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

New this week: Wildlife, Good Favour, The Grinch, They Shall Not Grow Old

Brokeback marriage: Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal in Wildlife

Brokeback marriage: Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal in Wildlife

 

WILDLIFE ★★★★☆
Directed by Paul Dano. Starring Carey Mulligan, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ed Oxenbould, Bill Camp. 12A cert, limited release, 105 min
In his directorial debut, actor Dano takes on a Richard Ford novel about a couple (Mulligan and Gyllenhaal) falling apart in early 1960s Montana. Mulligan is at her best when sulking like a cat confronted with a rainy garden and, as the film progresses, she gets more opportunities to wrinkle her snout and droop her whiskers. But the standout performance may be that of young Ed Oxenbould as the couple’s son. A whole generation’s coming disenchantment is captured in his drooping features. Full review DC

GOOD FAVOUR ★★★★☆
Directed by Rebecca Daly. Starring Vincent Romeo, Lars Brygmann, Clara Rugaard, Alexandre Willaume, Victoria Mayer, Helena Coppejans. 12A cert, IFI, Dublin, 101 min

Daly follows up her acclaimed Mammal with an enigmatic drama concerning a young man who stumbles into an odd Christian community. Good Favour casts enough of a spell to compensate for its ambiguities. The forest setting and the oddly pleasing sound of an English-language script delivered by a varied European ensemble makes for a space in which anything is possible. In common with its inscrutable protagonist, it requires you to follow deep into the woods. Full review TB

THE GRINCH ★★★☆☆
Directed by Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney. Voices of Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Cameron Seely, Angela Lansbury, Pharrell Williams. G cert, general release, 86 min

The latest adaptation of the 1957 Dr Seuss book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is jeopardised by a distinct lack of bah humbugging. The Grinch, as voiced by Cumberbatch, dotes on his loyal dog, Max. and spoils Fred, the fat reindeer he enlists into his Christmas-stealing scheme. We’re told the Grinch’s heart is two sizes too small, but there’s nothing in his interactions with the Whos of Whoville to support this abnormal cardiovascular theory. As all-ages Christmas porn goes, it’s a huge improvement on The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and the unlovely Jim Carrey Grinch. Full review TB

THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD ★★★★☆
Directed by Peter Jackson. Club cert, limited release, 99 min

Jackson honours the veterans of the first World War in striking fashion. He has ploughed through the Imperial War Museum’s archives, polished up the combat footage, colourised it, altered the running speed to modern standards, added dialogue where mouths move and – for certain venues – rendered it into 3D. It’s more than a gimmick. The restored footage strips distance between the viewer and the subjects in startling manner. The suffering is made plain. The comradeship is touching. A very worthwhile experiment. Full review/trailer DC

WIDOWS ★★★★☆
Directed by Steve McQueen . Starring Viola Davis, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Jacki Weaver, Robert Duvall, Liam Neeson. 16 cert, general release, 130 min

The director of Hunger takes another sharp turn as he attempts an adaptation of Lynda La Plante’s 1983 TV series concerning a gang of hoodlums’ wives who plan a heist. It’s all terribly unlikely (let’s have the babysitter drive the getaway car!) and a little over-stuffed with subplots (Duvall and Farrell as Irish-American crooks). But on a scene-by-scene basis it’s quite magnificent. All the performances are excellent, but Debicki stands out from the distinguished crowd. Full review/trailer DC

JULIET, NAKED ★★★★☆
Directed by Jesse Peretz. Starring Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke, Chris O’Dowd, Megan Dodds, Jimmy O Yang, Lily Newmark, Lily Brazier, Johanna Thea. 15A cert, general release, 97 min

Byrne throbs with sublimated frustration as Annie, an Englishwoman living tolerably with an academic (O’Dowd) obsessed with reclusive rock star Tucker Crowe (Hawke). Things turn peculiar when Annie happens upon Tucker online. Adapted from a Nick Hornby novel, Juliet, Naked takes a women’s perspective on common male toxicities. There are truths here about age. There are truths about the lies we tell ourselves. A rare, enchanting romcom in an era where such things barely exist. Full review/trailer DC

More ★★★★★ and ★★★★☆ movies out and about: Bohemian Rhapsody, Cold War, Fahrenheit 11/9, First Man, The Hate U Give, Katie, The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid, Mandy, Mirai, Rosie, A Star Is Born, The Wife

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