Six of the best films to see in cinemas this week

New this weekend: The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Terminator: Dark Fate, By the Grace of God

Back in the old neighbourhood: Jimmie Fails in The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Back in the old neighbourhood: Jimmie Fails in The Last Black Man in San Francisco

 

THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO ★★★★☆
Directed by Joe Talbot. Starring Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors, Danny Glover, Tichina Arnold, Rob Morgan, Mike Epps, Finn Wittrock. 15A cert, lim release, 121 min
A young African-American man takes back the San Francisco house, subsequently a casualty of gentrification, that his family first acquired in the 1940s. A deliciously strange, aurally seductive reverie on how cities change and how they stay the same, Last Black Man has much to say about how African-American people have been edged out of the neighbourhoods they helped create. But it is the cinematic poetry that stays in the brain. Skateboards down mighty hills. A rowboat in the choppy bay. Unlike anything else in cinemas. Full review DC

TERMINATOR: DARK FATE ★★★☆☆
Directed by Tim Miller. Starring Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna, Diego Boneta. 15A cert, gen release, 128 min

Natalia Reyes, Mackenzie Davis and Linda Hamilton in Terminator: Dark Fate
Natalia Reyes, Mackenzie Davis and Linda Hamilton in Terminator: Dark Fate

The verdict is in! Terminator: Dark Fate is the best Terminator sequel since Judgment Day! Sadly, that’s such a low bar an Olympian limbo dancer couldn’t get under it. Lest we forget: there are time-lapse rotting fruit videos that offer more thrills than the miscast, misspelled Terminator: Genisys. Interestingly, there has been rather less shade thrown at this new gender-swapped Terminator than say, the gender-swapped Ghostbusters. In an alternate timeline, yet another AI menace has taken over and the fate of humanity rests with Mexican car factory worker named Dani (Reyes. Enter a lady cyber-soldier (Davis) from the future to save Dani’s ass from a New Improved Terminator (Luna). Enter hard-bitten Linda Hamilton to save both their asses. Enter Arnie to save everyone. The diversity window dressing can’t hide Dark Fate’s inconsequentiality. It has no real point or purpose beyond triggering a Proustian feeling for the first two films in the franchise. Pointless. And very loud. Full review TB

BY THE GRACE OF GOD/GRÂCE À DIEU ★★★★☆
Directed by François Ozon. Starring Melvil Poupaud, Denis Ménochet, Swann Arlaud, Éric Caravaca, François Marthouret, Bernard Verley. Club, lim release, 137 min

Melvil Poupau and Aurélia Petit in By the Grace of God
Melvil Poupau and Aurélia Petit in By the Grace of God

A breaking story in France: more than 70 victims of the Lyon-based Fr Bernard Preynat have emerged since the 1990s. In 2016, Preynat was indicted and defrocked; he’ll face trial in 2020. Earlier this year, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, his superior, was sentenced to six months in prison for failing to alert authorities. That sense of being ripped from the headlines is incorporated into Ozon’s pacy, urgent, meticulously researched drama. Full review TB

THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON ★★★★☆
Directed by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz. Starring Shia LaBeouf, Zack Gottsagen, Dakota Johnson, John Hawkes, Bruce Dern, Jon Bernthal, Thomas Haden Church. 12A cert, gen release, 97 min

Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson and Zack Gottsagen in The Peanut Butter Falcon
Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson and Zack Gottsagen in The Peanut Butter Falcon

Zak (Gottsagen), a 22-year-old with Down syndrome, lives in a retirement home where his attempts to leave are thwarted by kindly (if exasperated) Eleanor (Johnson). With the help of his mischievous roommate (Dern), wannabe wrestler Zak breaks out and heads cross-country in order to track down his wrestling hero (Church). Along the way, he befriends Tyler (LaBoeuf), a troubled petty thief who has fallen foul of local crabbers. With more than a nod to Huckleberry Finn, Zak, Tyler and eventually Eleanor make their way downriver on a raft. Zack Gottsagen is the first Down syndrome lead in a hit summer picture, and he more than holds his own against an extravagantly gifted ensemble. Full review TB

LAND WITHOUT GOD ★★★★☆
Directed by Mannix Flynn, Lotte Petronella, Maebhdh McManon. Featuring Mannix Flynn. 15A cert, IFI/Light House, Dublin, 74 min

Mannix Flynn in Land Without God
Mannix Flynn in Land Without God

Artist and politician Mannix Flynn meets with generations of his family, who recount their harrowing childhood experiences in religious-run homes and industrial schools, institutions where sexual and physical abuse was common. Some members of the family have previously given evidence to various State-backed enquiries, and some are speaking about the abuses they suffered for the first time. The extent of those abuses, as visited upon one family, is difficult to comprehend. A vital chronicle. Full review TB

A SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE: FARMAGEDDON ★★★★☆
Directed by Will Becher and Richard Phelan. Voices of Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Amalia Vitale, Kate Harbour, Simon Greenall, Emma Tate, Andy Nyman, Chris Morrell, Joe Sugg. G cert, gen release, 87 min

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

Popular anarcho-primitivism icon Shaun the Sheep is, as ever, attempting to bring Mossy Bottom farm back to Year Zero with a series of antics designed to undermine the central authority. It falls to long-suffering canine apparatchik Blitzer to impose order on the sheep’s gleeful mayhem, while the farmer, corrupted by capitalist hegemony and dreams of a new tractor, fritters his labour on opportunistic schemes designed to capitalise on recent extraterrestrial activity. A chilling reminder that landowners are an inherently corrupt class. This teetering social structure is further undermined by the appearance of Lu-La, an adorable alien and future Aardman backpack,who shares Shaun’s appetite for chaos. Full review TB

Other ★★★★★ and ★★★★☆  films out and about: Ad Astra, A Bump Along the Way, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, The Farewell, Hustlers, Joker, Lost Lives. All current synopses here

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