FILM / On Video

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The Independent Online

THE CONCIERGE (CIC PG 91mins) Those who fondly imagined that the success of Sleepless in Seattle would herald a new age of romantic comedy will find no supporting evidence in this lame caper from Addams Family director Barry Sonnenfeld. Michael J Fox overdraws on his boyish appeal to play a hotel concierge torn between financing his dream hotel and falling for the mistress (Gabrielle Anwar) of the man supplying the money (Anthony Higgins, doing a patented sleazy Brit number). The jokes are thinner than Kate Moss and the photography surprising ugly, given Sonnenfeld's background as a cameraman, but it's a lack of freshness that kills any thought of pleasure; there's not a single moment of charm or grace to lighten the running time. Available now.

LAKE CONSEQUENCE (20 20 Vision 18 100mins) Terribly funny, laboriously sensitive soft-core about a housewife's journey into sexual liberation aboard the caravan of wandering New Man Billy Zane. It's a hoot, from the moment the pent-up Missus (Joan Severance) meets her Love Master in the moonlight, till the big threesome tryst in the hot tub. About as erotic as cold custard, which at least allows you time to concentrate on the dialogue, possibly the most ripe collection of cliches since the heaving heyday of Emmanuelle. Available now.

DIRTY WEEKEND (Polygram 18 102mins) Another instant camp classic from director Michael Loser, adapted from Helen Zahavi's bestseller about a woman (Lia Williams, doing her best) who rebels and starts murdering all manner of male creeps. Any feminist insights the book originally afforded (not many) have been dumped along the way, leaving a clumsy catalogue of degradation and truly appalling acting. It's pitched as a black comedy but it's too coarse to amuse. No matter how low the target, the director just keeps on missing - which is funny, if not in the way intended. Available now.

POSSE (Columbia Tri-Star 15 110mins) Mario Van Peebles' black western (clock the punning title) at least highlights the fact that there were black cowboys. A pity then that it makes them much like any old bunch of white folks riding the range: they lust for revenge, the law is after them, the gang is headed by a fearsome gunslinger (Peebles as real-life outlaw Jesse Lee) etc. The very essence of average. Available now.


BRAZIL (Warner 15 137mins) A flawed melding of 1984 and any Kafka story of your choice that nevertheless manages to be an overwhelming visual experience and a sci-fi classic. After a while, it doesn't much matter that Jonathan Pryce's information clerk is a vacuum (which may have been intentional) or that the story disintegrates: this retro-Fascist future is a nightmare anyway and nightmares have their own peculiar logic. Available 9 May. Retail price: pounds 10.99

For those who thought pounds 105 for the cheap seats was a bit steep, even for pop's ultimate diva, Fox Video have rush-released Barbra Streisand - A Happening in Central Park and Barbra Streisand - One Voice, concert events separated by a time span of 20 years. It's educational to contrast the earlier, brasher New Yorker enjoying her stardom with the later Californian matron, performing for an audience of her peers (Whitney Houston, Bette Midler et al). Yet the voice itself remains remarkably unchanged - unfortunately also true of her song selections: there are only so many times even a Barbra addict can sit through 'People'. Retail price: pounds 6.99.