Movies like you've never seen them before

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The Independent Online
It's time again for the yearly round-up of the cream of the new films, so here to aid your seasonal cinema-going is our selection of the best new releases from 1996.

Reservoir Dogs

A grim, unpleasant tale of the rough, tough, greedy men who ran Yorkshire Water. They had only one thing: water. They wanted only one thing: money. Pretty soon, they had all the money they wanted. Unfortunately, they didn't have any water any more. Someone had to suffer. The customer, of course. Not a pretty story.

Carrington

Lord Carrington was a bookish, reflective chap who just happened to catch the eye of Margaret. Margaret was a man-eating sort of woman who just happened to get caught up in a war. Margaret asked him to choose between her or the war. Bravely, he chose neither, and left her. In her grief she sank the Belgrano. Thousands had to die. It is not a pretty story. Some strong language and violence.

William Wallace and Gromit

Mel Gibson plays the part of the animated Plasticine tartan man who set out to save Scotland from the English, and Danny De Vito plays his faithful dog McGromit, who disguises himself as a red deer, gets behind the English lines and is eaten. Somewhat confusingly, King Alfred is also introduced into the story, but only in order to let the bannock burn.

Usual Suspects

A story about the ruthless gang run by John Major who, whenever there is trouble, rounds up the usual suspects and has them taken out and shot with rubber bullets. The Eurosceptics, as they are called, include men such as Teddy Taylor whose minds are, luckily, proof against anything as feeble as a rubber bullet or an argument. Tremendous action scenes, such as the one where Michael Portillo goes out on a punitive raid with the SAS against illegal immigrants and is then himself refused readmission to Britain!

The Lion King

Norman Tebbit was the king of the jungle. Blood flowed as he passed by. He savaged anyone who stood in his way. He respected nobody and bowed the knee to nobody. Then suddenly one day he had gone, to the "other place", as the jungle animals call it. But who would replace him? Would it be the equally nasty and vicious, equally feared and loathed Brian Mawhinney? Yes, it would, actually. Not for the squeamish.

In the Bleak Midwinter

Would-be hilarious comedy about a bunch of fly-by-night operators who are trying to put on a performance of supplying water in the North-east of England. The idea of a crucial water shortage happening at the wettest time of the year is not somehow quite as funny as it should be.

Batsman Forever

Re-enactment of Michael Atherton's heroic but endless innings of a hundred and something not out against South Africa to ensure that the Test series against South Africa would not entirely expire from lack of interest.

Dumb and Dumber

John Major ("Dumb") resigns as leader to show that he is the real leader. He stands for re-election against John Redwood ("Dumber"). A lot of the gang refuse to vote for John Major. This shows we are united, says Dumb. Funny, if you like that sort of thing.

Babe

Touching tale of a piglet (Diana) who is taken in by a family of sheep (the Windsors) and tries to behave like them. She does her best, but it is no good and she is so unhappy she keeps falling downstairs and being sick. Finally she gets her chance to escape and spend Christmas by herself, or, at least, not with the sheep. Everything ends happily or, at least, everything ends.

Forest Dump

Out walking in the forest, the Bishop of Wakefield finds an abandoned pile of several billion scratchcards lying on the ground. Trying to trace who might have dumped this litter here, he is appalled to find that they were all bought by one family, and that almost every week in Britain the average adult spends more than his yearly wage on the National Lottery. As he is unravelling this tale of greed, temptation and skullduggery, the directors of Camelot plan to have the bishop eliminated ... a story for our time.

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