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The Independent Culture
Le Maman et la Putain (18) Artificial Eye, retail, pounds 15.99 HHHH

Three and a half hours of Parisian Bohos mournfully discussing relationships may not sound like fun. However, Jean Eustache's stark 1973 picture, filmed in his own flat, sharply examines the attitudes to sex of a newly liberated generation, through a script made out of real- life conversation. Alexandre (Jean-Pierre Leaud) is a self-regarding young intellectual who scrounges off his older lover Marie, with whom he lives, and spends his days in cafes reading Proust and picking up girls. He alights upon a timid young nurse, Veronique, who recklessly picks up men in her spare time and becomes embroiled in a three-way relationship with Alexandre and Marie. Strangely gripping.

U-Turn (18) Columbia, rental, HHH

Oliver Stone sends up his own genre in this thriller starring Sean Penn and Jennifer Lopez. Penn is on his way to deliver some cash when he breaks down at a forlorn town in the middle of Arizona. Introducing himself to the locals, he soon becomes involved in the murderous activities of Lopez and her desperado husband, Nick Nolte. He is then pursued by a love-sick Clare Danes and her maniacal lover. Penn's exasperation at the turn of events, seen in an interesting repertoire of facial expressions, provides endless entertainment while Billy Bob Thornton's mutant car mechanic is Stone's most disgusting creation to date. And best of all, there is not a hint Stone's traditional sermonising.

US Marshals (15) Warner, rental H

You may not have thought that you would ever long to see Harrison Ford's furrowed brow all over again, but Stuart Baird's remake of The Fugitive might just prompt a bit of Ford nostalgia. Wesley Snipes plays the obligatory convict who has cast off his shackles after surviving a plane crash, though our sympathies for him only last the duration of his escape. Accused of murdering government officials, Snipes sets out to find the real killers and show the extent of CIA corruption. Tommy Lee Jones plays the Tommy Lee Jones character with the same gruffness. Though the action sequences cannot be faulted, the script is shockingly feeble. Essentially a mediocre retread of a vastly superior action film.

Great Expectations (15) Fox Pathe, rental HHH

Alfonso Cuaron transfers the 19th century events in Dickens's novel (on which the film is "loosely" based) to present day in Florida where Gwyneth Paltrow, as the chilly Estella, gads about in impossibly short skirts while Ethan Hawke, perfecting the lost little boy look, tries his hardest to seduce her. Hawke's artistic talents are seized upon by a Fagan- like Robert De Niro, who ludicrously sets him up with a New York apartment and gives him his own show. As an artist, it seems Hawke can persuade Estella to get her kit off. Electricity? Not a hint of it, though there is much hilarity to be gathered from a deteriorating Anne Bancroft as a brandy-swilling Miss Haversham and De Niro's tramp.

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