The Independent film guide

WASHINGTON SQUARE

(PG) HH

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.

THE GENERAL

(15) HHHH

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.

WISHMASTER

(18) H

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

(15) HH

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

(15) HHH

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.

AFTERGLOW

(15) HHH

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.

John Wrathall

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

    BA/PM,EMIR/Dodd-Frank,London,£450-650P/D

    £450 - £650 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

    SEN Learning Support Assistant vacancy in Penarth

    £55 - £65 per day + Travel Scheme and Free Training: Randstad Education Cardif...

    Key stage 1 and 2 teachers required for the Vale of Glamorgan

    £90 - £110 per day + Travel Scheme & Free Training: Randstad Education Cardiff...

    Foundation Phase Teacher required

    £90 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Exciting opputunities availabl...

    Day In a Page

    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
    Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
    Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

    Feather dust-up

    A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
    5 best waterproof cameras

    Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

    Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
    Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

    Louis van Gaal interview

    Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
    Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

    Will Gore: Outside Edge

    The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz