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

This week, take your pick between inter-species war and holy-relic adventures

Trailer for the last of the 'Apes' trilogy.

 

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES ★★★★
Directed by Matt Reeves. Starring Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Amiah Miller, Karin Konoval, Judy Greer, Terry Notary. Cert 12A, gen release, 140mins
Some 15 years have elapsed since the biotech advances of Rise of the Planet of the Apes  and inter-species conflict rages on, despite the best efforts of Caesar (Andy Serkis), who has led his family and hundreds of apes to a waterfall-masked stockade. A battalion of Homo sapiens stalk the apes, aided by simian collaborators. The ruthless soldiers are under the command of Colonel McCullough (Harrelson), a rogue commander with genocidal thoughts and a cult following.  There is  a pronounced Trumpian subtext in McCullough’s unholy and unhinged beliefs, an anachronistic manifesto of Christianity, patriotism, speciesism, anarchy and paranoia. “Why does he need a wall?” wonders Caesar. Because science fiction is always a helpful, terrifying guide to the present. TB Review/Trailer

THE BEGUILED ★★★★
Directed by Sofia Coppola. Starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, Addison Reicke. 15A cert, gen release, 94 min

In Sofia Coppola's brief, beautiful, anaesthetised US Civil War drama, Colin Farrell is a wounded Corporal who finds himself in a crumbling mansion inhabited by women alone. Before you can say “biscuits and gravy”, the suppressed sexual passion is straining the bolts on the metaphorical pressure cooker. The Beguiled is a rare film that one might reasonably wish longer. The picture spend almost all its duration leading us to the edge of the cliff and then kicks us off before we have had time to properly enjoy the view. Flawed, but undeniably worthwhile. Strange, but mostly in a good way. There’s nothing much like it in cinemas. DC Review/Trailer

PILGRIMAGE ★★★★
Directed by Brendan Muldowney. Starring Tom Holland, Jon Bernthal, Richard Armitage, Stanley Weber. Club, limited release, 96 min

Brendan Muldowney’s Herzogian quest movie – from a lean script by Jamie Hannigan – exploits the nation’s ancient discontents to satisfying effect as it drags a party of zealots, tyrants and opportunists across the damp interior.  We begin with an ancient prologue during which some future saint is battered to death with a rock the size of an American football. Centuries later, the relic is guarded by a group of monks. Jerusalem has just fallen and the monks are urged to move their precious item closer to Rome. A journey through the bogs puts them in the way of Norman invaders and ruthless barbarians.  The film is closer to Conan the Barbarian than Martin Scorsese’s Silence. That is no bad thing.  DC Review/Trailer

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING ★★★★
Directed by Jon Watts. Starring Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Gwyneth Paltrow, Zendaya. 12A cert, gen release, 133 min

Tingling sensation: Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man is back to battle The Vulture and endure being a teenager. Among Homecoming’s many virtues is an acknowledgement that these superhero things are essentially for children. The new film convincingly casts a 21-year-old as a 15-year-old. His friends seem younger still. None of this means that the picture is facile, cheap or lacking in ambition. Spider-Man: Homecoming is more satisfying than any film to date in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fun is still fun. DC Review/Trailer

IT COMES AT NIGHT ★★★★
Directed by Trey Shults. Starring Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, Kelvin Harrison Jr, Christopher Abbott, Riley Keough. 15A cert, gen release, 91 min

Riley Keough and Kelvin Harrison Jr in It Comes at Night
Riley Keough and Kelvin Harrison Jr in It Comes at Night

““For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” In his terrific second feature, Trey Shults, director of the family drama Krisha, appears to answer St Matthew’s rhetorical question in the expected manner. The world is laid low by a killer disease and one family hold out desperately. A brilliant survival tale that has much to say about the wretchedness of being human. DC Review/Trailer

BABY DRIVER ★★★★
Directed by Edgar Wright. Starring Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Eiza Gonzalez, Flea, Sky Ferreira. 15A cert, gen release, 112 min

Who loves ya? Lily James and Ansel Elgort in Baby Driver
Who loves ya? Lily James and Ansel Elgort in Baby Driver

Elgort plays the titular getaway driver in Wright’s most satisfying film since Shaun of the Dead. You could call it a musical because virtually every scene is choreographed to a cracking tune: Jonathan Richman, Dave Brubeck, T Rex, The Commodores. But a better reason to call Baby Driver a musical is that it moves and breathes so very like one. It is slick, rhythmic and exciting. Only a messy last 20 minutes let it down. DC Review/Trailer

DESPICABLE ME 3 ★★★★
Directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda. Starring Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker. Cert G, gen release, 90mins

Delightful third episode in the massively successful animated series. Having acquired three daughters in the first instalment, a wife in the second film, and now a twin brother, Gru, the lovable villain turned Anti Villain League operative, could be weighted down. Despicable Me 3, however, is such a cleverly calibrated construction that we never notice the extra passengers. Think of it, in terms of quality, as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the Despicable Me films. TB Review/Trailer

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