Fast & Furious 6 (12A, 130 mins)

Director: Justin Lin

There's something to be admired about a movie series that has gone from fun to bloated to having stuck around so long that it actually became fun again, largely thanks to the introduction of Dwayne Johnson in Fast Five.

Now the Fast & Furiouses are being churned out at such an alarming rate, you'll barely have time to catch your breath before part seven will be with us next spring. But we'll need to make do in the meantime with this ludicrously enjoyable sixth entry that sees former criminals Dom and Brian (Vin Diesel and Paul Walker) retired to family life in Spain.

Meanwhile Johnson's cop is on the trail of another set of bad guys led by Luke Evans, and goes to Dom and his crew of street-racers for their help, the carrot being that Dom's one-time squeeze Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) isn't as dead as he thought she was. And if they can bring the gang down, they'll get the pardons that will allow them to return to the States.

By becoming increasingly convoluted and introducing too many characters, it means there's an awful lot of movie here for a daft racing flick. When they talk it can sometimes be best to look away, as feeble lines delivered by subpar actors aren't what you've signed up to a Fast & Furious picture for. And it can sometimes be very po-faced, generally whenever Diesel is around. Thank heavens then for Johnson, who punctures the stern atmosphere with some engaging stuff.

But when it takes to the roads, it's a Ferrari of a different colour. The vehicular mayhem is stunningly executed, often thrilling, albeit not all of it coherent, and at least a good percentage of it looks done for real. It's predominantly London-set, but look out for the streets of Glasgow during an early chase.

An exposition-heavy midsection in between the bouts of carnage threatens to outstay its welcome, but a centrepiece chase on a Spanish highway involving a tank is worth the wait. That's merely a taster for a quite colossal climactic sequence on the world's longest airport runway, making the final third of the movie unrepentantly silly and thoroughly enjoyable.

And stick around once the credits start rolling to see who'll be joining the fun in episode seven!

See it if you liked: The Fast and the Furious I-V

The Great Gatsby (12A, 143 mins)

Director: Baz Luhrmann

Much raising of eyebrows ensued when it was announced that Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann would be taking on an adaptation of The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic and oft-filmed novel, and in 3D no less.

Early signs are discouraging. An eye-frying array of images accompany what looks like nothing more than a bunch of people playing dress up while Luhrmann indulges his worst instincts for theatricality and artifice. Even what should be an otherwise ordinary scene, a dinner engagement for example, is heightened by camera and editing tricks.

But the Luhrmann-ness is a smokescreen for use in the trailers, a way of blowing the cobwebs off a slim book that doesn't really lend itself to 143 minutes of overblown cinema. Once the early razzle-dazzle is out of the way, it matures and calms into an actually rather faithful retelling, often word for word with Fitzgerald's text, still visually resplendent but less inclined to gimmickry.

Narrated by Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), it tells the story of how, in 1922, he went to Long Island to visit his cousin Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan) and her husband Tom (Joel Edgerton). There he hears tell of his neighbour, millionaire playboy Jay Gatsby, who throws grand parties in his enormous mansion and is spoken of only in rumours.

The much ballyhooed Gatsby takes a while to appear, but Leonardo DiCaprio makes a powerful entrance and he's perfectly cast as the enigmatic title character, all charm and charisma and hidden depths, as he and Daisy resume an old acquaintanceship that forms the backbone of the story. A fragile Mulligan also impresses, but Maguire seems caught in headlights, Nick for the most part a slack-jawed bystander caught up in Gatsby's alluring world and press-ganged in for his role as narrator and little more.

Part mystery and part love story, it's a technical feast that invites you to find Charles Foster Kane in a Jack Vettriano painting. The entire thing could be computer generated, such is the disconnect from reality in the sets and backdrops, but in its gaudiness it captures the decadence of the era beautifully.

Anachronistic music, from Gershwin to Jay-Z, only adds to the theatrical feel, but there's no escaping the pervasive sorrow of a story that's as powerful today as it was 90 years ago.

See it if you liked: Moulin Rouge, The Aviator, Midnight in Paris

The Liability (15, 82 mins)

Director: Craig Viveiros


Jack O'Connell proves once again that he's one of the best young British actors around, and he's having a blast here as Adam, a 19-year-old tearaway whose latest antics are the last straw for his gangster stepfather (a rabid Peter Mullan).

To get him out his hair, he gets Adam a job driving for Tim Roth's laid back hitman, and what follows is a grimly humorous road trip, enlivened no end by the byplay between the two stars, with O'Connell a cheeky counterpoint to Roth's droll, soft-spoken delivery.

It can get somewhat bogged down once the main plot and its associated twists kick in, and it's let down by a poorly thought out finale, but for its first hour or so The Liability is sick fun in the spirit of Ben Wheatley.

See it if you liked: Kill List, Sightseers, In Bruges