Movie Review Round-Up: The New Releases

Find out which movies are worth the popcorn money this week.

The Old Man and the Gun ****

If this really is the end, Robert Redford has truly gone out with a bang.

Having starred in one of the greatest stick-up movies of all time, it was always going to take something special for the 82-year-old to go on the lam again. 

Sure enough, this wry character study about ageing, seventy-second chances and the thrill of the chase (in more ways than one) has given him the role he has essentially waited a lifetime to play, that of real-life bank robber Forrest Tucker. Read our full review here.

Mortal Engines **

Written by Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens, this ambitious sci-fi fantasy about a post-apocalyptic future where predatory cities roam the planet runs out of road very quickly 

“We should never have gone into Europe. It’s the biggest mistake we’ve ever made!” thunders Lord Mayor of London Magnus Crome (a great Patrick Malahide) in this bonkers adaptation of Philip Reeve’s young adult fantasy sci-fi epic Mortal Engines.

Earlier in the movie, there’s also a nice dig at Trump’s immigration policy but what this strange and lopsided movie has in decent and pertinent one-liners, it lacks in the vision thing. Read our full review here.

Sorry to Bother You ****

This is the kind of film that gives me hope for the human race.

In recent years we’ve seen the rise of Trump and the far right, as the rich get richer, the poor and immigrant get blamed, and people rely more on emotion and anger rather than logic and empathy.

Then along comes Sorry to Bother You and it’s like a shaft of light in a darkening world.

Boots Riley’s debut film centres on Cassius Green (superbly played by Lakeith Stanfield, who also stars in the excellent Atlanta), a man with zero prospects, who is financially bereft, and living in a garage. The only positive in his life is his girlfriend Detroit (an even more impressive Tessa Thompson), an optimistic artist who’s also a political activist. Read our full review here.

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Creed II ****

Creed II is twelve rounds of awesomeness – by the end of the 130-minute running time, viewers won’t know what hit them.

Director Steven Caple Jr, taking over the reins from the great Ryan Coogler, is at the top of his own game, and orchestrates the franchise’s trusty formula while standing on his own two feet.

Now a heavyweight champion, Adonis ‘Donnie’ Creed (Michael B Jordan) is taunted into fighting by Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), the hulking son of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) – the Soviet machine who killed Donnie’s father, Apollo, during an exhibition match in 1985’s Rocky IV. Read our full review here.

Ralph Breaks the Internet ****

What does the World Wide Web actually look like? Is it a techno utopia where pretty blue jays perch on branches and tweet happy thoughts and helpful corporations provide you with vital information and goods?

Or is it a fetid underworld where viruses and hate speech lurk everywhere and the Dark Web is a festering pit teeming with mankind’s every evil?

It’s a bit of both in this zippy follow-up to 2013’s Wreck it Ralph. Billed as the biggest and most elaborate Disney movie ever, its greatest feat is its ingenious visualisation of cyberspace as a gleaming city buzzing with global brands and populated by personifications of search engines, algorithms, pop-up ads, and high-stakes online auctions. Read our full review here.

The Wild Pear Tree ****

“We are misfits, solitary, misshapen,” says the disillusioned young Sinan who is about to graduate from college in the absorbing Turkish feature, The Wild Pear Tree, which is directed by Palme d’Or-winner Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

Sinan also includes his grandfather Recep (Tamer Levent), and the tree of the title is the young man’s simile for the stubborn ways of all three.

In its absorbing to and fro of mood and dialogue, The Wild Pear Tree conjures the moments when people at odds with each other can suddenly connect. Nuri Bilge Ceylan and his talented actors have managed a film of brilliance. Read our full review here.

Disobedience **1/2

Disobedience offers a valiant spin on the business of trying to express one’s sexuality within the perceived strictures of religion. 

Ronit and Esti (Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams respectively) are friends since at least their teenage years in North London. While Ronit has shaken off her Jewish Orthodox faith, Esti has apparently continued to believe in its tenets, so much so that she has married the devoutly traditionalist Dovid (Alessandro Nivola), the third party in the love triangle at the heart of the film.

The emotional anguish authentically expressed in Disobedience is captivating, but the film fades out unsatisfactorily, playing on sententious heroics by way of an implausible ending that can’t make up its mind whether to be a neat finale or to leave the story hanging. Read our full review here.

The Camino Voyage *****

The Camino Voyage sees four comrades travelling by naomhóg or currach on the 2,500km sea journey to North-West Spain as they make their risky but spirited pilgrimage to the holy city of Santiago de Compostela.

They are following the example of intrepid Irish pilgrims, who sailed centuries ago from Ireland to the city of A Coruña in North-West Spain prior to completing the final, dry-land leg of the Camino – which means ‘the way’ or ‘the road’ in Spanish – on foot to Santiago.

A heart-warming, sometimes moving documentary directed by Dónal Ó Céilleachair. Read our full review here.

Robin Hood *1/2

The overwhelming feeling after sitting through almost two hours of the latest Robin Hood iteration to hit the big screen is: Did we really need this movie?

Similarly to Guy Richie’s frenetic, frequently confusing re-imagining of the King Arthur legend, Robin Hood manages to be both action-packed and mind-numbingly boring. Quite the feat.

Peaky Blinders director Otto Bathurst makes his feature debut with Welsh actor Taron Egerton, probably best known for his role in Kingsman: The Secret Service, taking on the leading role of Robin of Loxley. Read our full review here.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web **1/2

Well, that’s two heroes who’ve failed to save our November nights.

First up was the new Jack Reacher adventure, Past Tense – one of the weakest books from author Lee Child – and now The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo‘s Lisbeth Salander returns to screens after seven years with Don’t Breathe director Fede Álvarez behind the lens and The Crown’s Claire Foy taking over the iconic lead role from Rooney Mara.

Given the length of the lay-off and the talent involved – which also includes Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight as one of the writers and Dragon Tattoo director David Fincher as an executive producer – The Girl in the Spider’s Web ranks as one of the bigger disappointments of 2018. Read our full review here.

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