We've rounded up some of the best things to do in Bristol this weekend, so there's no excuse to let your downtime go to waste. Whether theatre is your bag, you're mad for music or you'd rather stroll around an art exhibition, you'll find it all in our list, plus much, much more.
If you're looking for things to do in Bristol beyond today, plan ahead with our round-up of things to do this month.
Things to do in Bristol this weekend
The Irish-American dancer and choreographer directs this dynamic dance-theatre spectacular about the Little Spirit, who travels through time to help the Lord of the Dance protect his people from the Dark Lord.
Films showing this weekend
The fourth instalment of George Miller’s punky post-apocalyptic ‘Mad Max’ saga feels like a tornado tearing through a tea party. In an age of weightless movie spectacles, here’s a movie that feels like it was made by kidnapping $150 million of studio money, fleeing with it to the Namibian desert, and sending footage back to Hollywood like the amputated body parts of a ransomed hostage.It’s been 30 years since we last watched Mel Gibson’s Max Rockatansky drift into the horizon in ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’, but the Road Warrior hasn’t aged a day. He’s been transformed from a reluctantly charismatic Gibson into a terse Tom Hardy. Yet much has changed in the wasteland that Max wanders. While previous episodes were set amid the rubble of a ruined world, the colourful hyper-saturated landscapes of this new movie locate the story closer to the dawn of a new civilization than the twilight of an old one. Things begin inside the mountain stronghold ruled by Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), an inbred monster who lords over a society that guzzles its citizens like fuel. Women are drained for their breast milk, girls are farmed for their wombs, and men like Max are used as vehicle ornaments called ‘bloodbags’. Unsurprisingly, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), Joe’s one-armed lieutenant, is ready for a change. When she drives off with his prized concubines, the warlord unleashes a suicidal eight-cylinder army on their trail. Pretty much the entire film is a screaming death race down
The late second century: the Roman army is fighting Germania, but that's a small problem for general Maximus (Crowe), compared to his relations with the Imperial dynasty. Ailing Marcus Aurelius (Harris) would like his favourite soldier and confidant to take over and pass power to the Senate. His heir, however - the insecure Commodus (Phoenix) - feels miffed by the slight. Having ensured dad dies in his arms, the new Emperor exerts his murderous authority. But Maximus won't swear loyalty, and after a narrow escape, the enslaved ex-general, bent on vengeance, gets a chance to return to Rome as a gladiator. Scott's sword and sandal spectacular is a bloody good yarn, packed with epic pomp and pageantry, dastardly plots, massed action and forthright, fundamental emotions. That said, for all the efforts to suggest authenticity, it stays true to peplum tradition, not only in its age old clichés, but in saying as much about our era as that in which it's set. The implausibly efficient carnage of the opening battle evokes post-'Nam war movies; Maximus' improbably swift, deep bonding with an African slave lends a whiff of PC historicity; Commodus's vices arise from poor parental care. Still, the cast is strong (notably Nielsen as Commodus's vacillating sister, and the late Oliver Reed, unusually endearing as a gladiator owner), the pacing lively, and the sets, swordplay and Scud catapults impressive.
The breakout star of 2014’s 'The Lego Movie' now gets his own action-packed, completely batshit superhero spinoff. The first Lego film was a real surprise: what could have been a lazy cash-in turned out to be sweet, funny and fiendishly original in the way it acknowledged and celebrated its own artificiality. And one of the film’s highlights was its take on Batman: a self-involved millionaire playboy who dresses in black body armour to fight crime and chase chicks. The inept egomaniac is a time-honoured comedy archetype – think Jack Sparrow, Daffy Duck or Donald Trump – but thanks to razor-sharp writing and Will Arnett’s snarling, impossible-to-hate vocal performance, this Batman felt fresh and fun. Happily, the same goes for his solo debut, a ferociously paced, wildly silly pastiche of those comic-book blockbusters we’re all getting a bit sick of. The plot may draw on another creaky comic cliché – Batman inadvertently adopts adorable orphan Robin (Michael Cera) and has no idea what to do with him – but ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ is so jam-packed with ideas, asides and barmy cameos (Lego Bane! Lego Marlon Brando! Lego gremlins!) that there’s barely time to notice. Some of it might go over kids’ heads – there’s a running gag about ‘Jerry Maguire’ that will bemuse anyone under 35 – but they will lap up the frenetic action and slapstick. Like its predecessor, ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ also manages to find an emotional centre among all this mayhem. Batman may be outwardly invincible
