What movies to catch in the capital, from a violent Yakuza yarn to a classic romance back on the big screen for Valentine's Day...
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…
Japanese provocateur Takashi Miike made his name in the West with ultra-violent crime thriller Ichi the Killer, but he's probably best known nowadays for just how prolific he is (he's probably made two features in the time it's taken you to read this sentence). His latest flick, First Love, is – remarkably – his 103rd, finding its story in a terminally ill boxer who sets out to rescue a young woman from the Yakuza. A unique blend of violent set-pieces and surprisingly sweet romance ensure it's one of Miike's most purely enjoyable efforts in years.
A Paris Education
Lots of films are made with cinephiles in mind, but with its black-and-white photography and largely aimless narrative, A Paris Education has its sights set on a particular breed of cine-literate viewer. Set in 1968, the film hones in on a group of young students whose lives basically extend to sitting around, having casual sex, and discussing films. Not to everyone's taste, certainly, but anyone feeling like that existence would suit them just fine will find there's much here to appreciate.
Still in Cinemas
Boog Joon-ho's Oscar-winning masterpiece, Parasite, is the first foreign language film to win Best Picture. As with Bong's previous films (Snowpiercer, Okja), it's also one that defies easy explanation, focusing on a story of two South Korean families – one rich, one poor – whose lives converge in a minimalist mansion. Blending comedy, horror, and satire, Parasite deserves all the praise it has received, the sort of film that makes you want to shout “cinema!' from the rooftops. Go on, shout it.
Birds of Prey
Given the poor reception to 2016's Suicide Squid, very few probably held out hope for this all-female spin-off. Yet Birds of Prey, transposing that film's one great element in Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, is an unexpected delight. Directed by Cathy Yan, its story concerns Quinn's post-Joker misadventures after she dumps him and essentially paints a big fat target on her head. Did we mention there is a deliciously campy Ewan McGregor? Because there is a deliciously campy Ewan McGregor. If only all DC movies were this fun!
Unsung heroes often make for captivating cinema, which is certainly the case for writer-director Agnieszka Holland's true-life drama Mr. Jones. James Norton – upgrading to leading man status after years of playing supporting roles – stars as the real life reporter Gareth Jones, who travelled from his native Wales to the Soviet Union in the 1930s, where he uncovered Stalin's plan to engineer famine in the Ukraine. An important story of a tragic life, and well deserving of the big screen treatment.
Following his debut horror The Witch, writer-director Robert Eggers has returned to blow us all out of the water with this unruly maritime nightmare, shot in beautiful black-and-white. Is it horror? Comedy? Who knows? With Willem Dafoe as a salty sea-farer and Robert Pattinson reaffirming his place as one of his generation's most brilliant actors, The Lighthouse is a bold, unpredictable, and (ahem) flatulent fever dream. Don't even get us started on those seagulls…
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Mr. Rogers isn't as well known here in the UK as he is stateside, where the man seems to be held with the same nationwide reverence as George Washington. There was only one guy capable of capturing the television presenter's unique charisma, then, and that man is universally beloved actor Tom Hanks, appearing here in an Oscar-nominated turn. Marielle Heller, who did such wonderful work on Can You Ever Forgive Me?, directs this life-affirming drama about a cynical reporter (Matthew Rhys) who tries to dig beneath Roger's unshakeable spirit.
With Richard Jewell Clint Eastwood continues his crusade to make films about good men whose lives are turned upside-down by the very institutes they swore to serve (see American Sniper, Sully). Based on the true story of the security guard whose heroics foiled a terrorist bomb plot only to later find himself targeted by the FBI, it features a long overdue lead role from the excellent actor Paul Walter Hauser, whilst Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, and Olivia Wilde round out the cast.
Back on the Big Screen…
Aided by a powerful psychic, a dead man sets out to prevent the murder of his girlfriend from beyond the grave. Based on that premise alone, Ghost is a film that should never have worked. Yet somehow Jerry Zucker's much parodied supernatural romance – featuring career-defining performances from Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze, and Whoopi Goldberg – holds up under scrutiny. The pottery scene is as lovely as ever, whilst Goldberg proves a hammy joy. Back on the big screen for its 30th anniversary, Ghost manifests just in time for Valentine's Day – but only until Sunday.