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The Independent Culture
The Land Girls (12)

FilmFour, rental HH

Rachel Weisz, Anna Friel and Catherine McCormack are the "land girls" called upon during the Second World War to work on a Dorset farm in place of the young men who have gone to war. One by one, they become romantically involved with the farmer's son, Joe, whose heart murmur has prevented him from fighting. The three actresses do their best, but they fail to rise above stereotypes foisted upon them by the script. Their class credentials are measured by the speed at which they will get their knickers off - Ag is the aristocratic virgin, Stella is the sensible middle- class girl, while Prue is the working-class slapper who does her level best to sleep with every man in the village. Entertainment for the empty- headed.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (18) CIC, rental HHHH

Despite its cumbersome title, writer/ director Guy Ritchie's portrayal of low-life east London is a prime example of the British crime movie. Nick Moran plays a smalltime hustler whose attempt to outwit crime boss Harry the Hatchet in a card game goes seriously awry. He and his three chums must raise half a million quid in a week or else one of Harry's sidekicks will start removing their fingers, one by one. An intricately plotted farce takes shape involving a pair of antique shotguns, some Oxbridge drug dealers and the endearingly evil hardman Big Chris (Vinnie Jones), whose main concern in life is to look out for his son, Little Chris. The script brims with rib-tickling one-liners and witty slang.

The Boxer (18)

CIC, retail HHHH

Fourteen years in prison has put former boxer Danny Flynn (a suitably sullen Daniel Day-Lewis) at odds with the outside world. Now, ill-at-ease about his former IRA allegiance, he stirs up antagonism with former associates by starting a non-sectarian boxing club and tossing a cache of Semtex, discovered in the community centre, into the river. And, earning the antipathy of Gerard McSorley's gun-toting hard man, he tries to rekindle his teenage romance with Maggie (Emily Watson), wife of an IRA prisoner. Jim Sheridan's melancholy drama doesn't quite reach the emotional pitch of In the Name of the Father, but this account of Belfast as it approaches the first ceasefire feels significantly more even-handed.

The Wedding Singer (12)

Entertainment, retail HHHH

Frank Coraci's romantic comedy stars Adam Sandler as Robbie, a blow-dried, mulleted wedding crooner who excels in the opening credits with a cover of Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Right Round (Like a Record)". The soundtrack, featuring the Thompson Twins, Kajagoogoo and the Smiths, is a knockout and, together with a shocking wardrobe predominantly made up of turquoise and pink, is clearly the reason why the film was made. Other treats include Steve Buscemi's imitation of Spandau Ballet and a wonderful cameo from leathery-faced Billy Idol. This is a rollercoaster ride through Eighties nostalgia and, even with its generous helpings of schmaltz, only the chilly-hearted will fail to be warmed by it.

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