You really are spoilt for choice this week, with everything from action to romance to sublime drama.
King of Thieves *1/2
Put Michael Caine, Jim Broadbent, Tom Courtenay, Ray Winstone and Paul Whitehouse together in a heist movie and what have you got? Five guys trying to outdo and hoodwink each other as nervy London criminals and not much more. File under Slight but Passable Amusement.
In a scenario based on the real robbery that took place in 2015, a gang of veteran wide boys get together to rob the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company in Central London.
The action is interspersed with referential nods back to London heist or crime movies of old. Movie 'train-spotters' will enjoy all this distraction and then wonder afterwards why they had to be distracted with such little teaser clips. Then they will truly know they have not seen a great film. Read our full review here.
Crazy Rich Asians ****
The surprise package of 2018 turns out to be worth the wait to unwrap it in Irish cinemas. Coming to the rom-com rescue not a moment too soon, Crazy Rich Asians is scientific in its date night desirability but in between its great one-liners, locations, outfits and food, Jon M Chu's film has plenty to say about race and class, with the kind of shade throwing that's worthy of an eclipse.
The meet-the-parent story sees Chinese-American Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) travel with boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding) to Singapore for his best friend's wedding. Rachel considers her credentials impeccable, but her Western ways put her on a collision course with the old ways and older money of Nick's family, as matriarch Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh) runs the rule over her potentially future-daughter-in-law - and doesn't like what she sees one bit.
Chu's decision to ditch his jobbing director status from the likes of Now You See Me 2, GI Joe: Retaliation and the Step Up movies for something more personal ranks as one of the great career moves. Crazy Rich Asians sashays across the screen with the cutest couple in quite some time, scene-stealing supremacy from rapper-turned-actor Awkwafina and so many interesting supporting characters to suggest a dynasty in the making. Read our full review here.
The Rider *****
The Rider is in the parlance 'a small film' but given the mesmeric performance from Brady Jandreau as Brady Blackburn, we are talking a contender for film of the year.
Brady is the horse trainer and legend of the rodeo circuit who we first meet taking stitches out of his own head with a knife. He has checked himself out of hospital and is back in the family's trailer park home on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, in the grasslands of South Dakota.
Young Jandreau gives a towering performance - broody, watchful, charismatic. Ultimately, Chinese director Chloé Zhao makes sure that we too watch, absorbed by how Jandreau inhabits the role with such a sense of magnitude and breadth. Read our full review here.
A Mother Brings Her Son to Be Shot ****
Sinead O'Shea's gripping documentary - five years in the making - is so engrossed in the nuances and shadings of the life of one Derry family that there is leeway to make your own mind up.
At the very least the viewer can see that all is not well in the North, 20 years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
A Mother Brings Her Son to Be Shot is a film that deserves to be seen, because it charts a conflict which in some sense has mutated and which many would wish to ignore. Read our full review here.
Director X, the Canadian film and music video filmmaker at the helm of Superfly, has done everything in his power to enliven this glossy action-crime-thriller, but it remains a strangely hollow, laborious affair.
This remake of the 1972 blaxploitation movie Super Fly has moved the action from Harlem to present-day Atlanta, with fresh-faced singer and actor Trevor Jackson stepping into the shoes of Youngblood Priest, a powerful drug kingpin who has been working the streets since he was a child.
The almost two-hour running time, of which you feel every minute crawl by, plays out like an extended gangster rap music video with about the same level of gravitas. Dollar bills rain, women are generally treated like accessories for their men, the cars are shiny and fast and the costumes are outrageously lavish. Read our full review here.
The Predator ***1/2
Having played a minor part in the original Predator movie back in 1987, Shane Black directs this latest version of a series that's been pretty much dead and buried since Predators in 2010.
This latest episode has been pretty hammered by the critics since its US release, but it rattles along, the jokes aren't so bad - at least it tries to be humorous rather than being unintentionally funny - and the cast is pretty good too.
If you're looking to be entertained for a couple of hours and don't mind the odd bit of cartoon-like violence, you could do a lot worse. Read our full review here.
Harry Dean Stanton's swansong as an actor is a wryly affectionate exercise that has some arresting moments but teeters towards sentimentality because of some dud notes in the screenplay. Still, it's worth it for keen acting all 'round.
Lucky recalls somewhat Werner Herzog's 1977 film Stroszek, which featured a decidedly odd bunch of characters wandering around small-town Wisconsin.
