS

Shakespeare video competition winners: Shaun Corry, Milton Keynes; Mr W Hamilin, Cardiff; Mrs A Wyatt, Pershore; Steve Handley, London N3; Greg Newman, Bristol.

Marilyn Monroe Collection winner: Patrick Cooper, Holt, Norfolk.

Barton Fink film trip winners: Leighton Evans, Rhondda; Andrew McIntyre, Southport; Anne Fowle, Kent.

Barton Fink video winners: M Bird, London; A Crawford, Pinner; G Brandt, Bristol; S Wallace, Hove; A Davies, Letchworth; A L Kirk, London; R Rimmer, Liverpool; G Newman, Bristol; P Noble, Essex; K Norman, Manchester; D McLoughlin, London; T Reeves, London; P Stones, Lancs; G Platts, London; A O'Neill, Lancs; K A Townend, Clwyd; R Martin, Newcastle; T Marsh, London; J F Fort, Merseyside; L Lee, Merseyside; F J Burrows, Widnes; J Hallworth, Manchester; R Murphy, Dublin; K McCarrick, Huddersfield; C Bridgman, Salford.

Allow six weeks for delivery.

(Photograph omitted)

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