The Call (15)
Dir: Brad Anderson
With: Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin
Runtime: 94 minutes
SET in the stressful, lives-on-the-line world of 911 operators in Los Angeles, Brad Anderson's thriller does not want for tension. Halle Berry plays Jordan Turner, once a role model to colleagues for her ability to keep calm in a crisis, now something of rattled soul. But when a call comes in from a young woman (Abigail Breslin) about a crime in progress, she is the one to pick up the headset. Anderson has directed episodes of Treme and the US version of The Killing, so he knows how to keep a show rattling along. After a solid start, though, increasingly outlandish turns mean it runs out of credit.
Dir: Stephen Finnegan
Runtime: 91 minutes
THE most famous scientist since Newton and Einstein bills this documentary as "a personal journey through my life told in my own words". It is not, therefore, a wholly objective look, but it does contain many fascinating insights into how Stephen Hawking manages his fame and disability. Tracing his progress from phenomenally gifted student to bestselling author and a character so famous he had a cameo in The Simpsons, Finnegan's film is an absorbing portrait of one of the century's giants.
Cold Comes the Night (15)
Dir: Tze Chun
With: Alice Eve, Bryan Cranston
Runtime: 90 minutes
THOUGH set in modern recessionary times, Tze Chun's mean and moody thriller calls to mind the noir dramas of the Forties with a strong woman put to the test by circumstance and the men around her. The dame in question here is Chloe (Alice Eve), a single mother left to run a dump of a motel close to the Canadian border. Her clientele are a rum bunch, and none more so than the mysterious Russian (Bryan Cranston) who checks in. A ridiculous accent takes the shine off Cranston's otherwise solid performance, while Eve is in her element as the semi-hard boiled blonde.
Dir: Robert Schwentke
With: Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges
RYAN Reynolds needs to pick his summer blockbusters with a little more care. Two years after tanking in The Green Lantern he's now landed another stiff. R.I.P.D is clearly designed to kick-start a new franchise: it's based on a comic book, it borrows from Ghostbusters and Men In Black, and it uses the tried and tested mis-matched cops formula. It even boasts support from Jeff Bridges and Kevin Bacon. Corrupt cop (Reynolds) is killed by his equally devious partner (Bacon) only to find himself saved from judgment by the Rest In Peace Department, saddled with a gruff partner (Bridges) and charged with preventing the 'evil dead' from escaping Hell. There are one or two nice ideas and Bridges entertains, but Robert Schwentke's direction is crude and formulaic with little room for Reynolds to work his usual charm.
Reviewed by Rob Carnevale
Dir: Beeban Kidron
Runtime: 89 minutes
ACCLAIMED film maker Beeban Kidron, whose previous subjects have included the photographer Eve Arnold, here turns her attention to the internet and its effects on the youngsters who live their lives by it. Combining interviews with experts and teenagers, she puts together a riveting case for the prosecution of the web as a creature that bares careful watching.
Glasgow Film Theatre, Aberdeen Belmont, and Birks Cinema, Aberfeldy: 1pm, September 22, followed by live satellite Q&A with Kidron and other guests hosted by Channel 4's Jon Snow. Filmhouse, Edinburgh, September 20-23.