Carla's Song (15) PolyGram, rental, 11 Aug. In Land and Freedom, Ken Loach was startlingly successful in mixing his trademark realism with the epic scale of the Spanish Civil War. He tries a similar trick again in Carla's Song - but lightning doesn't strike twice. Robert Carlyle plays George, a foul-mouthed Glaswegian bus driver who falls for the eponymous heroine, an enigmatic Nicaraguan refugee. Having rescued her from an over-enthusiastic ticket inspector, got her a room and saved her from suicide, George takes her for a picnic in the Highlands in his double-decker. He then, somewhat implausibly, ups sticks and relocates to Nicaragua to help her find her ex-boyfriend. Not surprisingly, it is here that the film takes a nose dive. The engaging characters of the first half disappear and George is reduced to a gauche tourist, embarrassingly trying to bond with the locals. He succeeds only in getting up the nose of an ex-CIA roughneck, played by Scott Glenn, who delivers just one too many speeches on Sandinista politics and sphincter control. Laverty's script also lacks sufficient information on the country's history, leaving us with little empathy and a desire to be transported back to the first half of the film.
Metro (18) Buena Vista, rental, 12 Aug. All the usual cliches spill from this bad-to-average crime thriller. An over made-up Eddie Murphy gets serious as a negotiator whose job it is to cajole gunmen into releasing their victims without bloodshed. He inevitably becomes emotionally involved after the vicious murder of one of his best pals. Even Mel Gibson could have done it better.
Getting Away With Murder (15) PolyGram, rental, 11 Aug. Director Harvey Miller already has Big under his belt, which doesn't lend a great deal of credibility to this mediocre film. Dan Aykroyd discovers that his neighbour is the infamous war criminal Karl Luger and, when the media descend, the neighbours rally round in his defence.
Breaking The Surface (15) Odyssey, rental, 11 Aug. Queasy bio-pic of high-diver Greg Louganis (Mario Lopez), winner of four Olympic gold medals. The most interesting thing about this film is Lopez's greasy chest.