Six of the best films to see at the cinema this weekend

The Oscar contenders are everywhere, but Batman and Matt Damon are managing to hold their own

Here be lizards:  Pedro Pascal and Matt Damon in The Great Wall

Here be lizards: Pedro Pascal and Matt Damon in The Great Wall

 

MOONLIGHT  ★★★★★
Directed by Barry Jenkins. Starring Mahershala Ali, Shariff Earp, Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes, Janelle Monáe, Naomie Harris, Jaden Piner. 15A cert, gen release, 111 min
Barry Jenkins’s transcendent second feature is about the challenges boys encounter as they become men. Cinema has been in and around this area time and time again, but Moonlight still feels abundantly fresh and endlessly imaginative. As meticulous in his shots, clean in his colours and precise in his rhythms as Wong Kar Wai, Jenkins gives us a complex American hero to compare with Huckleberry Finn or Holden Caulfield. DC  Review/Trailer

HIDDEN FIGURES ★
Directed by Theodore Melfi. Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons. Cert PG, gen release, 121mins
 Working from Margot Lee Shetterly’s bestseller Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race, a screenplay co-written by the director and Allison Schroeder maintains this light, humorous touch, while exploring much heavier, less humorous themes of gender and racial disparity. Naturally, artistic licence and occasionally broad strokes are utilised to allow the material to bounce. But the extraordinary accomplishments of the women mean that you never can tell hard fact from light fiction. TB Review/Trailer

THE GREAT WALL ★★★
Directed by Zhang Yimou. Starring Matt Damon, Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Zhang Hanyu, Eddie Peng. 12A cert, gen release, 105 min 
We’re going to build a wall. And we’re going to make the giant killer lizards from beneath the earth pay for it. Such is nearly the premise of this chaotic, strangely paced romp from the hitherto respectable Zhang . Damon helps ancient Chinese repel the beasts. It’s idiotic, but beautifully made and rather good fun. 12A cert, gen release. DC Review/Trailer

THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE  
Directed by Chris McKay. Featuring Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes. Cert G, gen release, 104mins
Christopher Nolan’s Batman remains the blueprint for Arnett’s marvellous takedown of the Caped Crusader, a breakout star of 2014’s unexpectedly brilliant Lego Movie. Under the direction of Robot Chicken’s McKay, Arnett relentlessly prods at Batman with a welcome helping of BoJack Horseman-brand misery and narcissism. Between merciless but fond lampooning (“All important movies start with a black screen”), there’s an entertaining all-ages comedy that values togetherness and jokes equally. TB Review/Trailer

LOVING 
Directed by Jeff Nichols. Starring Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Marton Csokas, Nick Kroll, Terri Abney,Alano Miller, Jon Bass,  Michael Shannon. 2A cert, lim release, 123 min DC
Nichols’s singular treatment of the case that helped dismantle the US’s anti-miscegenation laws is not a courtroom drama or a tale of brash heroes. The film focuses on the relationship between Mildred and Richard Loving, the white man and black woman at the heart of the story, to moving a effect. The visuals are seductive. The music is persuasive. But it is Oscar-nominated Negga’s turn as Mildred that pushes the film towards the sublime. DC Review/Trailer

JACKIE ★★★★
Directed by Pablo Larraín. Starring Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, John Hurt, Richard E. Grant, John Carroll Lynch, Beth Grant, Max Casella, Caspar Phillipson. 15A cert, gen release, 99 min
Jackie is about an interregnum. It is not about the presidency. It is not about the first lady’s complicated afterlife. Larraín has made an incomparable film on the process of moving queasily into uncertainty. Natalie Portman is exemplary as the sad planet around which self-important satellites spin. Released here on the same day as the inauguration of a new US president, Larraín’s film - written long before Trump seemed a plausible contender – will kick up unavoidable, accidental reminders of current discontents. In truth, however, nothing about this interregnum looks much like the one that is just ending. DC  Review/Trailer

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