Scanlines

The Sexual Life of the Belgians

D: Jan Bucquoy; with Jean-Henri Compère, Isabelle Legros, Sophie Schneider, Noé Francq.
VHS Home Video
Vulcan Video, 609 W. 29th St.

Beginning with the line, "My mother had nice tits," The Sexual Life of the Belgians is one filmmaker's frank yet amusing sexual catalog of the years 1950-78. We follow Bucquoy (Compère) from a pitiable adolescent relationship with his mother through his first marriage and on to many in-between lovers -- prompting the all-inclusive title. Though reasonably unified, the entirely autobiographical film (part one of a planned series), is best viewed as a grouping of vignettes that inform the other sketches but still stand comfortably on their own. Much of the film's action centers around the figure of director Bucquoy's austere mother (Legros), whose reigning principle is, "Life is so expensive." Bucquoy draws telling parallels between his mother and first wife, both of whom have a marked penchant for slapping Bucquoy at the drop of a pin. You decide whether he deserves it. -- Clay Smith


Natural Born Killers: The Director's Cut

D: Oliver Stone; with Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Sizemore, Tommy Lee Jones.
Laserdisc
Encore Movies & Music, 8820 Burnet

With over 150 cuts restored in this long-promised, finally released "director's cut" of the wildly controversial Natural Born Killers, Oliver Stone's delirious satire is now packed with even more sex, more violence, and more pretentious style. Beyond the extended feature, this bravura package also includes 30 minutes of highly entertaining scenes that were excluded from the final assembly, as well as a refreshingly candid documentary on the making of NBK. Those without laserdisc players will be happy to hear of this title's letterboxed release on VHS, but Pioneer's gorgeously packaged Special Edition disc set is still the best way to experience the picture, since it offers the viewer still-frame access to every second of the subliminal image-filled epic. Another bonus is the wild audio commentary from Stone, whose comments range from genuinely thoughtful to outrageously hyperbolic. Would you expect anything less.

-- Joey O'Bryan


Floundering

D: Peter McCarthy; with James LeGros, Ethan Hawke, Steve Buscemi, John Cusack.
VHS Home Video
Vulcan Video, 609 W. 29th St.

Ethan Hawke and James LeGros in Floundering

Against the burning backdrop of the Los Angeles riots, John Boyz (LeGros) is busy slacking off and pondering the meaning of the universe. It's hard to decide if this film is desperately pretentious or profoundly modern in its reflection of the inertia that has defined Generation X. When a teenage thug holds a gun in John's face he just stares ahead blankly, neither panicked nor angry, just confused. That's this whole movie in a nutshell: Why are we here? Peter McCarthy, co-producer of Repo Man, Sid and Nancy, and I'm Gonna Git You, Sucka isn't trying to give us any answers in his 1994 directorial debut, but he does at least offer an incongruous happy ending. Great cameos by Ethan Hawke, indie poster-boy Steve Buscemi, John Cusack, and other lesser-known film stars lighten the mood a little, but despite its "comedy" billing, this ain't no feel-good movie. -- Kayte VanScoy


Gulliver's Travels

D: Charles Sturridge; with Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, James Fox, Ned Beatty, Geraldine Chaplin, Graham Crowden, Edward Fox, Sir John Gielgud, Omar Sharif, Alfre Woodard, Peter O'Toole.
VHS Home Video
I Luv Video, 4631 Airport Blvd.

Gulliver's Travels filled a mega-million-dollar television time slot during an earlier sweeps month, rivaling only Ross Perot's talents for occupying expensive airtime with political hoopla. And now this four-hour, two-part, TV miniseries, based on Jonathan Swift's 1726 historical epic, is available on video. Rooted in political satire, this version of Gulliver's Travels is an extravagant exercise of fantasy mixed with a compelling story. A triumphant star-studded cast (veterans O'Toole and Sharif perform like fine wine) entertain splendidly amidst magnificent panoramic settings -- castles filmed on location in Portugal and England -- and state-of-the-art computer-generated special effects. Appropriately timed for video release, it's refreshing to finally take leave of the land of big-eared, "Bozo-nosed," one-armed "Yahoo" politicians, and instead sail with Gulliver (Danson) to lands of imaginary political satires. -- Stephany Baskin


Destruction Derby

Psygnosis
PC CD-ROM


If you're all frizzled out from that hectic ride home from work, I recommend a couple laps around the Destruction Derby track to vent your frustrations. This game is a couple years old, but the simplicity of its idea goes a long way. It's just a car race, except that victory is determined by cutting off your opponents while avoiding too much damage. With a choice of tracks (including a demolition derby bowl) and cars, and features including adjustable camera angles and replays, there is plenty to keep this game interesting well after you've taken the championship cup. -- Carl Bacher

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