The Irish documentary It's Not Yet Dark is a must-see. Also opening this weekend are the Michael Fassbender-starring Jo Nesbo adaptation The Snowman and in-the-woods horror The Ritual.
It's Not Yet Dark *****
Simon Fitzmaurice relies on a home ventilator to keep him alive; a motorised wheelchair to help him keep up with his five young kids; and eye-gaze technology to communicate with his loved ones and colleagues. But make no mistake, Simon's spirit for life can't, and will not, be broken.
In 2008, then aged 33, the vivacious filmmaker's life was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
It's Not Yet Dark is an inspirational story of survival and a heartfelt portrait of a young Wicklow man whose love for life, and those who surround him, drives him to be the best version of himself - even when he is confronted with his own mortality. Read our full review here.
The Snowman **1/2
An opening scene that is cold, uncomfortable and a bit hammy doesn't get The Snowman off to a strong start, and while it does go slightly uphill from there, it never reaches the heights one would expect from an adaptation of a book so brilliant.
When it was first announced that a film adaptation of Jo Nesbo's bestselling crime drama The Snowman - the seventh book in the Harry Hole series - was on the way, Martin Scorsese was linked to direct. A pairing of Scorsese and Michael Fassbender as the troubled but brilliant detective Harry Hole sounded like a dream come true. But Scorsese unfortunately made way for Tomas Alfredson... Read our full review here.
The Ritual **1/2
If you go down to the woods today... You're in for something you've seen before.
The idea that there are no more original ideas rings particularly true while watching horror The Ritual. That doesn't mean it couldn't have excelled despite its worn premise - the makings of a decent horror are there - but a nose dive into the silly and clichéd is inexcusable. Read our full review here.
The Party ****
Shot in crisp black and white in just two weeks, The Party expertly dissects a cross section of the London elite as they gather to celebrate a landmark life achievement for one of their friends. This is Janet, played with typical poise by Kristen Scott Thomas, a rising politician who has been appointed Shadow Minister for Health.
It’s a reason for celebration for this coterie of screamingly liberal academics and intellectuals but Janet’s guests are in for more than indigestion when they arrive at her well-appointed house. Read our full review here
Blade Runner 2049 *****
This is an epic sensory overload of a movie, a visual and sonic assault that ponders the big questions and yet also works as a mystery, a superb action-thriller, and a saddening parable about love, human existence and identity.
We are back in LA, 30 years after the events of Blade Runner. Post eco-collapse, the city is a strip-lit industrial factory teeming with humanity where the only source of light seems to be the huge neon corporate logos blinking enticingly through the gloom. Read our full review here.
Return to Montauk ****1/2
With veteran German director Volker Schlöndorff as helmsman - and co-writer with Colm Tóibín - Return to Montauk was bound to be interesting, at the very least. It is, in fact, a captivating, exquisitely-directed love story of the highest calibre.
Stellan Skarsgård plays the philandering author Max Zorn. A publicity trip to New York offers Max the opportunity to find Rebecca (Nina Hoss), the woman for whom he still carries a torch. Read our full review here.
The Glass Castle **1/2
Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh reckons it's a win-win for writers when their works are adapted for the big screen. If the film is good, the source material's reputation is enhanced; if the film is a let-down, the book doesn't become collateral damage and every page is still intact.
Words of comfort, then, for Jeannette Walls, whose best-selling 2005 memoir The Glass Castle falls into the latter category. Read our full review here.