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The Independent Culture
The Jackal (18)

CIC, retail HH

Bruce Willis is the eponymous assassin in Michael Caton-Jones's glossy, gun-toting re-make of The Day of the Jackal. Richard Gere, sporting a strangely convincing accent, is the oily IRA terrorist wheeled in to help track him down. Bursting at the seams with melodramatic one-liners, the film elicits much unintentional hilarity, and boasts some superbly executed disguises for the wily Willis. One minute he is one of Harry Enfield's Old Gits, the next he is Gay Man, complete with pink polo shirt and a yacht called Miss Garbo. Despite the cold-blooded role, Willis indulges himself with a lop-sided smirk, though he somehow keeps a straight face when confronted with Leslie Phillips as an arms dealer. Idiot-friendly entertainment.

Washington Square (15)

Buena Vista HH

Perhaps it was not Henry James's intention that we feel the urge to slap his heroine for her dim-wittedness, but this, unfortunately, is what Agnieska Holland's adaptation of his sombre novel makes you want to do. First off, we see Catherine as a child so anxious as the prospect of singing in front of her father that she wets herself. The grown-up Catherine (Jennifer Jason Leigh) handles social situations with only slightly more grace as she giggles and trips over her skirts. You can't help but sympathise with her father (Albert Finney) who pours scorn on her charmlessness. There are amusing moments provided by Maggie Smith as the aunt, but for the most part Washington Square proves an uncomfortable watch.

Blues Brothers 2000 (PG)


John Landis's remake of The Blues Brothers basks in the same facetious humour as its 1980 predecessor, with endless car chases and motorway pile-ups though has no discernible plot. The late John Belushi is replaced by a half-hearted John Goodman, seemingly chosen because of his waist measurements rather than charisma. Landis has managed to dredge up a starry supply of musicians with some impressive new additions including the radiant Erykah Badu and the precocious 16-year-old blues singer Jonny Lang - Dan Akyroyd even gets to jam with BB King and James Brown. But even the presence of some rabble-rousing songs can't make up for the hackneyed humour in a film that was pretty dated in the 1980s but now seems prehistoric.

Lost In Space (PG)

Entertainment HHH

Stephen Hopkins's extravagant take on the 1960s cult series sees the Robinson family propelled into space in a combined trip to engage in some much-needed family therapy and save the human race. The film preserves the TV programme's cosy slant - we remain more preoccupied with the family relations than whether or not they will save the earth. Aesthetically, the picture cannot be faulted and will satiate the appetites of special- effects devotees. Unlike the Lego-style creations in the TV series, the surface of the Robinson craft shimmers through the galaxy while the other- wordly textures of their barren destination makes you want to reach out and touch it. Hopkins's picture is designed to divert the senses but not tax the brain.