New Films

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THE ASTRONAUT'S WIFE (18, 108 mins)

Director: Rand Ravich

Starring: Charlize Theron, Johnny Depp

The bastard child of Rosemary's Baby, Ravich's sci-fi horror sees Theron's wife-in-crisis fretting over her pregnancy after her husband (Depp) returns from outer space a changed man. But where the Polanski classic handled its terrors with a craftsman's touch, The Astronaut's Wife goes nowhere - slowly.

West End: Plaza Local: Edmonton Lee Valley UCI 12

THE CHILDREN OF THE MARSHLAND (PG, 115 mins)

Director: Jean Becker

Starring: Jacques Villeret, Jacques Gamblin

A cinematic stroll through the colourful rustics and paintable scenery of 1930s rural France. Becker's sun-dappled pastoral is period Gallic movie-making in the Jean de Florette vein (but without the angst). It's eminently likeable and warmly whimsical; a group of characters in sleepy search of a story.

West End: Chelsea Cinema, Curzon Soho

DREAMING OF JOSEPH LEES (12, 92 mins)

Director: Eric Styles

Starring: Samantha Morton, Rupert Graves

Morton is the dreamer of the title, a stoic lass living in a Hovis ad-style 1950s Somerset. She's married to Lee Ross's jittery pig-farmer, but mooning after Graves's limping geologist ("'E lost 'is leg in a quarry or something"). While Morton and Graves (looking startlingly like a young Dirk Bogarde) turn in vibrant work, the rest of the film is Catherine Cooksonesque slop. Styles's love- story turns properly intense in its dying moments, but for the audience, it's too little, too late.

West End: ABC Shaftesbury Avenue, Odeon Swiss Cottage

SCROOGE (U, 88 mins)

Director: Brian Desmond Hurst

Starring: Alastair Sim, Mervyn Johns

See The Independent Recommends, right.

West End: ABC Shaftesbury Avenue, The Pullman Everyman

THE SECRET LAUGHTER OF WOMEN (12, 120 mins)

Director: Peter Schwabach

Starring: Nia Long, Colin Firth

This inter-racial romantic comedy focuses on the will-they-won't-they relationship between single-mum Long, a Nigerian-born landscape gardener in France, and Firth's visiting English novelist.

West End: ABC Panton Street Local: Peckham Premier

TAXI (15, 85 mins)

Director: Gerard Pires

Starring: Samy Naceri, Frederic Diefenthal

See The Independent Recommends, right.

West End: Clapham Picture House, Odeon Camden Town, Odeon Kensington, Virgin Fulham Road, Virgin Haymarket, Warner West End And local cinemas

THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH (12, 128 mins)

Director: Michael Apted

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau

See The Independent Recommends, right.

West End: ABC Tottenham Ct Rd, Barbican Screen, Clapham Picture House, Notting Hill Coronet, Odeon Camden Town, Odeon Kensington, Odeon Leicester Square, Odeon Marble Arch, Odeon Swiss Cottage, Ritzy Cinema, Screen on Baker St, Screen on the Green, UCI Whiteleys, Virgin Chelsea, Virgin Fulham Rd And local cinemas

Xan Brooks

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