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

New this weekend: Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Green Book, Burning, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Lizzie

The official trailer for Can You Ever Forgive Me?, starring Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant. Video: Fox Searchlight Pictures

 

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? ★★★★★
Directed by Marielle Heller. Starring Melissa McCarthy, Richard E Grant, Dolly Wells, Jane Curtin, Ben Falcone, Anna Deavere Smith, Stephen Spinella. 15A cert, general release, 108 min
Melissa McCarthy excels as boozy Lee Israel, the real-life biographer of Estée Lauder and Tallulah Bankhead, who, in the early 1990s, launched a second career as a forger of literary correspondence. Grant (like McCarthy, Oscar-nominated) is her even boozier, serially untrustworthy pal. The compactness of Can You Ever Forgive Me? has invited inevitable under-appreciation. It’s a great New York movie. It’s a great film about friendship. It’s also a great cat movie (if that’s your bag). Full review/trailer DC

GREEN BOOK ★★★☆☆
Directed by Peter Farrelly. Starring Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Sebastian Maniscalco, Dimiter D Marinov, PJ Byrne. 12A cert, general release, 130 min

Farrelly moves from Dumb and Dumber to the quasi-true story of an Italian-American goodfella (Mortensen) who drove an African-American pianist (Ali) about the segregated South in the 1960s. It’s not the subtlest film: the racial politics are crude; the two actors lay it on with a trowel; the denouement is shamelessly sentimental. And yet the darn thing works. The gears engage. The motor runs smoothly. The destination is achieved. There are worse things in heaven and earth. Full review DC

BURNING ★★★★☆
Directed by Lee Chang-dong. Starring Yoo Ah-in, Jeon Jong Seo, Steven Yeun. 16 cert, limited release, 148 min

One of the most positively reviewed film in Cannes history, Lee’s adaptation of a slim Haruki Murakami story concerns an awkward love triangle between a shy young man, his occasional lover and her new, more sophisticated boyfriend. It’s not zippy. The characters are opaque. The narrative uncertainties and the social uneasiness contribute to a drama that delights in frustrating expectations. An impressive follow-up to the director’s Poetry. DC

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD ★★★★☆
Directed by Dean DeBlois. Voices of Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Kit Harington, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Justin Rupple, Kristen Wiig, F Murray Abraham. PG cert, general release, 104 min

When dragonslayer Grimmel (F Murray Abraham) threatens, Hiccup (Baruchel) and the good denizens of Berk have little option but to move their dragon to the possibly mythological realm of the title. The Night Fury-obsessed Grimmel, however, has other plans. The Hidden World introduces a “wild and skittish” Light Fury love interest for Toothless and zips along, punctuated by credible action sequences and gleeful silliness. Sit tight for the emotional finale. We’re going to miss this franchise. Full review TB

LIZZIE ★★★★☆
Directed by Craig William Macneill. Starring Chloë Sevigny, Kristen Stewart, Jay Huguley, Jamey Sheridan, Fiona Shaw, Kim Dickens, Denis O’Hare, Jeff Perry. Club, Triskel, Cork, 105 min

This meticulous, deceptively quiet film takes its title character out of folk history and rewrites her as a queer, proto-feminist battling against the worst excesses of patriarchal power. Lizzie Borden (Sevigny on top form) is an outspoken spinister – those things are not unrelated – who keeps pigeons and befriends the new Irish maid, Bridget (Kristen Stewart affecting a decent brogue). Both Lizzie and her sister face possible destitution. Bridget, meanwhile, is raped nightly by Lizzie’s father. We know from the outset that this cruelty will finally be met with the savagery it deserves. Full review TB

VICE ★★★☆☆
Directed by Adam McKay. Starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Alison Pill, Jesse Plemons, Lily Rabe, Tyler Perry, LisaGay Hamilton. 15A cert, general release, 132 min

McKay brings the same class of ribald pastiche he used for The Big Short to an examination of Dick Cheney, vice-president under George W Bush (Rockwell). The problem with his approach here is that little of what’s being discussed is difficult to understand. We don’t need to be talked down to. But Vice is never boring. Bale’s Oscar-nominated performance offers a grand example of what Orson Welles used to call “king acting”, while Adams is solid as Lynne Cheney. At least 50 percent of the gags zing home. Full review DC

Other ★★★★☆ and ★★★★★ movies out and about: Bohemian Rhapsody, Bumblebee, The Camino Voyage, Colette, The Favourite, Free Solo, An Impossible Love, RBG, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse, Stan & Ollie

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