Six of the best films to see in cinemas this weekend

New this weekend: Once Upon a Time in . . . Hollywood, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Transit, Penny Slinger: Out of the Shadows

Sock it to me: Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in...Hollywood

Sock it to me: Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in...Hollywood

 

ONCE UPON A TIME IN . . . HOLLYWOOD ★★★★☆
Directed by Quentin Tarantino. Starring Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Dakota Fanning, Damon Herriman, Austin Butler, Emile Hirsch, Scoot McNairy, Luke Perry, Al Pacino, Lena Dunham, Bruce Dern, Kurt Russell, Timothy Olyphant. 18 cert, gen release, 161 min
An actor and his stunt double have adventures in LA. Tarantino’s ninth film is really about the end of various eras, and, looming throughout, the Manson murders could hardly offer a more definitive full stop to one version of the late 1960s. But that’s all the killings are here: a closing parenthesis to the director’s massive aside on the pop culture of his childhood. It’s rambling and occasionally dubious, but the dialogue zings and the period detail bings. No one else is doing anything like this. DC Full review/trailer

DORA AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLD ★★★★☆
Directed by James Bobin. Starring Isabela Moner, Eugenio Derbez, Michael Peña, Eva Longoria, Jeff Wahlberg, voices of Danny Trejo, Benicio Del Toro. PG cert, gen release, 102 min

Isabela Moner in Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Isabela Moner in Dora and the Lost City of Gold

Remember when Paramount announced a live action Dora the Explorer and we all made barrell-scraping gestures and memes? Remember when the first stills of Isabella Moner as Dora emerged to shrieks of “You ruined my childhood!”? Well, to paraphrase its pint-sized Latina heroine: “Haters no hating” – this all-ages action-adventure, fashioned after the hit Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, is a delight. A starry cast, including Del Toro (who voices Swiper the Fox) and Trejo (Boots the Monkey), have a ball with big, broad performances. Except, of course, for Moner, who plays Dora dead straight, a turn as magical as it is astute. TB Full review

TRANSIT ★★★★★
Directed by Christian Petzold. Starring Franz Rogowski, Paula Beer, Godehard Giese, Lilien Batman, Maryam Zaree, Barbara Auer, Matthias Brandt, Sebastian Hülk. 12A cert, lim release, 102 min

Paula Beer and Franz Rogowski in Transit
Paula Beer and Franz Rogowski in Transit

A strange young man takes on another’s identity while trying to escape Marseilles in a time of occupation. Petzold transfers Anna Seghers’s source novel, set during the second World War, into something like the present day. This is both stranger and less strange than it sounds: we could be in a plausible alternative present where the right has taken over. Austere and occasionally confusing, the film remains as fascinating as earlier Petzold films such as Yella, Jerichow, Barbara and Phoenix. DC Full review

PENNY SLINGER: OUT OF THE SHADOWS ★★★★☆
Directed by Richard Kovitch. Featuring Penny Slinger. Club, Triskel, Cork, 94 min

Penny Slinger: Out of the Shadows
Penny Slinger: Out of the Shadows

The artist recalls drawing her first “really accomplished” picture in 1952, made when she was 4½. It was of her parents, both stark naked and both “completely sexually endowed”. The drawing “set the tone” says Slinger, who, as one of Britain’s most significant surrealist artists, has produced pornographic dolls houses, erotic wedding cakes, magic boxes, anotomical Venus variations, and mummified birds of prey. This compelling documentary portrait features extensive commentary from Slinger and interviews with art historians, curators and her various sexual and artistic collaborators, and intersects with Germaine Greer, Mick Jagger and fellow surrealists Leonora Carrington and Max Ernst. TB Full review

HOLIDAY ★★★★★
Directed by Isabella Eklöf. Starring Victoria Carmen Sonne, Lai Yde, Thijs Römer. Club, IFI, Dublin, 93 min

Victoria Carmen Sonne and Lai Yde in Holiday
Victoria Carmen Sonne and Lai Yde in Holiday

Top Austrian miserabilist Ulrich Siedl doesn’t do sexy seaside films, but if he did, it might look like this thrilling, provocative tale of coercion, performative femininity, and sunshine. Sacha (Sonne), the ornamental girlfriend of a violent criminal kingpin named Michael (Yde), arrives at the port city of Bodrum on the Turkish Riviera. As a plaything, Sacha has little to do but sunbathe, float in the pool at Michael’s luxurious villa, and wander around the shops. The moment Sacha begins a flirtation with Thomas (Römer), tragedy seems inevitable. The terror unfolds in long, sunny shots that keep us guessing to her thoughts and motivations. Danish writer-director Eklöf, who co-wrote Border (another of this year’s best releases), has arrived with a bang. TB Full review

GAZA ★★★★☆
Directed by Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell. 12A cert, QFT, Belfast; IFI/Light House, Dublin, 92 min

Gaza
Gaza

This beautifully shot documentary is careful with the details. Opening credits tells us that Gaza is a narrow strip of coastline bordered by Israel and Egypt, home to nearly two million Palestinians. The Islamic resistance movement Hamas has governed Gaza since 2007. Since then Israel has imposed a blockade and completely sealed its borders. Filmed between the Israeli war in 2014 nd the border protests in 2018; the movie’s very existence is enough for some to dismiss it as propaganda or “manipulative and disingenuous”. That’s a shame, as Gaza studiously avoids direct political engagement, Final scenes bring us up to May 2018 and some of the bloodiest clashes in Gaza’s history leaving 60 dead protesters and 2,500 injured. It’s a tragic ending for an already sorrowful, moving film. TB Full review

Other ★★★★★ and ★★★★☆  films out and about: Apollo 11, Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love, Midsommar, Yesterday. All current synopses are here

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