A killer supporting turn from Naomi Harris and strong performances from its three leads - Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders and Alex Hibbert all play main character Chiron at various stages of his life - are the hallmarks of this beautifully shot film. An emotionally wide-ranging story told economically, and a fitting example of African American present-day cinema.
Luca Guadagnino’s third film is his showiest to date. While not as gripping as I Am Love and A Bigger Splash, it’s still an emotionally honest and beautifully made film. Set in an Eden-like northern Italy in the summer of 1983, among its chief pleasures are the excellent period detail. And there’s a brilliant supporting turn from character actor Michael Stuhlbarg as the lead’s father.
Ridley Scott’s latest instalment in the newly revived Alien saga is surprisingly decent. Solid, exciting blockbuster storytelling with a beginning, middle and end, it’s not Alien or Alien3, but it’s about as much fun as a contemporary re-imagining can be.
Rachel Weisz gives a confident, likeable performance opposite an impeccably evil and hammy Timothy Spall in this efficient, engaging drama. Directed by the ever diverse Mick Jackson – Threads, LA Story, The Bodyguard – it’s an entertaining account of the 'Holocaust denier who sued the historian' case of the late 90s.
6. Whitney: Can I Be Me
Documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield’s latest gripping effort breaks away from his usual format, in that the director himself barely appears on screen. Instead, archive footage, new interviews, and specially shot recent material are seamlessly blended together to build up a fine, detailed piece about the life and death of Whitney Houston.
5. God’s Own Country
The beauty of this film lies in its starkness. An unforgiving, relentless snapshot of contemporary Yorkshire, which somehow looks unchanged since the days of the Bronte sisters. It’s a rough love story, a summation of modern Britain, and a tribute to one of our hardest landscapes.
Clint Eastwood’s brings his traditional and solid directorial style to this biopic of Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the pilot who landed his plane on New York’s Hudson River after its engines were disabled by a bird strike. It’s a surprisingly enjoyable film, dealing with the hearing at which Sully was accused of pilot error, and – in riveting, flawlessly executed sequences – the stress and turmoil of the crash landing itself.
From review: "Together, the two Trainspotting films prove that something pretty special happened when three young filmmakers decided to pull a story out of the heart of the Edinburgh slums. The original occasionally felt like a slightly overrated flash in the pan; with the sequel to accompany it, it has become complete and the films have jointly secured their place in the ranks of great British cinema."
Dev Patel gives arguably his best performance in this moving and fascinating drama. With reliably solid support from Nicole Kidman, this is the improbable yet true story of a young boy separated from his family and presumed forever lost, who was able to trace his origins using the power of Google Earth.
At 79, Dutch director Paul Verhoeven proves he’s far from past it with this brutal, hilarious, cheeky, ironic satire on sexual violence, family life, gender politics and the modern world. Combining the best of Verhoeven’s early European films – Spettters, The Fourth Man – with the spirit of the furiously entertaining early 90s thrillers which made his name – Total Recall, Basic Instinct – Elle is a biting thriller about the novel approach a woman takes to dealing with being assaulted in her own home by an unknown invader. Isabelle Huppert’s lead performance is among the best she’s ever given, and Verhoeven doesn’t let the air out of the film for a single second.