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2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY OUT NOW / RATED G / 149 MINS

Some clas­sics are so highly re­garded that they be­come un­touch­able mu­seum pieces, fos­silised by their own for­mi­da­ble rep­u­ta­tions — films to be rev­ered rather than ac­tively en­joyed. 2001: A Space Odyssey would per­haps seem to fit that cat­e­gory. But if you’ve been put off, step over the ‘do not touch’ rope, re­move the pro­tec­tive cas­ing and watch it. What gets lost when bril­liant films are canon­ised is how alive they re­ally are — for all its no­to­ri­ous iconog­ra­phy, 2001’s great­ness lies in more than its cul­tur­ally ubiq­ui­tous im­ages. Kubrick’s tech­ni­cal mas­tery, the scalp-itch­ing mono­lith mu­sic, the ab­stract plot­ting — it all pulses and breathes, some­thing to be ex­pe­ri­enced rather than merely ob­served. The 50th an­niver­sary means we now get a pris­tine 4K HDR edi­tion, but if 2001 re­mains on your ‘I’ll watch it some­day’ list, for­get the mile­stone an­niver­sary, shrug off its cul­tural weight, and just sit back for 149 min­utes of mind-bend­ingly vivid sci-fi. BEN TRAVIS

HERED­I­TARY OUT NOW / RATED MA15+ / 128 MINS

The hor­ri­fy­ing thing about Ari Aster’s de­but fea­ture is not the tinge of su­per­nat­u­ral weird­ness that haunts the Gra­ham fam­ily. It’s not even the creepy doll­house that re­pro­duces the fam­ily home. What will re­ally chill your bones is the pos­si­bil­ity that every plot de­vel­op­ment here has an en­tirely ra­tio­nal ex­pla­na­tion, that this fam­ily is merely be­ing torn apart by grief, men­tal break­down and ap­palling, aw­ful luck. From the open­ing scenes, in which Toni Col­lette’s An­nie eu­lo­gises her re­cently de­ceased mother in such scathing terms that you have to won­der which of them is the real mon­ster, this film cre­ates a sense of gathering un­ease that gets nas­tily un­der your skin. Some view­ers crit­i­cised the op­er­atic fi­nale for stray­ing too far from that creepy build-up, but hon­estly, it’s al­most a re­lief that some­thing fi­nally breaks the ten­sion, how­ever grotesque the re­sults. This is one of those hor­rors that will take some get­ting over. HE­LEN O’HARA

WHIT­NEY OUT 5 DE­CEM­BER / RATED M / 115 MINS

Doc­u­men­tary vet­eran Kevin Mac­don­ald is the sec­ond di­rec­tor in two years to tackle the saga of Whit­ney Hous­ton but, thanks in no small part to the ac­cess he was granted, Whit­ney can make a case for be­ing the more de­fin­i­tive take on the trou­bled singer’s life. In­ti­mate, rev­e­la­tory in­sights and anec­dotes from fam­ily mem­bers, al­bum pro­duc­ers and more widens our per­cep­tion of the leg­endary per­former and those who oc­cu­pied her world, as Mac­don­ald reck­ons with Hous­ton’s demons, out­lin­ing a path that led to her un­timely pass­ing in 2012. That this is all as­sem­bled along­side some phe­nom­e­nal mu­si­cal mo­ments from ar­guably the best vo­cal­ist of all time only makes her story more heartbreaking. It’s not for the faint of heart and you’ll likely run the gamut of emo­tions, but whether you’re a Hous­ton fan or not, Whit­ney is es­sen­tial view­ing. AMON WARMANN

SI­CARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO OUT NOW / RATED MA15+ / 122 MINS

Fol­low­ing 2015’s Si­cario, the se­quel — the sub­ti­tle means “hitman” — ar­rived in cin­e­mas like a Pre­mier League soc­cer team stripped of its 30-a-sea­son strik­ers. Los­ing di­rec­tor De­nis Vil­leneuve, star Emily Blunt, cin­e­matog­ra­pher Roger Deakins and the late com­poser Jóhann Jóhanns­son, Soldado had its work cut out, but more than holds its own. The set-up is sim­ple — cool AF CIA wonk Josh Brolin and hitman Beni­cio Del Toro kid­nap the daugh­ter (Is­abela Moner) of a crime boss to spark a car­tel war — but di­rec­tor Ste­fano Sol­lima (TV’S Go­mor­rah) and screen­writer du jour Tay­lor Sheri­dan pile on dy­namic ac­tion (a set-piece with a mo­tor­cade at the US bor­der is ter­rific), moral am­bi­gu­ity and plain old melan­choly, espe­cially when Del Toro’s as­sas­sin is forced to look af­ter the young girl, beau­ti­fully played by Moner. If push came to shove, stick with Vil­leneuve’s orig­i­nal, but this is a tense, mostly grip­ping, timely fol­low-up. IF

FUNNY COW OUT 11 NOVEM­BER / RATED MA15+ / 102 MINS

Given its ti­tle, I’d as­sumed Funny Cow was go­ing to be all laughs, but it’s more pain than pun as it presents child­hood beat­ings, tem­pes­tu­ous ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships and in­tense big­otry within the com­edy in­dus­try. Max­ine Peake, as a woman try­ing to break through as a stand-up in the 1970s and ’80s, car­ries the film with seem­ing ease, cre­at­ing a char­ac­ter that’s heartbreaking and heroic in equal mea­sure, but while she’s the bright­est, she’s not the only star that shines. Paddy Con­si­dine is great as her bour­geois beau, while Tony Pitts — also the screen­writer — nails the brutish hus­band. The pe­riod-ac­cu­rate jokes won’t sit well with ev­ery­one, but there’s some­thing quintessen­tially Bri­tish about its bold­ness in tack­ling those hard-hit­ting home truths. Peake is one of Bri­tain’s best ac­tors, but has largely avoided the big screen. Hope­fully she’ll now make up for lost time.

AMY WEST

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