Got your social diary sorted yet? We're here to help – there are tons of great things to do in Bristol this week. Have a look through our round-up of all the best events and films that Bristol has to offer. You'll find theatre, art, music and more in our list, so have a look and plan a week's worth of things to do in Bristol.
Things to do in Bristol this week
Films showing this week
A sweet, deeply personal portrayal of female adolescence that’s more attuned to the bonds between girlfriends than casual flings with boys, writer-director Greta Gerwig’s beautiful 'Lady Bird' flutters with the attractively loose rhythms of youth. Anchored by an expressive mother-daughter story in which unconditional love and enmity often seem one and the same, and elevated by an entrancing Saoirse Ronan (easily among the best and most intimate actors of her generation), Gerwig’s accomplished second directorial effort makes you wish she’d spend more time behind the camera. With her keen ear for female familiarity (she co-wrote 'Frances Ha' and 'Mistress America'), Gerwig sets 'Lady Bird' during that exhilarating, confusing period known as high school senior year, when childhood-defining friendships start slipping away, hormones begin calling the shots and a better existence seems to await elsewhere. We follow the rebellious, opinionated Christine 'Lady Bird' McPherson (Ronan, vanishing inside her funky, disorderly character) as she completes her final year of Catholic school in 2002. This is right after 9/11, during the Iraq War (often referenced in the background) and before cell phones got smart, further complicating teenagers’ lives. 'Lady Bird' spends her days quarreling with her equally strong-willed mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalf, invincible), slacking off with her good-natured best friend, Julie (a pitch-perfect Beanie Feldstein), and dreaming of a liberal East Coast
There aren’t many writer-directors who could tell a story of small-town rape, murder, grief and guilt at the same time as taking you down all sorts of black-comic paths and having immense fun with the writing and acting along the way. But Martin McDonagh (‘In Bruges’, ‘Seven Psychopaths’) is one of them, and his bloody and ballsy third film, ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’, takes his work to a new level of versatility and surprise. It’s almost a year since Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand, on absolutely roaring form) lost her teen daughter to an unknown rapist and murderer. She’s angry, as well as distraught, and she pays for a series of disused billboards outside her town to carry huge posters asking why no one has been arrested yet. She points the finger at Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), simply because he’s the sheriff, and that makes her public enemy number one. Everyone takes against her, from her abusive and philandering former husband (John Hawkes) to a rash and racist hothead young cop, Dixon (Sam Rockwell, a blinding performance, brilliantly comic, but so much more). Even the priest sits her down for a chat. But she’s having none of it: she just becomes more determined to fight anyone who gets in her way. From there, ‘Three Billboards’ takes all sorts of unexpected turns, and what starts off looking like a story of a wronged mother fighting for justice becomes much more muddy, unusual and meandering. Sure, she’s shaking things up, but is she going t
Proving once again – especially after last year’s 'Girls Trip' and 'The Big Sick' – that comedies are the undiscovered country for expert (if not Oscar-nominated) acting, 'Blockers' gives the willowy, trembling Leslie Mann two bookends that are, without a doubt, her finest onscreen moments. In the first, she’s offering tame suggestions to her prom-bound, sex-minded daughter ('Mom, are you going to be okay?' the kid asks, concerned). In the next, the tears rain down Mann’s face like a shower with robust water pressure as she’s saying upbeat goodbyes to a child with college on the horizon. In between those two scenes comes a wonderfully crude film (we're talking 'Superbad' levels of raunchiness), but one in which the overall vibe is sweet: kids patiently waiting for their parents to grow up. On the occasion of their daughters' big high-school dance, three over-concerned parents (Mann, Ike Barinholtz and a revelatory John Cena, a hulking, teary-eyed mess) become aware of their girls' plan to pop their cherries. Furious at this 'sex pact' – it even has its own hashtag, #SEXPACT2018 – the olds decide to mount a counteraction. (There's a clue in the fact that the movie's title once had another word before 'Blockers' that rhymed with 'clock'.) Snappily directed by debuting director Kay Cannon (a screenwriter on the 'Pitch Perfect' trilogy and, more substantially, '30 Rock'), 'Blockers' brews a bubbling panic among the parents, invading where they shouldn’t and brandishing their co
