VIDEO ROUND-UP / By the light of the tube: John Lyttle reviews new releases including Frankie & Johnny, Def By Temptation and Under Suspicion

FRANKIE & JOHNNY (CIC 15 113 mins). For sour sentimentalists. Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer, both spectacularly miscast, work as a short-order cook and waitress, each leery of emotional entanglement. After many misunderstandings and snappy one-liners and hesitations, the couple uneasily become lovers, just like the characters in the hoary old song. This is condescending Hollywood fakery with wafer-thin pretensions to realism, yet the essential artifice is what makes it, on some silly level, satisfying. You can giggle at the cliches and still be captivated by the prefabricated sitcom feelings. The story also works better on the small screen. Available 17 July.

ROVER DANGERFIELD (Warner U 70 mins). The animation isn't what it could be, the sound recording has a hollow ring and the songs are indifferent, but this animated feature provides a fair measure of fun. Much like the man behind its star voice, American comic Rodney Dangerfield, here transformed into a hip Las Vegas dog driven out of town (by gangster pooches) to the countryside, there to find love and friendship. Children should enjoy Dangerfield's blatant cheek, adults will appreciate his jaundiced world view. Available 22 July.

IRON MAZE (First Independent 15 98 mins). Thriller fuelled by America's current Japanphobia. Oriental billionaire plans to buy a Pennsylvania steel mill, only to be found badly battered. A racist attack or something more? Hiroaki Yoshida's film aims for complexity - practically all the cast members are given the opportunity to illuminate their version of events - and achieves complete confusion, leaving Bridget Fonda and flavour-of-the-month Jeff Fahey to pant their way through sub-noir sex scenes. On release.

DEF BY TEMPTATION (Troma/Orpheus 18 94 mins). An instant addition to the canon of so-bad-it's-good classics and, inadvertently, a fascinating glimpse into the contradictions of contemporary American black culture. The Devil is hanging around a grotty New York singles bar disguised as a lissome lovely, picking up arrogant black studs and guilt-ridden husbands and clawing them to death (while sweet soul music plays on the soundtrack). Then a young unsullied preacher (James Bond III) comes to Sin City, leading to the traditional clash between Good and Evil. Bond writes, directs and stars, and he wants to eat his cake. The plot establishes its victims as sexists or 'perverts' (ie gay), but, offensively, views female sexuality as evil: 'She's one hot bitch'. It speaks volumes that the heroine is a Bible-thumping gospel Grannie, the traditional face of black conservatism. Available 8 July.

QUEEN'S LOGIC (FoxVideo 15 100 mins). A group of friends come together again at a wedding in the old neighbourhood of Queen's, New York. Steve Rash aims for Big Chill territory and lands closer to a blue collar thirtysomething (Ken Olin appears as Ray, the token artist). Still, this deadpan mid- life crisis comedy-drama is undeniably compulsive in its simplified TV fashion, thanks to a cleverly worked script and some heartening acting from John Malkovich - playing a gay man who can't understand other gay men - Jamie Lee Curtis, Joe Mantegna and Kevin Bacon. On release. See Competitions.

MANNEQUIN ON THE MOVE (Warner PG 91 mins). Less a sequel, more a remake of the unexpectedly successful Mannequin, the story of a department store dummy (Kristy Swanson) that comes to life when love breaks an ancient curse. Quite a few ancient curses may come to viewers' minds as the first movie's gags are hauled over the coals again. On release.

BODY PARTS (CIC 18 85 mins). Straight-to-video for this uncredited, updated remake of The Hands of Orlac, directed by Eric Red, writer of vampire classic After Dark. The idea has juice - criminal psychologist Jeff Fahey loses an arm in a car accident, becoming the grateful recipient of a serial killer's reluctantly donated limb - but the execution is as slapdash as it is predictable, despite the series of rather prankish murders which bloodily reclaim the killer's missing extremities. On release.

