We've rounded up some of the best things to do in Edinburgh 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 Edinburgh beyond this weekend, take a look at our events calendar.
Things to do in Edinburgh this weekend
The four-act opera, composed in 1841 by Giuseppe Verdi, tells the story of the tyrannical Babylonian King who conquers and exiles Jews from their homelands. Sung in Italian with English subtitles.
Films showing this weekend
The first miracle of Barry Jenkins’s exquisite coming-of-age drama ‘Moonlight’ – and this heartbreaker of a film is filled with miracles – happens around a kitchen table. We’ve already seen quiet, sullen Chiron (Alex Hibbert), a 10-year-old with frightened eyes, being chased by bullies. The two adults sitting around the table aren’t his parents (one of them is actually the drug dealer selling crack to Chiron’s addict mum), but somehow they know the exact words to say when the boy softly asks them, ‘Am I a faggot?’ Jenkins, an indie director whose first feature, ‘Medicine for Melancholy’ (2008), delved into a whole universe of African-American issues rarely explored onscreen, now goes even further, and with an uncommonly poetic voice. The barely-getting-by Miami of ‘Moonlight’ – a place of needle-strewn drug dens and cheapo diners – bears little resemblance to the one we usually see in the movies. But the film is more radical for articulating an internal sexual turbulence that doesn’t fit the stereotype. It’s not the one laid down by ‘Brokeback Mountain’ or other key gay stories but something new, seething with anxiety, similar to the vibe you feel in the tense, ticking beats of Frank Ocean. Chiron grows into a pinch-faced, haunted teenager (Ashton Sanders), the second portrayal of the character, who is played by three actors in the film. (Trevante Rhodes’s muscle-bound adult Chiron, hiding his pain behind a scary facade, is yet to come.) The script is based on Tarell McCran
The British explorer Percy Fawcett – driven crazy by his obsession to find a lost Amazonian city – vanished in the jungle in 1925. His story has everything you could possibly want in an adventure tale: treacherous colleagues, cannibals with bubbling pots, spears flying out of nowhere, shrunken heads, piranhas, even an opera troupe singing Mozart in the wild. But in the hands of ‘The Immigrant’ director James Gray (adapting David Grann’s thrilling 2009 book), it has something that most modern filmmakers would skim over in favour of action: a soulful sense of unresolved wanderlust, and an exquisitely developed tension between family responsibilities and the call of greatness over the horizon. Shot by mighty cinematographer Darius Khondji (‘Seven’), ‘The Lost City of Z’ feels like it comes out of that epic 1970s moment when filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppola and Werner Herzog dived into the mud on their own personal tests of will. Gray works at a relaxed pace; this isn’t ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. Instead, he places the forward momentum wholly on leading actor Charlie Hunnam (producer Brad Pitt originally intended to star himself). His occasional coarseness is a perfect match for Fawcett’s early frustrations as a colonel officer from a modest background – or, as one snob puts it, has been ‘rather unfortunate in his choice of ancestors’. A Bolivian mapmaking job presents an opportunity for advancement and, with his bushy bearded aide Henry (Robert Pattinson), Fawcett leaves b
Amid all the shifting mirrored surfaces and hazy ambiguities of Olivier Assayas's bewitching, brazenly unconventional ghost story, this much can be said with certainty: Kristen Stewart has become one hell of an actress. The former 'Twilight' star was easily the standout feature of Assayas's last film, the slightly stilted study of actors 'Clouds of Sils Maria', quietly yanking the rug from under the feet of Juliette Binoche. Here, Stewart doesn't need to steal the film from anyone: she's in virtually every crisp frame of it, holding the camera's woozy gaze with her own quizzical, secretive stare and knotted body language. Her performance is a galvanising human influence on the film, even as her character, introverted American-in-Paris Maureen, seems forever on the verge of voluntary evaporation. An haute couture clothes buyer and general dogsbody to an insufferable A-list celebrity – shades of 'Sils Maria', then, though Assayas is on a very different thematic path this time – practising medium Maureen is haunted, in all senses, by the recent death of her twin brother. Stalking his former abode at night seeking a final communication, she encounters a spirit or two – but whose? And are they following her, or are the insidiously instructive, anonymous texts that start invading her phone from another amorphous entity? As Maureen's already fragile composure begins to fray, it's hard to tell if she's plagued more by absence or uncanny presence: even her boss is barely visible to
