Leaving, Catherine Corsini, 85 mins (15)
Predators, Nimrod Antal, 107 mins (15)

Duckface moves on, and becomes a force of nature

In most French dramas about the middle classes in crisis, the protagonists live in such idyllic houses that our sympathy comes mixed with the feeling that we wouldn't mind a crisis like that ourselves.

Full marks to Catherine Corsini, then, for highlighting the economic realities which her peers so often disregard with a Gallic shrug. Her new film, Leaving, stars Kristin Scott Thomas as a doctor's wife who lives in a chic villa in sun-kissed Nîmes. She's planning to resume work as a physiotherapist after 15 years of raising her children, so her husband (Yvan Attal) hires a swarthy handyman (Sergi Lopez) to build her a consulting room.

The two strangers are drawn to each other, and we're expecting a secret fling, but Scott Thomas announces to her husband almost immediately that she's moving out to be with her lover. This, though, is easier said than done. The vindictive Attal restricts her access to the family's assets, and having breezed through a life of bourgeois luxury, Scott Thomas is forced to grapple with the issues of where to live and what to live on. Love doesn't necessarily conquer all, not without a bank account to back it up.

Scott Thomas has had a remarkable career revival in France, and in Leaving, which earnt her a César nomination, she's better than ever. Layer by layer, her pristine surface is stripped away, first when the affair turns her into a grinning schoolgirl, and then when the battle with her husband twists her into a ferocious force of nature. As a whole, Leaving is a pointed, grown-up melodrama – although I wonder if the female writer-director would be so unjudgemental if it were the husband who deserted his spouse and children.

Say what you like about Predators, but you can't fault the opening: the hero, Adrien Brody, wakes up to find himself plummeting thousands of feet through the air with a recalcitrant parachute on his back. Seconds later, he lands in a jungle, and several other people fall from the sky in a similar manner. They're all soldiers or professional killers, but none of them know what's happening. Are they hallucinating? Have they been kidnapped? At a time when so many blockbusters open with minutes' worth of voice-over and captions spelling out what's going on, it's bracing to be thrown into a film where some suspense is allowed to build instead.

The title gives it away, of course: Predators dusts off the Predator franchise, which began when Arnold Schwarzenegger went toe-to-toe with a dreadlocked alien in 1987. Anyone who's seen that film or one of its many spin-offs will have some idea of what's in store, but if the rest of Predators is too familiar to be as effective as that skydiving opening, it's still far wittier than most recent action and horror reboots.

Produced by Robert Rodriguez, Predators has the romping vitality that Rodriguez's films tend to have, plus the tight focus they usually lack. In short, it feels like the start of a franchise, not the tail end of one.

Next Week:

Nicholas Barber sees whether Toy Story 3 lives up to the buzz

Also Showing: 11/07/2010

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (121 mins, 12A)

At the start of Eclipse, the third film to be adapted from Stephenie Meyer's vampire teen-romance novels, Bella (Kristen Stewart) and her undead boyfriend (Robert Pattinson) are lolling in a meadow, discussing marriage. At the end of the film, they're doing exactly the same. In the intervening two hours ... well, Bella graduates from high school, hangs around with a shirtless werewolf (Taylor Lautner), and attends lectures about how terrible it is to be an immortal superhuman. But that's about it until we get to an admittedly rousing fight scene later on. It's bizarre to hear that Meyer's final Twilight book is to be spread across two films, considering that this enervated instalment has scant material for one.

Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema (118 mins, 15)

If you haven't seen enough of South Africa in recent weeks, don't miss this clumsily titled but exhilarating crime saga. It follows its charming anti-hero from hawking fake perfume in mid-Nineties Soweto to establishing himself as a racketeering kingpin in contemporary Johannesburg, a trajectory influenced by Hollywood gangster films and Donald Trump's autobiography. The spectacular shoot-outs are underpinned by wry satire on "the new South Africa": car-jacking is simply "affirmative repossession". It has a cracking soundtrack, vibrant colours, and only one mention of football.

The Seventh Dimension (90 mins, 15)

A gang of conspirators in a high-rise flat hack into secret Vatican archives in order to decrypt the Bible Code. This low-budget British supernatural thriller is hysterical in more ways than one, but despite being unreasonably incompetent, it buzzes with so much loopy ambition that it should appeal to bad film lovers everywhere.

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

film
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Caral Barat of The Libertines performs on stage at British Summer Time Festival at Hyde Park

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea perform on stage at the Billboard Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Zina Saro-Wiwa

art
Arts and Entertainment
All-new couples 'Come Dine With Me'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Black Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne
musicReview: BST Hyde Park, London
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Gamble and Amy Hoggart star in Almost Royal burning bright productions
tvTV comedy following British ‘aristos’ is accused of mocking the trusting nature of Americans
Arts and Entertainment
Sassoon threw his Military Cross into the Mersey
booksAn early draft of ‘Atrocities’ shows the anti-war sentiment was toned down before publication
Arts and Entertainment
Actors and technicians on the march against changes made by Hollande
theatreOpening performances of the Avignon theatre festival cancelled as actors and technicians walk out
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West performed in a chain mail mask at Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park
Rapper booed at Wireless over bizarre rant
Arts and Entertainment

They're back, they're big – and they're still spectacularly boring

film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
    Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

    Hollywood targets Asian audiences

    The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

    Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
    Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

    Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

    Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
    10 best girls' summer dresses

    Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

    Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
    Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

    Westminster’s dark secret

    Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
    Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

    Naked censorship?

    The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
    Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil