Top five films this week

There are loads of films to watch in Edinburgh’s cinemas this weekend – both old and new – but here’s the five currently on offer that I think you’d be silly to miss…

number1

Sicario

Emily Blunt stars delivers a commanding performance in Dennis Villeneuve’s brutal crime thriller as Kate Macer, an FBI agent who’s shipped off to help take down a Mexican drug gang. The film piles on the tension as the murky, dangerous war on drugs is revealed with all its moral ambiguity and blood-splattering violence (Blunt herself engages in an unsparing fist-fight with Jon Bernthal’s twisted cop). It’s uncomfortable, unnerving and constantly engaging as Roger Deakins’ cinematography and Villeneuve’s intense shooting style paints a bleak picture of the sort of hardships people have to deal with day by day without the promise of an end like those of us watching in comfy cinema seats.

number2

Macbeth

The most famous of Scottish plays receives yet another adaptation, this time with Australian born Justin Kurzel at the helm. The beautiful, barren landscape of Scotland is a character in itself, further emphasising the dark themes which play key to the story. Michael Fassbender is a perfect fit for the King himself, particularly as he slips into further and further into madness. Marion Cotillard is every bit his equal as the devilishly cunning Lady Macbeth. Kurzel proves his talents in his deliverance of an adaptation that bears enough of its own soul and its own noteworthy singularities to set it apart from the many others that have come before it.

number3

The Walk

A tricky one due to the irritating narration and choppy script, The Walk isn’t an out-and-out success, perhaps featuring a few more complications than merits. It’s only annoying for us to be told over-and-over again how we should be feeling through egregious voiceovers from Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s shaky French accent. But, that said, when the film reaches the point when real-life subject Phillipe Petit (Gordon-Levitt) takes his first few steps out into the abyss, it comes alive. Robert Zemeckis employs 3D in a way that almost validates its existence and the visuals are that photo-realistic that there’s no way you aren’t leaving the cinema a quivering mess with your heart firmly in your mouth.

number4

Hotel Transylvania 2

The first Hotel Transylvania was a modest success for Sony – a charming and chucklesome animation about hideaway monsters. This time around, humans are involved as Dracula’s only daughter has married human Johnny and born his baby, who may or may not be a vampire. Most of the film concerns Dracula, played by an on-form Adam Sandler, and his various attempts to wile his grandson’s fang’s out before his fifth birthday. The sight gags are non-stop (the ones involving Blobby are particularly funny) and the humour on a level that the whole family can enjoy. Its messages of acceptance are overdone to death, but it’s a fun romp that requires little to no thought.

number5

Inside Out

Still hanging on in there is Inside Out, which has to date netted a worldwide sum of £514M. This is a Disney-Pixar film that won’t be forgotten soon. Consider it now as a core memory, in fact. The emotions that run wild in Riley’s head have entered the hearts and minds of many and the film itself looks set to chock up at least one nomination at next year’s Academy Awards (a win, too, would be most welcome and deserving of the skill and talent involved). If you haven’t seen Inside Out yet, then consider yourself judged and visit your nearest cinema promptly to discover what you’ve been missing out on before it’s too late.