For all their global dominance, everybody wants these superhero movies to be better: funnier, smarter, more inclusive, more super. A huge step in the right direction, ‘Black Panther’ is that dream come true. Proudly African – even if its Africa comes in the form of the fictional country of Wakanda, a powerhouse of secret technologies – Marvel’s latest is, from top to bottom, a conscious reversal of racial paradigms. Handsomely mounted by ‘Creed’ director Ryan Coogler and starring an enviable slate of black actors that makes cameoing comics godhead Stan Lee almost seem lost, the film is provocative and satisfying in ways that are long overdue, like its ornate, culturally dense production design and the deeper subtexts of honor, compassion and destiny. Wakanda’s young king, T’Challa (a dignified Chadwick Boseman, well-seasoned after playing onscreen versions of James Brown, Jackie Robinson and Thurgood Marshall), recognizes that the world outside his peaceful realm is a divisive place. Still, even as his own armor-clad excursions as Black Panther set up an internal tension between isolationism and responsibility (yes, this is the rare blockbuster with something on its mind), tensions within Wakanda—fomented by exile-turned-rebel Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan, on fire)—threaten to bring him down. In their script, Coogler and Joe Robert Cole take inspiration from the Black Panther’s 50-year history on the page, including a dazzling current run by author Ta-Nehisi Coates, an
Sure, Christopher Nolan’s 'Dunkirk' blew us away with its immersiveness. But if you prefer your WWII movies to have a little dialogue, some shapeliness and a bit of powerhouse acting, director Joe Wright’s tense profile of the rising prime minister Winston Churchill is the war film to beat. Wright, it’s worth remembering, has been on those gory French beaches before with 2007’s ''Atonement', capturing the whole of the British evacuation and its surrounding chaos in a legendary five-minute tracking shot. As if pulling a been-there-'Dunkirk'-that, he now shifts to the tense strategy sessions, bunker hand-wringing and political gamesmanship that fed into England’s finest hour. 'Darkest Hour' is a film of verbal ammunition, and its calibre is high.At first you won’t believe your eyes, seeing Gary Oldman – still, in some perverse way, the alive presence from 'Sid and Nancy' – buried under what must be pounds of prosthetic facial architecture. (The radical makeup work is by artist Kazuhiro Tsuji.) But your mind quickly gets you where you need to be, as we watch Oldman’s Churchill roughing up our expectations: crouching on his bedroom floor to capture a wayward cat, downing a breakfast of Scotch and cigars and mixing it up with his cowed, dutiful secretary Elizabeth (Lily James). The performance is a marvel, not merely leaping over what could have been a stunt, but deepening into a soulful portrayal of wartime leadership, tinged with ego, doubt and the demands of a terrible moment.C
'The Exorcist’ meets ‘The League of Gentlemen’ in a triptych of horror tales that’s presided over with assurance and some seriously mordant wit by playwrights-turned-directors Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman. They’ve given their own stage play a cinematic reboot that’s both faithful and fresh, without sacrificing any of its macabre intimacy. ‘Ghost Stories’ is smart, surprising and recognisably British, right down to the peeling wallpaper, caravans and analogue tech of its sorta-bygone setting. Its world is weirdly familiar and yet alien. It’s also darn scary. The three storylines’ common denominator is parapsychologist Professor Phillip Goodman (Nyman). In truth, it’s an odd profession for a man whose sole mission is to debunk witnesses to the supernatural. The arrival of a mysterious cassette sends him to meet three victims of ghostly encounters – Paul Whitehouse’s night watchman, Alex Lawther’s nervy teenager, and Martin Freeman’s Scottish financier – and offers harrowing opportunities to change his mind. Nyman neatly charts Goodman’s arc from condescension to icy terror, but it’s Whitehouse and Freeman who steal the show. The former’s chapter takes place in an abandoned factory guaranteed to haunt your dreams, while Freeman’s is an off-balancing mix of cockiness and menace. If the climax feels a touch clichéd, it barely spoils the ride.
The best fashion docs often focus on the personalities and chance meetings that kick-start cultural movements. Here it’s punk that forms the edgy backdrop to a look at the life of Vivienne Westwood. It features plenty of access to the fashion designer, although it’s not always welcome: Westwood has since distanced herself from this project and, when speaking directly to camera, she’s clearly bored of talking about her past. Still, the three years director Lorna Tucker spent on it have yielded peppery insights into this complicated but fiercely talented woman. Born in 1941, the characterful Westwood was a prolific bedroom artist from her youth. We find her bluntly declaring her innate talent for the intricacies of tailoring. Eventually, her rebellious spirit led her to Malcolm McLaren and their Chelsea boutique Sex, although the subject of McLaren feels glossed over here. You’re left craving a bit more on punk’s famous coupling. Happily, another riveting relationship is waiting in the wings. Westwood’s current husband is Andreas Kronthaler, a younger, highly opinionated seamster who’s risen through the ranks of her company. There are rolling eyes from staff as he wrests control of designs, and the company is summoned to a meeting where Westwood’s loyalties feel torn and the fashion house is plunged into drama. It makes this the perfect film to double bill ‘Phantom Thread’ with.
