All the movies worth catching in the capital, from a "one-shot" wonder to perhaps the most stressful film ever made...
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 showing in London and gathered them here to make choosing a great movie as easy as possible. Whatever you're in the mood for, WeLoveCinema has you well and truly covered…
War! What is it good for? “Extended takes with no visible cuts,” is what director Sam Mendes might tell you based on 1917, a white-knuckle thriller set in the trenches of the Great War, loosely inspired by the stories passed down by his veteran grandfather. The impression of a single, continuous shot frames his film as young soldiers Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Schofield (George MacKay) are tasked with delivering a message deep behind enemy lines that could prevent the loss of more than 1,600 British lives. Roger Deakins' stunning cinematography and Thomas Newman's haunting score ensure that 1917 is always nail-biting, even if it ultimately ends up feeling more like a video game. But what a video game!
Following Robert Pattinson crime flick Good Time, Safdie brothers Josh and Benny are back with yet another frenetic and anxiety-inducing caper and arguably the most stressful film ever put to celluloid. Featuring a ludicrously good Adam Sandler as a fast-talking Jewish jeweller looking to score big with the sale of a precious black opal, Uncut Gems unravels as a high-octane escapade of endless noise and unstoppable energy. As Sandler's Howard Ratner is bashed relentlessly around from place to place, feeding his gambling habit and schmoozing his way out of trouble to the sound of Daniel Lopatin's miraculous score, Gems grounds us in a sleazy New York right out of a 70s thriller. The Safdies tried to get Uncut Gems made for over a decade; to say it's been worth the wait is a major understatement.
Following the low-budget delights of What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Taika Waititi's career sky rocketed in the wake of relentlessly enjoyable Marvel romp Thor: Ragnarok – a film whose success gave him the license to make Jojo Rabbit, a satire about a young man drafted into the Hitler Youth whose imaginary friend just happens to be – yup – Hitler. Given its controversial subject matter – not to mention the fact that Waititi plays a quipping, lighthearted version of the world's most reviled human being – means that Jojo Rabbit has divided critics and audiences in their droves. Safe to say the Wes Anderson-esque frolics won't be to everyone's taste, but you can't deny this is a film with bold intentions – even when it doesn't quite work.
This French film from director and co-writer Mikhaël Hers hones in on the aftermath of a tragedy in which a young Parisian girl – the Amanda of the title, played by Isaure Multrier – is taken under her uncle's wing after her mother is tragically killed in a terrorist attack. Vincent Lacoste stars as said uncle in a film that thrives on the authentic chemistry shared by its sweet-natured leading duo. Though it isn't perfect (at times it verges on the very saccharine), most will find something real and mediative about Amanda. It touches upon something truthful about the ways in which we come together in times of distress.
Guy Ritchie's career of late has consisted of a bizarre medley of the underrated (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.), the abhorrent (King Arthur), and the frankly unnecessary (Aladdin). It's good to see him returning to his roots, then, with the London gangster flick that is The Gentleman, a film which plays out like a bigger budget version of his iconic earlier works such as Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. Matthew McConaughey stars as a rich drug lord who finds himself going up against an all-star cast, including Colin Farrell, Charlie Hunnam, and Henry Golding. It's Hugh Grant who outright steals the film, however, having reinvented himself as one of the most brilliantly versatile character actors working today.
Greta Gerwig helms what is arguably the definitive adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's seminal novel with her latest effort as a writer-director. Starring Florence Pugh, Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, and Eliza Scanlen, the story unfolds as the heart-warming tale of four sisters growing up in the aftermath of the American Civil War, featuring Laura Dern, Meryl Streep, and Chris Cooper in supporting roles. Richly drawn and narratively ambitious, Little Women is a pure delight to watch from start to end, and a film that confirms Gerwig as one of the best filmmakers working today. Unmissable, in every sense of the word.
Spies in Disguise
What if Will Smith was a spy but also a pigeon? That's essentially the premise driving this completely absurd yet somehow irresistible animated yarn from Blue Sky Studios, who also made the Ice Age movies. Spies in Disguise, definitely their best film in ages, features a super stacked cast of recognisable voices, including Will Smith, Tom Holland, Rashida Jones, Ben Mendelsohn, Rachel Brosnahan, Karen Gillan, and DJ Khaled, and delivers upon its spy movie parody plot by way of great action scenes and some genuine heart, too. The year's best film about a shapeshifting secret agent turned pigeon, by far.
It has to be said: El Topo – back in cinemas with a new 4K restoration – is one of the strangest films ever made, and definitely the strangest western ever made. Helmed by renowned surrealist and all round directorial icon Alejandro Jodorowsky, El Topo is the definition of a trip, a movie that cannot be easily explained and perhaps does not want to be. The plot – if you can call it that – finds a black-clad cowboy (played by Jodorowsky himself) and a young boy (played by Jodorowsky's son, Brontis) navigating a hostile, Sergio Leone-inspired desert in search of the gunmen who prayed on a small town. With its relentless violence and disturbing images, El Topo won't be to everyone's taste. Yet fifty years later it still stands as a real original whose influence can be found in films as mainstream as Gore Verbinski's Rango.
La Dolce Vita
One of the all-time great Italian pictures, La Dolce Vita – is there another film whose title is as nice to say? – returns to cinemas this week with a stunningly beautiful 4K restoration. You could argue for hours as to which of Fellini's films is his true masterpiece, of course, but few can resist the sumptuous, iconic vibes of this three-hour long epic concerning the exploits of a playboy writer (Marcello Mastroianni), whose life unfolds as an endless parade of beautiful girls and fancy parties, depicted here as a soul-searching odyssey across seven episodes. The performances are unforgettable, of course, and yet all these years later the film's greatest gift to cinephiles might be its gorgeous black and white cinematography. Appreciate this one on the biggest screen possible whilst you can.