All the movies worth catching in the capital, from a twisted space drama to a blockbuster about a crime-solving rodent...
Out and about this weekend? Planning to catch a film but don’t quite know what to see? No worries: we’ve sought out the best of what’s showing in cinemas in London and gathered them all here to make choosing a great movie as easy as possible. Whether it’s a lost concert film from the Queen of Soul or a mystery starring everyone’s favourite Pokémon (“Pika, pika!”), Walloh have you covered. The pleasure’s ours.
Claire Denis isn’t the first filmmaker you’d associate with the sci-fi genre, and yet she proves to be a natural fit with this poetic and somewhat disturbing drama set aboard a spacecraft. With shades of 2001: A Space Odyssey at its core, High Life focuses on Robert Pattinson (a prisoner) and Juliette Binoche (a doctor) as they try to survive a mission into a black hole. Less said about the specifics the better, though interestingly Denis’ original script was only 30 pages long, with much of the story conjured up during production; the film retains a strange and sometimes unfocused quality as a result. But it’s this strangeness that makes High Life feel like something totally fresh to the genre. And don’t even get us started on the “Fuckbox.”
Get High Life showtimes in London.
After more than 10 years of intricate world-building, Avengers: Endgame arrives with its huge cast of superheroes reeling in the wake of a catastrophe that wiped out half of the life in the Universe. But this is nowhere near as bleak an outing as Infinity War set it up to be. Instead it works as a glorious love letter to the MCU, a thank you to fans who’ve stuck around for the entire ride. You’ll laugh. You’ll cheer. And when it all comes together in the film’s final hour – the culmination of 22 films – you’ll even shed a tear. A monumental cinematic achievement, Endgame is everything a fan could want from a “final” instalment, and somehow not at all the film you’d expect. In other words, it’s a perfect farewell.
Get Avengers: Endgame showtimes in London.
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu
Just when it seemed like Pokémon had been relegated to the occasional nostalgic thought for most millenials, the franchise made an unexpected comeback. First there was mobile game Pokémon Go!, enthralling people in their millions with its outdoor antics, and now there is Pokémon Detective Pikachu, a film that – with its barmy premise and talking Pikachu voiced by Ryan Reynolds in full-on Deadpool mode – should not work. But somehow it does. The ensuing mystery, if not quite as far out or inspired as it could have been, is sure to please both kids experiencing the height of Pokémon fever and those that spent the late-90s swapping Pokémon cards in the playground. Watch it make a billion dollars.
Get Pokémon: Detective Pikachu showtimes in London.
Boasting an unforgettable soundtrack, dozens of memorable quotes, and some really eye-popping outfits, it’s no wonder Walter Hill’s B-movie thriller has amassed a loyal fanbase more than 40 years after its first release. The Warriors is essentially Gangs of New York seen through a pulp lens, set in a nightmarish version of the Big Apple teeming with larger than life hoodlums. Made with an almost comic book aesthetic that is missing from its more seriously-minded source material (it was based on a book of the same name), Hill’s frantic adaptation is essentially a 90-minute chase movie – a chain of perfectly-realised and sweat-inducing set-pieces. All said and done, this could be one of the finest films of the ‘70s.
Get The Warriors showtimes in London.
Actor-turned-director Brady Corbet’s debut, The Childhood of a Leader, was an unsettling drama about fascism that established him – at just 28 – as a filmmaker of great intelligence. Now he’s back with his follow-up feature, Vox Lux, which stars Natalie Portman as a Lady Gaga-esque pop star who owes her success to a school shooting. It’s a tale perfectly suited to our increasingly shallow times, and one Corbet directs with an impressive, Kubrickian-like authority. As an exploration of modern fame (with original songs penned by Sia), Vox Lux essentially sets out to blend the mainstream appeal of A Star is Born with the stylings of an arthouse flick. For the most part, it succeeds. And what a hairdo!
Get Vox Lux showtimes in London.
It’s taken a real long time for Aretha Franklin’s legendary 1972 performance of album Amazing Grace to make it to the big screen. First, due to a synchronisation issue, and later on due to legal issues raised by the singer herself. The good news is that, despite all the years spent in a Warner Bros. vault, it’s been well worth the wait: Amazing Grace is a masterpiece. Shot at a Baptist church in Los Angeles by esteemed filmmaker Sydney Pollack (who’s to blame for the sync error: oh, Sydney), the films lays bare the entire concert, with occasional flashes of Franklin at her diva-ish best. As you watch her belting out and nailing every song, it becomes wholly apparent you’re watching the very definition of soul.
Get Amazing Grace showtimes in London.
Woman at War
Icelandic film Woman at War is that rare thing: an ecological-minded comedy that manages to be genuinely funny and environmentally conscious without hitting you over the head with its ideals. Set in the Icelandic highlands, it follows the plight of a charismatic choir conductor named Halla – played by Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir – who sets out to stop the exploits of an aluminium plant in her homeland. With its deadpan approach and an oddness that only increases with the runtime, Woman at War feels like a true original, and a near-perfect synchronization of themes and tones. Of course, Hollywood already has its eyes on a remake with Jodie Foster, but trust us: this is the only version you’ll ever need.
Get Woman at War showtimes in London.
It’s not often a film is specifically created with a person in mind when said person isn’t, say, Tom Cruise, but brilliant indie drama Madeline’s Madeline is one of them. It came to exist after director Josephine Decker found herself moved to tears after seeing then 15-year-old actress Helena Howard perform at an arts festival. The rest is history. The plot here focuses on Howard as a plucky teenager with mental health issues who joins an experimental theatre company lead by Molly Parker’s charismatic director. It’s a strange, bold, and occasionally grating work about the ways that life and art intersect, but utterly absorbing from start to end. And you can totally see what Decker saw in Howard: she’s an utter revelation.
Get Madeline’s Madeline showtimes in London.
Former YouTuber Bo Burnham makes his absurdly confident feature debut with Eighth Grade, a film he writes and directs, and one that shows him as a talented observer of teenage life. Honing in on the pitfalls of social media, the film has – quite deservedly – received lots of praise across the pond for its writing and direction. But Eighth Grade‘s greatest asset is lead actor Elsie Fisher, who plays a social media-obsessed teen, Kayla, during her last week at middle school. Contrary to Hollywood’s usual preference for casting actors in their mid-twenties as teens, the choice to cast – shock! – a real eighth grader proves to be the film’s masterstroke. It is, in all its pimply awkwardness, a star-making turn.
Get Eighth Grade showtimes in London.
The Railway Children
The Railway Children is a film that defies any rational analysis – a timeless work of British cinema whose charms are pointless to resist, featuring unforgettable performances from screen legends like Jenny Agutter and Bernard Cribbons. Based on the E. Nesbit novel of the same name, this Yorkshire tale of siblings in searching of their missing father has rightfully earned its reputation as an all-time family great. Avengers: Endgame might not be suited to Granny, after all, but this adaptation will always do the job. Back on the big screen this weekend, what better way is there to spend a Sunday in the capital?
Get The Railway Children showtimes in London.
This post was categorised in Culture.