Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey (PG)


Dir: Constance Marks

Running time: 80 minutes

"ELMO to a six-year-old is like Brad Pitt," says a contributor to Constance Marks' cuddly but astutely observed documentary. Yet Kevin Clash, the man behind the little red Sesame Street character (inset below), can walk down a street without anyone knowing who he is. The joys of being a puppeteer. Marks follows Clash's story from a little boy who loved the Muppets, dreamed of working with them, and realised his ambition. Corny but true. As Marks' film shows, a lot of work goes into being Elmo and Clash, for all his easygoing nature, takes his responsibilities very seriously.

Cameo, Edinburgh, and Belmont, Aberdeen, May 1.

Damsels in Distress (12A)


Dir: Whit Stillman

With: Greta Gerwig, Carrie LacLemore

Running time: 99 minutes

FROM the director of The Last Days of Disco comes this curious comic drama. A gang of preppy girls, led by Greta Gerwig's Violet, struts and frets its way across an American college campus, lamenting the vulgarity of students and the world in general. It's all very Heathers and, being Stillman, shot in the best possible taste. There's certain amount of interest initially in where the story is headed, but like Violet and her chums, the film's mannered way becomes very annoying, very quickly.

The Monk (15)


Dir: Dominik Moll

With: Vincent Cassel, Deborah Francis

Running time: 100 minutes

IN the mood for delirious, bordering on delightfully bonkers, period drama featuring religion, temptation and the ways of Satan? Then you've arrived at the right place with Dominik Moll's heady swirl of a film. Vincent Cassel (Black Swan, Mesrine) puts in an electrifying turn as Ambrosio, the monk of the title. Abandoned on the steps of the monastery as a baby, Ambrosio becomes a leader of men and women, a pious, unyielding presence who insists his will be done. But even the most solid of structures can crack under strain. Moll's adaptation of Matthew Gregory Lewis's 18th-century novel is operatic in style and towering in ambition.

Glasgow Film Theatre and Filmhouse, Edinburgh

Outside Bet (12A)


Dir: Sacha Bennett

With: Bob Hoskins, Jenny Agutter

Running time: 101 minutes

COR blimey, is this another 'earty tale of London sorts who 'ave 'earts of gold and drop their aitches like litter? Too right it is. Sacha Bennett's British comedy about a band of printers who pitch in to buy a race horse has half a mind, sorry, 'alf a mind, to function as a sort of political canter through the Eighties, Wapping and all. Ultimately, it settles for the kind of easy sentimentality that would not be out of place in a Sunday night ITV drama. Bob 'Oskins and Jenny Agutter star.