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The Independent Culture
The Apple (15)

An unemployed man and his blind wife keep their twin 12-year-old daughters locked up in their Tehran home; only after neighbours and social workers intervene are the girls allowed contact with the outside world. The Apple is a quasi-documentary re-enactment of a true story, inspired by a television news report and shot in 11 days. It is a fascinating first film by 18-year-old Samira Makhmalbaf (daughter of director Mohsen). As in Abbas Kiarostami's Close Up (one of the great works of recent Iranian cinema), the characters are all played by their real-life counterparts, who were not required to follow a script so much as react to situations devised by the film-makers (Mohsen Makhmalbaf is credited as co-screenwriter). Richly metaphoric, subtly ironic, and finally, quite moving, the film yields more with each viewing.

What Dreams May Come (15) At once light-headed and lugubrious, Vincent Ward's film has a vision of the afterlife that makes death seem even more of a frightful proposition. It opens, nauseatingly, with Chris (Robin Williams) and Annie (Anabella Sciorra) meeting on a lake in the Alps, and quickly flashes forward to tragedy, killing off the couple's two young children in a car crash. Cut to a few years hence, and Chris perishes in similar fashion. But, the film insists, love is stronger than death. Or something to that effect. While Sciorra is bland and oddly susceptible to fits of hysterical cackling, Williams resorts to crinkly-faced simpering. Ward and screenwriter Ron Bass's attempts to bridge the numerous plot chasms consist mainly of blinding bursts of white light. And the over-the-top special effects are phantasmagorical without ever conveying wonder or enchantment.

Rush Hour (15)

Motormouthed Chris Tucker, he of the nitrous-oxide voice, plays an LAPD cop who's assigned to work with a Chinese agent (Jackie Chan) on a kidnapping case. The result is a third-rate buddy- movie, directed by Brett Ratner, based on nothing more than the stars' respective schticks and a string of feeble, dubious race-based gags.