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Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery Jay Roach (15) Night Falls on Manhattan Sidney Lumet (15) The Honeymoon Killers Leonard Kastle (nc) L'Appartement Gilles Mimouni (15) Fetishes Nick Broomfield (nc)
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The Independent Online
Whenever you watch a James Bond film, do you wonder why the villain has devised such a protracted method of execution - and then not even stuck around to watch Roger Moore die? If so, then Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is the movie for you. Of course, if you're the sort of person who can immediately detect the opportunities for scatological humour in a character named Number Two, then you will also find your tastes catered for by Mike Myers, the writer and star of this shamefully funny spoof. For every gag that only the certified anorak-wearing film nerds in the audience will respond to, you get one which would go down a treat in any playground in the country.

Myers has numerous targets in his sights, but the film is held together by its sharply observed parodies of spy thrillers and every Swinging Sixties movie from A Hard Day's Night to Blow-Up. It's shot through with an attention to detail that is genuinely astounding, particularly during the opening sequence, where babes, Beefeaters and bobbies gallivant along 1960s Carnaby Street. Austin Powers himself, played by Myers in Michael Caine glasses, creeping-ivy chest wig and mouldy teeth, is a hip London fashion photographer by day, and an international secret agent by night, committed to thwarting Dr Evil (Myers again), a Blofeld-like tyrant who freezes his own body and gets defrosted in the 1990s.

Austin has also agreed to be cryogenically frozen, but upon thawing he discovers to his horror that the world has changed. Free love now has its price; women such as his new sidekick (Elizabeth Hurley) no longer drop their drawers at the faintest stirring in his magnificent velvet trousers, despite a stockpile of charming chat-up lines - "Shall we shag now or shall we shag later?" - which are sure to be doing the rounds at an office party near you soon.

The time travel scenario is a transparent trick to excuse Austin's smutty one-liners, though, at its sharpest, Myers's writing exploits the absurdities of political correctness to delicious effect. One of the most ticklish digressions involves Dr Evil, who finds he has a son he never knew, though the lad sports a grunge hairdo and an attitude in place of a bald head and megalomaniac tendencies. Dad's dry introduction - "Hello, Scott, I'm your father, Dr Evil" - and the scene where they attend group therapy together work so well you almost forget that the movie has strayed miles from the beaten track. I think that that's its joy: it roams wherever the jokes are.

When you want to know about corruption, you go to Sidney Lumet. This isn't a vindictive attack on a seasoned film-maker, but an admission that Lumet set the standard for treatments of this theme when he made Serpico and Prince of the City. He returns to questions of morality and liability in his intelligent new drama Night Falls on Manhattan, in which Andy Garcia plays a District Attorney whose father (Ian Holm), a cop, is wounded during a raid on a drug dealer in which four fellow officers die. Garcia gets to prosecute the killer, but although a verdict is quickly reached, the investigation spills over and he finds himself wading through accusations of police corruption levelled at Pop's precinct.

Yes, it's sins-of-the-father time again, though the picture has some moments of startling originality in its favour. Like the striking credit sequence in which night literally falls, streaks of blue paint crawling down the screen to form the bleak dusk against which the Manhattan skyscrapers are framed. And there's a magical performance from Ron Leibman as Garcia's friend and mentor, a firecracker of a man whose every other breath carries an insult to somebody. Assuring Garcia that the case will be a doddle, he says: "Even my son could win it. And he's in high school. And he's stupid." Someone give this man his own movie.

The Honeymoon Killers, made in 1969, is re-released this week in a sharp new print which shows off its bright monochrome compositions: every lamp or window burns with blinding light. The film seems at first to be a John Waters-style camp crime comedy - it begins by announcing itself as "an incredibly shocking drama", while the performances look like they were culled from Andy Warhol's home movies.

Then you lock into the film's lazy, seductive rhythms, and before you have time to check your scruples, you are sympathising with Martha (Shirley Stoler) and Ray (Tony Lo Bianco), the cruel lovers who lure lonely women to their deaths. Characterised by disorientating shifts between banal comedy and jagged tension, this is a masterful and unnerving work with at least one perfect scene: the camera fixes on a woman's eyes as she listens intently to her captors discussing how they're going to finish her off. A film to tickle your fancy and chill your blood at the same time.

L'Appartement is a complex but playful love story in which a young man (Vincent Cassel, the skinhead in La Haine) becomes obsessed with his own former obsession - a girl who slipped out of his arms and his life years earlier. Now he's a successful executive on the cusp of marriage, but when he glimpses his old flame in a phone booth, the memories intoxicate him and he begins searching for her. The writer-director Gilles Mimouni weaves flashbacks into the story, resulting in a stylish, tightly edited piece which zigzags between eras but never loses sight of its hero's quest for love. An auspicious debut, crammed with surprises.

Whether you're a Nick Broomfield fan, or a businessman who likes women in leather harnesses to stub out their cigarettes on your ear lobes, you won't find anything you haven't seen before in Fetishes. It's not just the subject matter - New York's S&M scene - that feels passe, but Broomfield's self-regarding manner. The vigour of his earlier work has gone; he doesn't even seem interested in his subjects any more. And after spending 90 minutes in the company of the priapic Austin Powers this week, shoe fetishists were always going to seem a tad pedestriann

All films go on release from tomorrow. `The Honeymoon Killers' and `Fetishes' screen at the ICA, The Mall, London SWI (0171-930 3647) from tomorrow to 18 Sept (excluding 11-14)

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