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The Independent Culture

Director: John Lasseter

Starring: David Foley, Kevin Spacey

See The Independent Recommends, right.

West End: ABC Tottenham Court Road, Odeon Camden Town, Odeon Kensington, Odeon Leicester Square, Odeon Marble Arch, Odeon Swiss Cottage, UCI Whiteleys, Virgin Chelsea. And local cinemas


Director: Gillies Mackinnon

Starring: Kate Winslet, Said Taghmaoui

Through the teeming orange/red/turquoise backdrop of 1970s Morocco treads Kate Winslet's hippie single-mum, her two daughters (Bella Riza, Carrie Mullan) unwillingly in tow. Meantime, gormless backpackers, Sufi teachers, thieving natives and Said Taghmaoui's child-of-the-soil love-interest weave hither and thither across the narrative. Regeneration director Mackinnon makes a fair fist of translating Esther Freud's novel to the screen; stirring in lots of ethnic chic and a canny period soundtrack. Winslet does well with a change- of-pace role as the tale's permanently strung-out, unsated matriarch, and the child stars are startlingly good.

West End: Clapham Picture House, Curzon Soho, Curzon Minema, Odeon Swiss Cottage, Renoir, Ritzy Cinema, Screen on Baker Street, UCI Whiteleys, Virgin Fulham Road. Local: Kilburn Tricycle Cinema, UCI Surrey Quays. Repertory: Phoenix Cinema


Director: Kevin Sullivan

Starring: Angela Bassett, Whoopi Goldberg

Stella got her groove back like this. She took off to Jamaica with her feisty buddie (Whoopi Goldberg), sashayed around the beach in a clinging bikini, and got herself a little love action in the form of a man (Taye Diggs) young enough to be her son. So it goes: Shirley Valentine with an Afro-American spin. Terry MacMillan's bestseller has been conjured into a kind of ongoing travel- agent commercial - a coldly marketed "chick- flick" enjoying a run at cinemas before cropping up as your in-flight entertainment. Title star Angela Bassett works hard to make an impression among the slide-show of tourist-brochure visuals.

West End: Ritzy Cinema, Virgin Trocadero, Warner Village West End. Local: Acton Park Royal Warner Village, Dagenham Warner Village, Edmonton Lee Valley UCI 12, Feltham Cineworld the Movies, Harrow Warner Village, Holloway Odeon, Peckham Premier, Staples Corner Virgin, Streatham Odeon, New Stratford Picture House, UCI Surrey Quays


Director: Richard LaGravenese

Starring: Holly Hunter, Danny DeVito

See The Independent Recommends, right.

West End: Virgin Trocadero, Warner Village West End. Local: Edmonton Lee Valley UCI 12, Peckham Premier, Streatham ABC


Director: John Waters

Starring: Edward Furlong, Christina Ricci,

Lili Taylor

Trash auteur Waters swerves into sunnier streets with Pecker, his fluffily satirical tale of an amateur Baltimore photographer (Edward Furlong) adopted as a fly-on-the-wall artiste by the New York elite. More Hairspray than Pink Flamingos, Pecker goes big on blue-collar kitsch without ever making any real, stringent point, and squanders Christina Ricci (as Furlong's hard-nosed girlfriend) into the bargain. The result is entirely genial, but you miss the old risk, edge and bad-taste artistry. Age, it seems, has mellowed John Waters.

West End: Clapham Picture House, Metro, Odeon Camden Town, Virgin Haymarket