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Directed by Nat Faxon, Jim Rash.
Starring Will Ferrell, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Miranda Otto, Zach Woods, Zoe Chao and Kristofer Hivju. 86 mins.
It may be heresy in these post-Parasite times, but subtitles are a pain and I wouldn't blame anyone for avoiding them, even if that means missing out on great films like Force Majeure. The 2014 Swedish black comedy (the film Ruben Ostlund made directly before Canz Barn Door winner The Square) about a family skiing holiday in the Alps where the father scarpers and leaves the rest of his family to die is when it momentarily looks like they are going to be killed in an avalanche, is one of the best films of the last decade.
Directed by Autumn De Wilde.
Starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Mia Goth, Bill Nighy, Josh O'Connor and Miranda Hart. 125 mins.
It is my wish that there be bagpipe music played at my funeral. The sound of the highland pipes is, of course, the most godawful honk ever to masquerade as music but I won't be there to hear it and it is my most fervent desire that I leave a little misery behind when I'm gone. But my efforts in this regard will be as nothing to those of Ms Jane Austen.
Directed by Bong Joon-ho.
Starring Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo, Woo-sik Choi, Hyae Jin Chang, So-dam Park. In Korean with subtitles. 132 mins.
Last year's Palm Door winner arrives in our cinemas 9 months after its triumph, which is actually pretty swift for a subtitled Cannes victor. Even so, I managed to walk into see this entirely untainted: I knew who directed it, its nationality and that it was a big deal, but nothing else. Going in knowing nothing is always a good thing but is often an empty victory; if can go into see a Tim Burton or Tarantino film with no pre-knowledge, but you still have a pretty good idea of what you're going to get.
Richard Jewell (15.)
Directed by Clint Eastwood.
Starring Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde, Jon Hamm, Kathy Bates and Nina Arianda. 131 mins.
It's come to something when even playing the title character doesn't get you top billing. Richard Jewell (Hauser) was a security guard who during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics noticed a suspicious package and saved countless lives in the Centennial Park bombings. A morbidly obese oddball, Jewell goes from hero to villain when the FBI (Hamm) tell the press (Wilde) that he is their prime suspect, simply because he fits their profile as a lone bomber. (They'd probably been watching too much Cracker – it was massive back then.) It seems very unfair, and very unClint, that in the credits Hauser is listed after all the name actors; especially as his performance is just about the only one in the film that seems real.
The Personal History of David Copperfield. (PG.)
Directed by Armando Iannucci.
Starring Dev Patel, Peter Capaldi, Ben Whishaw, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Aneurin Barnard and Morfydd Clark. 120 mins
I was at a slight disadvantage at the press screening of this Dickens adaptation: apart from a few Vloggers, I was probably the only person in the cinema who was wondering what would happen in the end. Terrible admission, but I've never read any Dickens.
Directed by Trey Edwards Shults.
Starring Taylor Russell, Lucas Hedges, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Alexa Demie, Renee Elise Goldsberry and Sterling K. Brown. 135 mins
MoonlightMoonlight is the obvious starting point. The similarities to the Oscar winner are minimal and superficial – aside from both being set in black communities in Miami, they both have shots of lovers standing in the sea as a storm approach. The connection sticks though because it is the film's most memorable and striking image. But if it is Moonlight, then it is Moonlight directed by Alfonso Cuaron.
Directed by Jay Roach.
Starring Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, Allison Janney, Kate McKinnon and John Lithgow. 108 mins
Three bombshells, all blonde, naturally – two are real-life figures, Fox anchors Megyn Kelly (Theron) and Gretchen Carlson (Kidman), the third is a made-up composite figure (Robbie.) The bombshell they drop is that Roger Ailes (Lithgow), the head of Fox News, the organisation dedicated to infantilising public discourse and degrading the democratic process, sexually harassed a number of women on his staff.
Directed by Sam Mendes.
Starring George Mackay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Benedict Cumberbatch and Colin Firth. 119 mins
This study of the Russian Revolution suffers somewhat from concentrating entirely on a day of World War I conflict in France. Calling a film 1917 that isn't about the historical landmark event of that year seems perverse, like making a film about the massacre of Granada and calling it 1066. Anyway, 1917 is a straightforward war film greatest hits compilation. There's nothing new in it, but it plays all the hits and plays them very well in a seamless mixtape package.
True History of the Kelly Gang. (18.)
