The Forgiveness of Blood (12A)


Dir: Joshua Marston

With: Refet Abazi, Tristan Halilaj

Running time: 109 minutes

JOSHUA Marston's second feature after Maria Full of Grace is this subtle but affecting drama set in an Albanian village. Nik (Tristan Halilaj) is a teenager of the 21st century, with his love of mobiles and the internet, but when a land dispute turns ugly he is plunged into a blood feud from the past. Marston keeps what could have been a high-octane drama at a low peep, making the changes in Nik's life seem all the more shattering.

Glasgow Film Theatre, August 17-23; Filmhouse, Edinburgh, September 4-6

Take This Waltz (15)


Dir: Sarah Polley

With: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen

Running time: 116 minutes

SARAH Polley's romantic drama left this viewer in something of a confused whirl, quick-stepping as it does between being smart and telling about relationships, only to stumble into insufferable smugness. Michelle Williams plays the young wife who is slightly bored by her tedious husband (Seth Rogen) and intrigued by her handsome neighbour. Lots of lovely moments and it looks fabulous but, despite its desire to be deep and meaningful, it's all rather Madame Bovary-lite for the Gap set.

The Expendables 2 (15)


Dir: Simon West

With: Jason Statham, Bruce Willis

Running time: 102 minutes

THE boys are back in town – the boys in this case being a ropey bunch of old action movie heroes with a combined age of 452. Sly Stallone, left, Dolph Lundgren and Arnie are among those putting on the beret of self-parody and ever so gently taking the mickey out of themselves as good-hearted mercenaries taking on the bad guys, again. Should be funny but the joke, like our heroes, is beginning to look tired. The only reason to watch is Jason Statham, but even the Stath can't rescue this hooey.

Swandown (12A)


Dir: Andrew Kotting

Running time: 98 minutes

TWO men set forth in a swan pedalo. The two are Iain Sinclair, a writer, and Andrew Kotting, the director of the documentary. The concept – drifting along from Hastings to Hackney, musing on life, meeting strangers – sounds nicely wacky. Shame the reality is dull and exasperating.

Glasgow Film Theatre, August 20-22

El Bulli: Cooking in Progress (12A)


Dir: Gereon Wetzel

Running time: 108 minutes

A TREAT for foodies as Gereon Wetzel takes his cameras into the kitchens of the famous Spanish restaurant. Slightly mystifying if your idea of fine dining is fish fingers, and runs well over time, but wonderful to watch such culinary artists at work.

Glasgow Film Theatre, August 17-19

The Flowers of War (15)


Dir: Yimou Zhang

Running time: 142 minutes

ONE of the stranger entries in the Christian Bale cv, released, funnily enough, just as The Dark Knight Rises continues to do roaring trade. It would seem hard to fluff a drama set in Nanking after the infamous battle for the city, but director Yimou Zhang manages it. Playing a mercenary American pressed into being a better man, Bale soon loses the battle with the hackneyed dialogue, duff characterisation and a tone that's all over the place.

DCA, Dundee, August 17-23

Step Up 4: Miami Heat 3D (PG)


Dir: Scott Speer

With: Adam G Sevani, Kathryn McCormick

Running time: 99 minutes

EVEN by the cheesy standards of Step Up movies, number four is a Grand Canyon of Gruyere. This time, the back to front baseball cap once worn by Channing Tatum is inherited by another up and comer, Ryan Guzman, whose wrong side of the tracks character tries to woo the poor little rich girl and stop a beachside development from ruining his community. And all through the medium of dance. Mercifully, the dancing is better than the acting.

The Wedding Video (15)


Dir: Nigel Cole

With: Rufus Hound, Robert Webb

ONE or two laugh out loud moments aside, Nigel Cole's comedy is a mostly mean-spirited, unfunny affair that lacks any emotional engagement. Asked to be the best man at the wedding of his brother Tim (Robert Webb), Rafe (Rufus Hound) also resolves to video the run-up to the big event as his present to the happy couple. But as nerves fray and family tensions simmer, events take a surprising turn. Cole's film may find some mirth in exaggerating familiar wedding faux pas but lacks a character worth rooting for, with Hound particularly annoying. A last act "twist" and some half-hearted sentiment merely add to the feeling that this feels contrived and divorced from reality.

Reviewed by Rob Carnevale

Offender (15)


Dir: Ron Scalpello

With: Joe Cole, Kimberley Nixon

Running time: 101 minutes

RON Scalpello's thriller about youth justice would badly like to be a Scum for the noughties, but it would have to do a lot of growing up first. As it is, the mix of London riots, prison mayhem and gruesome violence, with much of the drama competing with the soundtrack for your attention, comes across as simply nasty, brutish and pointless.