America lies on the brink of ruin in this bleak and bruising comic-book road movie. It’s 2029 and Logan aka James Howlett aka The Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is working as a limo driver in El Paso, Texas, occasionally hopping over the Mexican border to deliver much-needed pharmaceuticals to his Alzheimer's-stricken former mentor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). The mutant race has been all but wiped out thanks to a combination of shady government interference and Charles's own inability to control his powers. But when Logan is tasked with looking after Laura (Dafne Keen), the first mutant child born in decades, he's forced to make a decision: keep running, or gear up for one final stand. Jackman has repeatedly suggested that 'Logan' will mark his farewell to a character he's been tied to for 17 years and seven films. If so, it's a fitting swansong: in stark contrast to most Marvel movies, particularly last year's peppy but pointless 'X-Men: Apocalypse', this feels more like a wake than a party. The colours are muted, all rust-red and glowering grey, and the themes are weighty: loss, ageing and deep, almost unbearable regret. We're never given a full picture of how the world got so messed up, just glimpses of institutional brutality and corporate power, of ordinary people ground under the heel of an increasingly uncaring system. Given that the film went into production well before the earth-shaking events of November 2016, it all feels frighteningly prescient. It's also, with
This charming animated family movie about a teenage Polynesian girl fighting to save her Pacific island’s future feels like business as usual for Disney in many ways. There’s a strong young female lead, catchy show tunes, lush landscapes and talking animals – a hermit crab with a fondness for trinkets almost steals the film and a dim chicken offers light relief. But this tale from the directors of ‘Aladdin’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’ also feels like progress. Moana (voiced by Auli’i Cravalho) is a young woman of colour set to take over from her father as the leader of an island community way back in the past (their beliefs are based around sea-travel and the island’s creation myth). When the plants on Moana’s island start to wither, the ocean chooses this 16-year-old to defy her father’s orders and set sail in search of a muscled demi-God Maui (Dwayne Johnson, self-mocking and funny), who can help her secure her people’s future. There’s not a prince or potential husband in sight; Moana’s future is entirely defined by her leadership and ability to fend off the mansplaining know-it-all Maui. As messages go, we’ll take them. The story is a fairly simple quest tale as Moana takes to the open water in uneasy cahoots with macho Maui. His animated tattoos are among the film’s visual highlights, alongside the azure waters lapping the sand. There are some belters on the soundtrack, a few of them courtesy of man-of-the-moment Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and star of the Broadway sma
This delightful animated feature from the studio behind the Minions movies takes a tired-sounding idea – a comedy set around a talent contest – and turns it into something winning and witty. ‘Sing’ is fast and frenetic, dashing from character to character, song to song. Our hero is a koala, Buster Moon (voiced by Matthew McConaughey), a throwback theatre owner-cum-producer down on his luck. With the help of his ageing female assistant, a lizard (voiced by the film’s writer-director Garth Jennings), Buster initiates a singing contest in an attempt to save his crumbling theatre. But a clerical error bumps the prize money up from $1000 to $100,000, and suddenly every singing beast in town is queueing at his door for a chance of winning the cash. There’s Johnny (Taron Egerton), a British gorilla uneasy with his father’s criminal lifestyle; Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), the harried porcine mother of 25 hungry piglets; Meena (Tori Kelly), an extremely shy elephant; Ash (Scarlett Johansson), a jilted porcupine; and Mike (Seth MacFarlane), a crooning, boastful mouse. Like the most effective TV talent shows, ‘Sing’ balances snapshots of each creature’s home life with their emergence into the spotlight of potential fame. The rush of familiar music – Queen, Elton John, Leonard Cohen – often sung by the voice actors themselves, can feel like listening to a karaoke jukebox in overdrive, but a welcome focus on relationships, emotions and other details of each character’s life stops this fee
It may have been a bleak period in human history, but the Second World War was a golden age for British cinema, as filmmakers discovered purpose and commitment in stories of resistance, fortitude and togetherness. 'An Education' director Lone Scherfig's witty, sophisticated and unexpectedly sober romcom pays tribute to those artists – writers, actors, directors, producers, even agents – and slips in a spry, timely investigation of women's roles in cinema for good measure. Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) comes to the attention of the Ministry of Information as a copywriter for newspaper cartoons. They're looking for someone to script a series of propaganda short films urging the women of Britain to work in factories and grow vegetables, and she's looking for a way to support her moody artist boyfriend Ellis (Jack Huston). But it's not long before Catrin is assisting writer Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin) on an inspirational feature film script inspired by a pair of Southend sisters who stole their father's boat and headed to Dunkirk to assist in the evacuation. The story is largely bunk, the Ministry brass are always lurking and washed-up leading man Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy) is forever sticking his oar in. But Catrin and Buckley get stuck in, transforming this simple fable into a rousing tribute to everyday British pluck. Like its film-within-a-film, 'Their Finest' might so easily have been sentimental hogwash, a jolly, stiff-upper-lipped love story set against the picturesque
