We've rounded up some of the best things to do in Manchester 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 Manchester beyond this weekend, take a look at our events calendar.
Things to do in Manchester this weekend
Films showing this weekend
Brilliant but despicably cynical view of human obsession and the tendency of those in love to try to manipulate each other. Stewart is excellent as the neurotic detective employed by an old pal to trail his wandering wife, only to fall for her himself and then crack up when she commits suicide. Then one day he sees a woman in the street who reminds him of the woman who haunts him... Hitchcock gives the game away about halfway through the movie, and focuses on Stewart's strained psychological stability; the result inevitably involves a lessening of suspense, but allows for an altogether deeper investigation of guilt, exploitation, and obsession. The bleakness is perhaps a little hard to swallow, but there's no denying that this is the director at the very peak of his powers, while Novak is a revelation. Slow but totally compelling.
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
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
Two people – a man and his teen daughter – adopting a simpler life in the backwoods of America may sound like the beginnings of a Bon Iver concept album, but in the hands of co-writer/director Debra Granik (‘Winter’s Bone’), it forms the crux of a smart, heartfelt examination of outsiderdom in a society that doesn’t just prize conformity, but demands it. For a small story, it tackles some pretty big themes, gauging America’s reactionary social climate through the eyes of father Will (Ben Foster) and his daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie), living outdoors in the misty Oregon rainforest. Like a Ray Mears family outing spun wildly out of control, the pair forage for food, nursing fuel supplies and essentials scrapped together with money Will makes selling painkilling meds to fellow veterans. As the title implies, the duo are ever-wary of betraying their presence to the authorities. It’s a hardscrabble rural existence that’ll be semi-familiar to anyone who’s seen Granik’s Ozarks-set drama ‘Winter’s Bone’, although here there’s an element of choice and, initially, an air of quiet satisfaction at sticking it to The Man. Of course, it doesn’t last: they’re soon sucked back into the system and processed by social workers whose uncomprehending kindnesses only rub salt in the wounds. Unlike Sean Penn’s ‘Into the Wild’, which also explores the quiet radicalism of disappearing off the grid, there’s no big emotional swells here. ‘Leave No Trace’ is a more hushed, contemplative movie. Gra
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.
The fourth film in the series and the first in 14 years, 'Jurassic World' serves up another theme park and another bunch of knuckleheaded scientists cloned from the same strand of foresight-impaired DNA. It has absolutely no reason for being – except for the obvious – but at least it chomps through your time painlessly. A fully functioning tourist attraction has flourished on Isla Nublar, complete with a Starbucks, a baby-dino petting zoo, crammed gift shops and huge crowds. You wait (not very long) for something to go wrong – for some fat American kid to get eaten – but apart from a scary 'The Birds'-like aerial raid of pterodactyls picking off folks on Main Street, there's little payback rained down on mallrat culture. Instead, sequel director Colin Trevorrow ('Safety Not Guaranteed') is content to execute a poor man's 'Aliens': he's got his Ripley figure in Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), a brittle park manager who blooms into a protective Amazonian mom; generically staged action sequences involving flares and bared shoulders; and an evil military motive represented by an extra-wide Vincent D'Onofrio. Slickly enjoyable, the biggest misstep comes with puncturing original director Steven Spielberg's grandeur: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' star Chris Pratt, playing some kind of jokey animal trainer who lives in a trailer, turns velociraptors into docile dogs (a crime against classic cinema). Meanwhile, John Williams's trumpet fanfare is redeployed not at the sight of a towering bro