Six of the best films to see in cinemas this weekend

New this weekend: A Bump Along the Way, Lost Lives, The King, Abominable

I’m SO embarrassed: Lola Pettigrew in A Bump Along the Way

I’m SO embarrassed: Lola Pettigrew in A Bump Along the Way

 

A BUMP ALONG THE WAY ★★★★☆
Directed by Shelly Love. Starring Bronagh Gallagher, Lola Pettigrew, Mary Moulds. 15A cert, gen release, 95 min
Pamela (Gallagher) believes that she is unable to have more children until, after a boozy encounter with a younger man, her body informs her otherwise. Her teenage daughter (Pettigrew) is embarrassed. The baby’s father is useless. Pamela settles in for a traumatic nine months. Tess McGowan wrote the screenplay while pregnant and the dialogue throbs with an authenticity that never gets in the way of the light comedy. Gallagher is a star. Derry weaves its angular charms. An unexpected delight. Full review DC

LOST LIVES ★★★★☆
Directed by Dermot Lavery and Michael Hewitt. Voices of Kenneth Branagh, Brendan Gleeson, Roma Downey, Liam Neeson, Bríd Brennan, Stephen Rea, Ciarán Hinds, James Nesbitt, Michelle Farley, Adrian Dunbar, Bronagh Gallagher, Susan Lynch. 12A cert, lim release, 93 min

Dessie Trainor, a Catholic who lives on the Garvaghy Road in Portadown, in July at the grave of his mother, a Protestant who was killed in a sectarian gun attack by loyalists in April 1975. One of Trainor’s brothers was killed in a bomb attack on their house, also in 1975, and a second brother was killed in a gun attack by loyalists in 1978. Photograph: Liam McBurney
Dessie Trainor, a Catholic who lives on the Garvaghy Road in Portadown, in July at the grave of his mother Margaret, a Protestant who was killed in a sectarian gun attack by loyalists in April 1975. One of Trainor’s brothers was killed in a bomb attack on their house, also in 1975, and a second brother was killed in a gun attack by loyalists in 1978. Photograph: Liam McBurney

Released in the same week Arlene Foster claimed the Belfast Agreement is not a “sacrosanct” piece of legislation, Lost Lives is a sobering, triggering reminder of the Bad Old Days. The film, an adaptation of Lost Lives: The Stories of the Men, Women and Children Who Died as a Result of the Northern Ireland Troubles, a unique 1999 chronicle of the 3,700 killed in 30 years of the conflict, was written over seven years by journalists David McKittrick, Brian Feeney, Chris Thornton, David McVea and the late Seamus Kelters. Many talented actors solemnly intone – there is no other way – the awful details. Archive footage is poignantly employed. A beautiful score performed by the Ulster Orchestra, punctuated by evocative vocals, adds to the impossible sense of sadness. Full review TB

THE KING ★★★★☆
Directed by David Michôd. Starring Timothée Chalamet, Joel Edgerton, Sean Harris, Lily-Rose Depp, Robert Pattinson, Ben Mendelsohn. 15A cert, gen release, 140 min

Timothée Chalamet in The King
Timothée Chalamet in The King

The King is “based on” Shakespeare’s Henry IV and Henry V, but sadly you have to settle for dialogue by Michôd and Edgerton. It is some measure of the film-makers’ achievement that, despite an unsatisfactory performance from Chalamet as young Henry V, that settling requires no enormous effort. This is a satisfactory hunk of late medieval hokum covered in enough filth to distinguish it from Sunday-night telly, but not so much that it ceases to be fun. Edgerton is a decent, less drunk Falstaff. Full review DC

ABOMINABLE ★★★☆☆
Directed by Jill Culton. Voices of Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Eddie Izzard, Sarah Paulson, Tsai Chin, Michelle Wong. G cert, gen release, 98 min

Abominable
Abominable

Shanghai teen Yi (Bennet) is grieving for her late father and feeling distant from her mother and grandmother when she encounters a Yeti on the roof of her apartment block. Yi and her friends name the adorable monster “Everest” and embark on an epic cross-country quest to reunite the creature with his family at the highest point on Earth. A kaleidoscope of colours, Abominable is the most sensorial family entertainment since the similarly textured A Wrinkle in Time. And it shines as a travelogue that makes the magical best of its Chinese landmarks, including the Gobi Desert, Huangshan, and the Leshan Giant Buddha. The lush visuals make for a pleasing tourist guide. Full review TB

JOKER ★★★★☆
Directed by Todd Phillips. Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Frances Conroy, Zazie Beetz, Brett Cullen, Brian Tyree Henry, Marc Maron, Dante Pereira-Olson, Douglas Hodge, Sharon Washington. 16 cert, gen release, 122 min

Joaquin Phoenix in Joker
Joaquin Phoenix in Joker

Brutal, focused tale of a man going homicidally insane that also happens to be an origin story for Batman’s most notorious villain. Phoenix, whose title character kicks everything else into distant wings, spares no effort in keeping us diverted throughout. Wipe off the make-up and you will, however, find nothing but more make-up beneath. The upcoming Shaun the Sheep film works harder at arguing its sociological thesis. Maybe that shouldn’t matter. Beautifully made and impressively propulsive, Joker is one impressive hunk of nihilism. Full review DC

GOOD POSTURE ★★★★☆
Directed by Dolly Wells. Starring Grace Van Patten, Emily Mortimer, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Timm Sharp, John Early, Nat Wolff, Condola Rashad. 15A cert, lim release, 92 min

Emily Mortimer and Grace Van Patten in Good Posture
Emily Mortimer and Grace Van Patten in Good Posture

As Dolly Wells’s rough-hewn, heartful film debut opens, Lillian (Grace Van Patten of The Meyerowitz Stories, in a star-making turn) and her boyfriend are breaking up on account on her shocking lack of adulting skills. Lillian’s absent father, who is busy with his new girlfriend in France, is well connected enough to find his aimless daughter a spare room with a musician friend and his partner, Julia (Mortimer), a reclusive novelist. Within days Julia’s husband walks out, leaving the two nightmarishly mismatched women to exchange a series of terse handwritten house rules, notes that surprisingly and delightfully blossom into something like friendship. Full review TB

Other ★★★★★ and ★★★★☆  films out and about: Ad Astra, Bait, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, The Farewell, Hustlers, Once Upon a Time in . . . Hollywood, Pain and Glory, Ready or Not. All current synopses here

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