Film: Recorded Delivery

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Albino Alligator (18) Columbia, rental, 13 March On the run after an armed robbery, a trio of desperados burst into a basement bar and take its occupants hostage. In Kevin Spacey's much-anticipated directorial debut, Matt Dillon lends surprising weight to the vulnerable, jittery ringleader, accompanied by his more level-headed brother (a poignant Gary Sinise). It is the stylish camerawork and well-observed characters - if a little humourless - that separate Albino Alligator from the glut of bungled heist flicks, though it is still light years away from Dog Day Afternoon. HHH

187 (15), Warner, rental, 13 March Kevin Reynolds' take on inner-city education and gangsters is, by turns, stylish and stupid. Samuel L Jackson is a beleaguered science teacher who is stabbed by one of his pupils. His distress at returning to work is reflected through deadpan colours, blurred shots and unsettling close- ups. But just as he seems to be getting over the incident, he ludicrously starts throwing hypodermic blowdarts at his problem pupils and chopping off their fingers. This may well be something about which teachers fantasise but it makes for an absurd plot. HH

Event Horizon (18) CIC, rental, 13 March Melting eyeballs, buckets of blood and a crashing soundtrack shape Paul Anderson's intergalactic slasher. A monosyllabic Laurence Fishburne heads a crew sent to investigate a disaster-struck spaceship on Neptune. Sam Neill plays the regulation mad scientist and creator of the eponymous craft, who announces that he equipped it with an unprecedented gravity drive. The log reveals that the craft sped to hell and back; its crew are mincemeat and it has returned carrying an evil force that drives all who cross it to confront their worst nightmares. Alien, anybody? HH

Portraits Chinois (15) Film Four, retail, 9 March, pounds 14.99 Martine Dugowson's film revolves around a bunch of bed-hopping thirtysomethings in film and fashion. Helena Bonham-Carter makes a worthy debut as a French- speaking English rose, but there is little else to applaud in this Gallic Friends. The characters lack warmth, and their kooky conversation and petty problems elicit little sympathy. And watching Jean-Claude Brialy's sickly fashion designer masturbating down the back of his Regency chaise- longue is just the last straw. H