Justice League is the big popcorn movie this weekend, but if that's not your thing, there's a smouldering love story in Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool; crime drama in Good Time; a warning from history in Mudbound and the dark comedy of Ingrid Goes West.
Justice League ***1/2
It's certainly fair to say that DC has been less successful with movie adaptations of its superheroes compared to its comic rival, Marvel. In recent years, only the Wonder Woman film has been given a general thumbs-up; Suicide Squad was okay-ish, while Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was as bad as Ireland's performance against Denmark.
That said, old-school action yarn Justice League should satisfy ten-year-old comic book fans of all ages. Read our full review here.
Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool *****
How's this for good going? Turns out that the best title this year is on one of the best films.
Just when it seemed like the honour roll of 2017's great love stories was complete with the release of Call Me by Your Name, along come Annette Bening and Jamie Bell to demand their spot with Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool. As screen chemistry goes, they've cooked up the strongest of stuff with this true story. Read our full review here.
Good Time ****
From The Rover to Maps to the Stars to Life, Robert Pattinson's post-Twilight career has shown him to be an actor keen to get his teeth into offbeat, character-driven work and stay largely below the multiplex radar.
He continues on that noble path with Good Time, a low-budget crime drama determined to wring the most out of its 'one crazy night' set-up. Read our full review here.
This powerful if overwrought historical drama from Dee Rees will make for sobering and sombre viewing in Trump's America. It is an unrelentingly grim tale of the tensions and friendships that co-exist between a noble, dirt poor black family and white newlyweds whose lives all become poisoned by a racist patriarch in the Mississippi delta.
It is full of fine performances, most notably from the great Carey Mulligan, who once again shows her talent for looking like a lost waif and then an old crone in the space of seconds; Garrett Hedlund as her dashing brother-in-law, Jamie; and Mary J Blige as Florence Jackson, the quietly indomitable mother who struggles against the injustices of the American south. Read our full review here.
Ingrid Goes West **
Matt Spicer's directorial debut looks directly down the lens at the inherently self-absorbed 'selfie' craze, and the delusion it creates among young adults who are gratified by likes and good lighting. But his sardonic satire brings nothing new to the #foodporn table.
Aubrey Plaza delivers a strong performance but she is let down by a script that thinks it's smarter than it is. Don't worry about having FOMO. Read our full review here.
Paddington 2 *****
Three years on from reversing the ageing process on generations worldwide and inspiring a new audience with his first big screen adventure, Windsor Gardens' most famous resident has returned to work his ursine magic once again and leave people in better shape than he found them. His brand of slapstick and sweetness remains just as addictive as those sandwiches he keeps about his person - you joining in the fun is a match marmalade in Heaven. Read our full review here.
The Florida Project ****1/2
The lament that Ireland becomes more like the US every day is brought home once again in Sean Baker's The Florida Project - a film that gives plenty of chills under the sun and which could end up 'doing a Moonlight' at next year's Oscars.
The setting is the $38-a-night Magic Castle Motel, which is both a few blocks and a million miles from Disneyworld. Among its residents are Halley (Bria Vinaite) and Moonee (Brooklynn Prince), a tearaway mother and daughter whose chaotic existence has you worrying from the off about what lies ahead. While Halley scams to pay the rent and butts heads with every adult she meets, Moonee runs wild around the Magic Castle and its environs - a whirlwind of sugar rush mischief. Read our full review here.
Professor Marsten and the Wonder Women **1/2
Based on a true story, Professor Marsten and the Wonder Women puts forward a contested-by-the-family origin story of Wonder Woman, framed by the polyamorous relationship of William Moulton Martsen, his wife and one of their students.
The film adopts the "tell it through flashbacks" approach to storytelling, hinging on a 1947 testimony William Moulton Marsten (Evans), known for creating Wonder Woman under the pseudonym Charles Moulton, gives to the Child Study Association of America over accusations about the comic's use of erotic imagery. Read our full review here.
Only the Brave ***
The Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona in June 2013 claimed the lives of 19 firefighters from the state's Granite Mountain Hotshots - the largest loss of life of emergency service personnel in the US since September 11.
Only the Brave tells their story.
Josh Brolin plays Eric Marsh, the Superintendent who has moulded the Granite Mountain Hotshots into an elite wildfire team. From the off, director Joseph Kosinski conveys the men's devotion to their local area, and vice versa. It's a testament to the stellar cast that you forget you are watching the actors and are completely invested in the people they are portraying. Read our full review here.