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

New this weekend: The Lady Eve rereleased, A Private War, Happy Death Day 2U

Trailer for A Private War, starring Rosamund Pike.

 

THE LADY EVE ★★★★★
Directed by Preston Sturges. Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn. Club, IFI, Dublin, 94 min
Charles (Fonda), the bumbling heir to a brewery fortune, seems blissfully unaware of the many “dames” who flutter and fawn in his presence until he falls, literally – she sticks her foot out on purpose – for the streetwise Jean (Stanwyck). Charles – Hopsie to his friends – is just another mark for Jean and her smooth-talking father (Coburn). Until, of course, he becomes more than a mark. Hopsie gets wise just as Jean gets soft. Take two and Eve has reinvented herself as Lady Eve, a British aristocrat. She has revenge in mind: I need him, she says of Hopsie, “like the axe needs the turkey”. Flawless screwball comedy from 1941 ensues. TB

A PRIVATE WAR ★★★☆☆
Directed by Matthew Heineman. Starring Rosamund Pike, Jamie Dornan, Tom Hollander, Stanley Tucci, Greg Wise, Faye Marsay, Fady Elsayed. 15A cert, gen release, 110 min

Rosamund Pike and Jamie Dornan in ‘A Private War.’ Keith Bernstein/Aviron Pictures
Rosamund Pike and Jamie Dornan in ‘A Private War.’ Keith Bernstein/Aviron Pictures

Strongly acted biopic of the late war correspondent Marie Colvin from the director of Cartel Land. Pike creates a person who is at least the equal – and usually the superior – of the men around her, but who also remains separate, singular, at an angle. She moves with an assurance that never gives in to swagger. A veteran of conflict zones, Heineman makes a busy chaos of the action sequences. Unfortunately the script, rife with cliches, isn’t worthy of the talent interpreting it. Full review/trailer DC

HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U ★★★☆☆
Directed by Christopher Landon. Starring Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Phi Vu, Suraj Sharma, Ruby Modine. 15A cert, gen release, 100 min

Happy Death Day 2U revisits and reworks the pleasing conceit of the original with mixed results. It starts promisingly, by kicking the Groundhog Day meets Scream mash-up that made the 2017 film so appealing into the lap of one the original film’s minor characters, Ryan (Vu), before switching back to the original heroine, Tree (Rothe). It’s clear that writer-director Landon (Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones) wants to expand the universe; it’s just not clear that he should. TB

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK ★★★★★
Directed by Barry Jenkins. Starring KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King, Colman Domingo, Teyonah Parris, Michael Beach, Aunjanue Ellis, Dave Franco, Diego Luna, Pedro Pascal. 15A cert, general release, 119 min

Jenkins’s wonderful follow-up to his Oscar-winning Moonlight adapts James Baldwin’s novel concerning a New York couple caught up in the malign jumble of legal evasions and societal dishonesties that worked to constrain African-Americans in the 1960s. Layne is the young pregnant woman fighting to stay aloft when her partner (James) is wrongly convicted of rape. The massed harmony of lighting, music and set dressing sets Beale Street apart. Both beautiful and angry. Full review/trailer DC

ALL IS TRUE ★★★★☆
Directed by Kenneth Branagh. Starring Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Kathryn Wilder, Lydia Wilson, Hadley Fraser, Jack Colgrave Hirst, John Dagleish. 12A cert, general release, 100 min

Charming, tender study of Shakespeare’s final days starring a big-nosed Branagh as the great man and Dench as his long-suffering wife. Written by Ben Elton, the film sits in odd relation to the author’s Shakespeare sitcom Upstart Crow. Branagh’s direction is not always subtle, but for the most part this is a balanced drama concerning the perils of unfettered contemplation in later life. As Shakespeare digs his garden, he fails to process accumulated regrets or push away ancient sorrows. Full review DC

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

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

Other ★★★★☆ and ★★★★★ movies out and about: Bohemian Rhapsody, Burning, The Camino Voyage, The Favourite, Free Solo, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse, Stan & Ollie

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