Chasing Ice (12A)
Dir: Jeff Orlowski
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Runtime: 80 minutes
JAMES Balog was a National Geographic photographer celebrated for his wildlife shots. He then went on assignment to the Arctic and saw scenes that were to change his outlook and career. What Balog witnessed was the melting of the glaciers, an experience documented in a landmark copy of the magazine with the cover line "The Big Thaw". Unable to leave the story behind, Balog, as Jeff Orlowski's Oscar-shortlisted film shows, carried on taking pictures and, converting them to time-lapsed film, went on a lecture tour to show how the Arctic landscape was disappearing. The images, as you would expect, are stunningly beautiful even while they are hugely disturbing. The talking heads from science are just as impressive, and convincing, making this one film that's impossible to ignore.
Filmhouse, Edinburgh, December 27-31; Glasgow Film Theatre, January 13-16.
Safety Not Guaranteed (15)
Dir: Colin Trevorrow
With: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass
Runtime: 85 minutes
SNEAKING in between the big, shouty seasonal blockbusters is this quiet charmer of a science fiction comedy from Colin Trevorrow. The title comes from a small ad seeking someone to travel with the writer back in time, "safety not guaranteed". Told to investigate further, magazine intern Darius (Aubrey Plaza), cynicism oozing from every pore, finds herself becoming pals with the would-be time traveller, shop worker Kenneth (Mark Duplass). Is Kenneth the real deal or just a harmless fantasist? Trevorrow's film, with a gently comedic script by Derek Connolly, ambles along at its own sweet place. Not quite laugh-out-loud stuff, but a lot of smile-worthy lines, and a splendid turn from star-in-the-making Plaza as the wannabe journalist.
Cineworld Renfrew Street, Cineworld Edinburgh, Cameo, Edinburgh now; Glasgow Film Theatre, January 28-30.