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ANWAR BRETT recommends the best film still on UK release for February 1999
Little Voice
Michael CaineMark Herman's sensitively adapted version of Jim Cartwright's play proves an engaging ensemble piece, most notably with Brenda Blethyn's turn as a ghastly mother, and Michael Caine as pitiful showbiz agent Ray Say. Yet it's the songs, and Jane Horrocks's rendering of them, which carry the bittersweet drama to even greater heights.
 

Shakespeare in Love
Irreverent comedy, Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman's screenplay is brought to life by a fine cast, led by Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow. In-jokes, crude humour and a delicious romance-against-the-odds abound, so do yourself a favour and go and see it.

The Opposite of Sex
Christina Ricci is all grown up as a bitch-from-hell in this sharp tale. Stealing her gay half-brother's half-gay lover, she sets off on a cross country trip peppered with sex, death and theft, leaving no life unflustered after coming into contact. Also stars an unrecognizable Lisa Kudrow who gets many of the best lines.

Sour Grapes
Okay, so it's not perfect, is not being widely released and may well have disappeared from your cinema screens by the time you read this. But there is something to be said for this amiably ridiculous farce from Seinfeld creator Larry David, a tale of two cousins who begin a feud after one lends the other the coins for a slot machine jackpot. The pleasure is in the escalating, desperate efforts each takes to get even.

Psycho
A remake is always a tricky proposition, while remaking a classic might be deemed the kamikaze school of film-making. Yet in following the original so closely, with only a few subtle changes, Gus Van Sant has maintained the shock value of Hitchcock's classic. He delivers a film that is not bad, and should encourage those who enjoy it to seek out the peerless 1960 version.

 For February's recommended releases, step this way

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