(18) HH

Director: Gregg Araki

Starring: James Duval, Rachel True, Nathan Bexton, Shannon Doherty

One-man film factory Gregg Araki returns to the nihilistic landscape of Totally F***ed Up and The Doom Generation with another hallucinatory journey through an LA underground inhabited by young ambisexual drifters, sado-masochists, druggies, airheads - and, this time around, a few aliens for good measure.

It's good to see the elegantly wasted James Duval, as alienated teen Dark Smith, returning to his low-budget roots with Araki after a starring role in Independence Day. Intoxicating stuff.


(15) H

Director: Jon Avnet

Starring: Richard Gere, Bai Ling, Bradley Whitford

Richard Gere usually exercises a bit of discrimination when choosing his projects, but his very public pro-Tibet stance must have blinded him to the failings of this clunking piece of anti-Chinese propaganda.

In Beijing to sell trashy American TV programmes to the Chinese network, Gere finds himself framed for murder and railroaded by the brutal legal system. But the insights Red Corner offers into the Chinese brand of totalitarianism are swamped by the cliched depiction of ruthless party cadres (they practically say "We have ways of making you talk") and repetitive courtroom scenes, which mostly revolve around the issue of whether Gere can hear the simultaneous translation of proceedings over his headset.


(18) HH

Director: Betsan Morris Evans

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Kevin McKidd, Helen McCrory, Joe McFadden, Marc Warren

Patrick Stewart sheds his Star Trek image to play Dad Savage, a tulip- growing, Country & Western-obsessed East Anglian crime boss who turns very nasty indeed when two of his young employees try to run off with his life savings.

Strikingly shot in the bleak expanses of the fens by first-time director Betsan Morris Evans, this is an original stab at re-inventing the British thriller. There are strong performances, but a Usual Suspects-inspired structure of flashbacks within flashbacks conspires to make a raw, brutal little story frustratingly hard to follow.


(15) HH

Director: Morgan J Freeman

Starring: Brendan Sexton III, Shawn Elliot, Jose Zuniga

Brendan Sexton III, who made an impression as the high-school bully in Welcome to the Dollhouse, is touchingly awkward as Marcus, a 15-year- old on the mean streets of New York, whose criminal lifestyle is offset by an almost saintly care for the no-hopers in his gang.

But despite its impeccable indie credentials - raw performances from the young unknowns, gritty detail and a sheaf of awards from the Sundance Film Festival - it never steers sufficiently clear from the usual kids and crime cliches.



Director: Abbas Kiarostami

Starring: Homayon Ershadi, Adolhossein Bagheri, Afshin Bakhtiari

The joint winner of last year's Palme d'Or has taken a year to get a release over here, and it's not hard to see why. In precis - an Iranian man drives around the outskirts of Tehran looking for someone to help him commit suicide - it sounds like the average multiplex-goer's worst nightmare of an art movie.

But thanks to highly naturalistic performances and the purity of director Abbas Kiarostami's shooting style, it's a hypnotic and ultimately moving experience, so long as you can adjust to the pace. THE WEDDING SINGER (12) HHH Director: Frank Coraci Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Christine Taylor A shamelessly dumb but very winning comedy about a hopelessly...