VIDEO REVIEWS

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The Independent Culture
The Matrix (15)

Warner, DVD and VHS retail HH

"What do you do if you start to dream," intones Lawrence Fishburne, "and the dream turns out to be more real than reality?" Oh please. This is the kind of drivel that drug-addled students are always coming out with. The Matrix peddles the theory that reality is in fact a computerised simulation of life. Even more alarming is that Keanu Reeves is the one and only cyber-saviour chosen to lead us out of the slavery of the Matrix. Still, you can feast your eyeballs on special effects that make The Terminator look like Fingerbob. It passes the time better than Reeves does.

Human Traffic (18) Metrodome, rental & DVD retail HHHH

Any film labelled as the next Trainspotting would normally prompt weary sighs, but Justin Kerrigan's debut, though not without its irritations, is better than might be expected. It focuses on five friends with names like Kip, Joop and Moff who embark on a well-planned, ecstasy-filled weekend. Kerrigan avoids the usual moralising about drug-taking, though he does point out some unfortunate side-effects, notably impotence and hangovers. The film has an exhilarating devil-may-care feel about it and Kerrigan underscores the group's lost weekend with an exceptionally sweet romance.

Another Day in Paradise (18)

Metrodome, rental HH

There was never a chance that Larry Clark's follow up to Kids was going to be a romantic comedy. Here he deals with kids and their survival in a world of gangsters and drug addicts. A pair of teenage rebels (Vincent Kartheiser and Natasha Gregson Wagner) are befriended by James Woods and Melanie Griffith and for a while they are a strong, if felonious, family unit. But soon enough, fractures begin to appear and the film's narrative quickly disintegrates into a gratuitous splatterfest. The production's only redeeming feature is Griffith who has finally given up pouting at the camera and started acting.

Lolita (18)

FilmFour, retail HH

Themes of forbidden desire shape Adrian Lyne's version of Vladimir Nabokov's novel. Its cinematic release was delayed due to the controversial subject matter - a middle-aged man's infatuation with a 12-year-old girl - but Lynne has at least secured himself a get-out clause by ensuring that our anti-hero, Humbert Humbert, is destroyed by his desire. We watch his remorse at having raped a girl and his murder of a man whose deviancy mirrors his own, but where Nabokov cunningly tricked us into liking Humbert, Jeremy Irons in the lead remains unsympathetically lecherous.

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