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

New this week: Steve McQueen's Widows, Chris O'Dowd in Juliet Naked, Mike Leigh's Peterloo, and Mirai

Trailer for film Widows, starring Colin Farrell and Liam Neeson.

 

WIDOWS ★★★★☆
Directed by Steve McQueen. Starring Viola Davis, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Jacki Weaver, Robert Duvall, Liam Neeson. 16 cert, general release, 130 min. Opens Tuesday
The director of Hunger takes another sharp turn as he attempts an adaptation of Lynda La Plante’s 1983 TV series concerning a gang of hoodlums’ wives who plan a heist. It’s all terribly unlikely (let’s have the babysitter drive the getaway car!) and a little over-stuffed with subplots (Duvall and Farrell as Irish-American crooks). But on a scene-by-scene basis it’s quite magnificent. All the performances are excellent, but Debicki stands out from the distinguished crowd. DC

JULIET, NAKED ★★★★☆
Directed by Jesse Peretz.Starring Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke, Chris O’Dowd, Megan Dodds, Jimmy O Yang, Lily Newmark, Lily Brazier, Johanna Thea. 15A cert, general release, 97 min

Byrne throbs with sublimated frustration as Annie, an Englishwoman living tolerably with an academic (O’Dowd) obsessed with reclusive rock star Tucker Crowe (Hawke). Things turn peculiar when Annie happens upon Tucker online. Adapted from a Nick Hornby novel, Juliet, Naked takes a women’s perspective on common male toxicities. There are truths here about age. There are truths about the lies we tell ourselves. A rare, enchanting romcom in an era where such things barely exist. DC

MIRAI ★★★★☆
Directed by Mamoru Hosoda. Voices of Moka Kamishiraishi, Haru Kuroki, Gen Hoshino, Kumiko Aso. PG cert, limited release, 98 min

Inspired by the birth of his second child, the director of Wolf Children has crafted a wonderful time-travelling adventure with a four-year-old protagonist at the centre. Pre-schooler Kun lives in his beautifully designed home with his architect dad, his mum, and his toy trains. The idyll is shattered by the arrival of Mirai, Kun’s new little sister, who makes constant demands on his now permanently sleep-deprived parents. What follows is moving, weird, elegantly animated and unendingly wise.   An absolute treat for anime fans. Full review/trailer TB

PETERLOO ★★★☆☆
Directed by Mike Leigh. Starring Rory Kinnear, Maxine Peake, Pearce Quigley, David Moorst, Karl Johnson, Philip Jackson, Tom Gill, Steven Wight, Tim McInnerny, Sam Troughton, Alastair Mackenzie. 12A cert, limited release, 155 min

Maxine Peake in Peterloo

Like all of us, Leigh’s sprawling, lumbering examination of the Peterloo Massacre – the slaughter of democracy protesters in 19th century Manchester -- has its strengths and its weaknesses. It is lovely to look at. It has real sweep. The problem lies with the sometimes clunky dialogue and the occasionally rushed characterisation. Isn’t that what Leigh is supposed to do best? No matter. Peterloo still manages to inform and enrage. A qualified success.

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY ★★★★☆
Directed by Bryan Singer. Starring Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Tom Hollander, Allen Leech, Mike Myers. 12A cert, general release, 134 min

Squabbling is a defining characteristic of Bohemian Rhapsody, which blazes through Freddie Mercury’s life in a series of agreeably cheesy vignettes: Freddie’s Parsi origins and disapproving dad, his lifelong love for Mary Austin (Boynton), the tours, the parties, the loneliness between, the hangers-on, and various eruptions of creative differences with the band. The final scene, a flawless, moving replication of Queen’s entire 20-minute set from Live Aid, is absurdly impressive, with Malek interpreting Mercury as a geomagnetic storm. A kind of magic. Full review/trailer TB

KATIE ★★★★☆
Directed by Ross Whitaker. Featuring Katie Taylor.12A cert, general release, 90 min

Delightful documentary on the rise of Bray’s Katie Taylor. The boxer emerges as a contradictory personality: shy, modest, but frighteningly determined. The storytelling around her is efficient, lucid and (ahem) punchy. Family and associates laud the boxer without ever becoming overly gushy. We get a taste of her attachment to Christianity. We get some sense of what drives her to greater heights. But, unlike Notorious, the recent makeweight Conor McGregor doc, Katie never feels like a product of the fighter’s marketing machine. Full review DC

More ★★★★☆ and ★★★★★  showing on the big screen: Black 47, Cold War, Dogman, Fahrenheit 11/9, First Man, The Hate U Give, The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid, Mandy, Rosie, A Star Is Born, The Wife

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