Six of the best films to see in cinemas this weekend

New this weekend: John Wick 3, Birds of Passage, Beats, Tucked

Two mutts: Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Two mutts: Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

 

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM ★★★★☆
Directed by Chad Stahelski. Starring Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Halle Berry, Saïd Taghmaoui, Jerome Flynn, Anjelica Huston
“After the first death there are no others,” Dylan Thomas wrote. Yeah, you obviously didn’t live long enough to see the John Wick films, boyo. The third film in the cycle finds our hero excommunicated and on the run. The films are certainly silly and a bit vulgar, but they are masterpieces of martial choreography. We have yet to see a genuinely brilliant video game adaptation, but the Wick films do amazing work with that world’s extravagant aesthetic. And Reeves is still a delight. 16 cert, gen release, 130 min Full review DC

BIRDS OF PASSAGE/PÁJAROS DE VERANO ★★★★★
Directed by Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra. Starring Carmiña Martínez, Jose Acosta, Jhon Narváez, Natalia Reyes, Jose Vicente Cots, Juan Martínez, Greider Meza

Birds of Passage
Birds of Passage

Breathtaking folk thriller that tells the story of an indigenous Colombian family’s destructive engagement with the drugs industry over several decades. Though not at home to sentimental notions of lost Edenic idylls, the film takes its characters from humble isolation to extremes of wealth and corruption. It’s the oldest story in the world: be careful what you wish for. But it has rarely been told with such imagination. Awash with magic, violence and family rivalry, Birds of Passage is one of a kind. 15A cert, lim release, 125 min DC

BEATS ★★★★☆
Directed by Brian Welsh. Starring Cristian Ortega, Lorn Macdonald, Laura Fraser, Brian Ferguson, Ross Mann, Gemma McElhinney, Amy Manson, Rachel Jackson, Neil Leiper, Kevin Mains

Cristian Ortega and Lorn Macdonald in Beats
Cristian Ortega and Lorn Macdonald in Beats

This Scottish drama opens with a clause from one of Britain’s most bizarre laws. Introduced by the Tories in 1994, the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill took aim at the UK rave scene by banning music events “wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats”. That clause has direct consequences for best friends Jonno (Ortega) and Spanner (Macdonald), who will soon be separated but not before one last blowout at a rave announced by a pirate radio DJ (Mann). Working from Kieran Hurley’s successful 2012 one-man play, Beats can feel overstretched. But it does a terrific job of replicating the rave scene adjacent to the Cool Britannia scene. 18 cert, lim release, 101 min TB

TUCKED ★★★★☆
Directed by Jamie Patterson. Starring Derren Nesbitt, Jordan Stephens, Steve Oram, April Pearson, Joss Porter

Jordan Stephens and Derren Nesbitt in Tucked
Jordan Stephens and Derren Nesbitt in Tucked

Set in the faded, glittery world of an unfashionable old-school Brighton gay bar, this warm materteral dramedy concerns a young drag performer and his older adopted auntie. Or possibly father-figure. They’re good at dodging labels. House performer Jackie (or Jack) Collins (Nesbitt) has been dispensing catty remarks and dirty jokes for decades with biting jabs when he is introduced to 21-year-old Faith (Stephens), a new club singer. An unlikely friendship ensues. Club, Cineworld, Dublin, 80 min TB

AMAZING GRACE ★★★★★
Directed by Alan Elliott, Sydney Pollack. Featuring Aretha Franklin, James Cleveland, CL Franklin

Aretha Franklin in Amazing Grace
Aretha Franklin in Amazing Grace

Brilliant documentary on the recording of the late Aretha Franklin’s 1972 gospel classic Amazing Grace. The release was delayed initially by a technical error and then as a result of legal action from Ms Franklin. Its eventual arrival provides the authors of online listicles a permanent starting point when considering the 10 greatest concert films of all time. The music is transcendent. The editing is perfectly paced. The congregation offer a vital snapshot of a time and place. A masterpiece of its type. G cert, lim release, 87 min Full review/trailer DC

FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY ★★★★☆
Directed by Carmel Winters. Starring Hazel Doupe, Dara Devaney, Johnny Collins, Hilda Fay, Lalor Roddy

Hazel Doupe in Float Like a Butterfly
Hazel Doupe in Float Like a Butterfly

This award-winning drama concerns a young Traveller girl who, a huge fan of Mohammad Ali, trains herself into state of pugilistic excellence in the early 1970s. Float Like a Butterfly is essentially a road movie using boxing as a tonal ingredient, a mode of feminist expression and a potential escape route. Already an experienced actor at just 17, Doupe immerses herself fully in a role that requires intelligence to be balanced with raw determination. Authentic, funny, moving. 15A cert, gen release, 101 min Full review DC

Other ★★★★★ and ★★★★☆ films out and about: Ash Is Purest White, The Dig, Eighth Grade, Greta, Madeline’s Madeline, Missing Link, Vox Lux, Wild Rose, Woman at War

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