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THE VELVET QUEEN 12A★★★★★ OUT 29 APRIL CINEMAS Rarely have wildlife and nature been captured in such stark beauty as in Marie Amiguet’s luscious and determinedly meandering doc, which follows photographer Vincent Munier and adventurer/ writer Sylvain Tesson into the barren Tibetan plateau in search of the elusive snow leopard.
On the way, we are treated to footage of yaks, bharals, gophers, wolves and Pallas’ cats, as well as mostly whispered meditative musings on human nature and the eternal search for meaning between Munier and Tesson. And the eventual sighting of the titular queen is as searing in its beauty as it is understated and fleeting. ERLINGUR EINARSSON
LUZZU TBC★★★★★ OUT 13 MAY CINEMAS Hot on the heels of CODA comes another story of fishing folk, one of whom (persuasively played by actual Maltese fisherman Jesmark Scicluna) is struggling to keep both his head and his prized ‘luzzu’, a small open fishing boat, above water. A dodgy black-market operation could keep that worn-down wooden boat from sinking and help him care for his ailing infant son… but at what price to his soul? Alex Camilleri’s affecting and relevant slice of Mediterranean neo-realism movingly portrays a traditional way of life that’s being constricted to extinction by EU red tape. NEIL SMITHChris wasn’t nearly as good at hide-and-seek as he thought he was.ALL THE OLD KNIVES 15The Pine who loved me…★★★★★ OUT NOW PRIME VIDEOChris Pine has described All The Old Knives as his chance to do a John le Carré-style story - and it’s easy to see what he means. Although not a take on one of the Tinker Tailor… spymaster’s tomes, this tale of two CIA operatives – and former lovers – feels like it’s come right out of his playbook. Directed by Danish filmmaker Janus Metz Pedersen (Borg/McEnroe), the source is the 2015 novel by Olen Steinhauer, who adapted it for the screen himself.
Pine plays Henry Pelham, a seasoned spook who arrives at a plush restaurant for dinner with former colleague/paramour Celia Harrison (Thandiwe Newton). Their conversation soon switches to the fallout from an operation in Vienna years earlier, when a rescue mission on a hijacked plane went disastrously awry. As flashbacks drop, and Pine criss-crosses the globe, it transpires there was a compromised agent leaking info, costing lives. But who was it?
Featuring an excellent support cast (Jonathan Pryce and Laurence Fishburne in particular bring gravitas to their roles as pivotal pieces on this international chessboard), All The Old Knives is certainly a classy affair. However, those looking for action will likely find the mood rather dry. As a story of betrayal and murky morality, it satisfies well enough, with Pine on song as the watchful Pelham. Just a shame it couldn’t offer a tad more excitement. JAMES MOTTRAM
THE VERDICT All The Old Knives is a solid espionage thriller that won’t raise the pulse, but should still tickle the old brainbox. Pine is typically sharp-eyed in the lead.
FORESIGHT TBC★★★★★ OUT NOW ALL 4Commissioned by Film4, Foresight groups together five bold and persuasive sci-fi shorts that were each inspired by the Brexit vote and subsequent conversations around escalating racism and intolerance. Across the anthology, familiar sci-fi subjects highlight the experiences of being a person of colour in the UK, with biotechnology innovations bringing religious consequences, space travel raising questions around immigration, and confrontations with the future exploring issues of Black parenthood. The result is a compelling mix of inventive plots and powerful storytelling, with naturally dystopian overtones. MATT LOOKER
SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME 12★★★★★ OUT NOW DVD, BD, 4K, DIGITAL EXTRAS ★★★★★ Gag reel, Featurettes, Pre-viz, The Daily Bugle news reports “We’re very secretive with our films, but on this one it’s been really challenging,” admits director of security Barry Curtis about Marvel’s enjoyably messy multiverse mashup. Thankfully, the cat is well and truly out of the bag now, so there’s no shortage of appearances by previous Spider-Men Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield among the many extras, both clearly thrilled about their return. The latter is particularly pleased to finally get “a bit more closure on something that means so much to me.” ANTON VAN BEEK