Directed by Justin Kurzel.
Starring George MacKay, Essie Davis, Nicholas Hoult, Orlando Schwerdt, Thomasin McKenzie, Charlie Hunnam and Russell Crowe. 125 mins.
This version of author Peter Carey's version of the life of Ned Kelly has little concern for Truth or Story. Instead, Kurzel batters audience with a punk rock assault of demented, brutish, garish, incoherent rage.
Dark Waters. (15.)
Directed by Todd Haynes.
Starring Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Bill Camp, Bill Pullman, Victor Garber. 127 mins
The shocking, but somehow unsurprising, story of how DuPont chemicals poisoned the population of an American town as they developed Teflon is one that you will want to hear, but Dark Waters is maybe not a film that you'll need to see.
Directed by Michael Winterbottom.
Starring Steve Coogan, David Mitchell, Isla Fisher, Asa Butterfield, Sarah Solemani and Shirley Henderson.
He is prolific to the point of incontinence but whatever topic or style he is turning his talents to, you can rely on Winterbottom to bring a bit of dash to it; but usually preceded by some slap. Which is to say that his goals are usually superior to his execution. Here he applies himself to the noble pursuit of crafting a character assassination of Sir Philip Greene, the public school-educated barrow boy who became The King of the High Street even though he didn't have any fashion sense. It's a very thorough character assassination, an effective dismantling of the smoke and mirrors of his success. Even so, in the end you may come out unfulfilled by Winterbottom's marksmanship – you've killed him but have you killed him enough? Couldn't you have killed him a bit more?
First Love. (15.)
Directed by Takeshi Miike.
Starring Becky, Masataka Kubota, Jun Murakami, Shota Sometani and Nao Omori. Japanese and Chinese with subtitles. 107 mins.
Takeshi Miike directs films at a rate broadly equivalent to that which Michael Caine used to act in them, and with a similar range in quality. His 103rd movie, like many of those he's made over the last three decades, is a gangster flick and one of the very best. This is a twisty and twisted piece of comic crime mayhem that stand comparison with the work of all the usual names that get mentioned when discussing excellence in this area.
Birds Of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn.) (15.)
Directed by Cathy Yan.
Starring Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ewan McGregor, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez and Ella Jay Basco. 109 mins.
All we are saying is Give JaredLeto'sJoker a chance. Now, probably much like yourself, I didn't hold his interpretation of the role in Suicide Squad in very high regard and personally don't have any great feelings about the actor one way or the other. But, come on, let's have some decency here, nobody deserves what has happened to Leto's Joker. First of all, having apparently put a lot of work into the role, he found himself largely cut from the finished version. Scapegoating is always an ugly business but to be singled out as the weakest link in that chain of fools is a shattering indignity. If anything, his absence was one of the chief problems: if you came to see a Joker film you want to see a Joker in it, even if it isn't much of a Joker. And then, after all the unfavourable comparisons with Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, to have Joaquin Phoenix come along and probably win an Oscar for playing the same role in a modestly budgeted but zeitgeist capturing film just a few years later, is beyond cruel.
Directed by Stephen Gaghan.
Starring Robert Downey Jr, Harry Collett, Michael Sheen, Antonio Banderas and the voices of Rami Malek, Emma Thompson. 101 mins.
Though there have only been three big-screen versions of the Doctor who can walk and talk and sing with the animals, the range of interpretations have been wider than the fourteen actors that have played Doctor Who on the small screen. Rex Harrison's musical sixties Doctor was stiff, formal, not obviously fond of animals but was superficially faithful to Hugh Lofting's books. Eddie Murphy's nineties updated Dr was Dolittle in name and concept only. RDJ's surname version is, self-defeatingly, a little bit of both.
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. (15.)
Directed by Terry Gilliam.
Starring Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Joana Ribiero, Olga Kurylenko, Stellan Skarsgard and Jordi Molla. 133 mins.
The mystery and allure of unmade films is a dangerous thing to mess with – after a period of time that passion project is probably best left unmade. Though the cinema re-release of Jodorowsky's first three films this year has shown that his work stands up after the passing of half a century, none of them are as intriguing or thrilling as the version of Dune he didn't make at the end of the seventies. That is probably the most speculated over unmade film ever, though the speculation and regret is tinged with the guilty knowledge that the Jodorowsky Dune of our imagination is almost certainly superior to the Jodorowsky Dune he would have made.