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

New this week: Winnie the Pooh – the origin story, the devil’s own spaghetti western, and a Bridget Jones for the fleabag generation

The official trailer for "Maze". starring Tom Vaughan-Lawlor.

 

GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN ★★★
Directed by Simon Curtis. Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Kelly Macdonald, Will Tilston Alex Lawther, Stephen Campbell Moore, Vicki Pepperdine. PG cert, general release, 109 min

Domhnall Gleeson and Will Tilston in Goodbye Christopher Robin
Domhnall Gleeson and Will Tilston in Goodbye Christopher Robin

The John Lewis commercial has come early this year. Curtis’s take on the creation of Winnie the Pooh arrives soaked in the same aesthetic that drives that Christmas regular. Never has so much dappled light fallen so gracefully on so many fallen leaves. Gleeson convinces as a shell-shocked AA Milne and Lawther is touching as his exploitedd son (the real Christopher). But the overpowering sense of idyll works against the grimmer undercurrents. Review/Trailer DC

BRIMSTONE ★★★
Directed by Martin Koolhoven. Starring Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce, Emilia Jones, Kit Harington, Carice van Houten. Club, limited release, 148 min

Lengthy, grim Dutch western – told mostly backwards – concerning the pursuit of a young woman by a sinister preacher across mean bits of the US frontier. Fanning is excellent as the frightened young woman. Pearce is terrifying as the religious maniac. The film does, however, lack light and shade. It’s a wearing, grey struggle from beginning to end (or end to beginning). But it is worth sticking with for its pessimistic feminism and inventive violence. Certainly unlike anything else out there. Review DC

DAPHNE ★★★★
Directed by Pete Mackie Burns. Starring Emily Beecham, Geraldine James, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Nathaniel Martello-White, Osy Ikhile, Sinead Matthews. Club, limited release, 87 min

Emily Beecham as a thoroughly modern Millie
Emily Beecham as a thoroughly modern Millie

A thirtysomething Londoner who quotes Slavoj Zizek, Daphne (Beecham) seems to be wasted in her kitchen job. Or perhaps the kitchen job is wasted on her? This anti-Bridget Jones drinks too much and casually does hook-ups and drugs, but not to tragic or destructive effect. There’s quite rightly a great deal of buzz around Peter Mackie Burns’s spiky debut feature. Daphne is a character study that, much like its titular subject, refuses to conform to neat, trite expectations. Review TB

MAZE ★★★★
Directed by Stephen Burke. Starring Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Barry Ward, Martin McCann, Eileen Walsh, Aaron Monaghan, Niamh McGrady. 15A cert, general release, 93 min

Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (left) in Maze
Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (left) in Maze

Exciting, well-made drama about the 1983 mass breakout from the Maze prison. The film is strong on the legacy of the hunger strikes and balanced in its treatment of the warders. As the organising force, Vaughan-Lawlor combines raw commitment with a sneaky flexibility to give us an honest man who lies like a master. The logistics are clearly laid out. The tension is well sustained. More like The Great Escape than we had a right to expect. Review/Trailer DC

BORG VS MCENROE ★★★★
Directed by Janus Metz Pedersen. Starring Sverrir Gudnason, Shia LaBeouf, Stellan Skarsgård, Tuva Novotny, Robert Emms. 15A cert, limited release, 100 min

Shia LaBeouf as John McEnroe
Shia LaBeouf as John McEnroe

Impressive, focused study of the tensions between Björn Borg and John McEnroe in the lead up to the famous 1980 Wimbledon final. LaBeouf makes McEnroe his own, while Gudnason does a remarkable approximation of Borg, right down to his walk and hockey-derived backhand. But something odd and rather fantastic happens during the final sequence, when both actors seem to disappear into their roles, mirroring how Borg and McEnroe’s tics equally disappeared during that 1980 encounter. Review TB

MOTHER! ★★★★
Directed by Darren Aronofsky. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson, Brian Gleeson, Stephen McHattie, Kristen Wiig. 18 cert, general release, 120 min

Jennifer Lawrence in Mother!, ‘a disgusting, disturbing feast for the senses’.
Jennifer Lawrence in Mother!, ‘a disgusting, disturbing feast for the senses’.

Lawrence and Bardem occupy a house in an endless nowhere. Their uneasy calm is distracted when a couple (Harris and Pfeiffer) arrive rudely and uninvited. It begins as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and ends in a Grand Guignol of (we assume) metaphorical chaos. If you thought Aronofsky’s Black Swan was overheated, then you are in for a proper shock. Kept aloft by a ragged, unusually disempowered Lawrence, Mother! remains, however, a disgusting, disturbing feast for the senses. Review/Trailer DC

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