Maximus impact

 

Gladiator (15) Directed by Ridley Scott Starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Pheonix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Richard Harris, Derek Jacobi

After 35 years the Roman epic is revived - and vigorously revitalised - in this robust, viscerally charged drama set in 180 A.D. and featuring the excellent Russell Crowe as Maximus, the general forced into slavery and trained to fight in the arenas of ancient Rome. The gladiatorial scenes in the Colosseum are spectacular in this visually stylish epic which deservedly has become one of the most successful cinema releases of the year.

The Opportunists (15) Directed by Myles Connell Starring Christopher Walken, Peter McDonald, Cyndi Lauper

The first feature from the Dublin-born, US-based writer-director, Myles Connell, is a moody, slow-burning and satisfying drama featuring the redoubtable Christopher Walken in an untypically low-key role as a sad-eyed ex-convict, who served 10 years for a bank robbery and has settled into a reformed life as a mechanic. The versatile young Irish actor, Peter McDonald plays the young Dubliner who turns up on his doorstep, claims to be his cousin and lures him into one last job.

The Story Of Us (15) Directed by Rob Reiner Starring Bruce Willis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tim Matheson, Julie Hagerty

Willis and Pfeiffer work valiantly with a thin screenplay, playing a couple who, after 15 years of marriage, decide to have a trial separation in this glib, clumsily structured romantic comedy.

Pokemon: the First Movie (PG) Directed by Kunhiko Yuyama Voiced by Veronica Taylor, Rachel Lillis, Eric Stuart

The Japanese phenomenon which has spawned a best-selling Game Boy game, a TV series and masses of merchandise is now a hit movie which has been dubbed in English. A sequel, Pokemon 2000, is due in Irish cinemas at Christmas.