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ALL THE LITTLE ANIMALS (15, 113 mins)

Director: Jeremy Thomas

Starring: Christian Bale, John Hurt

Producer Jeremy Thomas's first stint in the director's chair results in a film that is by turns high-flown and bungled; an exotic mongrel mix of The Night of the Hunter, age-old fairytales and a Green Party pamphlet. Christian Bale plays the slow-poke runaway who gets ushered under the wing of John Hurt's crusty hermit, a self-styled undertaker for critters killed on the road. The acting is convincing, the mood at times intoxicating. But try as he might, Thomas can't help breaking the spell, can't help struggling to reconcile his eerie, allegorical spin with cinema's natural, seeing-is-believing realism. A fascinating curio, nonetheless. West End: ABC Panton Street, Odeon Swiss Cottage, Warner Village West End

BILLY'S HOLLYWOOD SCREEN

KISS (15, 89 mins)

Director: Tommy O'Haver

Starring: Sean P Hayes, Brad Rowe

Tommy O'Haver's gay romance surfs the ups and downs of a goateed photographer (Sean P Hayes), who falls in love with his hetero muse (Brad Rowe), then loses him to the glitterati, then wins him back again. Cut to a bouncy rhythm of fantasy inserts, whirring camera motors and crisply volleyed banter, Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss is both a hard-and-fast thesis on "the heteros and the homos", and a fond valentine to the glib romantic spectaculars of yore. So who cares if the plot's a tad trite and the characterisation a mite one-dimensional? This is postmodern pastiche, stylised homage. It's like that on purpose. West End: Metro, Ritzy Cinema, Virgin Haymarket

TANGO (12, 115 mins)

Director: Carlos Saura

Starring: Miguel Angel Sol, Cecilia Narova

Tango trades in the thrill of the dance. We get erect carriages, pursed lips, and smouldering glances. We get dancing as a pose, a symbol, an engine to resolve the tensions between - oh, you know - art, life and stuff like that. We get an ambitious meta-movie in which Miguel Angel Sol's anguished film director embarks on an affair with Mia Maestro's tangoing tigress. Plus, a flexible time-frame, and a weighty, po-faced plot that threatens to split its trousers during its more gallant contortions. Meantime, you gaze on in fretful admiration, marvelling when Tango gets away with it, wincing when it doesn't. Involved, if never quite swept away. West End: Curzon Mayfair, Screen on the Hill

10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT

YOU (12, 98 mins)

Director: Gil Junger

Starring: Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, Joseph

Gordon-Levitt, Larisa Oleynik

See The Independent Recommends, right. West End: Odeon Kensington, UCI Whiteleys, Virgin Chelsea, Virgin Fulham Road, Virgin Trocadero, Warner Village West End. And local cinemas

THE TRAVELLING PLAYERS (15, 230 mins)

Director: Theodor Angelopoulos

Starring: Eva Kotamanidou, Aliki Georgoulis,

Statos Pachis, Maris Vassiliou

See The Independent Recommends, right. Repertory: Riverside Studios Cinema

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