Colin Farrell is back on the big screen in the live action Dumbo. There's also a heartwarming Irish documentary in The Man Who Wanted to Fly, and a chilling warning from recent history in Norwegian black metal drama Lords of Chaos.
Director Tim Burton's live action take on Disney's 1941 animated classic struggles to get off the ground. In fact, it struggles to find the elephant in the room.
The floppy-eared pachyderm goes under the radar in a CGI adaptation that lacks heart and falls flat. Unlike our misfit hero's ears, the narrative sticks out for all the wrong reasons.
Colin Farrell makes the most of the thin script as a father struggling to keep up with his kids. Read our full review here.
The Man Who Wanted to Fly ****
Frank Shouldice's charming documentary looks at the lives of two elderly brothers in Co Cavan and the dream of one to fly an aircraft.
Well settled in the locality, the Cootes go back 150 years in the Cavan townland of Dromore, which is close to the town of Bailieborough. Ernie and Bobby are the two brothers, living in the same yard in adjoining dwellings. A sensible arrangement.
Eighty-two-year-old Bobby wants to pilot a plane. He has the cash to buy a microlight aircraft; he has been saving for about 13 years. What use is hoarding money? He wants to spend it - money will be of no use to him later on. What's more, he has his field of dreams in the parish of Maudabawn. A helpful neighbour, Seanie McBride, has mown a field cross-ways for the runway. There is even a hangar for the plane. This is no fly-by-night operation. Read our full review here.
Lords of Chaos ****
When it comes to choosing the toughest watch of 2019, Lords of Chaos will dominate many a list. This chill-to-the-bone chronicle of the early years of the Norwegian black metal scene, and the murders, church burnings and suicide that came to define it, is such a deeply unsettling experience that even the steeliest of viewers may find that the events depicted are preying on their mind days later.
Director Jonas Åkerlund's film works as both an elegy to lost youth and a study of what happens when, as he says, the lines between reality and fantasy become blurred and groupthink takes over. With an opening credits coverall, Åkerlund states what follows is "Based on truth, lies... And what actually happened."
What's not up for debate is Åkerlund, his cast and crew's cast iron commitment to telling this story - among the many shocks here is the fact that they shot Lords of Chaos in just 18 days. Read our full review here.
If there was worry that Jordan Peele would buckle under the pressure with his follow-up to Get Out, well, he didn't get that memo. It's two from two for the comedy-star-turned-horror-maestro. And how.
As twisted a thrill ride as you may get in 2019, Us is made to be seen in a jam-packed cinema where there's screaming room only. There'll be plenty of that.
This story of a family coming face-to-face with their worst nightmares is a popcorn-spiller from the very first scene and rarely pauses for breath as the ills of this world play out in a holiday home and its environs. Read our full review here.
The White Crow ****1/2
As the gold rush to make more and more biopics about legends from the worlds of arts and entertainment continues, Ralph Fiennes has found one of the richest seams of all.
For his third film as actor-director - following on from his contemporary take on Shakespeare's Coriolanus and playing Charles Dickens in love and work drama The Invisible Woman - Fiennes has chosen to focus on Russian ballet superstar Rudolf Nureyev.
In Ukrainian dancer Oleg Ivenko he has found the perfect leading man. Read our full review here.
The Dirt *
Motley Crue are one of rock's most notorious bands and while The Dirt doesn't hold back from dipping into the waters of their depravity, it spends more time painting them as heroes deserving of worship than showing any of the real depth or grit in their journey; it's the definition of a vanity project.
The film is based on a book written by Motley Crue members Nikki Sixx (played here by Douglas Booth), Tommy Lee (Colson Baker aka Machine Gun Kelly), Vince Neil (Daniel Webber) and Mick Mars (Iwan Rheon), and author Neil Strauss, but it becomes a much more sanitised version of events for the screen.
It's being sold as a no-holds-barred look at the band's sex and substance-fuelled career and yes, there are scenes and montages dedicated to those pursuits, but it feels like the film has only been produced to allow the band members to pat themselves on the back for being such full-time legends back in their heyday. Read our full review here.
Minding the Gap *****
Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, Minding the Gap begins as though it were about to be some blissful film about skateboarding, but it cuts to a darker chase.
Opening proceedings with a brilliant skateboarding sequence, director Bing Liu - who is, or at least was a skateboarder himself - introduces us to his friends in the small city of Rockfield, in the Illinois Rust Belt.
You can sense the invitation of those empty ramps that lead from one floor to the other in the multi-tiered car park. You can see how a young fellow might want to race up and down the graduated slope for hours, spending time with your mates on a summer's day. Read our full review here.