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

New this week: Deadly games are played to hilarious effect in Game Night

A scene from 'Game Night'

Directed by John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein. Starring Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Jesse Plemons, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Michael C Hall. 15A cert, general release, 100 min

Semi-amusing studio comedies are now so rare that, when a properly funny one arrives, the temptation is to have it stuffed and mounted. Game Night concerns insanely competitive yuppies (Bateman and McAdams) who devote their evenings to gaming exercises in mid-brain one-upmanship. One event, a staged murder mystery party, goes quickly out of control. The trick is to keep the dialogue so sharp and the relationships so cleanly defined that nobody bothers to question the increasingly preposterous plot turns. Directors Daley andGoldstein followup their hilarious, unfairly derided updating of National Lampoon's Vacation with a critical hit that shows were right about them all along. So there. DC

Directed by Sebastián Lelio. Starring Daniela Vega, Francisco Reyes, Luis Gnecco, Aline Kuppenheim, Nicolas Saavedra, Amparo Noguera. 15A cert, limited release, 104 min

This Chilean drama, favoured to win best foreign language picture at this weekend's Oscars, details the struggles of a trans woman to make a life for herself following bereavement. Which makes it sound heavier than it actually plays. Yes, there are moments of anger and frustration, an extended scream against lazy assumptions and blinkered bigotry. But it is also light, funny, wry and inspiring. Imminently the first transgendered person ever to present at the Oscars, charismatic star Daniela Vega allows a vulnerability to peak through the carapace of confidence. She is in virtually every scene, and she owns every one of them. DC


Directed by Clio Barnard. Starring Ruth Wilson, Mark Stanley, Sean Bean, Esme Creed-Miles. 15A cert, limited release, 89 min

PJ Harvey's rendition of the English folk song An Acre of Land ushers in Dark River's almost-gothic treatment of sexual abuse. An unsettled young woman (Wilson) returns to Yorkshire and the ramshackle family farm she grew up on, hoping to claim tenancy. But her drunken, angry brother (Stanley) has no intention of giving up the business he is plainly running into the ground. You can't fault their performances or the general technical excellent. But the film's intense focus on their pain makes for underdeveloped secondary characters and subplots, or a sudden and ill-fitting denouement. TB

Directed by Greta Gerwig. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, Stephen McKinley. 15A cert, general release, 94 min

Gloriously funny, surprisingly moving comic-drama about the struggles between a feisty teenager (Ronan, delightful) and her harassed mum (Metcalf, nuanced) in millennial Sacramento. For somebody so often identified as the most fashionable of cinematic hipsters, actor-turned-director Gerwig proves (not for the first time) to have an enormously generous spirit. Nobody is perfect in the Lady Bird universe. But nobody is fully malign either. Laurie gets her moment of catharsis. Ronan is eventually allowed the chance to breath. Essential. Review/Trailer DC

I, TONYA ★★★★
Directed by Craig Gillespie. Starring Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, Julianne Nicholson, Bobby Cannavale. 15A cert, general release, 110 min

After one violent scene in ‘I, Tonya’, someone turns to the screen and says: ‘This didn’t happen’

Searing, politically edgy study of the journey that took Tonya Harding (Robbie) from ice skating star to the most reviled woman in 1994 America. The film's sympathies lie with Harding, roundly abused by her ruthless mother and manager, LaVona (Janney), and her violent, shotgun-wielding husband (Stan). The film's treatment of domestic violence is occasionally a little uneasy. But a fired-up Robbie and an incandescently horrid Janney make it work. A blast. Review/Trailer TB

Directed by Richard Loncraine. Starring Imelda Staunton, Timothy Spall, Celia Imrie, Joanna Lumley, David Hayman, John Sessions, Josie Lawrence. 12A cert, general release, 111 min

A fine ensemble cast eventually find their feet

When Little Englander Sandra (Staunton) discovers her husband is having an affair, she sensibly packs her bags and heads to London to stay with her estranged and free-spirited sister, Bif (Imrie). It takes a little time, but slowly Sandra acclimitises to Bif and her community dance group chums, a lively bunch including some of Britain's best loved character actors. The film quickly swerves into Full Monty territory. But between the capering, there are subplots concerning Alzhiemer's, terminal cancer, adultery, and in flagrante death. Review TB