For the full review, click on the picture
In Cinemas Now
Motherless Brooklyn. (15.)
Directed by Edward Norton.
Starring Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, Willem Dafoe and Alec Baldwin. 144 mins.
Edward Norton's career has had its ups and downs, steering an often fractious course through Hollywood: but you could never say he lacked ambition. After five years when he's hardly been seen on the big screen, for his comeback he is writing, directing and starring in a 50's New York private eye drama, an attempt at an East Coast equivalent of Chinatown, but with a gumshoe called Lionel who has Tourette's Syndrome.
Knives Out (12A.)
Directed by Rian Johnson.
Starring Ana De Armas, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson and Christopher Plummer. 130 mins
After making this century's most toxic and divisive film, The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson has decided to step back and do a proper Agatha Christie-style whodunnit with a creepy old family in a creepy old country house. What harm can he do with that? Well, quite a bit. This jolly country house full of red herrings and fake alibis is the vehicle for his treatise on the decline of western civilisation. Not Murder She Wrote, more Dissension He Wrought.
Judy and Punch. (15.)
Directed by Mirrah Foulkes.
Starring Mia Wasikowska, Damon Herriman, Benedict Hardie, Virginia Gay, Eddie Baroo, Tom Budge. 106 mins.
In the 17th century village of Seaside, “somewhere in the countryside, nowhere near the sea,” Mr Punch (Herriman) is trying to revive his showbiz career with a knockabout puppet show – strings, not socks – ably assisted by his wife Judy (Wasikowska.) When it comes to marionette entertainment, Punch knows his audience: the locals “like punchy and smashy.”
The Irishman. (15.)
Directed by Martin Scorsese.
Starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Ray Romano, Bobby Cannavale, Stephen Graham, Anna Paquin and Harvey Keitel. 209 mins.
Individually or in partnership, Scorsese and De Niro have devoted the better parts of their careers to documenting (and glorifying?) the Mafia. Their latest and surely last Mob epic begins with the camera prowling around a retirement home before stopping before De Niro in a wheelchair. In part, this is a self-referential nod to similar, more frenetic tracking shots, in previous Scorsese's pictures. But it is also a setting up of the digital de-ageing process that will allow the major actors to convincingly play the same role throughout a story encompassing the majority of the second half of the twentieth century. Mostly though it's there to let you know that the film will be taking its time over this, it won't be racing along at the giddy clip we are accustomed to in Scorsese films.
Doctor Sleep. (15.)
Directed by Mike Flanagan.
Starring Ewan McGregor, Kyliegh Curran, Rebecca Ferguson, Cliff Curtis, Emily Alyn Lind and Zahn McClarnon. 152 mins.
In preparation for seeing this, I thought I should show my wife The Shining so she would understand who was who and what was what in this adaptation of Stephen King's follow up novel. After the less than an hour she was begging me to turn it off because it was so scary; indeed so scary said she didn't want to see this, even though her beloved Ewan McGregor was in it. Don't worry, I reassured her, this is based on the Stephen King novel; it isn't going to be scary at all. Sure enough, an hour into this she turned to me making an exaggerated yawning face.
Terminator: Dark Fate (15.)
Directed by Tim Miller.
Starring Mackenzie Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Natalia Reyes and Gabriel Luna. Partly subtitled. 128 mins.
There used to be two ways to tell if a Terminator sequel was duff. First, it wouldn't have a number in the title (anything after T3.) Secondly, the post colon section of the title would be deeply ironic: nobody was saved by Salvation, nothing was created by Genisys. Terminator 6 doesn't have a number but this time its title is grimly appropriate. This Terminator's fate is darker than you could have believed possible given it sees the return of creator James Cameron, albeit in a backseat role as a writer and producer. Every Terminator film is effectively a reset, a wiping the slate clean, and in Dark Fate we are shown a reality where the cast of T2: Judgment Day get together nearly a quarter of the century later to make a cheapskate, corner-cutting, straight-to-streaming rehash.
Directed by Todd Phillips.
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen and Marc Maron. 122 mins.
Like Mad Max:Fury Road, Joker was a proposition that didn't seem to make much sense when you heard they were doing it. Now I have seen it I'm not sure it makes any more sense but this standalone take on comic books' most compelling character is daring, thrilling, unexpected, ghastly and probably the last thing the world needs right now. Well, it's another bloody origins tale, isn't it?
Honey Boy. (15.)
