Four new films to see this week

Flux Gourmet, Pure Grit and Midwives on limited release, Hocus Pocus 2 streaming on Disney+


Directed by Peter Strickland. Starring Asa Butterfield, Gwendoline Christie, Ariane Labed, Fatma Mohamed, Makis Papadimitriou, Richard Bremmer, Leo Bill. 18 cert, limited release, 112 min

The latest casserole of oddball from Strickland, director of The Duke of Burgundy, concerns a group of eccentric artists dedicated to the business of the business of “sonic catering”. The director’s fifth feature takes unmistakable swipes at the pretentions of the art scene as it digs around in our uncomfortable relationship with food. Strickland has expressed a passion for This Is Spinal Tap, and Flux Gourmet has much to do with how close confinement causes creative types to claw out one another’s eyes. None more queasy. None more strange. None more alienating. None more off-beige. Full review DC



Directed by Kim Bartley. Featuring Sharmaine Weed. 15A cert, limited release, 88 min

Bartley spent three years following Sharmaine Weed, a young Shoshone woman from the Wind River reservation, as she tries to re-establish herself in the dangerous world of bareback horseracing. The beautiful camerawork — Bartley is her own cinematographer — adds to the richness of the depictions. Top-down drone shots capture the sparseness of Weed’s home territories and the drabber surroundings of Denver. Elsewhere, the fly-on-the wall footage manages surprisingly well balanced compositions. Few non-fiction films this year have done a better job of encapsulating their protagonist. Few have so rigorously opened up a hidden world. Full review DC


Directed by Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing. Featuring Hla, Nyo Nyo. Limited release, 91 min.

This Burmese documentary film chronicles the friendship and conflicts between a Buddhist Bamar midwife and her Muslim Rohingya apprentice. Under the tutelage and guidance of Hla, Nyo Nyo hopes to found her own clinic as a health care provider for her community. Their friendship is complicated not only by ethnic divisions, but by Hla’s brusque bedside manner. The two women remain touchingly tolerant of one another. A compelling insight into the turbulence leading up to the 2021 coup. Full review TB


Directed by Anne Fletcher. Starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Doug Jones, Whitney Peak, Lilia Buckingham. Disney+, 107 min

How unlovely is Hocus Pocus 2? Let me count the ways? No wait, I may run out of numbers. An unwarranted sequel to a film that is only admired for nostalgic buzz, Hocus Pocus 2 has hardly anything to do with its 1993 predecessor, save for its expensively, wastefully reunited stars. Midler, SJ Parker and Najimy try hard with a script that, while credited to Jen D’Angelo, doesn’t appear to have been entirely written as yet. When shall we three meet again? With all due respect to Midler and company, how about never? 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