AMERICAN ANIMALS (15)
THE robots in disguise receive a welcome and sweetly sentimental reboot in the sixth instalment of the Transformers franchise.
Travis Knight, Oscar nominee for the exquisite stop-motion animation Kubo And The Two Strings, replaces Michael Bay in the director’s chair for a family-friendly origin story cast in the mould of The Iron Giant.
Bumblebee unfolds before events of the original Transformers and services a softly beating heart beneath gleaming metal through the touching friendship of the titular Autobot and a griefstricken girl played by Pitch Perfect alumnus Hailee Steinfeld.
The 22-year-old actress delivers a beautifully calibrated and sincere performance, capturing the awkwardness of a teenager who hears her pain echoed in the songs of The Smiths.
Production designers go to town with late 1980s period detail – amusingly, the Decepticons are credited as architects of ★★★★★
THRILLER, based on a true story. Art student Spencer Reinhard (Barry Keoghan) takes a tour of the special collections section of his university’s library, and conceives a plan to steal several rare editions with athletics scholarship student Warren Lipka (Evan Peters). Spencer and Warren realise they need additional manpower and involve two friends – Erik Borsuk (Jared Abrahamson) and Chas Allen (Blake Jenner) – as a lookout inside the library and a getaway driver. Their best-laid preparations falter and fraternal bonds buckle under the strain of a police investigation.
■ Download/stream from December 31 and available from January 14 on DVD/Blu-ray.
Evan Peters as Warren Lipka