With: Ralph Fiennes, Felicity Jones
Runtime: 111 minutes
FOR his second outing as an actor-director after Coriolanus, Ralph Fiennes chooses the story of Dickens and his relationship with the actress Ellen Ternan. Told in flashback with a screenplay by Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady), as adapted from Claire Tomalin's biography, the story is told very much from the viewpoint of the women, in particular Ternan (Felicity Jones) and Dickens's wife Catherine (played with much majesty by Joanna Scanlan of Getting On fame). Fiennes, meanwhile, harrumphs and charms his way through the picture as the man of letters torn between convention and his heart. The pace is period drama sedate, but what the picture lacks in fizz it makes up for in nuance, and Jones is on fine form as Ternan.
Mr Peabody & Sherman (3D) (U)
Dir: Rob Minkoff
Voices: Ty Burrell, Stephen Colbert
Runtime: 92 minutes
IF a boy can adopt a dog, why can't a dog adopt a boy? That's the winning idea behind this animated charmer from DreamWorks (Shrek, Madagascar). The characters are drawn from an American television series from the 1960s, but they translate perfectly to the Noughties. Young Sherman has been home-schooled in New York by his adopted dad, the Niles Crane-like Mr Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell). Mr Peabody is not just the smartest dog on the block; he also has access to a time machine that can travel through history, bringing lessons to life. But now it is time for Sherman to go out into the big wide world of real school. Chaos, laughs and cuteness ensue. A picture that is lots of fun, gorgeous to look at, and, courtesy of the time travel to revolutionary France, Renaissance Italy and the Trojan War, educational too. But don't tell youngsters that last part, obviously.
The Rocket (12A)
Dir: Kim Mourdaunt
With: Loungnam Kaosainam, Sittiphon Disamoe
Runtime: 96 minutes
THE Glasgow Youth Film Festival hits its stride with this moving, beautifully shot drama set in Laos. Since Ahlo (Sittiphon Disamoe) was born, his grandmother has feared that he brings bad luck wherever he goes. With their home being taken away to build a dam, the impoverished family do not need any more ill fortune. So when further misfortune happens, it is up to Ahlo to try to fix things by entering a competition to build a rocket. A terrific performance from young Disamoe caps a moving tale.
GYFF at GFT, February 11, 8.30pm
The General (U)
Dirs: Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton
With: Buster Keaton, Marion Mack
Runtime: 90 minutes
THE sublime Buster Keaton silent comedy from 1926 is given a spruce up by Glasgow's Park Circus. With Keaton as co-director and star, the tale of a humble train driver, Johnnie Grey, who becomes entangled in the Civil War and in love, has been made to look magnificent again. The comedy is just as fresh, and the beautifully choreographed scenes have rightly become much echoed classics.
Filmhouse, Edinburgh, February 7-11; Hippodrome, Bo'ness, February 22 and 23; Cameo, Edinburgh, March 9.