VCI, rental HHH
Todd Haynes's examination of the Seventies Glam era, loosely based on real-life events and personalities, centres around Christian Bale's drippy journalist. In a Citizen Kane-style flashback narrative, we follow his attempts to track down his one-time idol, Brian Slade (a Bowiesque Jonathon Rhys Meyers), who disappeared after faking his own assassination on stage. Though Haynes stylishly juxtaposes tales of decadence and music-industry marketing practices, his study of a pop culture that embraced bisexuality, glitter and cocaine offers few surprises. There are moments to be savoured, though, particularly when Ewan McGregor's Curt Wild, a hybrid of Kurt Cobain and Iggy Pop, gives his outrageous stage performances.
Halloween H20 (18)
Buena Vista, rental HHH
Twenty years on, Michael Myers is still trying to skewer his sister, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), having already turned most of her friends into mincemeat. This time he finds himself taken with her 17-year-old son, John, a handsome boy who certainly looks ripe for filleting. The picture fails to elucidate on pressing questions such as: Why does Myers insist on wearing a comedy mask and wig? And: Where has he been for the last 20 years? There are some laughs to be had from rapper LL Cool J as a bumbling security guard, and plenty of look-behind-you tension to keep devotees of classic stalk-and-slash satiated, but the grim sadism of the first Halloween instalment is sadly absent.
Dancing at Lughnasa (15)
Film Four, rental HH
Despite its optimistic title, Pat O'Connor's film, based on the hit play by Brian Friel, is more likely to have you snoozing on the sofa than dancing in the streets. Meryl Streep heads a heavyweight cast as the eldest of five sisters living in a small Donegal town in 1936. Each sister longs for something better, but is reluctant to leave the safety of the homestead. Catherine McCormack's illegitimate son provides the grossly sentimental narrative voice but fails to sweep up our sympathies, as he just falls short of saying, "Things were never the same after that fateful summer." With its bicycle-riding, riverdancing and endless Irish pipes, Dancing at Lughnasa comes across as another in a long line of cliche-ridden Oirish flicks.
Picture Perfect (PG)
Fox Pathe, retail H
The flimsy talents of Jennifer Aniston are showcased in this contrived and sickly sweet romantic comedy. She plays Kate, an ambitious advertising executive and spoilt social climber with a ludicrous crush on creepy man- about-the-office Sam (a skeletal Kevin Bacon). To make him jealous and impress her bosses, she invents a fiance based on an unsuspecting man she meets at a wedding. The camera shamelessly lingers around Aniston's gleaming teeth, ample cleavage and the infamous hairdo; it even gets cut, curled and styled as she deliberates her marriageable attributes with her mother. But worst of all is the fact that this rarely funny picture revolves around such a dislikeable person.