5 of the best

The Guardian - The Guide - - Film - An­drew Pul­ver

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.

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