Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time In Hollywood is the big one this week.
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood ****
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino's ninth, and reportedly penultimate, film is a slightly meandering but endlessly entertaining road trip through Los Angeles in 1969.
The famed filmmaker's passion and verve for movie-making beam out of the screen as he takes an unashamedly nostalgic but studied look at the final moments of Hollywood's golden age.
It starts out as something of a buddy movie between fading TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double-turned-gofer Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) but takes unexpected directions as it merges with the true-life story of the Manson cult. Read our full review here.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold ****
Turning animated TV shows into live-action is a tricky business, but Nickelodeon has certainly delivered here as this Dora the Explorer adaptation is a hoot from start to finish.
Dora and three other schoolkids get kidnapped by gold thieves, who want Dora to lead them to a lost Inca city they aim to plunder.
Eva Longoria and Michael Peña play Dora's parents, Benicio del Toro voices baddie Swiper the Fox - but Isabela Moner gets it pitch perfect as the irrepressible Dora in this fast-paced and fun adventure that will entertain all but the hopelessly cynical. Read our full review here.
Noirish, elemental and stark, Transit has the feel of a Kafkaesque chamber piece, set in a Marseille under siege and impending occupation.
Being the evocative-sounding port city that it is, a border citadel in a sense between Europe and Africa, Marseille is the perfect location for this darkly-hewn drama, based on the novel of the same name by Anna Seghers.
Published in 1944, Seghers' book was set in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1942, but writer-director Christian Petzold has adapted her story for a contemporary period. The temporal shift means the film glints with certain topical resonances, and immigration and the rise of the far-right in Europe are somewhere in the weave. Read our full review here.
Good Boys **
The makers of this crude comedy evidently think there's endless humour to be mined from watching tweens dropping f-bombs every few seconds and unsuspectingly messing around with their parents' sex toys. There isn't.
Good Boys, from producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Superbad, Pineapple Express) and writer-director Gene Stupnitsky (The Office, Bad Teacher), follows a trio of 12-year-old best friends - Max (Jacob Tremblay) Lucas (Keith L. Williams) and Thor (Brady Noon) - as they navigate the tricky period on the cusp of becoming full-blown teenagers.
Max is the first to start showing interest in girls. The object of his affections is one of his schoolmates Brixlee (Millie Davis), and he jumps at the chance to attend a popular kid's spin-the-bottle party in the hope of getting closer to her. Ever the good pal, he also manages to wangle invites for his besties. Read our full review here.
Adapted from Emma Jane Unsworth's 2014 novel of the same name, Australian director Sophie Hyde's big screen outing about two millennials' quarter-life crisis bites off more avocado toast than it can chew.
Swapping the book's Manchester setting for Dublin's fair city, we are introduced to thirtysomething, wannabe writer Laura (Holliday Grainger) and her free-spirited BFF Tyler (Alia Shawkat). They are living proof that age is just a number.
From Saturday night raves to midweek boozy poetry recitals, the partying pair spend the 109-minute run-time knocking back white wine in hipster hangouts and dipping their fingers in an endless supply of stolen MDMA. Read our full review here.
Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell's captivating documentary shows the harsh reality of life in Gaza, described as an open prison by one of its many articulate contributors.
This moving film should be seen by us all, and we said much the same thing about Capernaum, the equally compelling cine verité film set in Beirut, which was shown at the IFI last year.
That film, though not a straight documentary as such, was equally freighted with sadness and despair. Read our full review here.
The Sun is Also a Star ****
It's earnest and cheesy and its reliance on daft coincidence is off the scale, but that may well be true of almost every fictional romance since the dawn of time. So bear with it and be patient because there is something cute and winning about this immigration-themed love story.
From a high corridor at New York's Grand Central Station, Daniel Bae, of Korean stock, sees Jamaican Natasha Kingsley looking up in his approximate direction from the concourse. Instantly besotted, Daniel charges down to search for her in the milling crowd below stairs, but she has slipped his vision.
Shorty afterwards, by the quirk of outlandish fate which is this film's currency, he gets the merest glimpse of her in the next carriage on a downtown train. Read our full review here.
Blinded by the Light ****
It's been some summer for the Springsteen faithful. First came the widescreen wonder of his new album Western Stars, and now a proper trip to the cinema to relive the magic of that first song, first album, first gig, and first kiss.
After moving the goalposts in the best way possible with Bend It Like Beckham, director Gurinder Chadha has given us another coming-of-age story to cherish and share, all about family, politics and why music can help you through just about anything.
Inspired by British journalist Safraz Manzoor's memoir Greetings from Bury Park, and with an imprimatur from The Boss, Blinded by the Light shows how all the bulbs go on in one kid's head when a classmate throws a couple of Springsteen tapes across the canteen table in 1987. Read our full review here.
The Art of Racing in the Rain ***1/2
This old-fashioned weepie, from the producers of Marley and Me, spends perhaps too much time being morbid, but then again what weepie doesn't?
Ultimately, there is redemption - and welcome relief of a kind - mediated through the gnarled wisdom of the dog narrator. It's he, in fact, who in his story takes us through the challenges, both personal and professional, that his racing driver owner has to deal with.
The story is told in an extended but neatly folding flashback by the philosophically-inclined canine of the piece, named Enzo (after Enzo Ferrari, the legendary Italian racing driver), voiced by Kevin Costner. Read our full review here.
Playmobil: The Movie *
It's impossible not to draw comparisons with The LEGO Movie as this toy brand attempts to come to life on the big screen, but in reality we would rather stand on a piece of LEGO than sit through this another time.
The film begins with a real-world brother and sister singing and dancing their way around their home, pondering adventures and world travel, and promising to not live lives that are ordinary. When their worlds are turned upside down with the news that their parents have died in a car accident, fun and games are no longer the order of the day; dreams are shattered, hope is lost and adventure is a distant memory.
All of the bits that are meant to be emotional, tug at the heartstrings or make you think, are so heavy-handed and forced that you're likely to eye-roll your way through instead of enjoy yourself. It's more commercial advertising than entertainment. Read our full review here.