AND THE BAND PLAYED ON (ITC 15 141mins) Only Carter Burwell survives this horribly earnest all-star Aids drama intact - he contributes an elegaic score which should have graced a far greater movie. Matthew Modine and Lily Tomlin head a team of doctors battling the budding virus, but their toughest obstacles are a narrative with no drive and characters that are ciphers. Meanwhile, the casting - Phil Collins as a camp Mexican bath-house owner, anyone? - feels downright facetious.
BODIES, REST & MOTION (Electric 15 91mins) Bridget Fonda and Eric Stoltz are two of four twentysomethings chasing their own tails and each other's hides, though that suggests an irreverence sadly lacking. Writer Roger Hedden is so po-faced about his characters' quarter-life crises that he skimps on the humour. When Fonda and Stoltz writhe together, they look as pink and puffy as sausages, but Hedden writes it straight. Some grudging coitus interruptus or a stray fart would have pricked the pomposity.
FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE (Artificial Eye 15 151mins) Chen Kaige moves on a vast canvas - 50 years of Chinese history seen by two blooming stars of the Peking Opera - and though he conjures some succulent, epic visuals, he's not as steady in more pensive moments. The feyness of the central coupling often suggests The Dresser in kimonos, and the final scene is too calculated to do justice to what it caps. There's still splendour to sup from: in Leslie Cheung and Gong Li, in the strange musicality of flesh constantly thwacked and slapped, and Kaige's comprehension of how the warmth of the stage, and of belonging, melts arctic hearts. Also available to buy at pounds 15.99.
MY LIFE (Guild 15 90mins) Bruce Joel Rubin, who wrote Ghost and wrote and directed this, sees cinema as psychoanalysis, and he makes everything feel cheap. Here, Michael Keaton, dying of cancer, films a video collage of his life to pass on to his nearly born son. Amid the fuzzy pastel decor, you keep waiting for something mean: for wife Nicole Kidman to reveal that the child isn't his, for the baby to be stillborn. When you realise that won't happen, you just pray for Keaton to hurry up and die.
SON-IN-LAW (Touchstone 15 92mins) An uncultured oik muscles into a wholesome family, prompting self-discovery and illumination. It could be Boudu Saved from Drowning or Theorem. It isn't: it's a cumbersome vehicle for Pauly Shore, an excessively-permed surfer dude who makes Bill and Ted look like Eliot and Pound. He visits a farm. He slips in cow dung. He gets fresh with his girl's ma. 'If you liked California Man,' implores the poster, 'You'll love this]' Quite a recommendation.
THE MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRAUN (Connoisseur 15 114mins) Fassbinder's most conventional piece is a dull fudge-coloured slog through the marriage of Maria (Hanna Schygulla) and Hermann, a union which begins in the rubble of a bomb-blast and is persistently dogged by wreckage. Two pert performances raise this into the rafters: Schygulla in defiant repose, Ivan Desny tenacious and clerk-like as her rich lover Oswald. Also released: Fassbinder's Effi Briest. Retail price pounds 15.99.
Made in Hong Kong is releasing the first titles in its Hong Kong Action series. In John Woo's The Killer, you'll find that an appalling blood-lust and morose funereal bent (the bullet wounds are stigmata) make uneasy bedfellows. Much better is Wong Jing's good-natured God of Gamblers. It's wonderfully original - a card-sharp becomes brain- damaged and is exploited by opportunist hoods - and marred only by atrocious subtitling. Also available: Saviour of the Soul and The Barefoot Kid with more to follow. pounds 12.99 each.
Some Dunkirk spirit is called for to brave the movies released to commemorate D-Day. Warner has Peckinpah's Cross of Iron and old stalwarts The Colditz Story, The Dambusters and The Cruel Sea ( pounds 10.99 each). Fox weighs in with widescreens of Patton, MASH and The Blue Max ( pounds 12.99 each), but deals the trump card in a box-set of The Longest Day. At pounds 19.99, you'll need to flog Grandad's medals to get your paws on it.Reuse content