RECORDED DELIVERY

A critical guide to the week's videos
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Primal Fear (18) CIC, retail, pounds 13.99, 7 July. There's something about Richard Gere's groomed good looks that make him truly insidious in unsympathetic roles - his corrupt cop in Internal Affairs, for example, rates as one of his best performances to date. So, the prospect of Gere as a vain, exhibitionist lawyer sounds promising. Sadly, Gere sleepwalks through this ludicrous courtroom drama (an altar boy accused of murdering a bishop no less - Agatha Christie eat your heart out), failing to lend any complexity to his character or energy to his slick-talking sophistry and showmanship. Worse still, the film is flat and lacking in both suspense and plausibility, its tortuously contrived twists padded out with much psychological mumbo-jumbo.

Hamlet (PG) Columbia TriStar, rental, 9 July. Thoroughly upstaged by Baz Luhrmann's scintillatingly cinematic Romeo and Juliet, Branagh's Hamlet is overlong, all-inclusive and over-stuffed with star cameos - everyone from Julie Christie's rather wonderful Gertrude to Ken Dodd in the little- seen role of Yorick. Set in some 19th-century time of war, the film gorges on lush costumes and barnstorming action, but somehow lacks soul, with Branagh's Dane a (necessarily) stocky, pugnacious little prince.

How to Make an American Quilt (15) CIC, retail pounds 13.99, 7 July. A group of wise, older women sew a quilt for Winona Ryder's forthcoming wedding, spinning individual tales from life's rich tapestry while Winona decides whether she actually wants to marry her carpenter boyfriend. There's impeccable ensemble playing from Anne Bancroft, Maya Angelou, and Jean Simmons, who each have their own flashback narrative, and some gorgeous photography from Janusz Kaminski, but this softly feminist fairytale is ultimately rather toothless - must have been all that sugar.

The Mirror Has Two Faces (15) Columbia TriStar, rental, 9 July. And they both belong to Barbra Streisand (above), playing a frumpy teacher of romance fiction who's lacking the old Mills and Boon in real life. It seems a bit gauche to include the word "mirror" in the title of your latest vanity project, but, having seen this self-homage to the ugly duckling, you end up suspecting it has more to do with Babs's shameless, movie-diva megalomania.

Liese Spencer

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