As Avengers: Endgame smashes box office records across the globe, which are the plucky films that dare go up against it?
This week’s new releases include a politically-charged romcom, a literary biopic and the tale of an Icelandic eco-warrior.
And while I’m here, a quick reminder that coming-of-age drama Eighth Grade is a) brilliant and b) still on at Everyman for the next week – do try and catch it if you can…
There’s quite a buzz around this comedy about the unlikely romance between a schlubby writer and a high-flying politician, played by Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron.
The sparks start to fly when outspoken journalist Fred Flarsky (Rogen) runs into Charlotte Field (Theron), the US Secretary of State – who just happens to be Fred’s former babysitter and childhood crush.
Only in the movies would this result in his being hired as speechwriter for her presidential run – but if you can go with the plot, reviews suggest this is an intelligent and very funny rom-com, with strong chemistry between the two leads and an impressive supporting cast (including a Presidential turn from Better Call Saul’s Bob Odenkirk).
The creator of Middle Earth gets the Goodbye Christopher Robin treatment in this literary biopic starring Nicholas Hoult. (I can almost hear the sound of sub-editors the world over dusting off their “Look who’s Tolkien” puns for the picture captions.)
The film aims to show how Tolkien’s formative experiences – in particular his time studying at Oxford and fighting in World War I – fed into his beloved fictional creations.
After forming a strong bond with a group of artists and writers at Oxford (which the blurb is keen to refer to as a “Fellowship”), Tolkien finds his relationships tested by the outbreak of war.
Lily Collins plays Edith Bratt, Tolkien’s lifelong love, and Derek Jacobi is on hand as his inspirational tutor.
A middle-aged eco-warrior faces major changes to her activist lifestyle when she has the chance to adopt a child in this Icelandic comedy drama.
Halla (Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir) is a seemingly mild-mannered choir conductor who wages a clandestine war against a local aluminium plant, sabotaging their electricity pylons out in the highlands.
When a long-forgotten application for adoption comes through, she must reconcile her secret life with the potential to fulfil her long-held dream of becoming a mother.
The second film from director Benedikt Erlingsson (who made the acclaimed 2013 drama Of Horses and Men), it was well received on its premiere at the Cannes Festival last year.
To celebrate their 30th anniversaries, the good folk at Picturehouse and Empire magazine have got together to put on a series of specially-selected screenings.
There’s a few you can catch at City Screen in May, starting this week with the charming 2011 sci-fi fantasy Super 8.
Director JJ Abrams’ homage to the 1970s/80s blockbusters of his youth has been somewhat overshadowed by the success of his work on Star Trek and Star Wars, but his tale of a gang of kids (on bikes, of course) uncovering mysterious goings-on in small town America is a lovingly crafted delight, and does a great job of capturing the sense of wonder and adventure found in the likes of E.T..
It’s on at City Screen on Sat 4th at 12pm.
It’s always exciting when you discover a new director – particularly if they’ve already amassed a hefty back catalogue.
So if you enjoyed last year’s moving Japanese family drama Shoplifters, then you’ll be pleased to hear that City Screen have a season of earlier films by director Hirokazu Kore-eda showing on Tuesdays this month.
Showing this week on Tues 7th is his debut film from 1995, Maborosi – the tale of a young woman who fears that she brings death to those nearest and dearest to her.
Also worth flagging up at City Screen is British drama Pond Life. This ‘90s-set coming-of-age tale, based in a South Yorkshire mining town, has been earning comparisons to the films of Ken Loach and Shane Meadows – and features a soundtrack from Sheffield troubadour Richard Hawley to boot.
There are three screenings this week on Fri 3rd, Weds 8th and Thurs 9th (the latter two are matinees only).
Finally, over to Everyman where there’s a chance to see some great music-themed films this month. This week you can catch the 2007 biopic Control – the tale of Joy Division’s legendary frontman Ian Curtis.
Based on the memoir of Curtis’ wife Deborah, it’s beautifully shot in black and white by director Anton Corbijn, the man who was responsible for many iconic shots of the band in his time as their photographer.
It shows at Everyman on Weds 8th.
South Bank Community Cinema have taken the 50th anniversary of the moon landings as the inspiration for their summer season.
It kicks off this Friday (3rd) with a welcome chance to see last year’s Neil Armstrong drama First Man.
If you missed this at the cinema, it’s well worth putting yourself in its orbit now – La La Land director Damien Chazelle expertly juxtaposes the domestic drama of Armstrong’s family life with bone-shaking recreations of the test missions, while Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy are on top form as Armstrong and his wife Janet.
It shows at Clement’s Hall at 8pm – tickets are £3 for members, £4 for guests.