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

New this weekend: Us is a macabre American satire from the maker of Get Out

The millions who enjoyed Get Out will expect a debate about socio-political discontents

The millions who enjoyed Get Out will expect a debate about socio-political discontents

 

US ★★★★☆
Directed by Jordan Peele. Starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Anna Diop, Evan Alex, Shahadi Wright-Joseph. 16 cert, gen release, 116 min
Peele follows up the era-defining Get Out with a horror film about an African-American family meeting their doubles while on holiday. Us follows in a grand tradition of doppelgänger horrors that stretches back to The Student of Prague over a hundred years ago. Michael Abels’s choral jabs increase the unease. Mike Gioulakis’s camera risks impenetrable levels of darkness. Nyong’o is stunning in twin roles. But the film does lack its predecessor’s satirical punch. Full review DC

MINDING THE GAP ★★★★☆
Directed by Bing Liu. Featuring Zack Mulligan, Keire Johnson, Bing Liu. Club, limited release, 93 min

Zack Mulligan and Keire Johnson in Minding the Gap, Bing Liu’s Oscar-nominated documentary. Photograph courtesy of Sundance Institute Zack Mulligan and Keire Johnson in Minding the Gap, Bing Liu’s Oscar-nominated documentary. Photograph courtesy of Sundance Institute
Zack Mulligan and Keire Johnson in Minding the Gap, Bing Liu’s Oscar-nominated documentary. Photograph courtesy of Sundance Institute

Lui’s Oscar-nominated documentary concerns three skateboarders from Illinois who grown up with surprisingly similar male discontents. All three have been beaten by fathers or stepfathers. At least one of them has taken to abusing his own partner. The film is emotionally powerful, cleverly structured and pointedly relevant. And yet. There is something decidedly iffy about the way Bing has edited the film to suggest that these three were lifelong friends. They weren’t. Make of that what you will. Full review DC

THE WHITE CROW ★★★★☆
Directed by Ralph Fiennes. Starring Oleg Ivanko, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Chulpan Khamatova, Ralph Fiennes. 15A cert, 127 min

Oleg Ivenko as Rudolf Nureyev in The White Crow Oleg Ivenko as Rudolf Nureyev in The White Crow
Oleg Ivenko as Rudolf Nureyev in The White Crow

Ralph Fiennes’s account of Nureyev is not entirely hagiographic. Working from a screenplay by David Hare and Julie Kavanagh’s 2017 biography, The White Crow recounts the confusion around his characteristically impetuous defection to the West in 1961. With terrific editing, the film jetées between Nureyev’s provincial childhood , his education in Leningrad and his feted performances in Paris. Ukrainian soloist Oleg Ivenko, in his first acting role, is hardly a ringer for Nureyev, but he has the eyelashes and the ferocity, and Mike Eley’s camera loves him. Fiennes’s circumspect turn as Pushkin is matched by his considered direction. Full review TB

BORDER/GRÄNS ★★★★★
Directed by Ali Abbasi. Starring Eva Melander, Eero Milonoff, Jörgen Thorsson, Ann Petrén, Sten Ljunggren. 16 cert, limited release, 110 min
Melander is mesmerising as Tina, an unusually perceptive customs officer at a Swedish seaport. Buried beneath Oscar-nominated makeup that renders her faintly Neanderthal, walking with a perennially slumped frame, Tina can literally smell evil from the travellers. The explanation for these mysteries unfolds in a dark tale that allows ancient myth to blend with dirty Swedish realism. Adapted from a tale by John Ajvide Lindqvist, author of Let the Right One in, Border shares that film’s intelligent menace. Full review DC

THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER ★★★★☆
Directed by Sara Colangelo. Starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Parker Sevak, Anna Baryshnikov, Rosa Salazar, Michael Chernus, Gael García Bernal. 15A cert, limited release, 97 min

Lisa (Gyllenhaal, excellent) overhears one of her students, a precocious five-year-old named Jimmy (Sevak), recite a poem, which is, in turn, rapturously received at her adult poetry class when she passes it off as her own composition. That’s a cringe-making act of deception, but it’s merely an amuse-bouche for the spiralling, toe-curling obsession that follows. Lisa decides that little Jimmy is a prodigy and she’s going to do everything she can to nurture his talent against a soul-crushing world. A fiendishly ambivalent film that segues from poetry appreciation and midlife crisis drama into thriller. Full review TB

CAPTAIN MARVEL ★★★☆☆
Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Starring Brie Larson, Samuel L Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Annette Bening, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Clark Gregg, Jude Law. 12A, general release, 123 min

An alien descends to Earth in the 1990s and seeks to make sense of inexplicable memories. It’s a shame the first episode in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a female protagonist isn’t just a little better. Larson does well enough in a role that would better suit an actor less wedded to underplayed naturalism. The 1990s nostalgia is played for laughs. Sadly, an amusing centre is squeezed into a wafer by a silly framing space operetta that tries the patience. Full review DC

Other ★★★★★ and ★★★★☆ showing
 Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Capernaum, Cold Pursuit, An Engineer Imagines, The Favourite, Free Solo, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, If Beale Street Could Talk

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