We’d do anything for our kids, wouldn’t we? Romanian director Cristian Mungiu (‘4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days’) understands that, he gets it. But with this bruising, powerful drama he also asks the question: what if the broken social, political and judicial culture around you literally allowed you to do anything for them, without any regard for right or wrong? The anti-hero of this intense, talky, busy and completely compelling morality play is Romeo Aldea (Adrian Titieni), and he’s far from an obvious villain, if indeed he’s a villain at all. Romeo is a well-regarded local doctor in a Transylvanian town who is determined that his daughter Eliza (Maria Dragus) does well in her exams so that she can study in the ‘more civilised’ UK. Romeo has clearly given up on the idea of Romania being part of the ‘better world’ he dreams of, and he’s quietly complicit in various local corruptions without always realising it. He’s also having an affair with Sandra (Malina Manovici), a recent patient 15 years younger than him who has a young son. When his daughter is attacked on the eve of her exams, he’s ready to act to win her the grades she needs. Mungiu doesn’t explicitly judge Romeo; he simply presents this brief, exposing and perhaps defining chapter of his life in captivating detail. He also makes clear that, although Romeo is a man of considerable influence, able to pull strings here and there, emotionally he’s very much on the edge and liable to fall apart any second. How Mungiu e
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
At age seven, Owen Suskind was essentially non-verbal – living with such crippling autism that he could only express himself in squeaks and babbling. Then salvation arrived from an unlikely source: Disney cartoons. Owen’s all-encompassing Disney obsession gave him a framework not just for understanding the world but for communicating with his own family. This sweet, sympathetic documentary – based in part on a book by Owen’s dad, Ron Suskind, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist – follows Owen, now 23, as he prepares to graduate from high school and move out of the family home. He’s heading off, like Simba and Dumbo, to find his own place in the world. Director Roger Ross Williams is granted unrestricted access to Owen and his family (Ron, his wife Cornelia and their older son Walt) and his unflinching interviews with all four of them form the heart of the film. There are also, as the title implies, a handful of animated sequences, inspired by Owen’s own stories set in the imaginary Land of Lost Sidekicks where the supporting characters from Disney movies live in fear of the evil Lord Fuzzbutch – and only Owen can save them. The film’s depiction of autism is honest and unsentimental (though you do wonder about the kids who don’t have the family and financial support Owen’s been blessed with). But where ‘Life, Animated’ gets really fascinating is in exploring Owen’s bone-deep connection with the cartoons. This is fandom taken to an extreme, but it’s still reflective of the w
The young writer-director Damien Chazelle has followed his Oscar-winning drama 'Whiplash' with another entirely novel film steeped in the world of music. His soaring, romantic, extremely stylish and endlessly inventive 'La La Land' is that rare beast: a grown-up movie musical that's not kitschy, a joke or a Bollywood film. Instead, it's a swooning, beautifully crafted ode to the likes of Jacques Demy's 'The Umbrellas of Cherbourg' and Stanley Donen's 'Singin' in the Rain' that plays out in the semi-dream world of Los Angeles and manages to condense the ups and downs of romantic love into a very Tinseltown toe-tapping fable. 'La La Land' boasts stars to fall in love with: Ryan Gosling is Seb, a brooding pianist and jazz purist who dreams of running his own nightclub, while Emma Stone plays Mia, a more sunny studio-lot barista and aspiring actor who dreams of putting on her own plays. The film follows them from winter to fall and back to winter as they meet, argue, flirt, fall in love and face a growing conflict between their personal passions and romantic hopes. There are tender and imaginative moments to die for: Stone mouthing along to a cover version of 'I Ran' at a pool party; the pair watching their legs discover the power of tap while sitting on a bench; the two of them flying into the stars and waltzing while visiting Griffith Observatory - a moment inspired by a trip to see 'Rebel Without a Cause'. There are songs, there are dances (and Gosling and Stone prove easy n
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
You can’t recreate your past, but you can relive it in your head over and over again, seeing it differently as you become someone new each year, month, week and day. That's the big, trippy idea at the heart of Danny Boyle’s ‘T2 Trainspotting’, a frenetic but also reflective film about the past colliding with the present. It has some soaring highs and a few lows – but it’s never lazy, even if it never matches the one-off magic of the 1990s Britpop-era original. Frankly: how could it? ‘T2’ sees Renton (Ewan McGregor) arrive back in Edinburgh from Amsterdam where he’s been working in ‘stock management software for the retail sector’ (choose life, indeed) and where his personal life has taken a hit. Back home, he seeks out Spud (Ewen Bremner), to whom life hasn’t been kind in an altogether more devastating way, and he reconnects with Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), who is now running a blackmail and prostitution racket with business partner Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova in one of several underwritten female roles; Shirley Henderson and Kelly Macdonald suffer the same fate). The missing piece of the jigsaw is Begbie (Robert Carlyle), who’s still seething about being stitched up by Renton all those years ago and who's stuck in jail – but not for long. ‘T2’ is a sequel, but it's not just about continuing a story. It knows how much is riding on our nostalgia, and it wants to prod and play with it. That ‘T2’ tag could easily stand for ‘take two’: a second look at the story of friendship
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