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The Independent Culture
Before Sunset (15)


This big-hearted sequel to Richard Linklater's 1993 film, Before Sunrise, sees Jesse (Ethan Hawke), a successful American writer, travelling to Paris to promote his new novel. There, he runs into his ex-lover Celine (Julie Delpy), now an environmental campaigner with a confused emotional life. The couple have just over an hour before Jesse has to catch his flight home, and spend this time speculating on what might have been. The chemistry between the two leads is, if anything, richer and deeper than before, while the dialogue is fast and funny. A perfect companion piece, Before Sunset is proof that you don't need a billion-dollar budget to create cinematic magic.

Bride and Prejudice (12)


On paper, Gurinder Chadha's Bollywoodisation of Pride and Prejudice might seem like an enticing proposition. The problems facing a 21st-century family in India and Austen's characters prove startlingly similar, while the kaleidoscopic costumes and boisterous dance routines certainly gives the original text some added spice. There are problems, though, not least in the schmaltzy songs and the saccharine performances of the two leads (Lalita Bakshi and Martin Henderson). All suspense is squandered as the story is dragged from Goa to London to Los Angeles, while Austen's acute social observations are obliterated in favour of drippy romance. Oh dear.

Wimbledon (12)

Universal, VHS & DVD H

Romantic comedies don't come much more predictable than Richard Loncraine's Wimbledon, a Working Title production that clearly fancies itself as next in line to the improbably popular trilogy Four Weddings..., Notting Hill and Love Actually. Paul Bettany plays the fading British tennis champ, whose game is suddenly improved after he beds Kirsten Dunst's Lizzie Bradbury, a rising star in US tennis. All the familiar plotlines are here: bumbling Englishman falls for feisty American chick, the public profession of love, the airport dash. There's even a Rhys Ifans-type role in the form of Colt's cheeky younger brother (James McAvoy). What a load of balls.

Wicker Park (12)

Momentum, VHS & DVD H

This pointless remake of Gilles Mimouni's stylish psychological drama L'Appartement casts Josh Hartnett as the soon-to-be-wed advertising executive, who spots his old flame in a cafe and moves heaven and earth to track her down. It might just have worked had the youthful cast been able to bring some emotional weight to their roles. Alas, Hartnett is more sulky schoolboy than Hitchcockian hero, while Diane Kruger, who plays the unfortunate object of his desire, looks positively catatonic. Add to that some truly terrible plot contrivances (an ad-man without a mobile phone? I don't think so), and the result is really rather disastrous.