All the movies worth catching in the capital, from an occult mystery set in Budapest to a Weimar-era classic...
Out and about this weekend? 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 a tragi-com with a Bruce Springsteen song for a title or a wartime classic back on the big screen for the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Walloh has you covered. You are very welcome.
There’s a lengthy monologue at the start of Thunder Road – shot in one, unbroken 11 minute-long take – that pretty much sums up the entire film: heartfelt, funny, and relentlessly surprising. It also serves as a performance showcase for the film’s writer, director, editor, and composer Jim Cummings, starring here as a wayward cop spiralling into oblivion after the death of his mother. Mental health, parental worries, coping with grief: it ain’t easy fusing comedy and tragedy whilst avoiding the tonal clashes, but Thunder Road succeeds through sheer force of its creator’s self-belief alone. You might not get to hear Bruce Springsteen’s titular classic, but trust us when we say this is still one road worth taking.
Get Thunder Road showtimes in London.
As an actor, Olivia Wilde has spent years lighting up the screen in films as varied as Tron: Legacy and Drinking Buddies. Now, with Booksmart, a riotous coming-of-age comedy set to join the pantheon of great, awkward teen romps like Superbad, she proves she’s a talented director, too. And given it’s about two friends across a single night and stars Jonah Hill’s sister, Superbad is an easy comparison. But Wilde’s approach feels fresh and intelligent, whilst lead actors Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein – playing teens who, having spent their high school years swatting up, decide to go wild before graduation – are inspired choices. Of course, these kind of films work best when the comedy matches the heart, and boy does it. What’s that? It’s better than Superbad, you say? Yup.
Get Booksmart showtimes in London.
Too Late to Die Young
Too Late to Die Young is already being touted as the new Call Me by Your Name, given both films have producers in common. Whereas the latter featured privileged characters in idyllic 80s Italy, though, this is a more rustic affair set in a changing Chile at a time of political unrest. What the films do share, aside from sumptuous romance, dreamy pacing, and sun-drenched locales, is a captivating lead, this time in Demian Hernández’s teenager Sofia. It’s Sofia – along with her two siblings – who must live with her parents’ Mosquito Coast-esque decision to live off-grid after the fall of the Pinochet dictatorship. But this is not an overtly political film; instead it’s one that thrives on its intoxicating atmosphere.
Get Too Late to Die Young showtimes in London.
Son of Saul was one of 2015’s most acclaimed films, so it’s reassuring to report that László Nemes’ follow-up, Sunset, is also worth your time, though it’s a far more strange and elusive picture – nightmarish, but in a totally different way. Set in Budapest just before the start of World War I, Sunset alternates between occult mystery and po-faced period drama, as a haunted young woman (Juli Jakab) returns to the city to deal with her past. Though at times the stylishness gets in the way of the storytelling, the film thrives on its visuals, the desaturated cinematography transporting us directly into the past. You ultimately wind up floating through Sunset, like a dream. Sit back and let it wash over you.
The Blue Angel
Marlene Dietrich and Emil Jannings are magnetic in The Blue Angel, this 1930 film (written and directed by Josef von Sternberg) about a stripper who brings ruin upon a teacher in pre-World War II Germany. It’s no wonder this was the film that made Dietrich into a star: scantily-clad in numerous revealing outfits, she is sexually-charged in ways that seem shocking for a film made so long ago. The story begins when a schoolmaster – Jennings – sets out to reprimand Dietrich’s dancer Lola, only to wind up enamoured with her. So begins his slow, lust-driven decline. A landmark film (with good musical bits), The Blue Angel returns to the big screen as part of the BFI Southbank’s Weimar season.
Get The Blue Angel showtimes in London.
In Safe Hands
There is something of Ken Loach in the latest film from Jeanne Herry, in the way it explores the headache-inducing bureaucracy inherent to social institutions. In the case of In Safe Hands, the French adoption process is put under the microscope, as we follow baby Theo from the moment his mother gives him up to the point at which he finds a home. But unlike Loach, who often focuses on a single viewpoint, Herry adopts three: an interim carer, a welfare office, and a 40-something woman longing for a baby. In Safe Hands is ultimately an affecting attempt to explore a process that grants and takes away happiness, though the somewhat saccharine storytelling won’t be to everyone’s taste.
Get In Safe Hands showtimes in London.
Less than a year’s gone by and already Rocketman makes Bohemian Rhapsody seem old-fashioned by comparison, a result of director Dexter Fletcher’s decision to avoid an overtly literal interpretation: instead Rocketman unfolds as told by a rock-bottom Elton John (a perfect Taron Egerton, embodying the singer entirely without ever resorting to impression), who – attending an AA meeting – decides to look back on his career with a degree of self-awareness often lacking in authorised biopics. Given this is Elton’s telling, then, it’s easy to forgive the dreamy tone, the inaccuracies, the songs staged and sung long before they were actually written. The overall effect is that of a West End show on film: broad enough to please the masses; weird enough so that it never quite feels like a by-the-numbers biopic.
Get Rocketman showtimes in London.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
Books, knives, dogs, horses: there’s nothing Keanu Reeves’ stoic assassin won’t utilise as a weapon in the excessively titled John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, the third – and best – film in the wildly successful action franchise. It has to be said: the first half hour of this film consists of some of the most intense, awesomely creative action sequences in recent memory, and arguably cinema’s best ever knife fight. That’s not to say that the rest of the film isn’t greatly entertaining, though an emphasis on an overwritten story sucks out a little of the fun. Still, you’d be lucky to find another third instalment that delivers on the promise of its predecessors in so many ways. And trust us when we say you’ve never seen a man kill somebody with a book like this.
Get John Wick 3: Parabellum showtimes in London.
Saving Private Ryan
Words do little justice to the gut-wrenching horror of Saving Private Ryan’s opening sequence, a 30-minute set-piece so visceral that many D-Day veterans swore it was like being there all over again. Since Saving Private Ryan’s release in 1999, countless filmmakers have attempted to recreate what it is that Spielberg absolutely nails here – namely his use of shaky-cam and his depiction of soldiers as terrified fodder lacking the usual cinematic bravado. Rendered with minimal CGI at a time before Hollywood got addicted to the stuff, though not without its sentimentalities (the framing device is a little on-the-nose and the story is historically questionable), Saving Private Ryan still stands as a monumental filmmaking achievement. Back in cinemas for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
Get Saving Private Ryan showtimes in London.
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