VIDEO REVIEWS

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The Independent Culture
LA Confidential (18) Warner, retail, pounds 15.99 HHHH

To put an ingeniously complex plot in the simplest terms, Curtis Hanson's award-winning thriller, based on James Ellroy's novel, follows three LA cops and a classy hooker (Kim Basinger) in a town where the press, the mobsters and the police are almost indistinguishable. Danny De Vito is a paparazzo who engineers compromising clinches between prominent figures and prostitutes, working closely with a seedy celebrity cop (Kevin Spacey). The searing ambitiousness of the young cop Ed Exley is executed with cut- throat precision by Guy Pearce, while Russell Crowe's Bud White is a terrifying time bomb, visiting revenge on wife-beaters after a violent childhood. Classic film noir.

Martha, Meet Daniel, Frank and Laurence (15) FilmFour, rental HH

Nick Halm's balmy Britcom sees Monica Potter as an American bombshell on the run from a dead-end job and an unsatisfactory boyfriend who has the misfortune to meet three of London's most dysfunctional men (Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes and Tom Hollander). All are seduced by her straight-talking zest and each makes a bid for her affections. Due to a tired script, Martha fails to come across as the requisite feisty female and the saccharine content soon becomes suffocating. But Ray Winstone's pretend psychiatrist provides gritty relief and the male characters offer pleasing entertainment, particularly Joseph Fiennes and Tom Hollander.

The Wedding Singer (12) Entertainment, rental HHHH

Frank Coraci's romantic comedy stars Adam Sandler as Robbie, a blow-dried, mulleted wedding crooner who excels in the opening credits with a cover of Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Right Round (Like a Record)". The soundtrack, featuring the Thompson Twins, Kajagoogoo and the Smiths, is a knockout and, together with a shocking wardrobe predominantly made up of turquoise and pink, is clearly the reason why the film was made. Other treats include Steve Buscemi's imitation of Spandau Ballet and a wonderful cameo from a leathery-faced Billy Idol. This is a rollercoaster ride in Eighties nostalgia and, even with its generous helpings of schmaltz, only the truly chilly-hearted will fail to be warmed by it.

Going All the Way (15) Polygram, rental HHH

This occasionally moving rites-of-passage drama features Jeremy Davies and Ben Affleck as two soldier buddies returning home in 1954. Davies plays Sonny, a geeky conscript who, after doing routine service, takes up with Affleck's charismatic jock. They both set out to sample all the alcoholic and carnal pleasures that their backward home town has to offer. "If you lie with dogs you'll come up with fleas," claims Sonny's maniacal mother on observing their developing friendship. She enlists a criminal-turned-evangelist to offer her son moral guidance. Just as Sonny settles down to enjoy a girlie mag, he is interrupted from the top bunk by a tirade of quotes from the Book of Leviticus.

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