Got your social diary sorted yet? We're here to help - there are tons of great things to do in Manchester this week. Have a look through our round-up of all the best events and films that Manchester 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 Manchester.
Things to do in Manchester this week
Films showing this week
Never take pity on a film critic. Instead, let it suffice to say that I look forward to you seeing 'Hereditary' and then joining me in having several sleepless nights peering into dark corners and gnawing your fingernails off. A harrowing story of unthinkable family tragedy that veers into the realm of the supernatural, 'Hereditary' takes its place as a new generation's 'The Exorcist' — for some, it will spin heads even more savagely. As with so much inspired horror, from 'Rosemary's Baby' to 2014's psychologically acute 'The Babadook', the movie gets its breath and a palpable sense of unraveling identity from a fearless female performance, this time by Toni Collette, the revered Australian actor capable of sustained fits of mania. (To watch her in 'The Sixth Sense' or 'Velvet Goldmine' is to only get a taste of how deep she goes here.) Collette plays Annie, an artist who constructs uncannily realistic dioramas: miniature rooms that embody the film's theme of a larger, malevolent entity playing with human toys. We zoom into those rooms, where Annie is keeping it together after the recent death of her by-all-accounts severe mother. Dressed in funeral blacks are her husband, Steve (Gabriel Byrne), her oldest child, Peter (Alex Wolff), a teenage stoner, and distracted young Charlie (the awesomely concentrated Milly Shapiro, a Tony winner for 'Matilda: The Musical'). Something is wrong with Charlie. Every head cock, tongue cluck and eerie stare into the middle distance will hav
Patience is a virtue – and rarely is that more evident than among the patiently virtuous phone staff of the New York Public Library. They're a team trained to answer any and all questions from around the city (and sometimes the world) with scholarly enthusiasm. In an early, funny scene of Frederick Wiseman’s magnificent documentary ‘Ex Libris: The New York Public Library’, we hear these operators taking calls. ‘A unicorn is actually an imaginary animal,’ one of them says gently, and you wonder about the inquirer. A child? Someone who’s been out in the sun too long? Whoever it is, she or he is likely a curious New Yorker who wants answers. The stirring beauty of Wiseman’s accomplishment is that it presents a top-to-bottom view of an institution devoted to serving the intellectual needs of an entire city – needs we may not know we have, but do. Stretching over an impossibly rich three hours and change, ‘Ex Libris’ will require patience from you as well, but the viewing commitment is the most nourishing of the year. We see Elvis Costello and Richard Dawkins giving feisty talks about democracy and freedom; lectures about World War II and Lower East Side delis (‘Send a salami to your boy in the Army!’); explosively happy kids programming robots; adults passionately discussing Gabriel García Márquez’s ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’; older women cutting loose in a dance class. None of Wiseman’s moments – dozens of them; some short, some long – come with added music or narration. Th
Tom Cruise is 56 years old. Fifty. Six. And he’s been making ‘Mission: Impossible’ movies for 22 of those 56 years. By all rights, ‘Fallout’, his sixth high-flying mission, should be to ‘M:I’ what ‘A View to a Kill’ was to Roger Moore’s Bond (Moore being only a year older than Cruise is when he made his final 007): tired, creaky and a bit embarrassing.Astonishingly, however, the opposite is true. This is easily the best, slickest and most daring ‘Mission: Impossible’ instalment. Not only that, it’s the finest action movie of the year so far. The bait-and-switching, double-crossing plot twists and twists again, with Hunt still haunted by his now-incarcerated ‘Rogue Nation’ nemesis Solomon Lane (a superbly creepy Sean Harris) and dealing with the global terrorist power vacuum left by Lane’s capture, but you won’t care with all the sinew-straining spectacle on show.This is thanks largely to writer-director Christopher McQuarrie. Being the first director to return for a second go at the franchise, he brings a sense of continuity hitherto lacking. ‘Fallout’ is a direct sequel to ‘Rogue Nation’, bringing back most of the key players and upping the stakes from the most knowing of perspectives. McQuarrie also builds on the last film’s self-aware level of wit and, most importantly, its set-piece-crafting sophistication.No action sequence is allowed to peter out, or be chopped to ribbons in the edit, or lean on the crutch of CG augmentation. From a frantic Parisian chase to a brutal br
