Retail dvd & video (momentum pictures home entertainment, widescreen)

Wisegirls

Mira Sorvino and Mariah Carey as waitresses who get mixed up with Italian mobsters? Surely one for the all-time turkey hall of infamy? Surprisingly, it's perfectly watchable—Sorvino's always been a decent actress, and Carey, believe it or not, swears like a potty-mouthed trooper and almost outshines her bosom. And doesn't sing. OK, it's no GoodFellas, but what is?

Owning Mahowny

Slow-burning, eventually gripping Canadian study of gambling addiction starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. His bank clerk commits massive fraud to fund high-roller trips to Vegas and Atlantic City, while girlfriend Minnie Driver's left in the dark. As comeuppance looms nearer, Hoffman's a junkie for one more roll of the dice. Well worth a flutter.

Confidence

James Foley back on form with a nimbly entertaining, fleetingly noir, conman romp. Ed Burns, Rachel Weisz and gang unwittingly rip off sleazy crimelord Dustin Hoffman, and are forced to pull a bank heist for him. Andy Garcia floats around, countertwist follows triple-bluff, but for all the cleverness it's pacy and energised, with a smattering of drop-dead one-liners. Makes you want to like it.

Intacto

Potentially ridiculous premise about a cabal of gamblers who harness the power of, er, luck, is admirably sustained by gutsy turns from Leonardo Sbaraglia as a lucky plane crash survivor mentored by lucky earthquake survivor Eusebio Poncela in order to take revenge on casino owner and lucky holocaust survivor Max Von Sydow. Fractured narrative, arty mise-en-scène and punchy pacing from director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo also help.

Dark Blue

Tough thriller from director Ron Shelton based on a James Ellroy story. Kurt Russell is outstanding as veteran bad-ass Los Angeles cop Eldon Perry, who realises too late the waste he has made of his life. Great support from Brendan Gleeson as his malignant boss and Ving Rhames as the upright officer dedicated to bringing him down.

The Kid Stays In The Picture

Ridiculous documentary in praise of the gigantic ego of producer Robert Evans, 'somebody' in the '70s but a self-promoting Hollywood Del Boy now. Sure, he bankrolled great films once (The Godfather, Chinatown), but this indulgent, visually static puff-piece (chiefly composed of photos and Evans saying what a fabulous mogul and stud he is) isn't one of them.

The Magdalene Sisters

Peter Mullan proves himself a director of real bite in this harsh, affecting study of how '60s Ireland's strict adherence to Catholic doctrines ruined the sanity of many a young woman. If deemed to be in "moral danger", girls were incarcerated, with nuns serving as jailers. Geraldine McEwan makes a chilling wicked witch, and a sparky cast ensures it's an engrossing, unpreachy story.

Morvern Callar

Director Lynne Ramsay draws a mesmerising performance from Samantha Morton as the titular heroine, who discovers her author boyfriend has committed suicide on Christmas Day and passes his unpublished manuscript off as her own before heading off to Spain on an extended jolly. Naturally, serious complications arise. Dreamy and druggy but often difficult, this is an important, original film.

The Centre Of The World

It's close to implausible that this graphic vignette about a computer geek falling foolishly for a hooker is co-written by Paul Auster and wife, and directed by Wayne Wang. It's not as insightful as it thinks it is, but it's certainly 'erotic'if you consider Molly Parker one of the planet's most alluring women. And she plays the drums.

My Little Eye

Not as astute or ambitious a satire of "reality TV" as Series 7: The Contenders, but Marc Evans' house-of-horror, shot on webcam, hosts a rattling good scary yarn. If the kids stay in the creaky pad for six months they win a million, but as Davina day looms, things get gory. A superior, if pretentious, genre piece.
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