The biggest films in cinemas now
Brie Larson isn't given enough to do in a Marvel movie that marinates in '90s nostalgia but doesn't quite rise to the occasion of its own significance.
Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz spar for the affections of their queen in Yorgos Lanthimos's swooningly rude period piece – a royal flush.
This sequel doesn’t have the original’s breathless inspiration, but it’s still a funny and warm-hearted watch.
This ever-imaginative franchise mislays its mojo slightly in an overcrowded final outing.
Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali are masterful in this rousing period piece.
Emily Blunt is hypnotically charming in the year's sweetest surprise - a big-hearted cinematic high.
M. Night Shyamalan is back to heroes and villains in his deadeningly obvious latest film, for superfans only.
The word ‘yo’ has a near-sacred status in the lunkheaded ‘Rocky’ universe; it can be soft or hard, gentle or a throwdown. In ‘Creed II’, it comes reverently, with a marriage proposal and, later, the birth of a child. That’s not an accident: As with 2015’s affecting ‘Creed’, the sequel wants to consecrate every verse of Stallone scripture, bowing deeply to Rocky ‘IV’s clash of superpowers (both Dolph Lundgren and an icy Brigitte Nielsen are back), and evangelising on behalf of the franchise. The people making this movie know all the beats they have to hit, and hit them they do, jab by jab. If the results aren’t as artful as those by ‘Creed’ director Ryan Coogler (Steven Caple Jr. steps in), they still feel earned. That’s chiefly due to actor Michael B. Jordan, the linchpin of the rebooted series, who again makes hay with the role of rising young boxer Adonis Creed, rife with daddy issues. Last time, Jordan leaned hard into the story of a humble son chasing a ghost, Apollo Creed, gone before his child could know him. Now, Adonis is all but avenging him, confronting his father’s murderer in the ring in the form of Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), the hulking progeny of Lundgren’s iconic Russian heavyweight Ivan. (‘It all feels so Shakespearean,’ articulates one commentator for the cheap seats; the script is sometimes coarse.) You won’t need to refresh on the ’80s films to know that the bout doesn’t go well: Adonis lets the mojo go to his head and his pre-fight entrance into Bro
Clint Eastwood likes to tell the story about how, in the early 1980s, he purchased the screenplay of what would become ‘Unforgiven’, shelving it for a decade until he’d ‘aged a little’ and could carry the role’s thematic guilt. So why is it now that the active star-director has become 88 years old (impressive in itself), he retreats into glib, underdeveloped dreck like ‘The Mule’? The plot, based on a news-of-the-weird New York Times Magazine article from 2014, concerns a 90-year-old coke runner, here renamed Earl Stone, who avoided detection by being such an unlikely target in the War on Drugs. That’s a terrific setup, loaded with opportunities for Eastwood’s stealth libertarianism (racial profiling gets a big scene) as well a continuation of his scowling get-off-my-lawn referendum on American decline, kicked off by the ugly but fascinating ‘Gran Torino’, whose screenwriter, Nick Schenk, did this one too. Yet Eastwood plays an awkward character trapped in an equally awkward film, falsely naive and imprecise in its purpose. After establishing Stone, a prizewinning day-lily gardener, as a casual racist prone to terms like ‘beaner’ (it’s hard to know what exactly Eastwood is nostalgic for), the script has him encounter a bunch of shady, scary Latinos who involve him in their drug trade because he won’t ask questions. Humorous detachment would have helped in these scenes – this should have been a black comedy – but ‘The Mule’ is a frustratingly basic film devoid of laughs and
This riotous, arcade-game-inspired sequel powers up with fresh ideas and some brilliantly-executed pastiching.