Temptress Moon (15) Artificial Eye, rental, 30 Mar

Chen Kaige's lavish picture focuses on the dynastic shifts in a wealthy, opium-addled family in 1920s China. Zhongliang (Leslie Cheung) severed his family ties as a teenager when he relocated to Shanghai in order to service married women. Confronting his troubled childhood, he returns 10 years later to seduce his sister-in-law (Gong Li) and bring down the family. Temptress Moon has all the trappings of a Hollywood soap opera - family feuds, incest, drugs, adultery. Even the interesting contrast between old and new Chinese cultures, intimately and stylishly captured by cinematographer Christopher Doyle, does not deflect from the rambling shallowness of the plot. HH

Donnie Brasco (18) Entertainment, retail, 30 Mar, pounds 15.99

Based on Joe Pistone's true story, Johnny Depp gets a crash-course in gangster etiquette as he seeks to infiltrate the mob under the pseudonym Donnie Brasco. He is taught how to talk, drink, dress and shave (we couldn't be expected to concentrate on a moustachioed Depp) by a wonderfully and woefully sour Mafioso, Lefty (Al Pacino). This is a refreshingly unglamorous and essentially human take on the gangster genre. Lefty is a medium-sized fish in a grimy, uninviting pond and, despite his flash appearance, his characteristic frailties are revealed. The paradox of Pistone's position is severely dealt with. A gruesome dispute with a Japanese waiter demonstrates just how agents, in their meticulous but leisurely pursuit of such criminals, find themselves carrying out actions which can barely be justified. Brutally brilliant. HHHH

Smilla's Feeling For Snow (15) Fox Pathe, rental, 30 Mar

Smilla Jasperson (a humourless Julia Ormond, though she must be applauded for her American- Greenlandic accent) cannot shake the feeling that a small boy's death off the roof of her apartment block was not an accident. Her suspicions are aroused, as the title suggests, by her acute knowledge of snow. Director Bille August has transformed Peter Hoeg's much-acclaimed novel into an Arctic Neighbourhood Watch. Smilla keeps reflecting back on events with the woodenness of a Crimewatch reconstruction. Actually, Crimewatch might be preferable. H

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