UNDER SUSPICION (20/20 18 97 mins). Engaging Fifties-set English murder mystery provides the old-fashioned pleasure of figuring out whodunnit. Seedy Liam Neeson has been ejected from the police force - his sexual adventures accidentally led to a fellow officer's death - and now works as a private detective, specialising in divorce cases. Neeson's wife and a client, a famous painter, are brutally shot in a seaside hotel, and Neeson is suspect Number One. The film teeters on the verge of being more disturbing than it actually is (there's one coincidence too many before the end), but writer/director Simon Moore keeps you guessing. On release. See Competitions.

LIEBESTRAUM (Warner 18 108 mins). Hysterically overheated erotic thriller, a one-note exercise in 'style' at the expense of audience interest. An architectural expert (Kevin Anderson), visiting his dying mother, becomes involved with an old friend's wife, duplicating the circumstances of a 40-year-old murder. This may sound like fun. It isn't, not at this funereal pace. Available 22 July.

THE LONG WALK HOME (FoxVideo PG 92 mins). Moving - if a mite literal and liberal - recreation of the 1955 Alabama bus boycott that helped bring an end to segregation. Sissy Spacek and Whoopi Goldberg bounce beautifully off one another as well-meaning white lady and proud, put-upon maid, illuminating their roles with rare intelligence. Despite the historically accurate events however, there's a surprising lack of tension, as if the production team was being careful not to inflame present-day passions. On release. See Competitions.


Widescreen comes to the small screen with a vengeance this month. The 'letterbox' format offers advantages and disadvantages. Purists should enjoy seeing the full cinema image intact as opposed to the usual 'pan and scan' method employed for video and television (publicity material clams that 33 per cent more of the image can be seen). The unconvinced will complain that big action scenes can sometimes be rendered indistinct, imposing eye strain, and that subtitles, kept to their original projection ratio, become close to unreadable. Whatever, three major video distributors, FoxVideo, Columbia Tristar and CIC, are unleashing a variety of Widescreen fare, hoping to stimulate interest in older titles noted for visual sweep. Columbia Tristar offers Lawrence of Arabia (the restored director's cut), Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Kenneth Branagh's version of Henry V, canny choices with an emphasis on spectacle. Prices range from pounds 10.99 to pounds 14.99. The FoxVideo catalogue embraces a broader spectrum of genres. Musicals include Rogers and Hammerstein's South Pacific, The King and I, Carousel and The Sound of Music. Sci-fi films are represented by The Abyss, Return of the Jedi and Alien. War and action fans will gravitate to The Longest Day, Die Hard 2 and Tora, Tora, Tora, though the latter proves that not even the latest gimmick can save a movie that was a turkey the first time around. Release date: 11 July. Retail price: pounds 12.99. On 6 July CIC unveil the Widescreen ET, backing up Born on the Fourth of July, Flight of the Intruder and Apocalypse Now. Prices between pounds 9.99 to pounds 12.99. Horror fans will doubtless shell out pounds 12.99 for Return of the Living Dead, available at the end of July. True movie buffs with cash to spare will think little of spending pounds 1,300 for Philips 28-inch widescreen television set, pounds 1,100 for the Nokia model and Grundig's deluxe monster, due for August delivery, a snip at pounds 3,500. Prices are approximate.


We have 10 copies of John Malkovich's Queen's Logic video to give away, plus 10 copies of Places in the Heart and 10 tickets to Malkovich's latest hit play, A Slip of the Tongue, now running at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Just name the play Malkovich brought to the West End last year. And who wrote the play?

Ten copies of the thriller Under Suspicion available. Name the movie in which Liam Neeson co-stars with Melanie Griffith. And name the co-star he lived with for two years.

Plus, 20 copies of The Long Walk Home up for grabs. Q: Sissy Spacek's first Oscar nomination was for which role? Whoopi Goldberg practises which profession in The Player?

Rules: one entry per household per competition. Multiple entries are not allowed. Entries must be on a postcard. Competitions close 10 July.

Address postcards to: Walk, Logic or Suspicion, Listings, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing