Filth (18, 97 mins)
Director: Jon S. Baird
IRVINE Welsh hasn't seen his work particularly well served by cinema since the stunning success of Trainspotting in the mid 90s.
Granted there haven't been too many adaptations, but chief among them, The Acid House, was quickly forgotten and the least said the better about the dreadful Ecstasy from last year.
His 1998 novel Filth has long been considered unfilmable, and its arrival on screens now courtesy of Scottish writer-director Jon S. Baird would appear to back up that theory to an extent.
It lives up to its title, no doubt, and there are a few great moments, but the overall feeling is one of mild disappointment.
The central figure is Edinburgh cop Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy), who is vying for promotion along with several of his colleagues for the Detective Inspector position.
A Japanese tourist has been murdered in the city, and if Bruce can solve the case it will go a long way towards him winning the post.
The problem is he's a twisted and unhinged individual, revelling in excess and manipulating and lying his way around his colleagues.
He's as nasty and irredeemable a character as you could imagine, and McAvoy is full of menace, commanding the attention throughout with a stunning turn.
He gleefully snarls and seethes his way through unrepeatable dialogue that's both dark and funny, much more so than the fantasy sequences his addled mind conjures up.
The case itself mostly takes a back seat to Bruce's descent into insanity and depravity but the story built around it just isn't of enough substance.
There's a subplot involving the prank calls Bruce is making to the wife of a friend, but while this offers yet another chance for debauchery, it doesn't really go anywhere.
It's representative of a movie that doesn't really hang together as a narrative, with inconsistency from scene to scene about just how off the leash Bruce is.
Further down and down he goes into drink and drugs, and there's obviously going to be a reason behind it, but this fails to provide the required emotional impact. And though this isn't exactly a film striving for poignancy, a little empathy might have been welcome.
Unapologetic about its wickedness, Filth gets torn into its perversions with gusto.
But sometimes it just feels like outrageousness for the sake of it, its excesses never quite providing the sort of rush you might expect.
Something with this much lewd content should probably be more fun, or more shocking. Sometimes, more just isn't enough.
See it if you liked: Trainspotting, Ecstasy, Bad Lieutenant
Blue Jasmine (12A, 98 mins)
Director: Woody Allen
Woody Allen's late-career rollercoaster hits another up-slope with this beautifully observed drama that hangs it story loosely on the framework of A Streetcar Named Desire.
Substituting for Blanche is Jasmine (Cate Blanchett), whose crooked husband (Alec Baldwin) lost all their money, forcing her to move from her life of luxury in New York to live in blue collar ignominy with her step-sister (Sally Hawkins) in San Francisco.
Her mental disintegration is the focus of a cleverly structured tale that flits between her previous life and trying to cope with her new surroundings, and though Hawkins and Bobby Cannavale offer colourful support, this is very much Blanchett's show.
She's miraculous, going from elegance to faux-imperiousness to anguish in the space of a scene and it will be a fine performance indeed that denies her a second Oscar come March.
See it if you liked: Interiors, Another Woman, A Streetcar Named Desire
Prisoners (15, 153 mins)
Director: Denis Villeneuve
There's a strong flavour of crime novelist Dennis Lehane running through this fine thriller that stars Hugh Jackman and Maria Bello as suburban parents whose young daughter is kidnapped along with their neighbours' girl while they're celebrating Thanksgiving.
Jake Gyllenhaal is the cop in charge of the case and Paul Dano the chief suspect, though there's no physical evidence linking him to the disappearances.
But Jackman has convinced himself that Dano is responsible and holds him prisoner in order to make him tell where the girls are.
Technically excellent on all levels, this is a grey and icy drama of morality and consequences, smart and sober, with only a few shaky plot details letting the side down.
It's anchored by a quite remarkable display of rage and grief by Jackman, who has never shown such power before, even in his guise as Wolverine.
The fact the audience doesn't know if Dano is guilty or not only adds to the gnawing tension, impressively sustained through an epic running time that really doesn't feel as long as it is.
See it if you liked: Zodiac, Gone Baby Gone, The Lovely Bones
Austenland (12A, 97 mins)
Director: Jerusha Hess
Keri Russell is Jane, a 30-something woman unlucky in love and obsessed with Jane Austen who spends her life savings on a trip to Britain and the titular experience, essentially a Jane Austen theme-park, where guests come to pretend they're in Regency England.
They spend their days in 19th century garb, interacting with staff and actors, with Jane finding herself torn between Bret McKenzie's stable boy and JJ Feild's actor.
There's nothing of interest in the would-be cutesy, but actually rather troubling setup of this feeble rom-com, and little of competence about the execution.
Limp direction throws together random scenes of costumed nonsense in ways that are clunky, unfunny and pointless, while Jennifer Coolidge takes it to another level of annoying as a fellow guest.
The only thing that could save Austenland is if it switched gears into Westworld and Yul Brynner started shooting up the place.
See it if you liked: The Jane Austen Book Club, Pride and Prejudice, First Night