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Film & Cinema

Since bursting onto the screen with his feature length debut - the superb, ultra-violent, profanity-strewn In Bruges (2008) - writer and director Martin McDonagh has established himself as one of the most exciting directors working today.

Written and directed by Rian Johnson, this much anticipated second instalment in the latest Star Wars trilogy follows on directly from 2015’s well received The Force Awakens.

Disney Pixar’s latest animated extravaganza hit cinema screens this week, delving into the peculiar Mexican celebration of the Day Of The Dead.

Steven Spielberg’s dramatisation of events leading up to the high-profile legal wrangling between The Washinton Post and President Nixon feels relevant in the era of fake news and presidential Twitter outbursts but is self-serving and smug.

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Disney Pixar’s coming-of-age adventure amid Mexican Day of the Dead culture has little of the humour or visual wonder you’d associate with the usually inventive studio.

America

From Richard Attenborough’s excellent Young Winston (1972) to Jonathan Teplitzky’s Churchill (2017), Winston Churchill has been the subject of countless historical dramas and biopics that have dealt with various stages of the near-mythical figure’s life.

Germany

With a totally unlikely yet compelling cast and immersive cinematography, this ‘Jumanji’ sequel is a vibrant escapist adventure.

The 27 tumultuous days, which led to Churchill’s impassioned cry for the British to fight on the beaches and in the streets, is dramatised in Joe Wright’s handsomely crafted character study boasting an Oscar worthy performance from the unrecognisable star.

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Darkest Hour tells the story of Winston Churchill in the early days of the war. It also features a remarkable portrayal by an almost unrecognisable Gary Oldman. But how does it compare to the many others who have played him?

army

Salty, quick-fire dialogue pepper Martin McDonagh’s blackly comic thriller that pits the righteous anger of vigilante parent Frances McDormand against her local police force in a fictional midwestern town.

America

Win tickets to see a film of your choice at Cineworld in St Neots or Huntingdon.

Writer and director Scott Cooper follows the success of moving drama Crazy Heart (2009) and hard-bitten crime thrillers Out of the furnace (2013) and Black Mass (2015) with arresting and haunting western Hostiles.

The removal of Kevin Spacey from Ridley Scott’s propulsive thriller proves to be a blessing in disguise as replacement Christopher Plummer shines as oil tycoon John Paul Getty.

Italy

Christian Bale plays a grizzled army captain in writer-director Scott Cooper’s solid but sometimes standard revisionist western, set during the final years of the bloodthirsty war between the US Army and Native Americans.

The central character of writer-director Mike White’s navel-gazing comedy drama is a narcissist and neurotic, whose deep-seated feelings of inadequacy are exacerbated by social media envy.

Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin makes his directorial debut with this dramatisation of the rise and fall of Molly Bloom, who dealt herself a winning hand as hostess of Hollywood’s most exclusive poker game with a $50,000 stake to sit at a table.

United States

At first glance Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle could be dismissed as a desperate bid to cash in on the franchise potential of Joe Johnston’s much loved Jumanji (1995) and its 2005 follow-up Zathura: A Space Adventure.

Molly’s Game is the true story of Molly Bloom, a beautiful, young, olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes, underground poker game.

Roll up and rock out for director Michael Gracey’s foot-stomping musical, the passion project of Hugh jackman, based on the topsy-turvy life of circus impresario and master of shameless self-promotion, P.T. Barnum.

This year was a year of contrasts and contradictions at the cinema. The headlines were made by what was happening off screen rather than what was on it. Arts editor Andrew Clarke takes a look at 2017 and asks what will go down in the history books?

United Kingdom

Like I’m A Celebrity, with people you have actually heard of, this sorta-sequel to the 1995 Robin Williams film has some fun moments but flipping the original’s concept on its head, it comes up with something much less interesting.

The Greatest Showman is starry-eyed with the silly, simple joy of being a musical

Just in time for Christmas, the third instalment of one of the most popular singing-based movie franchises returns offering plenty of laugh out loud moments, pop singalongs and a heartwarming finale - just forgive the slightly ridiculous Bond-like action-comedy plot this time around...

Though largely panned upon its release and regularly finding itself at the top of lists of the worst films ever made, Tommy Wiseau’s dire drama The Room (2003) has birthed legions of fans who regularly attend midnight screenings of the film to revel in the sheer awfulness of the whole thing.

This has four teenagers sucked into an old video game, in avatar form. Having them go to the jungle, rather than the jungle come to them, is an inherently duller proposition.

World famous detective, Hercule Poirot gets a big screen makeover in this all-star adaptation of the classic Agatha Christie novel.

After the huge success of his first big screen outing in 2014, everybody’s favourite little bear returns to our screens for this much anticipated sequel.

London

Carlos Saldanha’s coming-of-age story, from thre studio behind the Ice Age and Rio films, tells the journey of self-discovery centred on a Spanish fighting bull, who prefers to smell the roses rather than stomp on them.

As Star Wars: The Last Jedi finally arrives in cinemas, Carrie Fisher’s last performance in her iconic role of Princess Leia is unveiled. The film’s stars Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega discuss life without her and taking the franchise forward.

Ireland

Middle films in trilogies are tricky. Even the best have that Two Towers sense of being a means to an end. In Star Wars, they are the best and the worst of times.

If Episode VII: The Force Awakens crammed everything fans love into one entertaining origin story, the next chapter directed by Rian Johnson adds scope, humour and a spectacular finale that’s one of the highlights of the entire series.

Sean Anders’ serviceable comedy Daddy’s Home was one of 2015’s surprise box office hits.

Scottish director Armando Iannucci brings us this Soviet satire detailing the final days of Russian dictator Joseph Stalin and the subsequent scramble for power after his death.

Marvel’s god of thunder returns for his third solo outing, this time teaming with the Incredible Hulk, as he attempts to prevent Ragnarok the end of all things.

New Zealand

Jake Gyllenhaal bids for an Oscar nomination for his powerful portrayal of a real-life survivor of the 2013 Boston marathon bombing in David Gordon Green’s uplifting drama.

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