Four new films to see this week, including Conjuring 3 in cinemas

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, Dinner in America, Gunda, After Love

Vera Farmiga in The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

Vera Farmiga in The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

 

THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT ★★★☆☆
Directed by Michael Chaves. Starring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ruairi O’Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook, Julian Hilliard. 16 cert, gen release, 112 min, in cinemas from Monday, June 7th
Eight years and eight films into the planet’s most profitable franchise and The Conjiverse gets back to basics with a “real-life case” from the files of the 20th century’s most famous paranormal investigators. The ever reliable Farmiga and Wilson return as Lorraine and Ed Warren, with Chaves (The Curse of La Llorona) in the director’s chair. The set-up spooks more than the climax and rather less than the real life Warren exorcism tapes that play over the end credits, but this remains solid mainstream horror entertainment. Full review TB

DINNER IN AMERICA ★★★★★
Directed by Adam Rehmeier. Starring Kyle Gallner, Emily Skeggs, Griffin Gluck, Pat Healy, Mary Lynn Rajskub, David Row, Hannah Marks, Nick Chinlund, Lea Thompson. Video on demand, 107 min

Emily Skeggs and Kyle Gallner in Dinner in America
Emily Skeggs and Kyle Gallner in Dinner in America

The title is a bit of a misnomer. There is more than one cringe-making suburban dinner in this firecracker of a comedy. Each of these over-table exchanges, to paraphrase Tolstoy, is cringe-making in its own special way. Rehmeier’s films winds Pinter in with Boudu Saved from Drowning as an oddball punk (Gallner) gets himself welcomed into a well-off Michigan family. With its surreal ear for dialogue, offbeat romance and cartoonish energy, Dinner in America is shocking for all the right reasons. Caustic exchanges and lopsided family dynamics make for entertaining verbal donnybrooks. Full review TB

GUNDA ★★★★★
Directed by Victor Kossakovsky. Video on demand, 93 min

Gunda
Gunda

Stunning, understated monochrome documentary that follows a Norwegian pig as she seeks to raise a troublesome litter. Elsewhere, a one-legged chicken embarks on an epic journey. The illusion of an disinterested camera is well maintained throughout, but audiences (those not raised on farms, anyway)will find it hard to resist imposing human characteristics on the animal stars. The mother as teacher. The mother as disciplinarian. Those who can resist anthropomorphism will surely find themselves pondering man’s morally uneasy dominion over the beasts. This cannot end well. A singular, moving oddity. Full review DC

 AFTER LOVE ★★★★☆
Directed by Aleem Khan. Starring Joanna Scanlan, Nasser Memarzia, Natalie Richard, Seema Morar, Talid Ariss. Video on demand, 89 min

Joanna Scanlan in After Love
Joanna Scanlan in After Love

Scanlan is terrific as a widow who, in the weeks after her husband’s death, discovers that he had a second wife in France. She travels across the Channel and – in the film’s one melodramatic twist – finds herself surreptitiously working as cleaner to the other woman. It’s not just the largely Francophone setting that nudges one towards the work of the Dardenne brothers. After Love also manages the same blend of relaxed humanism and narrative daring. The film spins out all kinds of questions about the confusions and misunderstandings that can exist between apparently well-suited people. Full review DC

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