FILM: RECORDED DELIVERY
After an arresting opening scene - a harrowing yet magnificent nuclear explosion - Mimi Leder's espionage thriller takes an irretrievably downward turn. Nicole Kidman is a nuclear scientist in pursuit of a cluster of hijacked nuclear warheads, while a smarmy George Clooney is the gung-ho intelligence officer dispatched to proffer patronising "on the field" advice. There are gaping holes in the plot, the script is riddled with cliches and the plight of the Eastern Europeans is tragically trivialised. Equality is also supposed to be a pertinent issue here, but things are by no means balanced. Kidman, on whose shoulders this potential nuclear disaster is resting, is left teetering on high heels and poring over the maps while Clooney gets to go to Russia and kick terrorist butt. These two make Demi Moore's GI Jane look smart. H
Alien Resurrection (18) Fox Pathe, rental, 25 May A plodding script fashions this third instalment of the sweaty slasher-in-space series, despite an ingenious plot. After hundreds of years of experimentation, Ripley (a wise-cracking Sigourney Weaver) has been brought back to life to find alien DNA sloshing about in her cells. Jean-Pierre Jeunet's film plays more on our stomachs than on our cerebral fears, offering a veritable feast of glistening guts and blood-splattered debris. For the modest entree, we are presented with a Caesarean birth where Ripley has an alien infant removed from her tummy, and a lavish main course shows Ripley being enveloped by a giant, dribbling, mucus- oozing, mater alien. Perversely entertaining but not a patch on the original. HH
The Winter Guest (15), Film Four, rental, 18 May Real-life mother and daughter Phyllida Law and Emma Thompson valiantly grapple with bereavement in a remote village off the coast of Scotland in Alan Rickman's beautifully photographed directorial debut. Their emotional, though rather monotonous dialogue covers issues of growing, parenting, ageing and death with disappointing brevity. Warmer sub-plots are introduced as Thompson's son is seduced by a local girl, and two schoolboys experiment with the notion that a spot of deep heat in the right area results in greater virility. HHH
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