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

New this week: The Little Stranger, Climax, The House with a Clock in Its Walls, M.I.A

The official trailer for Crazy Rich Asians, starring Constance Wu and Henry Golding. Video: Warner Bros.

 

THE LITTLE STRANGER ★★★★
Directed by Lenny Abrahamson. Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, Charlotte Rampling, Will Poulter, Liv Hill, Oliver Zetterström, Kate Phillips, Dixie Egerickx, Josh Dylan. 15A cert, general release, 111 min
The director of Room returns with a queasy, unclassifiable adaptation of Sarah Waters’s novel concerning a young doctor (Gleeson) caught up with a crumbling dynasty in postwar England. There has been some criticism of the distributors for flogging the film has a straight-up ghost story. That is in there. But The Little Stranger is more a drama about class, money and the British postwar rearrangement. A comparison with Brideshead Revisited would as useful as any with The Turn of the Screw. Full review DC

CLIMAX ★★★★★
Directed by Gaspar Noé. Starring Sofia Boutella, Romain Guillermic, Kiddy Smile, Claude Gajan Maull, Souheila Yacoub. 18 cert, lim release, 96 min

Climax
Climax

Peerless provocateur Gaspar Noé is throwing a party and you’re all invited. You might want to think it over. Noé’s most admired film since Irreversible starts as it means to go on: writhing, gyrating, and seething its way toward the inner circle of hell. A hugely impressive and gymnastic piece of Tanztheater set to 1990s set over one increasingly crazed night, Climax never lets up. Appropriately – or perhaps inappropriately – bacchanalian. Unquestionably the dance-horror-musical event of the year. TB

THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS ★★★
Directed by Eli Roth. Starring Cate Blanchett, Jack Black, Kyle MacLachlan, Owen Vaccaro, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Sunny Suljic, Colleen Camp, Lorenza Izzo. PG cert, gen release, 105 min

Jack Black in The House with a Clock in Its Walls
Jack Black in The House with a Clock in Its Walls

Roth’s unexpected kids movie wastes no time in whisking the viewer and its 10-year-old protagonist, Lewis (Vaccaro), into a strange new gothic world. It’s 1955, and following the death of his parents Lewis is sent to to live with his oddball, kimono-wearing uncle (the always amiable Black), a warlock, and his good witch neighbour (Blanchett). Together they must undo some bad magic left behind by their enchanted house’s previous owner, Isaac Izzard (MacLachlan). This is whimsical new territory for the director behind such gory standards as Hostel and The Green Inferno, but Roth has crafted a very convincing Spielbergian family entertainment. TB

MATANGI/MAYA/M.I.A ★★★★
Directed by Steve Loveridge. 16 cert, lim release, 96 min

M.I.A and Steve Loveridge, subject and director of Matangi/Maya/M.I.A
Mathangi Arulpragasam and Steve Loveridge, subject and director of Matangi/Maya/M.I.A

When she was attending Central St Martins College at the turn of the millennium, Sri Lankan-born Mathangi Arulpragasam had ambitions to become a documentary film-maker. Her obsessive lensing and brief but dizzying success as the rapper M.I.A ensures that this appropriately messy, wonderful film has plenty of material to work with. Stretching from the rapper’s Tamil Tiger origins to her controversial performance at Madonna’s 2012 Super Bowl halftime show, this is the brilliant, engaging, witty, provocative portrait that its subject deserves. TB

CRAZY RICH ASIANS ★★★
Directed by Jon M Chu. Starring Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding, Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, Gemma Chan. 12A cert, general release, 121 min

Michelle Yeoh, Henry Goulding and Constance Wu in Crazy Rich Asians
Michelle Yeoh, Henry Goulding and Constance Wu in Crazy Rich Asians

Rachel (Wu), a Chinese-American professor at NYU and a hugely likable clever-clogs, accompanies her suave boyfriend Nick (Golding), a Chinese businessman from Singapore, home for his best friend’s wedding. Only then does Rachel learn that Nick is the heir to a real-estate empire, a “crown prince” as the locals have it. Nick’s imperious mother (Yeoh) expects him to return to Singapore and marry a suitable – read rich -– local. A big-skirted Cinderella story that coasts along on the chemistry between Wu and Golding and is entirely resistant to attempts at Maoist analysis. Full review/trailer TB

LUCKY ★★★★
Directed by John Carroll Lynch. Starring Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Ron Livingston, Ed Begley Jr, Tom Skerritt, Barry Shabaka Henley, Beth Grant, Bertila Damas, Yvonne Huff. Club, Club, QFT, Belfast; IFI/Light House, Dublin, 88 min

Barry Shabaka and Harry Dean Stanton in Lucky
Barry Shabaka and Harry Dean Stanton in Lucky

This quirky drama, in which the late Harry Dean Stanton contemplates the mortality of Harry Dean Stanton, is really something to see. A living wake populated by a fine cast of veteran character actors, Lucky follows the nonagenarian of the title as he goes about his final days. Every morning, he exercises, drinks milk, puts on his cowboy clothes, sets off on his rounds. This is no fluffy eulogy or hagiography. There are flashes of anger and malcontent throughout. Every day, Lucky stands before a mysterious pit-stop to shout out an expletive. There’s an ongoing battle concerning the enforcement of smoking regulations, a contest that ultimately provides the film with a marvellous visual coda. Full review TB

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