This week’s cinema includes the much-anticipated Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino’s extraordinary re-imagining of the Manson murders.
Transit is a German tale of escaping the Nazis; JT LeRoy looks at the most sensational literary fraud of recent times.
Good Boys hams up the schoolboy comedy, but is there more to it than crude jokes?
Finally, Dora and the Lost City of Gold brings the young Explorer to the big screen.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood ★★★★★
For his extraordinary ninth film, starring Brad Pitt, Leonard DiCaprio and Margot Robbie, Tarantino examines Hollywood’s heyday, culminating in a restaging of the horrific 1969 Manson murders. The great director luxuriates in bringing this pre-Manson golden era roaring back to life, and the effect is pure movie-world intoxication. The transgressive thrill is undeniable; the artistry mesmerisingly assured.
A fugitive called Georg (Franz Rogowski) must escape France using a dead writer’s documents, but plays a waiting game in Marseille with the man’s wife (Paula Beer). It’s a conceit with intriguing rhetorical force amid Europe’s immigration crisis, even if dramatic voltage sputters at times.
JT LeRoy ★★☆☆☆
Justin Kelly’s film dramatises one of the juicier literary hoaxes of recent times: that of the millennial literary it-boy Jeremiah “Terminator” LeRoy, whose magic-realist confessionals from the rural white-trash demimonde turned out to have been written by Laura Albert, a 30-something mother of one from New York. Shame that Kelly untwists the yarn, flattening out its mad specificities into a more generic finding-yourself parable.
The pitch is Superbad for tweens: a trio of sixth-graders, played by Jacob Tremblay, Brady Noon and Keith L Williams, act cool and pretend to know about sex. There are some laughs, but Gene Stupnitsky’s film is both insincere and weak.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold ★★★★☆
This year may yield no pleasanter surprise than this funny family jungle adventure, which stars Instant Family’s Isabela Moner as the live-action incarnation of the long-running children’s cartoon.
Have you watched any of the “must-see” films on this list?
We want to hear what you thought of them in the comments section below.