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Capital start for blistering cops and drugs gang thriller

Hyena

HYENA: Has its world premiere at the capital's film festival.
HYENA: Has its world premiere at the capital's film festival.

Hyena

Dir: Gerard Johnson

With: Peter Ferdinando, Stephen Graham

Runtime: 112 minutes

FOR this year's opening gala, festival organisers lined up the world premiere of Gerard Johnson's blistering British cops and geezers thriller. Peter Ferdinando plays a Lahndan drugs squad chief who has blurred the line so much between right and wrong it is in danger of disappearing. Dixon Of Dock Green he is not. Under pressure financially, personally and professionally, a run-in with an Albanian gang dealing in drugs and people trafficking could offer a way out, or a chance to sink further into the mess he has created. There is a whiff of television drama in the sometimes tired dialogue, but generous slugs of bleak humour and a picture-stealing performance from Stephen Graham (Boardwalk Empire, This is England) ensure this Hyena is no donkey.

To be released later in year

A Dangerous Game

Dir: Anthony Baxter

Runtime: 98 minutes

YOU'VE Been Trumped, Anthony Baxter's look at the tussle between Donald Trump and local objectors to his golf course in Aberdeenshire, was a hit across Scotland and internationally, and this new documentary deserves to repeat the feat. Baxter returns to Aberdeenshire from his home in Montrose to find out what has been going on since the cameras left, and then ventures further afield to Europe, America and beyond to show that what happened in Scotland was hardly a one-off. The highlight of this funny, penetrating, and timely film is a sit-down between The Donald and Baxter.

June 24, 20.35; June 28, 15.30, Cineworld.

Palo Alto

Dir: Gia Coppola

With: James Franco, Emma Roberts

Runtime: 100 minutes

FROM the presence of James Franco, on whose short stories the film is based, to Gia Coppola (dad is something in the movies apparently) on directing duties, Palo Alto is a film that is indisputably in with the in-crowd. Whether you feel at home in its Californian embrace will depend on your tolerance for movies that are more about mood than substance. There is no real story to Palo Alto because the bored, lovelorn, confused teenage protagonists, plus Franco as a gym teacher, are the story. Watchable performances, from Emma Roberts in particular, and visually stylish (has a spilled milk shake ever looked so cool?) but has all the narrative heft of a jeans commercial.

Tonight, 20.15; Sunday, 13.00, Cineworld

Finding Vivian Maier

Dirs: John Maloof, Charles Siskel

Runtime: 84 minutes

JOHN Maloof and Charles Siskel's outstanding documentary started with a blind bid for a box of negatives at auction. The street scene photographs inside turned out to be stunning, and taken by a photographer named Vivian Maier. But who was she, and why, despite taking so many photographs of others, was this woman, who worked as a nanny and housekeeper throughout her life, seemingly so obsessed with remaining anonymous? Maloof and Siskel piece together a tale of a not so ordinary American life that only grows more bizarre and enthralling as the minutes tick by.

Tonight, 18.00, Filmhouse; tomorrow, 20.15, Cineworld Edinburgh

X-Y

Dir: Ryan Piers Williams

With: America Ferrera, Ryan Piers Williams

Runtime: 83 minutes

SEX and the city noughties style comes under scrutiny in this slickly executed, New York-set ensemble drama starring America Ferrera (Ugly Betty, How to Train Your Dragon). In the way of such things, some of the strands are stronger than others, but the whole adds up to a piece that will leave you wondering, not always optimistically, about the state of affairs between modern men and women. Director Ryan Piers Williams also stars.

Tonight, 18.00; tomorrow, 18.30, Cineworld

Stations Of The Cross

Dir: Dietrich Bruggemann

With: Lea van Acken, FranzisKa Weisz

Runtime: 107 minutes

MARIA is 14 and determined to live a good life. But the standards set by her devout mother mean she feels a constant failure. German director Dietrich Bruggemann's slow burner of a drama charts Maria's trials as she tries to cope with the typical burdens of a teenager's life - boys, peer pressure, the lot - while trying to keep church and family happy. The oppressive atmosphere conjured by Bruggemann seeps off the screen, making for an impressive if uncomfortable watch.

June 23, 18.00, Odeon Lothian Road

We Are Monster

Dir: Antony Petrou

With: Leeshon Alexander, Aymen Hamdouchi

Runtime: 88 minutes

THE true, shocking story of what happened when a violent racist was placed in a cell at a Young Offenders Institution with a young Asian man is told in Antony Petrou's hard-hitting drama, which is in the running for the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film. The up close and intense style would be more at home in the theatre than on a cinema screen, but Petrou and his two young stars work wonders within the budget.

Tomorrow, 20.30; Saturday, 18.00, Filmhouse

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