VIDEO REVIEWS

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Loved (15)

Fox Pathe, rental HHHH

This elliptical picture revolves around Robin Wright Penn's testimony against an abusive ex-boyfriend who has since left one girl in a wheelchair and another in a grave. An opening cameo from Sean Penn sets the tormented tone of Erin Digman's movie which reveals complex and personal relationships. While recalling the physical and mental abuse that drove her to attempt suicide, Penn is insistent about their love and admits to feelings of envy regarding his subsequent violent relationships. William Hurt (above) gives a superb performance as the attorney who tries to unravel their bond.

Meet Joe Black (12)

Universal, rental & DVD retail H

Under no circumstances meet Joe Black, since he is possibly the most boring man alive. Or dead, for that matter. Otherwise known as the Grim Reaper, Black (Brad Pitt) takes over the body of a young man killed in a car crash, though this Dr Death has standards. Not only does he choose a bronzed catalogue-man's body, but he inveigles his way into the home of a media tycoon who also happens to have a beautiful daughter, an enviable art collection and house the size of a small town. Even if you can handle the concept of Death falling in love, at three hours long, this film will sap your will to live.

Henry Fool (18)

Columbia, rental HHHH

Hal Hartley's engaging fable centres on the efforts of charismatic drifter Henry Fool (Thomas Jay Ryan) to tap the literary talents of gauche garbage man Simon Grim (James Urbaniak). When Grim's scatological sonnet, written in Shakespearian pentameters, is put on the Internet, it creates a national scandal and earns him a $200,000 publishing deal. But while the precocious pupil goes from strength to strength, the mentor fails to get his work published. Hartley's film brims with witty observations on the nature of art, and contains droll performances, particularly from Parker Posey as Grim's sexually disturbed sister.

Touch (15)

Fox Pathe, retail HH

Despite an interesting plot and a good cast, Paul Schrader's adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel is disappointing, principally because the director is unsure whether or not we should take the characters seriously. Skeet Ulrich plays an ex-monk in possession of strange healing powers and Christopher Walken (above) is the salesman who aims to exploit him. But despite its failings, there is an element of down-to-earth charm in Touch. When Bridget Fonda, Walken's sidekick, takes Ulrich under her wing, she invites him into her house and sweetly asks, "Is it alright to put stigmata blood in the wash?"

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