The Independent film guide
Saturday 30 May 1998
Director: Agnieszka Holland
Starring: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Albert Finney, Ben Chaplin, Maggie Smith
Bringing up the rear of the latest Henry James boom comes the story of the mousy New York heiress (Jennifer Jason Leigh) whose dour father (Albert Finney) forbids her marriage to a dashing but penniless suitor (Ben Chaplin).
In the hands of Polish director Agnieszka Holland, it is tasteful and carefully observed, but distinctly lacking in passion, with the central trio so muted that Maggie Smith is allowed to steal the show as Leigh's interfering aunt. Besides, William Wyler did it all so much better in his 1949 version, The Heiress.
Director: John Boorman
Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Adrian Dunbar, Sean McGinley, Angeline Ball, Jon Voight
John Boorman's best film in two decades charts the violent, colourful career of Dublin gangster Martin Cahill, who ran rings round the Gardai with a succession of increasingly audacious heists before the IRA put him out of business in 1994.
Beautifully shot in black-and-white, it's incongruously jaunty and lyrical in tone. But Boorman gets away with it thanks to a larger-than-life performance from Brendan Gleeson, which has you warming to Cahill's defiant individualism even as you recoil from the brutality his lifestyle entailed.
See Interview, p4-5.
Director: Robert Kurtzman
Starring: Tammy Lauren, Andrew Divoff, Robert Englund
Transforming the djinn of Arabian legend from pantomime figure-of-fun to movie monster might seem like a shrewd idea for a horror franchise. But despite the recommendation "Wes Craven presents" (whatever that means, since he's not credited as director, writer or producer), there's little trace of the Scream director's ironic touch in this turgid gorefest about an evil spirit running amok in the art world after it's released from an ancient Persian jewel.
"Forget Robin Williams," quips one character as they try to describe the genie's evil nature, but frankly his hairy back is a lot scarier than any of the latex on display here.
THE JAMES GANG
Director: Mike Barker
Starring: John Hannah, Helen McCrory, Jason Flemyng, Toni Collette
Desperate Scottish mum Helen McCrory turns to armed robbery with four kids and hopeless boyfriend John Hannah in tow, leading uptight policewoman Toni Collette on a cross-country chase from London to the wilds of North Wales.
Mike Barker's feature debut moves fast and looks fantastic, but never makes up its mind whether it's supposed to be a hard-hitting social drama, a knockabout comedy, a tense psychological thriller or a shaggy-dog road movie. The kids are great, though. DARK CITY
Director: Alex Proyas
Starring: Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt
Alex Proyas, director of The Crow, returns with another over-the-top urban nightmare, as amnesiac suspected serial-killer Rufus Sewell flees through the night, pursued by dour inspector William Hurt, syringe-wielding psychiatrist Kiefer Sutherland and Richard "Rocky Horror Show" O'Brien as one of a sinister, Homburg-hatted breed of aliens known as "The Strangers".
What starts off as a hugely imaginative pastiche of film noir and German expressionism soon spins off into the stratosphere of mind-boggling sci- fi mumbo-jumbo, but it's done with complete conviction and lashings of morbid style.
Director: Alan Rudolph
Starring: Nick Nolte, Julie Christie, Lara Flynn Boyle, Jonny Lee Miller
Two couples - fiftysomethings Nolte and Christie, and twentysomethings Boyle and Miller - swap partners and wry aphorisms in the latest urbane romantic comedy from writer-director Alan Rudolph (Choose Me, The Moderns).
The plot may be the stuff of farce, but the mood is melancholy, mysterious and ultimately - thanks to Julie Christie's wonderful, Oscar-nominated performance as a washed-up B-movie actress - very moving. The rest of the cast are excellent too, not least Jonny Lee Miller, a long, long way from Trainspotting, as a repressed Montreal yuppie.
Life & Style blogs
Three in every four British men will be overweight by 2030, says World Health Organisation
Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
How to gain confidence and maximise your sexual potential
High school in Texas with no sex education policy is dealing with chlamydia outbreak
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
- 1 Boston Marathon runner's search for mystery man she kissed ends with letter from his wife
- 3 Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
- 4 How to gain confidence and maximise your sexual potential
- 5 Chinese theme park sets up 'death simulator' where volunteers can experience being cremated
£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...