5 of the best
The Front Runner (15) (Jason Reitman, 2018, US) 113 mins
Understated political drama about a presidential candidate under siege by the press: the candidate is Gary Hart, who was on course to challenge Ronald Reagan in 1988 before allegations of an affair emerged. Hart is played by that old smoothie Hugh Jackman, and director Jason Reitman resists the temptation to tell a grandstanding story, preferring to concentrate on what the public expects from its politicians, and vice versa.
Stan & Ollie (PG) (Jon S Baird, 2018, UK/Can/US) 98 mins
A convincing approximation of the celebrated double act, with Steve Coogan as Laurel and John C Reilly as Hardy. This catches them in the early 1950s, on a music hall tour of the UK, a melancholic vision of legends in decline – not dissimilar to the 2017 Gloria Grahame biopic Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool. A wistful treatment with low-key charm, evoking a vanished era.
Mary Poppins Returns (U) (Rob Marshall, 2018, US) 130 mins
Disney’s sequel to its celebrated family hit plays more like a remake: it’s tonally identical to its predecessor, with no discernible difference to the action being set a generation later. The VFX are ritzier, to be sure, and Emily Blunt makes a sterner Poppins than Julie Andrews. Other than that, you basically get what you got in 1964.