VIDEO REVIEWS

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The Independent Culture
Titanic Town (15)

Alliance, rental HHH

Roger Michell of Notting Hill fame directs this gritty account of the Troubles, circa 1972. It is based on the true story of Bernie McPhelimy (Julie Walters), a housewife who gets fed up with attending to gunned- down soldiers on her front lawn. After her best friend gets shot in the street, she is galvanised into a peace campaign that sets her at odds with both the IRA and the British government. Walters is terrific, boldly enduring the scorn of her neighbours and her family, though best of all is Nuala O'Neill, who makes her debut as McPhelimy's aggrieved teenage daughter.

The Mask of Zorro (PG)

CIC, rental HHHH

This old-fashioned take on the Zorro legend sees Anthony Hopkins showing Antonio Banderas how to handle a rapier. After languishing in prison for twenty years, Hopkins's elderly Zorro escapes and seeks to avenge his wife's murder. Meanwhile Banderas's bandit mourns the loss of his brother after he is killed by the governor's right-hand man. After the pair join forces, Zorro Jnr strikes cheesy poses in front of the sunset with Zorro Snr looking on. Banderas and Hopkins are a winning double act while Catherine Zeta Jones shines as the libidinous love interest.

Sliding Doors (15)

CIC, retail HH

Gwyneth Paltrow sports opposing haircuts as she pursues alternative destinies in Peter Howitt's romantic comedy. In the first, she rushes to catch the train home after losing her job, but misses it and so doesn't arrive in time to find her two- timing boyfriend in flagrante. In the second, she makes it on to the train, meets a pathologically wacky John Hannah, gets home and catches Lynch in the act. Paltrow's Notting Hill accent is impressive enough, though Hannah's joke Scotsman will have you reaching for the mute button. Nice idea, shame about the script.

The Blackout (18)

VCI, retail HH

Abel Ferrara's degenerate psycho-drama sees a coke-addled movie star (Matthew Modine) driving his pregnant girlfriend (Beatrice Dalle) into leaving him. Grief-stricken, he goes on a binge with Dennis Hopper's director and ends up blacking out. Eighteen months later, he suffers nightmares about a murder and bouts of paranoia lead him to seek out characters from his former life. While Modine does his best with a terrible script, Hopper acts with ludicrous ferocity. Ferrara's depiction of hedonism revolves around cocaine and embarrassingly lascivious girls.

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