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Izzard is on the radar in role as Scottish inventor

Castles In The Sky

CASTLES IN THE SKY: Eddie Izzard is Robert Watson-Watt.
CASTLES IN THE SKY: Eddie Izzard is Robert Watson-Watt.

Castles In The Sky

Dir: Gillies Mackinnon

With: Eddie Izzard, David Hayman

Runtime: 89 minutes

EDDIE Izzard plays Robert Watson-Watt, the Scots inventor of radar, in this old-fashioned biopic from Gillies Mackinnon (Small Faces). The story opens in 1935 as the German war machine is stepping up a gear. Watson-Watt, a mere "weatherman" according to the men from the ministry, comes up with an idea to detect enemy planes in time to scramble intercepting aircraft. The rest is aviation and world history. The likeable Izzard manages to nail the accent well enough, while David Hayman lends sterling support as a sceptic of the plans. Has the feel of a pleasing evening telly drama, which it will indeed be later this year.

Saturday, 6.10pm, Cineworld, Edinburgh

Joe

Dir: David Gordon Green

With: Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan

Runtime: 117 minutes

NICOLAS Cage reminds us that there is a pretty impressive dramatic actor underneath the mad hair and mannerisms in this slab of Texas gothic. Cage plays Joe, a complicated man with a hair-trigger temper and a serious alcohol problem. He should be the last person to provide a father figure to young Gary (Tye Sheridan) but then when you meet Gary's old man it is clear that anything would be an improvement. David Gordon Green paints in broad strokes, making for a picture that is almost risibly bleak at times, but this is a film with plenty of redeeming qualities, the performances of Sheridan and Cage chief among them.

Saturday, 6pm, Filmhouse

Welcome To New York

Dir: Abel Ferrara

With: Gerard Depardieu, Jacqueline Bisset

Runtime: 125 minutes

WHO eez thees mysterious Monsieur Devereaux, coming to New York wiz his sex addiction, and what is ee doing in zat hotel room wiz ze maid? Any resemblance to real-life scandal is for lawyers and others to mull over as director Abel Ferrera (Bad Lieutenant) tells his tale of a naughty banker (Gerard Depardieu) whose return to France is interrupted by the attentions of the NYPD. When not marvelling at the tin-eared dialogue, one wonders what point the film is trying to make, other than that powerful people should not treat others badly. As for the sight of Mr Depardieu in the altogether, you have been warned.

Saturday, 5.30pm, Dominion

A Most Wanted Man

Dir: Anton Corbijn

With: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Nina Hoss

Runtime: 121 minutes

TINKER Tailor Soldier Spy set the expectation bar high for John le Carre adaptations, and Anton Corbijn does a first-class job of meeting them in this brooding, Hamburg-set spy thriller. The late Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a crumpled, running-on-empty spook charged with spotting potential terrorist threats, and he has his eye on one illegal immigrant in particular. Corbijn adds layer upon layer as he thickens the plot, and occasionally the story crosses the line into bamboozling territory. But a superb cast, including Nina Hoss as Hoffman's colleague, plus some nifty action scenes, are enough to keep Corbijn's thriller on the wanted list. In pace and plotting, a big improvement on the too-cool-for-school The American, starring George Clooney.

Saturday, 8.45pm, Cineworld

Set Fire To The Stars

Dir: Andy Goddard

With: Elijah Wood, Shirley Henderson

Runtime: 90 minutes

SHOT in super-cool black and white, Andy Goddard's plod of a drama stars Celyn Jones and Elijah Wood as Dylan Thomas and the poetry professor who accompanies him on his American engagements. Set over the course of a week as the Welsh poet's health declines and his drinking increases, it means to be a meditation on the creative process, but between actors who are too young and fresh-faced for the roles, and some woefully pretentious dialogue, this stagey and unconvincing drama is likely to leave Thomas aficionados cold.

UK release date TBC

The Skeleton Twins

Dir: Craig Johnson

With: Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader

Runtime: 91 minutes

KRISTEN Wiig and Bill Hader are the latest comics to show they can knock the spots off serious actors in this left-field comedy drama. Milo and Maggie were inseparable as kids, but it has now been 10 years since the brother and sister saw each other. Director Craig Johnson takes what could have been a wearily familiar tale of just another dysfunctional American family and, courtesy of a witty script and terrific performances from his leads, makes it sing. This is just the second feature from Johnson (True Adolescents), but he is clearly a name to watch.

Saturday, 6pm; Sunday, 8.45pm, Cineworld

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