Paddington 2 (2017)

I love that bear.

In a world where recent surprises have tended to be a bit scary, Paddington was a shot of joy. That famous little bear was adapted for the modern world and it turned out that he was maybe what we all needed. Of course, such success could only mean one thing. A sequel. Suddenly, the worries were setting in. Could that magic be captured twice? Or would Paddington’s beauty be twisted into a corporate cash cow?

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The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

The poster makes it clear that this probably won’t be a cheery ride.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is the cinematic equivalent of being slowly choked out. At the start it’s uncomfortable, but tinged with a degree of humour at the ridiculousness of the situation. The clipped dialogue that is becoming Yorgos Lantihmos’s trademark makes regular conversations awkward. However, it also makes them funny. The matter of fact way that Colin Farrell’s Steven Murphy tells his colleague that his daughter has started menstruating catches you off guard and the laugh escapes your lips before you can stop it.

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Gerald’s Game

This is not how she pictured the weekend going. Credit: Netflix

Mike Flanagan is quietly making a name for himself. Hush got a bit of internet buzz when it was released on Netflix in 2016, and while Before I Wake didn’t pick up anywhere near the same momentum, there were hints of his growing talent. It was enough to convince Netflix to put faith in him and fund his passion project, Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game – a book he used to take to meetings just in case he could convince someone to let him make it.

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A Ghost Story (2017)

‘Do I have to wear it, mum?’

A film where Casey Affleck spends 90% of the running time dressed like a last-minute Halloween costume and in which a camera sits and focuses on Rooney Mara for nine minutes as she devours a pie could have gone, well, any number of ways to be honest but most of them would be bad. However, if you can stomach the long lingering shots and the Terrence Malick feel to this dreamy reflection on grief, then there is something here. I’m not quite sure what, but it’s there.

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Freak Show (2017)

freak_show_still

There’s something unsettling about this image.

Freak Show takes a well-worn plot and decides to give it a bit of a twisting. Billy Bloom (Alex Lawther) is forced to leave the big city and his beloved Muv (his flamboyant mother played by Bette Midler) behind when he moves in with his dad who he hasn’t seen for seven years. Now living in the Red States, he suddenly finds that being gay with a penchant for drag isn’t the best way to fit in and in fact attracts violence. Billy ain’t no wilting flower, however, and he strikes back by letting his freak flag fly and running for homecoming queen.

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