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

New this week: Bening as an ageing film noir star, Robert Pattinson as a half-dead hood – and an American epic worth staying home for

The official trailer for "Good Time", starring Robert Pattinson. Video: A24

 

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool ★★★★
Directed by Paul McGuigan. Starring Annette Bening, Jamie Bell, Julie Walters, Kenneth Cranham, Stephen Graham, Vanessa Redgrave, Frances Barber, Leanne Best. 15A cert, general release, 105 min

Moving, elegantly acted drama concerning the relationship between a young man (Bell) and the middle-aged movie star Gloria Grahame (Bening) in Liverpool during the late 1970s. Material that could easily have been mined as odd couple or culture clash comedy is instead delicately rendered by Matt Greenhalgh’s screenplay. Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool repeatedly stresses the commonality between the two working actors. A film that earns its epic title and the lush Elvis Costello ballad over the final credits. Review TB

Good Time ★★★★
Directed by Ben Safdie and Josh Safdie. Starring Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ben Safdie, Barkhad Abdi, Buddy Duress. 15A cert, limited release, 101 min

Gritty, awkward thriller starring Pattinson (excellent) as a small-time hood who, after a failed bank robbery, seeks to spring his mentally disabled brother from custody. The Safdie brothers offer us an oppressive, paranoid version of New York City. Nobody dresses well. Nobody looks healthy. Artificial fibres bristle in faintly illuminated apartments. A low-level hum of racism follows the non-white characters around. It’s not always fun, but it’s always engaging. Great score by Oneohtrix Point Never. DC

Ingrid Goes West ★★★★
Directed by Matt Spicer. Starring Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Wyatt Russell, Billy Magnussen. 16 cert, general release, 97 min

Plaza plays a mentally unstable young woman who becomes obsessed with an instagram star (Olsen). Part King of Comedy, part Single White Female, Ingrid Goes West gleefully despises online fame and the hideous cult of the “influencer”. This comedy needed to be made. It has its flaws, but it’s better than we had a right to expect. The cultural references are perfectly judged. The intellectual vacuum sends echoes all along Venice Beach (where else?). LMFAO! DC

Paddington 2 ★★★★
Directed by Paul King. Starring Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Hugh Grant, voice of Ben Whishaw. G cert, general release, 104 min

Paddington is fond of quoting his Aunt Lucy. “If you are kind and polite,” he reminds himself and others throughout this lovely, lovely sequel, “everything will come right”. It’s a mantra that holds the bear in good stead when he is framed for the theft of an antique pop-up book and, ultimately, sent down. Hugh Grant preens and puffs magnificently. Brendan Gleeson scowls and softens with similar aplomb. Both look to be having an absolute ball. As are we all. Review TB

The Florida Project ★★★★★
Directed by Sean Baker. Starring Bria Vinaite, Brooklynn Prince, Willem Dafoe, Valeria Cotto, Christopher Rivera, Caleb Landry Jones, Macon Blair, Karren Karagulian. 15A cert, limited release, 111 min

One of the best films ever about childhood, Sean Baker’s follow-up to Tangerine goes among the poor families living in welfare motels near Walt Disney World in Orlando. Vinaite is vibrant as a distracted mom. Prince is explosive as her young daughter. Willem Dafoe nearly keeps order as the motel’s decent manager. The picture deals with parental irresponsibility so extreme it borders on criminal neglect, but The Florida Project remains stubbornly humanistic and openhearted throughout. Funny. Energised. Sad. Delightful. Review DC

Only The Brave ★★★
Directed by Joseph Kosinski. Starring Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, James Badge Dale, Taylor Kitsch, Jennifer Connelly 12A cert, general release, 133 min

Hugely macho study of the brave firefighters from a real-life crew in Arizona. Brolin and Bridges are the crusty chiefs, Teller the inevitable “rookie”. The ultimate impression is of a less jokey, fire-based version of John Milius’s great surfing epic Big Wednesday. We are all biding macho time until the big one comes around. It eventually does arrive and the results are properly bone-shaking. Tougher than the rest. Review DC

. . . And on Netflix:

Mudbound ★★★★
Directed by Dees Rees. Starring Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell, Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan, Jonathan Banks, Garrett Hedlund. Netflix, 132 min

Sprawling tale of interlocking characters – some white, some African-American – in the years after the second World War. In a script adapted from Hillary Jordan’s novel of the same name, Rees and cowriter Virgil Williams (ER, 24) find a microcosm of contemporary racial politics and fault-lines in historical segregation. For an epic that might easily be titled America, Mudbound is never heavy-handed or pretentious. The right sort of epic. Review TB

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