If Wes Anderson’s 'Fantastic Mr. Fox' was a joyful slice of whimsy, his latest foray into stop-motion creature features is a more complex beast. Set in a near-future Japan, it’s a dystopian, fitfully funny tale in which crusading young people take on a corrupt establishment. But it’s mostly about the dogs: Banished from Megasaki city after outbreaks of snout fever and dog flu, cute canines are dumped on Trash Island and left to fend for themselves amid piles of garbage. In an instant, prize poodles find themselves on equal footing with scrappy strays. Their barks are conveniently translated directly into English for us by a typically Andersonian voice cast: There's a tight pack led by alpha dog Rex (Edward Norton), gossip Duke (Jeff Goldblum), sports mascot Boss (Bill Murray) and pooch actor King (Bob Balaban). Snarling on the sidelines is Chief (Bryan Cranston), who’ll rip your ear off to get to a can of maggots but who slowly emerges as the heart and soul of the story. Chief’s story kicks in when a 12-year-old Japanese boy, Atari, lands a tiny plane on Trash Island, intent on finding his banished Spots. Atari is the nephew of Kobayashi (voiced by co-writer Kunichi Nomura), the mayor of Megasaki city who bought the animal as a guard dog, only to make Spots the first to be exiled to Trash Island. Atari enlists the help of the pack to roam the dangerous island, with Chief emerging as an unlikely ally. Depicting the bond between boy and dog is what 'Isle of Dogs' does best, an
‘A Quiet Place’ is like ‘Aliens’ retooled as a militant librarian’s fantasy. Actor-director John Krasinski’s relentless shocker thrives on a nifty premise: in a post-apocalyptic near future, a family must survive in a world where the slightest sound brings out deadly monsters. With minimal dialogue – characters communicate by (subtitled) sign language, eye contact and whispers – ‘A Quiet Place’ is pure, bold cinema, its images and creepy sounds working together to scare the bejesus out of you. Save for some late-in-the-day news headlines, Krasinski admirably gives us little backstory for the monsters. Instead, mum (Emily Blunt), dad (Krasinski), son (Noah Jupe) and daughter (Millicent Simmonds), whose deafness means she can’t hear the beasties coming, are just shoved through the mill. Nerve-shredding set pieces revolve around a nail sticking out of a stair, a flooding basement and a ‘Jurassic Park’-like run through a field. All done with ruthless brio. The rules of this world are fast and loose, so the monsters can’t hear over waterfalls but can listen through walls. It’s a neat allegory for the challenges of parenting in a crazy world. The family dynamics lack nuance, but real-life husband and wife Krasinski and Blunt bring poignancy, the CG beasties are striking and the film pulses with ideas. It all adds up to a monster movie to shout about. Or maybe not.
‘I had a wild crush on Antonio,’ says Jessica Lange. ‘Didn’t everybody?’ Apparently so: the cohorts of the late Vogue and New York Times fashion illustrator are lining up to rave about him for this colourful documentary.Antonio Lopez, who was taken by Aids at only 44, was a Puerto Rican New Yorker with a talent for drawing fashion models – and a talent for drawing creative beauties into his inner circle. Just keeping up with the chronologically of the bed-hopping is a challenge for both filmmakers and viewers. Bisexual with a bias towards men, the ‘voracious’ artist lived with his erstwhile lover and creative partner Juan Eugene Ramos, while rolling in the hay with a series of models including Jerry Hall.Hall doesn’t contribute but is featured in fascinating vintage video footage, and for all the Halls and Grace Joneses that don’t appear in the commentary, there are plenty of other former models happy to describe blissful fashion shoots that ended up in nightclubs and beds. While it’s entertaining, there’s perhaps too much time devoted to his affairs: his working life is equally intriguing, as briefly detailed by the late great photographer Bill Cunningham, who observes that the ‘rascals’ Juan and Antonio would submit illustrations right before the print deadline, so the editors couldn’t make any changes. The art itself is fun: elegant, stylised illustrations that track the shift from couture to ready-to-wear – although apparently watching the man draw was even more impressi