Prove your humanity: 9   +   9   =  

The big guns come out firing this week as a science-fiction behemoth returns, along with blockbuster king Steven Spielberg, who hardly needs an introduction. If you’re looking for something different there’s even a bit of quirky Greek drama and weird British dystopia to enjoy as well.

J.J. Abrams, after reviving one science fiction favourite has moved on from trekking to warring. In his place behind the camera (though he remains as a producer) steps Justin Lin of The Fast and the Furious series fame. Star Trek Beyond once again sends Chris Pine and co out into the further reaches of space where they meet unexpected enemies. The recent passing of Anton Yelchin adds an extra tinge of sadness to a film that continues the success of the rebooted franchise.

Also at the big end of the scale, but aiming at a slightly different audience, the magic of Steven Spielberg and Roald Dahl combines in The BFG. It’s almost too good to be true. The ever excellent Mark Rylance comes on board again to play the big friendly giant in this adaptation of Dahl’s 1982 classic. It looks great and there’s plenty of wonder to be had, though it does feel a little like Spielberg has softened Dahl’s sharper edges. It’s not exactly a home run, but there’s plenty to enjoy.

Chevalier is an odd beast, a million miles away from the expensive fare above. This wry Greek comedy-drama follows a group of men who find themselves competing in ever more outlandish ways while out on a boating holiday. There’s a lot said about the male obsession with macho posturing and aggressive competitiveness, not much of it good. When they’re trying to prove who can skim stones the best, or construct Ikea furniture first, it’s a joy to watch.

Let’s get this out of the way first – High-Rise doesn’t really work. Out now on DVD, Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump’s adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s dystopian future dissolves into a bit of a mess by the end. Even then it’s a stylish one though, and the first half works extremely well. A sharp look, an excellent cast including the likes of Tom Hiddleston and Sienna Miller, and some of the best use of Abba on screen doesn’t hurt either. A failure yes, but a noble one.

That’s all we have time for now. See you next week when Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass reunite.

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