A cooler-than-thou band of criminals, a smoothly executed grand heist, flawless costumes. Expanding on the handsome attributes of the Ocean’s franchise with a radiant cast and sufficient NYC groove, ‘Hunger Games’ director Gary Ross’s ‘Ocean’s 8’ gives glossy multiplex entertainment a good name. Fully loaded with Anne Hathaway’s (often underutilised) comedic chops – her cunning movie-star character is the film’s secret weapon – and various high-profile cameos (Heidi Klum, Anna Wintour, Kim Kardashian, you name it), it packs in ample carats of glitz beyond its diamonds and sequinned designer gowns.Sandra Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, an ex-con proudly filling the shoes of her brother Danny (George Clooney, here only in spirit). She masterminds a complex scheme to steal a majestic Cartier necklace at New York’s elite fundraiser the Met Gala. Among her recruits are former associate Lou (an impeccably-suited Cate Blanchett) and the eccentric fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter), who’s yearning to resurrect her waning career by dressing the impishly seductive Daphne Kluger (Hathaway) for the exclusive event. Also in the squad are Mindy Kaling’s jewellery connoisseur, Sarah Paulson’s Vogue insider, Awkwafina’s sly con and the ultra-charismatic hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna, like you’ve never seen before.)‘Ocean’s 8’ sticks to the formula, though Ross never quite matches the breezy vigour of the Soderbergh-directed trilogy, but the jokes land and there’s a satisfying twist to
If you wanted to know how it feels to be the only foreign inmate in a Bangkok prison, then ‘A Prayer Before Dawn’ is about as close as you could get – without walking into a Thai police station with your pockets full of heroin. As heroin addict and Thai boxer Billy Moore – upon whose memoir this film is based – Brit up-and-comer Joe Cole (‘Peaky Blinders’) is the audience’s suffering avatar. He’s hurled into the heat, the overcrowding, the ever-simmering threat of violence, all represented by real ex-convicts, many of whom are covered from head to toe in fearsome tattoos. Director Jean-Stephane Sauvaire has an unblinking documentarian’s eye, presenting extremity without sinking into exploitation. He films in long, painful takes, whether it’s Billy being pummelled in the ring, getting his next hit, or just trying to navigate his way along the serrated edge of Bangkok prison culture – a stranger in the strangest, deadliest of lands, who neither speaks the language or knows the customs. It is tough viewing, though not as tough as it must have been for Cole to recreate Billy’s delirious, drug-induced decline and eventual redemption. It is not merely an almost recklessly selfless performance, but also a surprisingly sensitive one, cracking Moore’s carapace to reveal the vulnerability beneath – of a lonely, unloved and desperately weak man whose only lifeline is the sport he loves. Light on dialogue and heavy on expression both physical and emotive, he keeps you watching even if
Superheroes may save the world, but parenthood requires skills far more advanced than extendable limbs. Brad Bird’s 'Incredibles 2' – Pixar’s most spirited sequel since 'Toy Story 3' – lovingly expresses this certainty through a bighearted familial portrait wrapped in ’60s-inspired design. But the film’s disarming appeal lies in its simpler moments of domesticity, in which the members of the all-superhero Parr family lift each other up and fight for relevance in a world of indifference. Still underground with criminalised superpowers and a destroyed home, Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), and their children, Violet, Dash and the explosive baby Jack-Jack, quietly live in a dingy motel. Their luck turns when a pair of wealthy siblings – the naive Winston and brainy inventor Evelyn (Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener) – offer them a chance to restore the Supers’ reputation. While the sensible Elastigirl serves as the fearless face of the mission, Mr. Incredible hilariously Mr. Moms his way through the kids’ homework, boy troubles and newly emerging superpowers. When the state-of-the-art villain Screenslaver disturbs the picture, the entire crew, including the previous film’s charismatic ice maker Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson), joins the good fight. 'Incredibles 2' comes supercharged with timely, sophisticated themes around societal apathy and gender parity. While slightly overplotted in its finale, the sleek sequel still glows with grown-up wit, with cr
Small-minded, smalltown Britain is the setting for Deborah Haywood’s impressive debut feature, which successfully balances fairytale whimsy with dark realism. Teenaged Iona (striking newcomer Lily Newmark) moves to a new area with her single mother Lyn (Joanna Scanlan), an eccentric, kind woman who’s mocked by local kids for her hunchback – and worse is to come. Haywood and cinematographer Nicola Daley contrast the realities of spiteful suburbia with Iona’s candy-coloured fantasies and the chintzy home she shares with her mother. While the mother and daughter are adorably, if slightly unnervingly, close to each other, Iona is keen to fit in at her new school and a distance forms between them. What begins as a family portrait moves into the high school movie genre: the popular girls bring Iona into their clique and manipulation and humiliation seem inevitable. While it’s sweet and funny in places, ‘Pin Cushion’ is heartbreaking in others. Iona endures crude sexual taunts that feel like they come from a very real place, while Lyn delivers several crushing monologues, including the confession that she courted assault in order to get pregnant and have a child to love. This is as much a portrait of an excluded adult as it is of an unpopular teen; it’s not always an easy watch but it’s a sensitive, assured film with characters you’ll warm to and root for.
