Film reviews: Being Elmo | The Monk | African Cats | Damsels In Distress

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The rest of this week’s new releases reviewed by Siobhan Synnot

Being Elmo (U) ****

Following the delightful Muppet Movie a couple of months ago, this documentary feature is a lovely portrait of muppeteer Kevin Clash, who rescued a floundering Sesame Street character called Elmo, reimagined him as an over-affectionate toddler and created one of the Street’s best-loved stars. It’s not what you’d call a hard-hitting portrait but, like Elmo, it is ridiculously sweet, sprightly and warm.

Selected release from Friday

The Monk (15) **

Vincent Cassel stars in a creepy French thriller about a 17th-century Spanish monk who lusts after one of his female pupils. It’s Satan’s work, but if you were hoping for a return to form for director Dominik Moll, your prayer has not been answered.

Filmhouse, Edinburgh, and Glasgow Film Theatre, from Friday

African Cats (U) ***

Got children? Animal-mad, unfussy children who don’t mind a Disney re-enaction of the circle of life gore, or perhaps have the stomach for some relentless anthropomorphising of a family of cheetahs? This might hold them until the next David Attenborough box set. The wildlife is beautifully photographed, and the film is stentorianally narrated by Sir Patrick Stewart.

Selected release from Friday.

Damsels In Distress (15) ***

Whit Stillman returns after a 14-year hiatus with a loopy riff on his favourite topic: self-possessed posh girls and their rather more awkward male consorts. Compared with Metropolitan, it’s pretty shapeless stuff, but there’s clearly a witty mind at work, although what’s on screen suggests an open martini bottle too.

Selected release from Friday