Four new films to see this week

Coda, Free Guy, Wendy, New Order

Emilia Jones, Troy Kotsur and Marlee Matlin in Coda

Emilia Jones, Troy Kotsur and Marlee Matlin in Coda

 

Coda ★★★★☆
Directed by Sian Heder. Starring Emilia Jones, Troy Kotsur, Marlee Matlin, Eugenio Derbez, Daniel Durant, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Amy Forsyth. Limited release/streaming on Apple+, 111 min
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance stars Jones as a hearing child of deaf adults (hence the acronymic title) contemplating whether to abandon the family’s fishing business and study music in the big city. Coda is beautifully acted, broadly funny and indecently moving. It is hard to entirely ignore the familiarity of the beats and the cosiness of the characterisation – everyone is too nice in this part of Massachusetts – but Heder’s skilful working of the well-worn tropes does the trick. Great to see Marlee Matlin back in form as the feisty mom. Full review DC

FREE GUY ★★★☆☆
Directed by Shawn Levy. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Joe Keery, Taika Waititi. 12A cert, gen release, 115 min

Ryan Reynolds and Jodie Comer in Free Guy
Ryan Reynolds and Jodie Comer in Free Guy

A non-playable character (Reynolds) in a sandbox video game breaks free and starts to live his own life. Borrowing as much from The Purple Rose of Cairo as The Truman Show, Free Guy is alert to the jolting contrasts between our dull world and the juiced-up ones on the PlayStation. Unfortunately, unlike Jeff Daniels in the Woody Allen flick, Guy never gets to expand beyond his narrowed carapace. Happily, rising star Jodie Comer is on hand – as both human and avatar – to steal the film with her effortless cool. Full review DC

WENDY ★★★★☆
Directed by Benh Zeitlin. Starring Devin France, Yashua Mack, Gage Naquin, Gavin Naquin, Ahmad Cage, Krzysztof Meyn, Romyri Ross. Digital platforms, 112 min

Yashua Mack as Peter Pan in Wendy
Yashua Mack as Peter Pan in Wendy

Zeitlin’s long-delayed follow-up to the much-fancied Beasts of the Southern Wild has scored middling notices and miniscule box-office to date. This is a great pity. While by no means perfect, Wendy has originality, folklore and old-school Americana to recommend it. The Caribbean setting and characterful faces make for a uniquely gritty fairytale, one where Neverland is as unsettling as it is magical. Mack’s Peter is mercurial and vengeful. Worthy of your attention. Full review TB

NEW ORDER/NUEVO ORDEN ★★★☆☆
Directed by Michel Franco. Starring Naian Gonzalez Norvind, Diego Boneta, Mónica Del Carmen, Fernando Cuautle, Darío Yazbek, Eligio Meléndez. Digital platforms, 86 min

New Order
New Order

Hugely controversial Mexican-French dystopian thriller concerning a working-class uprising from After Lucia director Michel Franco. New Order is indeed a suspect drama populated by sympathetic if sketchily drawn elites and an undifferentiated and othered mob. The conflict is commendably unflinching in a way that recalls the fierce anti-entertainment punches of Michael Haneke. The underlying politics, however, are a source of discomfort. Full review TB

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