(M) A delightful contemporary comedy about the problems facing an independent 30something New York woman who can’t sustain relationships but who yearns to be a mother. Writer-director Rebecca Miller and a superb cast headed by the divine Greta Gerwig alongside Julianne Moore and Ethan Hawke ensure that this smart, witty comedy is based firmly in reality — and all the better for it. Love & Friendship (PG) In Love & Friendship, director and writer Whit Stillman boldly goes in a few directions. First, the film is based not on a famous Austen work but on an epistolary novel she wrote in her late teens. This is an Austen adaptation that reminds us what a funny writer she was. The director is aided and abetted by a strong cast, especially Kate Beckinsale as the leading character, Lady Susan Vernon. Australia’s Xavier Samuel is excellent as the handsome but sensible Reginald De Courcy. Stillman uses the correspondence basis of the novel with great effect. Austen did like to have fun with her characters to show the stranger sides we all have, and watching this classy adaptation of one of her lesser-known works will remind you of that.
Lights Out (M) Lights Out is directed by David F. Sanberg, an expansion of a short film he made in 2013. It is an old-fashioned horror film in which rattling doors, sudden movements, noise, apparitions and, in this case, darkness build serious tension. The evil here is a woman named Diana who appears as a talon-handed shadow, but only in darkness. Light hurts her, makes her disappear. If you are in the mood for some neck-hair prickles, this should do the trick. By the finely judged end, just who is causing all this horror is not clear, and that is the greatest fright of all.
Blazing Baroque The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra presents this opportunity to hear baroque concertos played on rare combinations of instruments. Compositions by Telemann, Vivaldi, Sammartini and Fasch will be played under the baton of Paul Dyer. In addition to leading the orchestra, concertmaster and violinist Shaun Lee-Chen (pictured) will play a violin concerto by Vivaldi — known as Il grosso Mogul — on a baroque violin. City Recital Hall, 2 Angel Place, Sydney. Wednesday, 7pm. Tickets: $32-$173. Bookings: 1300 782 856 or online. Until August 6. Choir of Trinity College It’s the physical separation between the singers that you notice first when the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge takes to the stage, half a body width to spare on either side of them. Then you hear the individual voices, each of which, horror of horrors, stands out. From a brief Arvo Part opener it’s straight on to Byrd, Tallis and Purcell as choristers half turn towards one another. Stephen Layton conducts, the man who has been director of music since 2006. In a program that moves between old and new, the centrepiece is Frank Martin’s Mass for Unaccompanied Double Choir. It’s gloriously sung. City Recital Hall, 2 Angel Place, Sydney. Today, 2pm. Tickets: $30-$117. Bookings: 1800 688 482 or online.