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ALICE ET MARTIN (15, 123 mins)

Director: Andre Techine

Starring: Alex Loret, Juliette Binoche

See The Independent Recommends, right. West End: Metro, Renoir Repertory: Cine Lumiere

ANYWHERE BUT HERE (12, 110 mins)

Director: Wayne Wang

Starring: Susan Sarandon, Natalie Portman

Wang's safe, steady, ball-bearing-smooth drama arrives replete with fine performances from Portman as a sensible teen, and Sarandon as her scatterbrained mum. Meanwhile, the yarn rolls from Bay City to the footlands of Beverly Hills. Family tensions are aired, wisdom is gained. The trouble is, the dramatics are almost too contained, too tightly formatted.

West End: Odeon Kensington, Odeon Swiss Cottage, Virgin Fulham Road, Virgin Trocadero, Warner Village West End and local cinemas

THE CLANDESTINE MARRIAGE (15, 90 mins)

Director: Christopher Miles

Starring: Nigel Hawthorne, Joan Collins

The Clandestine Marriage is a wheezily paced, patchily assembled costume farce about two mismatched 18th-century families: one composed of foppish minor aristos, the other, vulgar nouveaux riches. Bolstering its am-dram edifice, though, is some genuinely vibrant playing (from Hawthorne, Collins and Tom Hollander) plus an air of nudge-nudge, wink-wink rambunctiousness.

West End: Odeon Haymarket, Odeon Kensington, Odeon Swiss Cottage Local: Barnet Odeon, Richmond Odeon Studio

GUEST HOUSE PARADISO (15, 89 mins)

Director: Adrian Edmondson

Starring: Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson

Once the young Turks of British comedy, Rik and Ade look increasingly like the naughty schoolboys that time forgot. Their gurning, Dangerous Brothers antics are still trapped in the Eighties, while the plot for this ghastly, gross-out comedy makes for a sort of caffeinated, sledgehammer overhaul of Fawlty Towers. Thus Guest House Paradiso lumbers from fatty jokes to nudie jokes, to poo-poo jokes and back again; from a slapstick fight with fire extinguishers to a slapstick fight with meat hooks. In the end, there's something faintly tragic about them.

West End: Odeon Marble Arch, Plaza, UCI Whiteleys, Virgin Chelsea, Virgin Trocadero, Warner Village West End And local cinemas

HAPPY, TEXAS (15, 104 mins)

Director: Mark Illsley

Starring: Steve Zahn, Jeremy Northam

Washing up in a Texan backwater, escaped cons Zahn and Northam are forced to go undercover as a pair of gay beauty-pageant directors. Set-up complete, Illsley's genial romp slowly, but surely, runs out of puff. Still, this slight, airily played tour through smalltown Americana passes the time. Mildly Entertained, Texas just doesn't have the same ring to it.

West End: Clapham Picture House, Odeon Camden Town, Screen on Baker Street, UCI Whiteleys, Virgin Fulham Road, Virgin Haymarket, Warner Village West End Local: New Stratford Picture House, UCI Surrey Quays

THE STRAIGHT STORY (U, 112 mins)

Director: David Lynch

Starring: Richard Farnsworth, Sissy Spacek

See The Independent Recommends, right.

West End: Clapham Picture House, Curzon Soho, Gate Notting Hill, Renoir, Ritzy Cinema, Screen on the Hill

Xan Brooks

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