“It’s morphin’ time!” fans will yell, as waves of light explode, color-coded armor creeps onto bodies, and tears of recognition are wiped away. Rarely has a franchise dominated childhoods as thoroughly as the ’90s-era live-action 'Mighty Morphin Power Rangers', devoured on TV and cemented with action figures and toys. Today’s grown-up kids aren’t ready for the reboot, but they should be: The movie knows to make playground fun out of the material. Set against the suburban backdrop of California’s fictional Angel Grove, the story (for those not in the know) follows a rag-tag team of teens chosen to defend Earth from evil Rita Repulsa. What this 'Power Rangers' does—unlike the show—is explore the complexities of our core team: They’re imperfect but perfect enough to be selfless and save the world. Despite spending the majority of its running time with lead heroes Kimberly (Naomi Scott) and Jason (Dacre Montgomery), the main player of the group is autistic Billy (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’s RJ Cyler), whose enthusiasm and charm are contagious. Kudos to the movie’s subversive streak for using a great talent like Bryan Cranston to basically play a gigantic head (Power Ranger mentor Zordon). Bill Hader does justice by robot Alpha 5’s iconic squeals while Elizabeth Banks delivers an exaggerated yet powerful villain that should have hit the airwaves 25 years ago: she makes it look like a blast, while devouring gold (don’t ask—it’s part of her plan). Here, Rita takes a little ti
Julian Barnes’s 2011 Booker Prize winner is a tricky book to bring to screen. But this thoughtful adaptation by Indian director Ritesh Batra (‘The Lunchbox’) and British playwright Nick Payne (‘Constellations’) does a compelling job of bringing the novel’s first-person, interior musings to life. Its fragmented story moves fluidly between the present and the 1960s as slightly curmudgeonly, middle-class Londoner Tony Webster (Jim Broadbent, and Billy Howle as his younger self) is forced to reflect on his youth when a letter arrives from the executors of an old acquaintance’s will. Until this point, Tony had carried in his mind one version of his student romance with Veronica (Freya Mavor): where it went wrong, and how it might have influenced the suicide of an old school friend, Adrian (Joe Alwyn). However, a drip feed of new information over the course of the film raises intriguing questions about how and why we write our own history and just how flawed we are as our own personal chroniclers. ‘The Sense of an Ending’ is comparable to 2015’s ’45 Years’ in that this is also a film about reconsidering everything one thought to be true, and only being able to do so when a certain amount of experience has passed. Both films feature Charlotte Rampling: here, Rampling plays the grown-up Veronica and offers a mid-film dose of cold, hard reality. As films they’re similarly open-ended too, although this seeks a lot more optimism and resolution at its close than either ‘45 Years’ or Ba
This brilliantly feminist British indie film plunges a cold, sharp knife into the back of bonnet dramas. ‘Lady Macbeth’ is like a Jane Austen story with a dash of sex and murder and a nineteenth-century heroine who might have swallowed the works of Caitlin Moran and Gloria Steinem. Confusingly, it’s got nothing to do with Shakespeare. The script, by playwright Alice Birch, is adapted from an 1860s Russian novel by Nikolai Leskov, ‘Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District’, and it was shot by theatre director William Oldroyd. The pair relocate the book to Victorian England where Florence Pugh (the spit of a young Kate Winslet) plays Katherine, a teenager in northern England whose father has married her off to a rich miner’s son. Humiliatingly, she is part of a two-for-one deal, thrown in with a plot of land. Worse, her husband (Paul Hilton) is a seething mess of pathetic inadequacies. This is a pure feminist parable. We watch as her maid, Anna (Naomi Ackie), yanks Katherine’s corset ribbons agonisingly tight. And just as the patriarchy is deforming her body, so too it is twisting her soul. When her husband leaves the family pile on business, Katherine ends up in bed with a cocky servant (indie singer Cosmo Jarvis). A killing spree follows. Newcomer Florence Pugh is like a lightning bolt, totally electric as Katherine, who’s up there with Madame Bovary or Anna Karenina in the literary heroine stakes. She has the innocent face of an angel but she soon begins to live up to her Sha