All the movies worth catching in the capital, from a truly mad take on Lord of the Flies to a timely gentrification drama...
Out and about this week? Fancy a film but can’t make your mind up what to see? Look no further: we’ve assembled the best of what’s on in London and gathered them here to make choosing a great movie as easy as possible. Whether it’s an actually worthwhile entry in the much-maligned Terminator franchise or one of the most acclaimed documentaries ever made back on the big screen, WeLoveCinema has you well and truly covered…
A cross between Lord of the Flies, Apocalypse Now and, uh, Dogtooth, Monos is an incendiary nightmare – a hallucinogenic journey into the heart of darkness that feels at once indebted to a number of well-known pop culture classics and yet somehow fiercely original. Set atop a misty mountain in the wilds of South America (and later in the oppressive, sweating heat of the jungle), it hones in on a group of child soldiers tasked with guarding a single prisoner. Isolated and restless, they have developed strange rituals and customs. Unfolding with an ominous, apocalyptic vibe, aided by Mica Levi’s industrial score and some truly gorgeous cinematography, Monos is an endlessly mesmerising descent into a maddening chaos.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
San Francisco has proven to be one of cinema’s most photographable cities, setting the scene in movies as diverse as vehicular action classic Bullitt to Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Now comes a timely lament for this ever-changing landscape, starring Jimmie Fails – in a film based on his true life story – as a man who is slowly losing his sense of self against a backdrop of gentrification. The Last Black Man in San Francisco, which co-stars Danny Glover, follows Jimmie as he follows a dream to attain the Victorian-style house that used to belong to his family before they were pushed out. Directed by Joe Talbot, this is an indie that feels bigger than its budget – an audacious, electric, and melancholy original that refuses to be pigeon holed.
By the Grace of God
This powerful and clinical drama, directed by François Ozon (Swimming Pool), tells the connected stories of three men who were victimised by the same Catholic priest, exploring how their lives have been dramatically altered by such a moral and ethical betrayal. There’s Alexandre (Melvil Poupaud), who finds himself caught in a maze-like quest to expose his abuser; Emmanuel (Swann Arlaud), trapped in a relationship gone bad and emotionally conflicted; and François (Denis Ménochet), who uses his experiences as fuel for campaigning. The stories here, based on true accounts, come together to create a diverse tapestry that is aided by Ozon’s careful direction. It’s very bleak at times, but there’s a note of sheer optimism hovering just beneath the surface.
Get By the Grace of God showtimes in London.
Terminator: Dark Fate
After the last three Terminator movies failed to live up to the standards of James Cameron’s brilliant original and its even better follow-up, Terminator: Dark Fate arrives as undoubtably the best movie in the franchise since 1991. That doesn’t make it a masterpiece, though the studio’s decision to ignore the convoluted stories of the previous three films gives director Tim Miller (Deadpool) room to deliver a satisfying follow-up to Judgment Day that occasionally feels like a loose remake, complete with heart-stopping action set pieces. Arnie is back, of course, alongside franchise newcomer Mackenzie Davis. But more notably, so is Linda Hamilton, who reprises her role as Sarah Connor and basically steals the movie out from her co-stars.
Chained for Life
One of the more bizarre dramas to hit cinemas this year, Chained for Life takes place within the confines of a former hospital and concerns two actors, a young woman and her disfigured male co-star, as they struggle to bond. With its meta-plot concerning a group of filmmakers who gather to make a film called – yep – “Chained for Life,” it’s the sort of debut that seems to announce the arrival of a unique talent. Shot on a very low budget by writer-director Aaron Schimberg, Chained for Life takes a certain joy in disorientating the viewer, indulging frequently in tangents, red herrings, and weird shifts in tone that manage to be both exhilarating and bewildering. Original, surreal, and unpredictable, it also has a lot to say about our attitudes towards disfigurement.
Get Chained for Life showtimes in London.
The Peanut Butter Falcon
Sometimes a film finds a sort of magic in the chemistry of its cast alone, and that’s exactly the case with the oddly-titled, Deep South-set adventure that is The Peanut Butter Falcon. The debut feature from filmmaking duo Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, loosely based on Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” Falcon stars Zack Gottsagen – a performer the directors discovered at a camp for disabled actors – as a young man with Down syndrome who escapes from his care home, teams up with a surly drifter (Shia LaBeouf), and goes in search of a legendary wrestling school. It’s a whimsical ride, but the sheer magnetism of the cast transcends the quirk: LaBeouf, particularly, has never been so likeable.
Acclaimed filmmaker Olivier Assayas, who gave us masterpieces such as Summer Hours and Clouds of Sils Maria, returns with a comedy-drama about the changing face of publishing, set in contemporary Paris. Juliette Binoche (who worked wonders with Assayas on Clouds) returns here as the actor wife of an editor, played by Guillaume Canet, who finds himself struggling in this modern era of e-books. Assayas’ film is slyly satirical, targeting the sort of middle-class Parisian whose livelihoods are put at stake by their stubborn attitude towards the shifting times. Still, with its intellectual dinner conversations, and lots of extramarital affairs, the very French Non-Fiction manages to be both funny and profound about it all. If not quite at the level of Assayas’ best, it fits nicely into his remarkable canon.
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Those geniuses over at Aardman are back with a sequel to one of their best films, starring one of their most beloved characters. This time everybody’s favourite sheep, Shaun, faces his biggest adventure yet: helping a strange (and adorable) creature from space – named Lu-La – return home. Pursued by a shady agency, Shaun and his fellow flock must venture far from home in a bid to prevent a cataclysmic event known as (ahem) “Farmaggedon.” Beautifully animated, endlessly charming, and boldly going where no lamb has gone before, this is one of the studio’s best and most inventive movies yet – a brilliant showcase for non-verbal storytelling that’s sure to entertain parents and kids alike (though the kids really aren’t necessary).
Get A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon showtimes in London.
Roger Ebert said it best when in 1994 he wrote: “A film like Hoop Dreams is what the movies are for. It takes us, shakes us, and make us think in new ways about the world around us. It gives us the impression of having touched life itself.” Often regarded as one of the greatest films ever made, let alone one of the greatest documentaries, this beautiful, heartfelt, and life-affirming portrait of two young African American men vying to achieve their dreams of playing in the NBA returns to the big screen to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Hoop Dreams is an endlessly inspiring work, shot over a period of 6 years. At 165 minutes, the pace never slackens; after 25 years, its power is yet to diminish by even an inch. Perfect.
Get Hoop Dreams showtimes in London.
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