Director: Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson
Starring: Woody Allen, Sharon Stone (voices)
If nothing else, this computer-animated trifle is surely the most unlikely Woody Allen movie we will ever see. The nerd icon allegedly rewrote the bulk of his dialogue to provide the voice of worker-ant "Z" ("the middle child in a family of five million") who breaks out from his totalitarian rut when he falls in with the regal Princess Bala (Sharon Stone). Already number one at the US box office, Antz coasts along on ingenious Toy Story- type animation and a script that's savvy enough to sucker in adults as well as children. Think Fritz Lang's Metropolis crossed with The Lion King, and you're about halfway there.
West End: ABC Tottenham Court Road, Barbican Screen, Clapham Picture House, Elephant & Castle Coronet, Empire Leicester Square, Hammersmith Virgin, Odeon Camden Town, Odeon Kensington, Odeon Marble Arch, Odeon Swiss Cottage, Ritzy Cinema, Screen on Baker Street, UCI Whiteleys, Virgin Chelsea, Virgin Trocadero
GIRLS TOWN (15)
Director: Jim McKay
Starring: Lili Taylor, Bruklin Harris, Anna Grace
Semi-improvised acting lends an effectively baggy rhythm to this coarse- grained tale of three high-school pals (Lili Taylor, Brucklin Harris, Anna Grace) thrown into crisis by a friend's suicide. Girls Town laces its predictable rites-of-passage drama with a harsh, blue-collar twist. Cue graffitied streets, a hip-hop soundtrack and plenty of slangy, Noo Joisey backchat. Although McKay's flick descends into preachiness at times, the tough, committed playing soon hoists it up again.
West End: ABC Piccadilly
MY NAME IS JOE (15)
Director: Ken Loach
Starring: Peter Mullan, Louise Goodall
See The Independent Recommends, right
West End: ABC Tottenham Court Road, Gate Notting Hill, Ritzy Cinema, Screen on the Green, Virgin Fulham Road, Virgin Haymarket
THE PLAYERS CLUB (18)
Director: Ice Cube
Starring: Lisa Raye
This virginal writing-directing gig from LA rapper Ice Cube is a right muddle. On the face of it, The Players Club affects to lift the lid on America's seedy black strip joints, and shakes its head disapprovingly at the sight. Trouble is, Mr Cube can't drag his camera away from all that sweet, honeyed flesh for long enough to make his point. So, as our embattled Girl Power heroine (Lisa Raye) fights against the system, the film's gaze keeps wandering towards the floor show. Stripping's a bad thing to happen to a nice lady, Cube seems to be saying. But whoah - just look at that nice lady strip.
West End: Ritzy Cinema, Virgin Trocadero
SNAKE EYES (15)
Director: Brian De Palma
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Gary Sinise, John Heard
De Palma's Atlantic City-set conspiracy thriller plays its mystery plotline as a kind of quickie jigsaw, slotting together a patchwork of flashbacks, split screens and action replays to create the intricate staging behind a political assassination. Our nominal puzzle-solver is Nic Cage's swaggering local cop, whose harried investigation soon brings him smack up against Gary Sinise's rigid Navy commander. Meanwhile, the director's flamboyant magpie touch (borrowing a little from Rashomon, a little from No Way Out) keeps the whole thing looking big and bright and gaudy.
West End: Elephant & Castle Coronet, Hammersmith Virgin, Odeon Camden Town, Odeon Kensington, Odeon Leicester Square, Odeon Marble Arch, Odeon Swiss Cottage, UCI Whiteleys, Virgin Chelsea