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

New this weekend: The Hole in the Ground, Foxtrot, Fighting with My Family and Sauvage

Forest primeval: Seána Kerslake and  James Quinn Markey in The Hole in the Ground

Forest primeval: Seána Kerslake and James Quinn Markey in The Hole in the Ground

 

THE HOLE IN THE GROUND ★★★★☆
Directed by Lee Cronin. Starring Seána Kerslake, James Quinn Markey, James Cosmo, Kati Outinen, Simone Kirby, Steve Wall. 15A cert, general release, 90 min
Cronin’s fine horror debut sends Kerslake into the woods with her young son. After an encounter with the (massive!) titular hole, he becomes weirdly altered. The director does throw too much at us too quickly. The weirdness needs a little more reality to set it into proper relief. His handling of the horror machinery is, however, masterful and Kerslake is as captivating as ever. A lot of weight is placed on her shoulders and she carries it without breaking a sigh (though she does scream a bit). Full review DC

FOXTROT ★★★★★
Directed by Samuel Maoz. Starring Lior Ashkenazi, Sarah Adler, Yonaton Shiray. 15A cert, limited release, 113 min

From the virtuoso opening scene (a woman faints upon the arrival of Israeli soldiers who can only be the bearers of bad news) every single sequence in Moaz’ long-awaited follow-up to Lebanon is unexpected. Foxtrot touches on military downtime previously explored in Zero Motivations, as punctuated and punctured by Kafkaesque machinations, comic book grammar, and a nerve-shredding checkpoint sequence. TB

FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY ★★★☆☆
Directed by Stephen Merchant. Starring Florence Pugh, Lena Headey, Nick Frost, Jack Lowden, Vince Vaughn. Dwayne Johnson. 15A cert, general release, 108 min

The Rock plus The Office and Extras co-creator Stephen Merchant sounds like an unlikely tag-team, but this cheery comedy inspired by the life of Saraya-Jade Bevis (aka Paige) who went from the less salubrious boroughs of Norwich to WWE Divas Champion at age 21, makes for a winning alchemy. It’s hard to argue with the results, however formulaic, and even when the material is thin, Pugh is there to, literally and figuratively, do the heavy lifting. TB

RINGU ★★★★☆
Directed by Hideo Nakata. Starring Nanako Matsushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rikiya Otaka, Yoichi Numata. 15A cert, limited release, 95 min

Twentieth anniversary reissue of classic Japanese horror film about haunted video tape. The ghost-delivery system could hardly seem more antiquated now if it made use of carrier pigeons. But the notion of a mad rumour, passed about eagerly by teenagers, makes even more sense in the social media age. Indeed, Ringu (Ring) now seems like one of the most influential films of its era. The overseas release revitalised (and respooked) the horror genre. DC

SAUVAGE ★★★★☆
Directed by Camille Vidal-Naquet. Starring Félix Maritaud, Éric Bernard, Nicolas Dibla, Philippe Ohrel. Club, limited release, 99 min

Sauvage makes for a fascinating variation on the tart with a heart trope. Indeed, the miseries heaped upon the nomadic sex worker in Vidal-Naquet’s debut feature can recall the tragic donkey in Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar. In common with that beast of burden, the life of Maritaud’s Leo (his name is never used in the movie) unfolds as a series of intimate encounters, some cruel and some kind. Maritaud, who put in a star-making turn in Robin Campillo’s 120 BPM, is a heartbreaking revelation in the central role. TB

AN ENGINEER IMAGINES ★★★★☆
Directed by Marcus Robinson. Featuring Peter Rice, Michael McElhatton, Renzo Piano, Jonathan Glancey. G cert, limited release, 88 min

This study of Irish engineer Peter Rice (the brains behind the Pompidou Centre) offers us the full biographical analysis. Structured around Rice’s book of the same name, An Engineer Imagines is maybe a little short of mathematical detail, but its treatment of its subject’s life and philosophy cannot be faulted. There can be no greater compliment than to say it sends one out eager to learn more. Nice photography. Warm interviews. Full review DC

Other ★★★★☆ and ★★★★★ movies out and about: Bohemian Rhapsody, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Capernaum, Cold Pursuit, The Favourite, Free Solo, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, If Beale Street Could Talk, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse

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