Hard Eight (18). For all the hype surrounding Paul Thomas Anderson's porn epic Boogie Nights, it's worth noting that his debut feature - though less flamboyant - is actually a tighter, more thoughtfully constructed film. Philip Baker Hall (best known for his indelible portrayal of Nixon in Altman's Secret Honor) plays a veteran gambler who becomes a mentor to a slow-witted bum (John C Reilly). The performances - also including Samuel L Jackson and Gwyneth Paltrow - are uniformly fine-tuned, none more so than Hall's; you can't help wondering why he's been such a well- kept secret all these years.
Love! Valour! Compassion! (15) Terence McNally's hit play was celebrated as an enlightened update of the pre- Stonewall ensemble piece The Boys in the Band. If Joe Mantello's movie is anything to go by, the self-loathing may have evaporated, but stereotypes are still in evidence. The Broadway cast reprise their roles, with the exception of lead actor Nathan Lane; he's replaced by the normally formidable Jason Alexander (George on Seinfeld), whose attempts at camp are sadly miscalculated.Reuse content