Green Book (12A)***

Dir: Peter Farrelly

With: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini

Runtime: 130 minutes

WINNER of three Golden Globes and nominated for five Oscars, Peter Farrelly’s comedy drama about a white, Italian-American driver/bodyguard becoming friends with his African-American musician boss as they toured the South in the 1960s, looked set to be the crowd pleaser of the year. Then the criticism began. Maurice Shirley, the brother of pianist Dr Don Shirley (played here by Mahershala Ali) said he never considered driver Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) to be his friend. He also called the picture a "white saviour" movie, and others have accused it of pulling its punches in its portrayal of the segregated south. Does the row ruin the picture, you might ask. Every film based on or “inspired by” a true story employs some artistic license; if it didn’t it would be a documentary. It does matter here, though, because Green Book – the title comes from a black drivers’ guide to where to stay in the segregated south – treads a fine line between sentimentality and outright ickiness. Even without knowing about the row, you find yourself wondering about some of the incidents portrayed. That said, Ali’s performance certainly merits his Oscar nomination, less so Mortensen’s Tony, whose Italian stallion routine is straight from central casting.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (PG)****

Dir: Dean DeBlois

Voices: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Cate Blanchett

Runtime: 104 minutes

WATCHED the first, 2010-released How to Train Your Dragon on TV the other day. The tale of a Viking youngster, his dragon, and hordes of Scots relatives was still box fresh. It helped that the source material, the books by Cressida Cowell, built a complete fantasy world that children could believe in, and gave them a young, unsure of himself hero, Hiccup (the likeable Jay Baruchel) to cheer on. Come 2019 and the third, and last, instalment has arrived. Once again, Hiccup’s friendship with his dragon, Toothless, a cute little chap, is at the centre of events. Thanks to Hiccup’s talent for rescuing dragons, the Isle of Berk is becoming standing room only. If only there was some place where all these dragons would find a new, forever home. Hiccup’s father used to speak of such a world, but was it real? Gerard Butler, Cate Blanchett and Jonah Hill are back on voice duty, with F Murray Abraham turning up as the villainous, dragon-hating Grimmel. Dean DeBlois's animated adventure takes a while to get going, but the action sequences are as thrilling as ever and the scenes of a certain character finding his soul mate are beautifully done. Cheerio, dragons, you will be missed.