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Film reviews: A Useful Life | The Grey | A Monster In Paris | Intruders

  • by Siobhan Synnot
 

A look at the rest of this week’s cinema releases

A Useful Life (U)

Rating: **

Set in Montevideo and shot in black and white, this is yet another movie about movies. Jorge (played by real film critic Jorge Jellinek, who looks startlingly like a Uruguayan Alfred Molina) has devoted himself to a crumbling filmhouse, where he programmes classic films for dwindling audiences.

His cinema may be dying but Jorge carries movie soundtracks around his head – not just musical cues, but also cavalry charges and gunfights and, in the end, they give him the courage to leave the baggage of his old existence and start afresh. Pleasant enough, but so slight it barely sustains 65 minutes.

Filmhouse, Edinburgh, from Friday

The Grey (15)

Rating: **

Liam Neeson and a team of oil riggers crash land in Alaska. Only a handful survive and attract the attention of a pack of hungry and surprisingly smart wolves. On the down side, there’s a lot of dull pretentious philosophising about the heartlessness of nature and god. On the up side, you get to see a man punch a wolf in the face.

On general release from Friday

A Monster In Paris (U)

Rating: **

Two friends unwittingly unleash a gigantic flea on Paris, who also turns out to be musically gifted. The animation is charming, the musical numbers rather sweet, but the plot struggles for excitement, unexpected twists or comic moments. And at no time does anyone dare ask what a giant flea would live on. Voice talent includes Vanessa Paradis, Sean Lennon and Danny Huston.

On general release from Friday

Intruders (15)

Rating: **

Clive Owen stars in a supernatural chiller as a father trying to protect his daughter from something that tried to break into her room at night. Early atmospheric chills eventually give way to an exasperating plot twist.

On selected release from Friday

 

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