Film: Video watch

The Game (15), Polygram (available to rent from Monday)

Michael Douglas has turned in his best work stumbling blindly around cramped screenplays in which his characters find themselves stranded up existential dead-ends - a capacity for raging impotence best seen in Joel Schumacher's Falling Down. And who better to pile on inescapable woe than David Fincher? Sigourney Weaver's battle with the 8 ft stick insect never looked so futile as it did in the director's oppressive third instalment of the Alien series and Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt were able to do nothing to stop Kevin Spacey punishing a full complement of sinners in Fincher's Seven.

Douglas plays Nicholas Van Orton, a ruthless tycoon haunted by the suicide of his father, and who's as neurotic as he is wealthy. On his 48th birthday, Douglas's younger brother (Sean Penn) persuades him to sign up to "the game", the obtuse point of which "is to discover the point". Within days of agreeing to his participation, Douglas finds that business deals go awry, vice traps are sprung and that his bank accounts have been emptied.

Leant allure by Fincher's chilly lighting and a clinically effective series of bluffs and double-bluffs, the film nevertheless fails to disguise the Tales of the Unexpected-calibre yarn that underpins it - there's even a sinister clown mannequin. The schadenfreude you experience watching Douglas's fall is tempered by his nastiness in the first place and the film's final twist betrays a cosiness you wouldn't have thought Fincher capable of. 2/5

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (15), Fox Pathe (available to rent now)

Sacrificing his Union Jack E-type Jaguar and bevy of "shagadelic" babes, Britain's top secret agent, Austin Powers (Mike Myers) follows his arch- enemy, Dr Evil, into cryogenic storage and is woken 30 years after swinging London's summer of love to find Dr Evil (Mike Myers too) on the rampage again. Worse still for the old adversaries, they're feeling a little dated: Austin's Nineties assistant, Vanessa Kensington (posh-u-like Liz Hurley) finds his advances neither cheeky nor enticing and Dr Evil is dismayed to find that the world's superpowers aren't trembling at his million-dollar ransom demands.

It's a pity Mike Myers couldn't have picked a less obvious target for this cheap and cheerful spoof - you needn't be an espionage expert to see that the adventures of James Bond and his super-spy spin-offs (The Man from UNCLE and The Avengers) were produced with self-parodying laughs as well as suspense in mind.

Aiming low throughout, Myers and director Jay Roach miss more often than not with a series of irritating cheap sight gags. Still, there are belly laughs to be had, here, not least from Myers' cheesy portrayal of Austin himself - think Countdown's Richard Madeley played by Leslie Phillips and Dr Evil's fractious relationship with his grumpy teenage son. 2/5

News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

    £15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

    Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

    Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

    Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

    £18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

    Day In a Page

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links