Now Showing
June 1998

 

Scene from LolitaLolita
Adrian Lyne's long-cherished desire to remake Nabokov's most infamous story, free from the restrictions that make Kubrick's version seem so tame, proves both a triumph and a failure. A triumph in visual and dramatic terms, with Dominique Swain impressive as the adolescent nymphet who steals away the cold heart of Humbert Humbert - played by Jeremy Irons at his finest. But the fact that this subject, and its protracted release, cannot be discussed by mature, adult audiences without descent into tabloid hell is depressing.
Lolita image copyright Pathe

Scream 2
Not so much post modern but post-post modern, this ironic brand of horror movie is in danger of turning on itself and imploding. But audiences after the same kind of self referential detail and larger than life/death thrills could do worse. Wes Craven clearly knows how to deliver a shock or two, and the surviving members of the cast from the first (superior) film return for an encore of grisly murders in the gruesome manner of the original.

Dark City
Dark is the word, for a film that lets its imagination run riot over a bizarre sci-fi style premise, presented as a Kafkaesque nightmare and dressed up like a '40s film noir. Rufus Sewell finds himself trapped (fully clothed, most of the time) in a never-ending night, in a city in which nothing is as it seems and, in any case, seldom stays that way for long. It sounds like Basingstoke, but is even more sinister, with inhabitants that include a scenery chewing Kiefer Sutherland and a rogues gallery of bald men in long coats causing havoc and mayhem.

The Man Who Knew Too Little
The pun of the title - reprising Hitchcock's twice-made classic drama - could have been the only funny thing about this fish-out-of-water comedy. But fortunately Bill Murray is on prime form as an American tourist in London, enjoying (he thinks) an interactive theatrical experience, not knowing that his 'virtual reality' adventure is less virtual than he realizes. Thanks to one of those crazy movie mix-ups, this innocent abroad becomes embroiled in the cloak-and-dagger world of unreconstructed Cold War espionage, and all he thinks he's doing is living out his wildest James Bond fantasies.

Liar
Another film where nothing is quite as it seems - or is it? - this finely crafted neo-noir drama from Jonas and Joshua Pate seeks to emulate genre classics like The Usual Suspects. That it cannot quite match that film is more a reflection on the high standards the directors have set themselves, rather than on the failings of an intriguing story of murder in which the cops, suspect and victim are inextricably linked. Watch the film through to the end and you still may not know exactly what happened, but its appeal is as much in the artifice and construction as the solution itself.

 
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