The Gambler (15)

three stars

Dir: Rupert Wyatt

With: Mark Wahlberg, Jessica Lange

Runtime: 111 minutes

HOW much of a punt would you take on this Mark Wahlberg drama being better than the 1974 James Caan version? Not much? Your money is safe, then, but you still might want to have a flutter given the quality of the performances and writing. There are a few changes to the story, but the central character, a literature lecturer by day, gambler by night, remains the same. Wahlberg makes a less convincing lover of Dostoevsky than Caan did, but in every other respect he is on the money as a man who can find no bigger thrill than losing everything. Wyatt builds the story into a sort of Leaving Las Vegas with playing cards, allowing Wahlberg to sink ever deeper into a long dark night of soul searching, while Jessica Lange has a small but impressive role to play as the disappointed mother, with Brie Larson notable as the student out to save a lost sheep. Impressive performances all round, with a nicely gabby screenplay by William Monahan (The Departed).

Beyond Clueless (15)

three stars

Dir: Charlie Lyne

Runtime: 89 minutes

CHARLIE Lyne's documentary about teen movies functions in part like a sort of Before They Were Famous, with James Marsden, Robert Pattinson, Lindsay Lohan, James Franco, Katie Holmes, and even Jon Stewart turning up to show the ones they made earlier. Dividing his film into segments dealing with such themes as fitting in, losing oneself, and moving on, Lyne deftly weaves clips from more than 200 films to make his point that American teen movies are the way that millions come of age in the cinema. While Lyne is not quite up there - yet - with the likes of Slavoj Zizek when it comes to film theory, he has a great eye and a sharp mind. For those who wish to refresh their memory of the 1995 teen comedy classic which functioned as the inspiration for Lyne's film, the Glasgow Film Theatre is having a late night screening of Clueless tomorrow [FRIDAY].

Cameo, Edinburgh, tonight [THURSDAY], 10.30pm plus Q&A with director, then January 27; GFT, tomorrow-January 29, with Q&A on January 29.