No one wanders much though in Lucky, except the eponymous hero who generally wanders to two places, the local diner and the local bar. He makes gnomic pronouncements on life and death among the assorted company which includes David Lynch doing a decent turn as a man lamenting the loss of his pet tortoise. Read our full review here.
American Animals ****1/2
Documentary-maker Bart Layton's drama debut about a real-life botched robbery is wildly entertaining and a pure bonkers masterpiece.
American Animals delivers a daringly original and snappy thriller outing without taking itself too seriously. It dissects a 2004 true-crime case that saw four college kids - Spencer (Barry Keoghan), Warren (Evan Peters), Eric (Jared Abrahamson) and Chas (Blake Jenner) - attempt to steal rare books from a small Kentucky liberal arts university.
Layton brings his documentary nous into this feature, with present-day interviews with the people his actors are portraying. Even the actual Transylvania University librarian (played in other scenes by Ann Dowd of The Handmaid's Tale) makes a brief appearance. Read our full review here.
Black 47 ****
The saying goes that revenge is a dish best served cold. Or in this case damp. It's in your bones right from the start of director Lance Daly's Black 47 - an Irish Western in all but name.
Australian actor James Frecheville plays Feeney, an Irish Ranger who deserts and returns home to Famine-stricken Connemara following his mother's death and brother's execution.
Transforming into an almost supernatural force, Feeney draws up a hit-list of officialdom - and anyone else who gets in the way of his quest for justice. Read our full review here.
The Seagull **
In Sorin's country house, passions conflagrate and egos are tested, as a spiteful, vain actress treats her son with unusual contempt in this new adaptation of the play which was astonishingly classed as a comedy by its author, Anton Chekhov.
Irina (Annette Bening) is the selfish, spoiled actress who is staying at the estate of her brother Sorin (Brian Dennehy) in the heart of the Russian countryside. Kostia or Konstantin (Billy Howle) is her son, a young man with a burning desire to be a writer as successful as his mother's lover, Trigorin (Corey Stoll). Trigorin is the author of revered fiction, and he is also visiting.
The amateur play which Kostia mounts in a marquee at the start of the film is deliberately gauche and naïve in its sentiment, essentially a dramatic vehicle for Nina (Saoirse Ronan), a young girl from a neighbouring estate. Like young Kostia, Nina has ambitions in the artistic realm - she wants to be a famous actress like Irina. Read our full review here.
The Nun **
The latest in the never-ending series stars Taissa Farmiga (younger sister of franchise regular Vera) as a novitiate who travels to a big spooky abbey in Romania with a kind of priestly paranormal investigator to confront Marilyn Manson dressed as an evil nun.
Ok, so it's not Marilyn Manson - it's the demonic Nun Valak, who first made her evil presence known in The Conjuring 2 and as the Conjuring universe expands like the real universe or a nasty stain, she's naturally been given her own movie as a bad ass sister sinister.
The Conjuring franchise should end here - with a wimple and not a bang. Read our full review here.
Puzzle is an unvarnished and humane look at the missing pieces in one woman's life, built around Kelly Macdonald's exceptional central performance.
Based on a remake of Rompecabezas, a 2010 Argentine film by Natalia Smirnoff, the movie is a plaintive character study of a sheltered Connecticut housewife, who finds a new lease of life thanks to a 1,000-piece jigsaw.
The film's pulse comes in many ways from Macdonald's brave and beautiful work as Agnes. She lives and breathes her role and the more we watch her, the more beautiful her character becomes. Read our full review here.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post ***1/2
Homecoming 1993 and young teenager Cameron Post (Chloë Grace Moretz) is caught having intimate relations with her girl pal Coley Taylor (Quinn Shepherd) in a car. Cameron's parents died in a car accident, so her carer Ruth (Kerry Butler) sends her off to the kind of place that used to be called a 'reformatory' in this country.
The mind-bending institute, where she will board and attend school classes, is called God's Promise and it is run by a few creepy cult types led by Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr) and his odiously oleaginous sister Dr Lydia Marsh (Jennifer Ehle), with help too from Rick's girlfriend Bethany (Marin Ireland). These so-called reformers exude wholesomeness, ineptness and oily awfulness in equal measure.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post shows how sexuality and gender identity issues are not at all safe in the wrong hands. One assumes there may well be places like this in the US, thriving in their pointless way, 25 years after the time period in question. Read our full review here.