Four new films to see this week ... One of them is a lean, exhilarating thriller

Thirteen Live and Prey are streaming. Bullet Train and Maisie are in cinemas

PREY ★★★★★

Directed by Dan Trachtenberg. Starring Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Dane DiLiegro, Stormee Kipp, Michelle Thrush, Julian Black Antelope. Disney+, 99 min

Lean, thrilling prequel to The Predator set among Comanches in the early 18th century. Midthunder’s compelling main character slogs and slings through her arc, already fashionably armed with a complete complement of kick-ass skills. The succinct script, which is delivered in English, French, and Comanche, takes a backseat to exhilarating set-pieces, perfectly timed fight choreography, and green-splattered ultra-violence. Indeed, our only quibble with Prey is that audiences won’t experience it on the big screen. A far better prospect than even the most ardent Predator fan could have wished for. Full review TB

THIRTEEN LIVES ★★★★☆

READ MORE

Directed by Ron Howard. Starring Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell, Joel Edgerton, Tom Bateman, Sukollawat Kanarot, Thiraphat Sajakul, Sahajak Boonthanakit. Amazon Prime, 147 min

This is the third film in four years to examine the still-incredible Tham Luang cave rescue of 2018. Thirteen Lives is not up to the standards of Ron Howard’s Apollo 13 - to which it bears more than superficial resemblance - or even to the rambunctious Rush, but the veteran director again gets to argue for the virtues of old-school, white-bread American filmmaking. Farrell and Mortensen are great as the no-nonsense British cave divers who helped rescue 12 teenagers and their football coach. A properly entertaining drama that gets across the technical details with great efficiency. Full review DC

BULLET TRAIN ★★☆☆☆

Directed by David Leitch. Starring Brad Pitt, Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Benito A Martínez Ocasio, Sandra Bullock. 16 cert, gen release, 126 min

Adapted from a Japanese novel concerning Japanese people by Kōtarō Isaka (the producers are already in trouble for whitewashing ), Bullet Train stars Pitt as an assassin dispatched onto the eponymous mass transport system and instructed to retrieve a MacGuffin in an industry-standard briefcase. The train turns out to be packed with a huddle of competing villains. It is nice to see a big non-franchise film in cinemas. Sadly, the thing is so chaotically exhausting it proves beyond the talented actors’ saving. The last 20 minutes of a much better action film stretched out to the length of a biblical epic. Full review DC

MAISIE ★★★★☆

Directed by Lee Cooper. Featuring David Raven, Allan Cardew, Miss Jason, Dave Lynn. Limited release, 76 min

For more than 50 years, Brighton’s David Raven has performed as Maisie Trollette. He is officially Britain’s oldest drag act. Or, as he insists, “drag artiste”. Lee Cooper’s warm, witty, wonderful film chronicles David’s life and makeup routines in the run up to its subject’s 85th birthday. It’s a film composed of small, touching, intimate details, such as David pottering around his garden or valiantly tugging at tights. The same maxim holds for both the documentary and its subject: they don’t like ’em like this anymore. A living, heaving, tribute to an art that has been changed forever. Full review TB

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke, a contributor to The Irish Times, is Chief Film Correspondent and a regular columnist

Tara Brady

Tara Brady

Tara Brady, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a writer and film critic