You don’t have to be a fan of Whitney Houston’s music to love director Kevin Macdonald’s ('Touching The Void') sharp-edged, revelatory and seriously emotional documentary about her life. Even if the very mention of ‘I Will Always Love You’ brings you out in hives, you’ll find yourself re-evaluating your feelings for this still oddly underappreciated talent. Her journey from childhood prodigy – this big-eyed girl, nicknamed ‘Nippy’, lighting up the early part of the film like a firework – to superstar mirrors Amy Winehouse’s in ‘Amy’. But strip away the tabloid tales and excess, and both have one thing in common: a childlike love of music and lungs like bellows. The power of Houston’s music is only amplified on the big screen – heck, even ‘I Will Always Love You’ sounds good here. Of course, you don’t get far into Houston’s life without stumbling on her self-destructive streak. Macdonald doesn’t shy away from the drugs, booze and erratic behaviour that blighted her later years. There’s footage of rooms strewn with drug paraphernalia and painfully candid scenes of her and husband Bobby Brown leading each other to darker and darker places. But the most harrowing revelation of all comes during two of Macdonald’s many interviews with friends, family and associates. It’s a piece of digging that adds investigative weight to the film and a hard-hitting coda to his exploration of the fragile psychology of stardom.
Asa Butterfield wanders wide-eyed into the maelstrom of combat in this powerful take on RC Sherriff’s World War I play. He’s perfect as Raleigh, a young officer who asks to be assigned to the unit of his old school hero, Captain Stanhope (Sam Claflin), only to find him an angry drunk, shattered by war. It’s the eerie calm before a German offensive and the conflict’s horrors are only visible on the men’s faces. Raleigh will soon carry that look, too – if he lives long enough. With gallows humour to the fore, ‘Journey’s End’ is by no means relentlessly grim. Toby Jones brings levity as the Baldrick-like cook serving up unidentifiable dishes to the men, while Stephen Graham’s tommy brings sharp banter. Most engaging is Paul Bettany’s tender, sage Lieutenant Osborne. This former schoolteacher is the film’s heartbeat: one scene with the fraying Raleigh is devastating. Sherriff based the play on his own experiences in the trenches, and there’s a tangible, crushing authenticity here. Set over just four days, the film’s narrow focus lends intimacy. Time is taken with each character, making the bursts of action all the more potent. Director Saul Dibb has already given us two solid period dramas in ‘The Duchess’ and ‘Suite Française’, but this is his best yet.
There’s bad ideas, and then there’s Donald Crowhurst, the jolly but misguided amateur sailor played in this true-life drama by Colin Firth. It’s a tale from another age: a ’60s family man and local entrepreneur decides to spice up his life by entering a race to navigate the globe in a shaky little vessel. When he bids farewell to his bemused wife (Rachel Weisz, in a frustratingly passive role), you know where the story is going: to the wild open seas and likely disaster. Director James Marsh (‘Man on Wire’) has revelled in single-minded, flawed men before. Here, he digs into ideas of male pride, status and ‘doing the right thing’, while giving us a seafaring yarn that jolts from amusing to terrifying. The scenes with a desperate Firth alone at sea are nimbly done, with diary entries, radio calls and flashbacks livening up the solitude. Back home, early optimism clashes with the bitter reality. Ultimately, Marsh is less interested in the mystery that still shrouds Crowhurst’s story and more concerned with why a man would risk everything for an unattainable sense of personal satisfaction. There’s something frighteningly English about the level of delusion at play here. It’s no heroic tale; ‘The Mercy’ is thoughtful, uncomfortable viewing.