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
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

Arts and Entertainment
Dapper Laughs found success through the video app Vine

comedy Erm...he seems to be back

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)

tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Arts and Entertainment
Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly flanking 'Strictly' winners Flavia Cacace and Louis Smith

tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
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.

    Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

    Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

    The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
    Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

    Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

    France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
    Sports Quiz of the Year

    Sports Quiz of the Year

    So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
    Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

    Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

    From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
    Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

    Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

    Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect