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The best films to watch at the cinema this week – and what to avoid

Tim Robey
Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu in a scene from Hustlers - A136_C010_050190

This week’s cinema includes For Sama, a harrowing documentary about a young mother caught in the Syrian Civil War.

Jennifer Lopez gives an extraordinary performance in Hustlers, inspired by the true story of a group of strippers who conned Wall Street CEOs out of their fortunes. 

And the 1969 classic Midnight Cowboy, starring Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman, returns to cinemas for a special re-release.

Hustlers ★★★★

Jennifer Lopez charges into the Oscar race with a shot at her first nomination, playing a stripper who teams up with her co-dancers (Keke Palmer, Constance Wu) to juice Wall Street for all it’s worth. Telling their true story with Scorsesean oomph, director Lorene Scafaria lays on a fiesta of lap-dance con-artistry that’s both glitzy and poignant, with a killer soundtrack.

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For Sama ★★★★★

The essential documentary about Syria has arrived. Harrowing and anger-inspiring, it takes us with shattering immediacy into the lives of Waad and Hamza al-Kateab, a couple trying to raise their baby daughter, Sama, in the bomb-blasted environment of Aleppo.

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Waad Al-Kateab on raising a child in wartime

Midnight Cowboy ★★★★★

For its 50th anniversary, a reissue for John Schlesinger’s game-changing drama of New York street life, the most sexually frank film ever to win Best Picture. It holds up with real electricity, especially the desperate, thrown-together buddy dynamic between Texan prostitute Joe (a career-best Jon Voight) and Dustin Hoffman’s broken, limping con artist, Ratso.

IT: Chapter Two ★★★☆☆

The saga adapted from Stephen King’s horror doorstop concludes, reuniting the survivors of childhood trauma to combat the evil clown Pennywise (a gurgling Bill Skarsgård). Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy and Bill Hader also star.

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Rebecca Hawkes on the origins of Pennywise

Mrs Lowry & Son ★★☆☆☆

Timothy Spall plays the struggling artist LS Lowry, Vanessa Redgrave his overbearing mother; it’s a claustrophobic pairing that plays out with some asperity in a two-up, two-down Pendlebury house. The idea of these two drowning together in their bric-á-brac could have been mesmeric, but their interactions are often clumsily forced.

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Alex Preston talks to director Adrian Noble about Lowry’s life and work

 

Have you watched any of the “must-see” films on this list?

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