Directed by Alma Ha'rel.
Starring Shia LeBeouf, Noah Jupe, Lucas Hedges, Byron Bowers and Laura San Giacomo. 93 mins.
Based on the document filmstar Shia LeBeouf had to write while he was in rehab for being drunk and disorderly and assaulting a police officer, Honey Boy features Lucas Hedges playing Shia LeBeouf in rehab; Noah Jupe playing the child star Shia LeBeouf; and Shia LeBeouf playing Shia LeBeouf's alcoholic father.
Eyes Wide Shut. (18.)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick. 1999.
Starring Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Sydney Pollack, Marie Richardson, Rade Sherbedgia, Todd Field, Vinessa Shaw and Alan Cumming. 155 mins. Back in cinemas for its 20th aniversary + Never Just a Dream: Stanley Kubrick and Eyes Wide Shut a 10 minute documentary directed by Matt Wells.
Eyes Wide Shut remains the biggest disappointment of my entire life. The late nineties was the first stirrings of the internet – the painfully slow dial-up modem internet – and during the five years the film was in production whenever I had the chance I'd be on it trying to find out about the latest development on its epically long shoot and epically long post-production. Then after all that Kubrick died, four months before the film was due to be released but a week after he'd supposedly finished the final cut. Finally, two months after its US release, I was sitting in my local cinema on Friday 10th September, in the first matinee screening, nearly deserted, actually watching it and wondering what the hell this was supposed to be.
The Nightingale. (18.)
Directed by Jennifer Kent.
Starring Aisling Franciosi, Sam Clafin, Baykali Ganambarr, Damon Herriman and Harry Greenwood. 136 mins
Following a 15 certificate horror movie with an 18 certificate period drama is an odd way to go about things. Jennifer Kent's scary debut The Babadook was full of subtle, half-glimpsed menace, but there is nothing subtle or half-glimpsed in the on screen horrors depicted in this tale of frontier revenge in Tazmania in the early 19th century. When Irish convict Clare (Franciosi) heads into the uncharted bush to get revenge on the soldier (Clafin) that wrecked her family, no horror is flinched and few expletives passed not beginning with C. If the aim was to make a film about the savagery of life in the colonies that was as harrowing and grueling to watch as it was to live through, she's succeeded.
Le Mans 66. (15.)
Directed by James Mangold.
Starring Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Josh Lucas, Ray McKinnon, Noah Jupe and Tracy Letts.
The Le Mans 24 hour race. I can't think of any sporting event that has retained such glamour and allure, despite almost nobody still watching it. You ever seen it? Know who won this year? A 24-hour motor race, even back in the Rollerball era of motorsport where death was commonplace, presents filmmakers with a problem because endurance events are rarely exciting – it's just Touch The Truck with glamour. But, if the Based On A True Life Story hands you Le Mans, you make Le Mans.
The Report. (15.)
Directed by Scott Z. Burns.
Starring Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Jon Hamm, Corey Stoll, Maura Tierney, Michael C. Hall and Tim Blake Nelson. 120 mins.
The story of a 7,000-page document that very few people will ever read but was worth writing is told in this film that very few people will see but was still worth making. The report is the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into the CIA's use of torture – sorry, Enhanced Interrogation Techniques – after 9/11, and the story is its writer's, Dan Jones (Driver), struggle to get it published after he and his small team had spent five years researching it.
The Aeronauts. (PG)
Directed by Tom Harper
Starring Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne, Phoebe Fox, Himesh Patel, Tim McInnerny and Tom Courteney. 101 mins.
This tale of Victorian derring-do, in which a scientist James Glaisher (Redmayne) goes on a spiffing adventure with a balloonist Amelia Wren (Jones) to fly higher than anyone has done before and in the process invent the weather forecast, is beautiful to behold but full of hot air.
Meeting Gorbachev. (PG.)
Directed by Werner Herzog and Andre Singer.
Featuring Mikhail Gorbachev, Mikos Nemeth, George Schultz, Horst Teltschik and Werner Herzog. 91 mins.
Though it's overly hero-worshipping, this record of three meetings between Herzog and the last President of the USSR is a corrective to his portrayal in Chernobyl (The Greatest TV Show Ever!) as just another soviet bad guy. Being an unbalanced obsessive, Herzog doesn't come at it with an even hand, but if you overlook his little quirks this is a really fascinating look at 20th Century geopolitics.