Brad Pitt's Ad Astra is the big one this weekend.
Ad Astra ****1/2
The Latin phrase 'Ad Astra' translates in English as 'to the stars' - and after watching this space opera viewers will be left with more than a twinkle in their eye.
The 122-minute cinematic odyssey chronicles a journey through the vastness of the cosmic unknown, while decoding the darkness that comes with the conflicting voyage of self-acceptance.
Leading astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) is cool, calm and collected - his pulse has never gone above 80bpm - but his unresolved daddy issues beat loud and clear. Read our full review here.
The Farewell ***1/2
Made with the necessary narrative and directorial guile to get the Oscars in its sights, and with dialogue in English and Mandarin Chinese, The Farewell presses all the right buttons and is a heart-warming tale about cultural dislocation.
Lulu Wang's story could be based on one of those big Asian-American family saga fictional blockbusters, always written by a Chinese-American or Korean-American female novelist.
It isn't necessarily this as such, but is, rather, based on a true story or, more properly, "based on an actual lie" as the opening credits inform us. But it might as well be a capacious tugs-at-the-heart novel, ready to greet you when next you pass through an airport. Read our full review here.
Rambo: Last Blood **
But this last post for the 37-year-old franchise is a cheap and rushed send-off. There are plenty of bodies but not much soul.
Don't remember him this way. Read our full review here.
Downton Abbey ***
Well bless our stars! The King and Queen of Engerland are coming to visit Downton Abbey and upstairs and down(ton)stairs have got their bloomers in a right old twist.
Well, not quite. Those doughty souls skulking in the dim light of the basement do indeed go into a scurrying and skivvying meltdown, while those in the gilded, over-upholstered rooms above sigh manfully with aristocratic poise, loll elegantly on settees, and murmur stuff about "duty" in accents you could use to carve a chandelier.
So here it is, then! Julian Fellowes' long-awaited Downton Abbey movie and it will not disappoint fans of the lifestyles of the fantastically rich and the fantastically well-bred. Clichéd, silly, and with a plot more telegraphed than a Midwest highway in 1930, it really does lay it on thick. Read our full review here.
The Hustlers trailer does the film little justice.
It amps up the raucous fun this crime caper from writer-director Lorene Scafaria offers but doesn't hint at the emotional heft that elevates this movie from good to great.
Based on a 2015 New York magazine long-read article by journalist Jessica Pressler, played here with aplomb by Julia Stiles, Hustlers follows a group of strippers who turn to ethically dubious tactics to swindle money out of their targets when the recession hits. Read our full review here.
Extra Ordinary ****
Extra Ordinary writing-directing duo Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman's feature film debut is a remarkable achievement - a wholly unique cinematic experience that is grounded with a lot of heart.
This delightfully silly supernatural comedy follows Rose Dooley (Maeve Higgins), a driving instructor in a small Irish town who has sworn off her supernatural abilities after an exorcism went horribly wrong in her childhood.
She becomes romantically interested in her new driving student Martin Martin (Barry Ward), an eligible and charming local widower. It soon turns out he has only engaged her services to try to persuade her to help him and his teenage daughter Sarah (Emma Coleman) rid their home of his late wife who has been haunting them from beyond the grave. Read our full review here.
For Sama *****
Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts' deeply moving film records the siege of Aleppo in 2016. The film may leave you feeling inert in the face of human evil, or quietly raging against the dying of Aleppo's light.
The local perspective is what marks out the documentary, which won best documentary at the Cannes and SXSW film festivals and a special jury prize at Hot Docs. That local knowledge is what sets the film apart from the otherwise valuable coverage we receive from major news channels. "A journalist visiting Syria can leave any time," Waad recently declared. "I started with Aleppo in my mind and heart."
In this Channel 4 production, which is in Arabic and subtitled in English, Waad is embedded in the purest sense of the word. The young camerawoman, who won an Emmy for her Inside Aleppo reports, is a resident who stays on in the city through its worst months of bombardment in 2016. Read our full review here.
IT Chapter Two **1/2
Where 2017's IT was a jump-scare-fuelled creepy delight, this second outing from director Andy Muschietti feels over-stuffed and under-scary.
Twenty-seven years on from the events of the first film, a grown up Losers' Club reassembles in Derry in Maine to fight Pennywise again, and it's more of the same really with little new ground broken.
It's too long, too repetitive, and just too much. Read our full review here.