Dir: Brian Helgeland
With: Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford
Runtime: 128 minutes
AMERICAN sports movies generally play at a disadvantage over here, but this biopic, being the true story of a sporting pioneer, has more going for it than most. Jackie Robinson, like all black players post 1945, was confined to the lower leagues of baseball, with the sport segregated like every other part of society. Branch Rickey, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, set out to change that, with Robinson, facing abuse from the stands and on the field, deploying his bat to make history. Harrison Ford is on full-on "actorly" mode playing the blustering Rickey, but it's Chadwick Boseman as Robinson who quietly impresses most.
The Artist and the Model
Dir: Fernando Trueba
With: Jean Rochefort, Aida Folch
Runtime: 104 minutes
IT is 1943, occupied France, and sculptor Marc Cros (Jean Rochefort) has retired from life and his work, despairing of the world around him. Into his life comes a new model, Merce (Aida Folch), who has recently fled from Franco's Spain. Finding himself inspired again, Cros also discovers that he cannot keep the war out forever. Fernando Trueba's tale overreaches itself in trying to covering art, life, beauty, war, and the whole darn thing, but it is delicately done, stunningly photographed, and ultimately very moving.
In a World (15)
Dir: Lake Bell
With: Lake Bell, Jeff Garlin
Runtime: 93 minutes
LAKE Bell announces her presence as a fresh new indie comedy talent in this likeable tale of Hollywood voiceover artists. Bell plays Carol, whose dad is a voice artist. But Carol has a problem imitating his success: she's a woman in an industry that deems only men with deep voices can introduce trailers with the words of the title. In her own haphazard way, Carol has a go at shaking things up. Written and directed by Bell, In A World has its share of industry navel gazing and in-jokes, but they are ones any moviegoer can share and Bell is an engaging sort. You'll be seeing her again.
Justin and the Knights of Valour (3D) (PG)
Dir: Manuel Sicilia
Voices: Freddie Highmore, Saoirse Ronan
Runtime: 96 minutes
THIS animated offering opens with the legend "Antonio Banderas presents", and that's about the most exciting thing that happens in an otherwise bland tale. Freddie Highmore gives voice to young Justin, a well meaning lad who wants to be a famous knight like his grandfather. Banderas, a producer, also does some voice work, ditto Rupert Everett and Saoirse Ronan, but nothing can save what is a pedestrian piece.
White House Down (12A)
Dir: Roland Emmerich
With: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx
Runtime: 131 minutes
CRAZIES take over the White House, the president is captured, only one man can save the day.... Hang on, haven't you seen this before? Yes, in a triumph of scheduling, Roland Emmerich's picture arrives to cover almost exactly the same ground as Olympus Has Fallen did in April. This time around, it's Channing Tatum wearing the sweat-stained T-shirt of heroism rather than Gerard Butler. With Emmerich (Independence Day) in the chair the budget is bigger and the special effects more awesome, but other than that it's not worth the repeat fee.
Insidious Chapter 2
Dir: James Wan
With: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne
Runtime: 105 minutes
THEY'RE back. Three years after the first movie gave a much needed jolt to the haunted house genre, James Wan and his writing buddy Leigh Whannell return with a disappointing follow up. Also making a comeback are horribly squeaky doors - has no-one in America heard of hinge oil? - and Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne as the couple who just can't seem to escape scary monsters and super creeps. The first film was hokey but fun; this one is hokey but tiresome.
Sir Billi (U)
Dir: Sascha Hartmann
Voices: Sean Connery, Alan Cummings
Runtime: 75 minutes
IF this is the future of animated filmmaking in Scotland, fly me to the moon. Sascha Hartmann's caper is the bizarre, and never in a good way, story of a retired vet, Sir Billi (voiced by Sean Connery), and his pet goat Gordon (Alan Cummings) who set out to rescue a beaver when it falls into a river. While the Highlands background is rendered competently enough, everything else looks like a Saturday morning telly cartoon. The Scotland of Sir Billi's imaginings, meanwhile, is a country of huge breasted women and stereotypes round every corner. Pixar can rest easy.
Showcase, Paisley and Bailleston
When the Dragon Swallowed the Sun (15)
Dir: Dirk Simon
Runtime: 114 minutes
DIRK Simon's timely documentary looks at the plight of Tibet, how it came to be invaded and occupied by China. Just as importantly, it asks why the country remains a prisoner of the superpower. Featuring footage of protests from inside Tibet, Simon's film doesn't contain much that's new but it is a fine summing up of the country's woes.
Robert Burns Centre, Dumfries, September 18