Find out which movies are worth the popcorn money this week...

Searching ***1/2

A cleverly crafted thriller that twists and turns as it forces the audience to reflect on our relationship with the internet and how well we really know our nearest and dearest – Searching is worth looking out for.

Told through computer screens, FaceTime, text messages, security footage and news reports, Searching never opts for the traditional scene set-up, and, impressively, never feels too gimmicky.

As everything unfolds via some form of screen, so much of the film rests on extremely clever editing and it looks and feels like a puzzle. Read our full review here. 

Upgrade ***1/2

It is the near future; the skies are constantly patrolled by drones, cybernetics have a steady grip on humanity, Alexa is getting too big for her boots, and your car can hijack itself and dump you on the wrong side of town.

This is what happens to the aptly named Grey Trace and his wife Asha in this stylish and blackly funny sci-fi thriller from Saw and Insidious writer Leigh Whannell and Blumhouse, the warped minds who brought you Happy Death Day, Get Out, and The Purge.

After the innocent couple are attacked by thugs with suspiciously sophisticated weaponry at a homeless encampment and the cops can’t seem to solve the case, old school technophobe Grey’s only hope for revenge and justice is an experimental computer chip implant called Stem. Read our full review here.

Yardie ***

Idris Elba has a future in this directing lark. 

A crime-drama set in the brilliant sunshine of 1970s Jamaica and grimy 1980s London, Yardie suggests that The Wire and Luther star did plenty of watch-and-learn between his takes on both shows. Ironically, his finished film is a little episodic, but Elba's passion comes through in every scene - and kudos for resisting any temptation/pressure to put himself in front of the camera.

Based on Victor Headley's book, Yardie follows the rags to not-much-better story of Dennis Campbell, who becomes the protégé of Kingston crime boss King Fox (Sheldon Shepherd) when Dennis' MC brother Jerry (Everaldo Creary) is murdered. The coming-of-age story here is powered by that old chestnut about digging two graves if you're out for revenge. Read our full review here.

I, Dolours ****1/2

This is, by some distance, the most disturbing film of the year. It is also one of the best.

Built around the controversial and contested 2010 interview given by the late IRA volunteer Dolours Price to journalist Ed Moloney - which was agreed only to be made public after her death - director Maurice Sweeney and producer Maloney's searing documentary serves as chilling history lesson and warning for the future about the perils of a vacuum and the ensuing human cost.

From the outset, I, Dolours says it is "based entirely on her account of events". What follows is closer to a maelstrom than a life story. Read our full review here.

C’est La Vie! ****

C’est La Vie! is a zesty diversion, funny and touching and set almost entirely at a wedding in a glorious-looking 17th century French chateau.

Max (Jean-Pierre Bacri) is the wedding caterer under pressure in his curiously funereal black suit and dark shirt, racing around the place trying to organise a ragged bunch, his decidedly eccentric gang of wedding operatives. These guys, cooks and waiters and musicians, are working hard, sort of, behind the scenes, to prepare what will hopefully be a successful and sumptuous wedding for the equally eccentric but utterly vainglorious groom, Pierre (Benjamin Lavernhe).

The omens are not good. Max’s love life is not in good shape, hence he often wears the expression of a sad clown. Bacri, the actor who plays him has an amazingly expressive and malleable set of features and we mildly wonder why we haven’t seen him star in other French films to date. Read our full review here.

Cold War ***

Poland 1949, and Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) is a musical director and folklorist who tours rural Poland recording singers and watching dancers perform as he recruits personnel for the folk theatre company Mazurek.

Auditioning in a village, he is struck by the singing of a feisty yet composed young girl, named Zula. She insists on singing the chorus to the song she has chosen for audition, despite being told that the verse was enough, that feisty, yes.

Wiktor is impressed by her determination and spirit and despite the fact that his female talent scout is unmoved, insists that she be taken seriously. However, there is a rumour that she did time in jail for killing her father. Not quite true, as she later reveals, she stabbed him when he "mistook her for her mother, " as she delicately puts it.

