The House with a Clock in its Walls (12A)***

Dir: Eli Roth

With: Cate Blanchett, Jack Black

Runtime: 105 minutes

LONG before Harry Potter made magic modish again there was John Bellairs’ 1973 novel about an orphaned youngster who goes to live with his warlock uncle (Jack Black) in small town 1950s America. Lewis (Owen Vaccaro) is much taken with his eccentric uncle and his acerbic neighbour (Cate Blanchett), and vice versa, but trouble lies ahead for the trio if the titular clock is not found and stopped. Director Eli Roth, previously best known for the Hostel shockfests, keeps everything family friendly, only to go too far at the end with some genuinely scary scenes that could give youngsters (and a few adults) nightmares.


Dir: Stephen Loveridge

With: M.I.A

Runtime: 96 minutes

THE three names of the singer-songwriter profiled in Stephen Loveridge’s Sundance-winning documentary reflect her kaleidoscopic background. Until age nine, Matangi lived in Sri Lanka, where her father was a founder of the Tamil Resistance Movement. She came to London as a refugee in the 1980s and grew up to become a successful artist, M.I.A, in her own right. Just when Stateside success was secured, her increasing outspokenness on the plight of Tamils landed her in a lot of media trouble. Loveridge is a friend, which could have made for an overly flattering piece but what emerges is an engaging study of a fascinating young woman.

GFT till September 27, Cameo, Edinburgh till September 26