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

New this week: Thor hammers at the funny bone, Andrew Garfield catches his breath, a gay romance and exorcisms

Breathe - official trailer

 

THOR: RAGNAROK ★★★★
Directed by Taika Waititi. Starring Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins, Benedict Cumberbatch, Taika Waititi. 12A cert, general release, 130 min

Welcome newcomer Valkyrie is given a boozed-up, kicking-out-time vigour by Tessa Thompson
Welcome newcomer Valkyrie is given a boozed-up, kicking-out-time vigour by Tessa Thompson

Thor (hilariously offhand Hemsworth) and Hulk (troubled Ruffalo) get stranded on a groovy planet while an angry goddess (utterly fabulous Blanchett) fumes elsewhere. The eccentric Kiwi director Taika Waititi has been set loose on a Marvel property and – praise be! – allowed to do pretty much what he wishes. Working from an unremarkable script by studio regulars, Waititi has layered camp, slapstick madness over every neon-lit, acid-soaked set piece. It’s an absolute hoot for anyone uninterested in “fan service”. Review DC

BREATHE ★★★
Directed by Andy Serkis. Starring Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy, Tom Hollander, Stephen Mangan, Hugh Bonneville, Penny Downie, David Wilmot. 12A cert, general release, 117 min

Claire Foy and Andrew Garfield in Andy Serkis’s idyllic version of post-war England . . . before Garfield’s character is struck down by polio
Claire Foy and Andrew Garfield in Andy Serkis’s idyllic version of post-war England . . . before Garfield’s character is struck down by polio

Serkis’s debut feature tells the stirring story of polio survivor Robin Cavendish (Garfield). Refusing to remain tied to a static ventilator, he eventually developed a portable machine that allowed responauts to move about in wheelchairs. The film is soaked in English good spirits: cricket on the lawn, tea in china cups, cheeky Jack Russell terriers. All that can become exhausting, but the fine cast keeps the film alive. The stiffest-upper-lip film ever made. Review DC

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME ★★★★
Directed by Luca Guadagnino.Starring Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel, Victoire Du Bois. 15A cert, limited release, 131 min

Luca Guadagnino’s extravagantly praised idyll sends Hammer’s confident American academic to stay with Stuhlbarg’s less flamboyant academic in northern Italy. A romance slowly develops between the guest and his host’s clever son (Chalamet). The picture breaks little new ground, but there is an exotic urgency to Guadagino’s vision that sets it apart. A great sense of place. Beautifully knitted performance. A heartrendingly truthful ending. Review DC

DELIVER US ★★★★
Directed by Federica Di Giacomo. Club, limited release, 90 min

A necessary documentary on something we think we know a little about. Federica Di Giacomo has turned her attention to exorcists in the vicinity of Palermo and to those who believe (or have been persuaded) that they need such assistance. The results are chilling. People who are clearly in need of a psychiatrist’s attention are confronted with the usual waffle and mumbo-jumbo. Or you may think differently. The film allows the audience to draws its own conclusions. Review DC

THE DEATH OF STALIN ★★★★
Directed by Armando Iannucci. Starring Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Paddy Considine, Rupert Friend, Jason Isaacs, Olga Kurylenko, Michael Palin, Andrea Riseborough. 15A cert, general release, 106 min

Iannucci moves from Westminster (The Thick of It) and the White House (Veep) to the aftermath of Stalin’s death for a characteristically grim, fast-paced satire. A terrific cast speaking in a variety of accents trade in fear and cynicism as interlocking plots unfold. The language is heightened. The pace is breathtakingly frantic. A comprehensive rebuttal to those who say comedy cannot be fashioned from the most miserable circumstance. Review/Trailer DC

I AM NOT A WITCH ★★★★
Directed by Rungano Nyoni. Starring Starring Margaret Mulubwa, Margaret Sipaneia. 12A cert, limited release, 92 min

Margaret Mulubwa in I Am Not a Witch
Margaret Mulubwa in I Am Not a Witch

This knockout debut feature from Rungano Nyoni – a tale of paranoia concerning witches in contemporary Africa – is an extravagant flight of fancy that functions equally well as an anthropological curiosity, engrossing drama, feminist allegory, tart political satire and dire warning against xenophobia. Bursts of Vivaldi and Estelle’s American Boy score the gorgeous compositions of DoP David Gallego, who shot 2015 Oscar nominee Embrace of the Serpent. Spellbinding stuff. Review TB

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