Geostorm is the big budget movie this weekend, but there's better enjoyment to be had from legal drama Marshall and black comedy The Death of Stalin. As for Happy Death Day...
With a big budget and stellar cast, director Dean Devlin had all of the right conditions to create the perfect storm, but instead of breaking any new ground, his movie evaporates into thin air.
Geostorm becomes a generic by-the-numbers calamity that mirrors many of the clichés from Roland Emmerich's (The Day After Tomorrow) disaster flicks. It comes as no surprise that Geostorm's director is Emmerich's long-time collaborator, with the pair teaming up to work on both Independence Day outings and 1994's sci-fi actioner Stargate. Read our full review here.
Marshall is a reliably entertaining film based on a celebrated 1940s trial in the early career of Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) who would, in time, become the first African-American justice of the US Supreme Court.
Feisty 32-year-old lawyer Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) is summoned to Connecticut to defend a black chauffeur named Joseph Spell (Sterling K Brown). Spell has been charged with the rape and attempted murder of his 'white socialite' employer, Mrs Eleanor Strubing (Kate Hudson), while her husband is away on business. Read our full review here.
The Death of Stalin ***
Stalin dies, giving rise to a lot of averted eyes, thinking on one's feet and winging it in the Kremlin, in Armando Iannucci's passable screwball comedy which might aspire to satire but actually isn't so.
There are elements of Monty Python in the merciless dialogue and madcap farce of it all with Steve Buscemi giving a marvellous turn as wise-guy Nikita Khrushchev. Read our full review here.
Happy Death Day *1/2
The pi delta frat house slasher movie has provided plenty of cheap thrills for decades now and since the advent of horror send-ups like Scream, plenty of laughs too. However, when film producers attempt to mix cliché with a true classic they have truly hacked off more than they can chew.
The USP of the catchily-titled Happy Death Day is that it's Mean Girls meets Groundhog Day with maybe a spot of the underrated Tom Cruise sci-fi actioner Edge of Tomorrow thrown in. Read our full review here.
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 Kristin 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.