Won’t you take us to the bioscope?

Lifestyle

Won’t you take us to the bioscope?

The films opening in our cinemas this week

Critics’ choice



SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE
What it's about
Bitten by a radioactive spider in the subway, Brooklyn teenager Miles Morales suddenly develops mysterious powers that transform him into the one and only Spider-Man. When he meets Peter Parker he soon realises there are many others who share his special, high-flying talents. Miles must now use his newfound skills to battle the evil Kingpin, a hulking madman who can open portals to other universes and pull different versions of Spider-Man into our world.
What people say
This rousingly entertaining superhero adventure is everything a great family movie should be: Laugh-out-loud funny, filled with teachable moments, and appealing to parents and kids of all ages. – Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
A bit of a conceptual dare, but it wins with its nanosecond-sharp timing, and percussive rat-a-tat-tatting of panels and split screens that make the action and visual gags feel jumpy and alive. – Emily Yoshida, Vulture
MORTAL ENGINES
What it's about
Hundreds of years after civilisation was destroyed by a cataclysmic event, a mysterious young woman, Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar), emerges as the only one who can stop London – now a giant predator city on wheels – from devouring everything in its path. Feral, and fiercely driven by the memory of her mother, Hester joins forces with Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan), an outcast from London, along with Anna Fang (Jihae), a dangerous outlaw with a bounty on her head.
What people say
It rips a few too many pages from familiar playbooks, but when it indulges in its own weirdness this film casts off those heavy caterpillar tracks and soars. – Helen O'Hara, Empire
Could have been pardoned for all its excesses and missteps had it simply stuck to the job of offering a fun ride. – Anupam Kant Verma, Firstpost
ELLIOT: LITTLEST REINDEER
What it's about
When Blitzen suddenly announces his retirement, Santa needs to find a replacement. Against all odds, Elliot and his best friend, Hazel, set out to prove that he is the horse for the job. As Elliot and Hazel take on the North Pole reindeer try-outs, Hazel learns that Christmas, as we know it, may be headed for disaster. Meanwhile, back at the farm a sinister lady threatens the lives of their friends, and Elliot is faced with the biggest decision of his life.
What people say
Children aren’t likely to mind or even realise that this holiday-themed story is derivative of several other kids’ animated films, but it may bug older viewers. – Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
One great character-building test is to ask your child to sit patiently through this film. It’s a test most adults will fail. – Ben Kenigsberg, The NYTimes
ROMA
What it’s about
A semi-autobiographical take on director Alfonso Cuarón’s upbringing in Mexico City, it follows the life of a live-in housekeeper to a middle-class family. The title refers to the Colonia Roma district of the city.
What people say
In the end it’s not so much a drama as a meditation: A beautiful movie whose artistry might have soared more if it had less insistent gravity. – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
One of the best movies I’ve ever seen, and one of the most moving. – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
SECOND ACT
What it's about
Value Shop assistant manager Maya Vargas wants only one thing for her 43rd birthday – a promotion. While her résumé may not scream upper management, her track record certainly does. Vargas is an innovator who listens to her customers and delivers results. When she loses the job to a college-educated candidate, Maya sets out to prove to Madison Avenue that street smarts are as valuable as book smarts – and it’s never too late for a second act.
What people say
By and large the film goes exactly where you’ll expect it to go from start to finish, but is propelled by the strength of the characters and some wonderfully deft screenwriting. –Tom Augustine, New Zealand Herald
Nothing new or outstanding, but it’s a nice watch, and worth it to see Jennifer Lopez on screen again. – Amanda Jane Robinson, Flicks.co.nz

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