Take three: The latest films reviewed

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The Independent Online

Marie Antoinette

Director: Sofia Coppola

Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Steve Coogan,

Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn

Certificate: 12A

Genre: Drama

Release: 20 October

Sofia Coppola's much-anticipated Marie Antoinette elicited a mixture of boos and applause after its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. It is likely to produce a similar result when it opens in cinemas.

Armed with a $40 million budget and full access to the palace and gardens of Versailles, Marie Antoinette is a lavish, opulent film that details the lead-up to the French Revolution. Curve-ball Coppola adds a hip soundtrack of 20th-century punk classics and assembles a cast of fine actors (albeit with a disconcerting variety of accents) who are uniformly superb - especially Dunst.

The problem with this film is that Coppola, somehow, forgot to write a screenplay. Based loosely on Antonia Fraser's biography, Marie Antoinette: The Journey, the film has little dialogue, conflict or political intrigue. It's undeniably a beautiful film with some haunting images and fantastic costumes but, in the end, it's a triumph of style over substance.

I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer

Director:Sylvain White

Cast: Brooke Nevin, K.C. Clyde, Torrey DeVitto

Certificate: 15

Genre: Horror/Thriller

Release date: 23 October

Agh! Another sequel too far! This pitiful offering holds little interest or appeal, hence it's transition straight to DVD. Acting aside, the story itself is too dull for words: a group of teenagers in a small-town in Colorado concoct a 4 July prank. It goes wrong and one of them ends up dead. A year later, with the 4 July celebration coming up again, the teenagers realize that they're being stalked by a mysterious menace who clearly intends on keeping the horrible legend alive by killing them all off.

The latest installment in this franchise is a bad film. As soon as Jennifer Love Hewitt said no, the film-makers should have cut their loses and gone home.

The Fallen Idol

Director: Carol Reed

Cast: Bobby Henrey, Ralph Richardson, Sonia Dresdel, Dora Bryan

Certificate: PG

Genre: Thriller

Release date: Re-released as part of the British Film Festival

This 1948 thriller is less renowned than Carol Reed's collaboration with Graham Greene the following year, on The Third Man, but in terms of psychological intricacy and affective poweer it is at least its equal. At its heart is the story of a misunderstanding between eight-year-old Filipe (Bobby Henrey), the son of a French ambassador to London, and the embassy butler, Baines (Ralph Richardson), who the boy adores.

Having discovered Baines with his mistress in a café, the boy becomes unwittingly entangled in an intrigue - once Baines's wife (Sonia Dresdel) gets wind of the liaison. The extraordinary tension of the film hinges on the possibility that, at any moment, the child might betray his friend even as he tries to save him.

Greene's novels didn't enjoy much success in their transfer to the screen, but this adaptation of his short story, part of a season of Carol Reed's films at the National Film Theatre, is a classic.

Which Course magazine is now available online at whichcourse.epagesmarketing.com. Contact Joshua Gilbert - tel: 020 7005 2283; fax: 020 7005 2292.

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