Universal, rental H
The familiar Hitchcock classic is reconstructed by Gus Van Sant with a new cast and a splash of colour. Anne Heche plays the hapless Marion Crane who filches the company cash and hits the road. Vince Vaughn's Norman Bates is hardest to swallow, principally because he is too good-looking - and it takes more than a hyena-style giggle to convince people that you are mad. But the basic problem is that Van Sant has chosen to reproduce something that was an absolute product of its time, from the mannered acting to the basic plot. These days, a girl knows instinctively when not to get into the shower.
The Opposite of Sex (18)
Columbia, rental & DVD retail HHHH
It must be difficult to come to terms with the fact that your talent lies in being unpleasant. But hot on the heels of Buffalo 66, Christina Ricci gets a off to a flying start in Don Roos's sparky comedy as she flicks her cigarette but into her stepfather's newly-dug grave, announcing "I don't have a heart of gold and I don't grow one, OK?" Ricci is the teenage Dedee, who turns her half-brother's (Martin Donovan) life upside down when she moves in with him. Ricci's performance is scorching and is backed up by a fine comic turn from Lisa Kudrow.
The Acid House (18)
FilmFour, rental & DVD retail HHHH
These three shorts culled from Irvine Welsh's book of short stories are, by turns, droll and depressing. All set in the grubby outskirts of Edinburgh, by far the best is The Granton Star Cause. This is a skewed take on Kafka's Metamorphosis which sees Stephen McCole's waster Boab losing his job, girlfriend and home and finally getting turned into a fly by Maurice Roeves's vengeful God, whom he meets down the pub. Not only must Boab endure the torment of eating shit, but he is subjected to the sight of his parents indulging in sado-masochistic sex. Sick, I know, but brilliantly funny.
Columbia, rental H
With a title like this, you can probably imagine the rest. First you'll laugh, and then you'll cry. Stepmom is designed to tug at the heartstrings of all those with a 'mom', which, one presumes, is most of us. It is even dedicated to the director's own mom. Susan Sarandon plays a middle-aged matriarch and model mom playing tug-of-love over her sprogs with Julia Roberts, her estranged husband's new squeeze. Just when you think it's going to turn into a rollicking catfight, Sarandon develops cancer and the last hour of the film is filled with platitudes as the women bond in a way people only ever do in films.Reuse content