On a Clear Day (12A)
The underdog barks once more in this Full Monty-ish tale of post-industrial decline and personal renewal. Peter Mullan plays Frank, a Glasgow shipyard worker who fights the redundancy blues by training to swim the English Channel. But it's also a way of exorcising the ghost of a drowning in the family's past, and of reconciling with his estranged son (Jamie Sives). Actually, there are so many personal demons being overcome here - mum Brenda Blethyn has to pass her bus-driving test, while Frank's quartet of mates each faces up to a mini-crisis - that Alex Rose's screenplay can't help seeming soppily programmatic. On the plus side, the performances are touching, and David Johnson's coastal photography has a pleasing crispness. I defy you not to mist up at the finale, though once the lights go on, you may be left feeling somewhat used.
Red Eye (12A)
Terror at 35,000 feet. Wes Craven, having put the frighteners on us in suburban Middle America, here transfers his field of operations to an airliner. Rachel McAdams plays an aerophobic hotel manager who finds herself seated next to a handsome charmer (Cillian Murphy) on an overnight flight to Miami. Little does she know that he's a freelance killer who's going to have her father (Brian Cox) murdered unless she plays along in his deadly assassination plot. Craven handles the confined spaces quite expertly, ratcheting the tension by degrees as the feisty McAdams seeks to outmanoeuvre what's basically a private hostage crisis. Things get a little silly once on terra firma, but the pace never flags and the performances are spot on. Just don't expect to see this as part of your in-flight entertainment programme any time soon.
The Business (18)
Nick Love can't get enough of cockney villains. His latest transfers the South London yobs of his previous The Football Factory to the sunnier reaches of the Costa del Crime, Eighties vintage. Danny Dyer plays trainee hoodlum Frankie, seduced by the cocaine, cars and Fila sportswear that life as gopher for crimelord Charlie (Tamer Hassan) brings him. With its voice-over flashbacks, freeze frames and druggie excess, the film wants so badly to be a British GoodFellas it almost hurts, but the screenplay, for all its moronic energy, makes no conspicuous effort to avoid cliché, and it's hobbled by the atrocious performance of Georgina Chapman as a supposed femme fatale. The booming Eighties soundtrack - Frankie, Duran, Flock of Seagulls - is present and correct, though the period authenticity keeps slipping. In 1987 nobody was using "whatever" as a dismissal.
Born into Brothels: CalcuttaÕs Red Light Kids (NC)
The American photographer Zana Briski spent two years living in the red-light slums of Calcutta, teaching photography to a bunch of young children and trying to induct them into education programmes. Unfortunately, the kids' parents are prostitutes, most of whom want their offspring to earn a few rupees and then follow them "into the line". Briski and co-director Ross Kauffman present a lively fresco of Calcutta life, and get some remarkable material from the children they're trying to rescue, but a coda presents a dispiriting ratio of lost to saved.Reuse content