Before long, Zula has proven her talent as a leading light in the musical ensemble, as the story progresses through the years of the Cold War of the title. Read our full review here.

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BlacKkKlansman ****

Spike Lee has really found his mojo again with this thrill ride of a movie, based on the true story of how a young black police officer in Colorado went undercover and infiltrated the local chapter of the Klu Klux Klan in the 1970s.

It's a fast-moving genre mash-up of the blaxploitation flicks of the era, a buddy cop movie, and a savage satire of Trump's America. It may be set in the early Seventies, but Lee lets rip with a furious fusillade that makes repeated points about modern day USA with chilling accuracy.  

Most of all, though, with its abrupt shifts of tone and mood, BlacKkKlansman is also very, very funny. Read our full review here.

Alpha ***1/2

Oddly enough, this works. You'll believe that a young man and a wolf can become the best of pals through adversity. Lots of adversity.

Adding up like a cross between The Revenant and a polar-esque episode of The Littlest Hobo, this film owes little to reality and a lot to excellent visuals. And it even has its own language, which shouldn't be a problem to anyone other than the hardcore hater of subtitled cinema.

Despite its up-to-the-minute CGI, there's an old school Disney feel to the film, which helps to subdue any cynicism the viewer might have towards a clearly preposterous storyline. Read our full review here.

The Children Act ***

Emma Thompson plays a high court judge who must make a painful and delicate decision over what's best for a gravely ill teenage boy in this intense story of moral dilemmas and infatuation. 

When the case of Adam Henry, a 17-year-old boy dying of leukaemia and who is being prevented from having a blood transfusion by his Jehovah Witness parents is brought to her attention, it triggers a crisis in her ordered life.

The bulwarks of religious dogma, medical science and the law are about to clash, and The Children Act proceeds with all the exactitude of a high court hearing. Read our full review here.

The Spy Who Dumped Me **1/2

Sure, it's tempting to never forgive Kate McKinnon for being a part of Saturday Night Live's Aer Lingus sketch and swear off her stuff for life, but in the long run you'd only be punishing yourself and missing out on one of the top comedy talents out there. 

That said, you can hold off beating a path to The Spy Who Dumped Me as it's no McKinnon must-see - but she's still the best of the fun in this ho-hum action caper.

Kunis' character Audrey gets the elbow - by text - from alleged podcaster Drew (Justin Theroux). She soon finds herself Samsoniting it to Europe by both accident and design as she and best pal Morgan (McKinnon) get mixed up in all kinds of skulduggery. Read our full review here.

Luis and the Aliens **

Luis and the Aliens, from sibling filmmaking duo Christoph and Wolfgang Lauenstein, is a strangely flat, uninspired animated comedy.

Almost thirty years since they won an Oscar for their animated short Balance, the twin brothers make their feature film debut. It is well-paced and exuberantly coloured but distinctly lacklustre in the script and emotional heft departments.

While Luis and the Aliens may be sufficiently entertaining for very young kids - mainly down to the silly and cheerful aliens - parents will find little to love. Read our full review here.

The Equalizer 2 ****

Denzel Washington is noted for never doing a sequel, so it's a pretty big deal that he's been convinced to go around again as Robert McCall, the vigilante killer haunted by his past.

This time around it's not just business as usual, because things get pretty personal very quickly.

If you like action with a bit more bite, this is for you. Once again, Richard Wenk supplied the script, and he's managed to add another layer to McCall, while piecing together an enjoyable urban western. Read our full review here.

Christopher Robin ****1/2

Disney's live-action film based on AA Milne's classic is far from a steaming pile of Pooh, but sugary moments will make adults want to stick their heads in a pot of honey.

The drama of reconciliation follows unsurprising roads, but there is sufficient sweetness in the 104-minute running time to make your little ones smile, and enough nostalgia offered to take adults on a bewitching trip.

Pooh continues to pull at the heartstrings with his sweet-nature and sentimental words - "I always get to where I'm going by walking away from where I've been" - while director Marc Forster impeccably depicts the tone of Milne's characters. Read our full review here.

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