(with pictures) (Note to editors: The horror thriller Jigsaw, which is released on Friday October 27, does not screen to critics ahead of release. Therefore, we are unable to provide a digest review for this picture.)


If the precipitous act of falling giddily in love could be distilled, the resulting nectar would surely taste as bittersweet and intoxicating as Call Me By Your Name.

Adapted from Andre Aciman's novel, Italian director Luca Guadagnino's sensual, rhapsodic and gorgeously restrained romance is a film to reinvigorate your belief in the power of cinema to perfectly reflect the vagaries of the human condition.

Screenwriter James Ivory spares us neither intense pleasure nor body-shaking anguish as he details the passionate affair between a precocious 17-year-old boy (Timothee Chalamet) and an older man (Armie Hammer) against the sun-kissed backdrop of 1980s northern Italy.

Like Brokeback Mountain, Guadagnino's immaculately crafted picture delicately transcends the sexual orientation of the lead couple, speaking eloquently to anyone who has experienced an irrational rush of blood to the head in the name of amour.

There aren't enough superlatives to lavish on the lead performance of 21-year-old Chalamet, who learned Italian, piano and the guitar in three months to perfect embody his lovesick teenager.

Every facet of the character's delirium and despair is captured in exquisite detail on his face, including an extraordinary final unbroken shot over the closing credits that guarantees no one leaves the darkened cinema with dry eyes and an unbroken heart.

Rating: Five stars


Three is the magic number for Marvel Comics' dreamy incarnation of the hammer-wielding Norse god of thunder.

Portrayed on screen since 2011 by Chris Hemsworth with flowing golden locks, gym-sculpted abs and laid-back Antipodean charm, Thor finally gets into an otherworldly groove in this third solo outing directed to the comic hilt by Taika Waititi.

The celebrated New Zealand film-maker and a trio of screenwriters adhere to a classic three-act structure for their heady brew of rip-roaring action adventure, bone-dry humour and dazzling spectacle that positions this gung-ho chapter closer to Guardians Of The Galaxy than its brawny predecessors.

The heavenly convergence of direction, writing and performance would align perfectly if Cate Blanchett was allowed to fully inhabit her snarling villainess, who sets in motion the prophetic downfall of the kingdom of Asgard.

Two additional scenes are nestled in the heaving bosom of the end credits to ensure diehard Marvel fans leave on a high.

Rating: Four stars


Breathe is the inspirational true story of a dapper young man (Andrew Garfield), who contracted polio in 1950s Kenya and was confronted with the grim reality of spending his final days confined to a hospital bed, paralysed from the neck down and reliant on machines to carry out basic bodily functions.

Encouraged to embrace life by his spirited wife (Claire Foy) rather than shrink from it, the patient blazed a defiant trail by venturing outside of the hospital ward in a specially constructed wheelchair fitted with a battery-powered mobile respirator.

There are strong echoes of The Theory Of Everything in Andy Serkis' directorial debut, which is anchored by sterling performances from Garfield and Foy as the married couple, who believe the strength of their love and the enduring power of the human spirit will prove science wrong.

Scriptwriter William Nicholson cuts back and forth between the central love story and medical miracles, delivering gentle tugs to our heartstrings as setbacks embolden the seemingly powerless to risk everything for one more day in the sun.

Rating: Three stars


Dean Devlin, producer of Godzilla, Independence Day and its sequel, nestles in the director's chair for the first time to wreak meteorological havoc in a big budget action thriller co-written by Paul Guyot.

By turns preposterous and mind-numbingly predictable, Geostorm hordes every disaster movie cliche and regurgitates them in a blizzard of special effects wizardry that blows itself out well before the film's laughable final hour replete with a countdown to the apocalypse.

In the near future, Earth has been devastated by a series of natural catastrophes, which have resulted in the deaths of millions of people.

Governments pool resources to create a state-of-the-art defence system against Mother Nature's fury, controlled by the crew of the International Climate Space Station (ICSS) using satellites that orbit the planet.

When the system malfunctions, US President Andrew Palma (Andy Garcia) dispatches Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler) to the ICSS to root out the bugs in the system.

Back on Earth, Jake's brother Max (Jim Sturgess) races against time to avert disaster aided by his girlfriend Sarah Wilson (Abbie Cornish), a gutsy Secret Service agent assigned to protect President Palma.

Rating: Two stars


Glasgow-born writer-director Armando Iannucci continues to make hay from the grubby business of politics in The Death Of Stalin.

His ghoulish black comedy deftly melds historical fact and bile-drenched fiction as over-inflated male egos collide head-on following the inglorious demise of the Soviet Union's tyrannical General Secretary.

A vast arsenal of one-liners is delivered at a delirious and frenetic pace by a well-drilled ensemble cast.

Wisely, no-one attempts a cod-Soviet accent, which could be an unnecessary distraction from the high-tempo verbal ping pong.

Tragedy and delirium march side by side, blood flowing freely as the pursuit of self-promotion descends into farce and one bewildered politician despairs: "I've had nightmares that make more sense than this!"

Iannucci's beautiful nightmare is a dizzying dance macabre to savour.

Rating: Four stars


A murdered college student (Jessica Rothe) is forced to relive the gruesome day of her demise in Christopher Landon's waggish and sprightly slasher, which splices uproarious comedy Groundhog Day with self-referential teen horror Scream.

Gore frequently trumps giggles during Happy Death Day but the tantalising dramatic conceit of a distraught heroine stuck in a tragic groove provides screenwriter Scott Lobdell with a rich seam of black humour and female empowerment.

He relishes killing off his central character in myriad grisly scenarios, including a farcical montage of slaughter set to a jaunty pop soundtrack.

With each knife to the stomach or broken glass to the throat, the victim undergoes a gradual transformation from an unsympathetic vixen to a painfully self-aware young woman we can root for.

Pacing remains brisk so there's little time to dwell on plot holes and inconsistencies. Gently embrace the madness.

Rating: Three stars


Jayson Thiessen's simplistic animated musical fantasy follows plucky Princess Twilight Sparkle (voiced by Tara Strong) as she attempts to save the kingdom of Equestria from the diabolical Storm King (Liev Schreiber).

Judged against other animated features which have cantered across the big screen in recent months, this hoof-tapping ode to friendship and self-sacrifice isn't quite thoroughbred material.

A script credited to three writers is saddled with greetings cards platitudes - "Friendship didn't fail me. I failed friendship!" - that mean nothing but somehow nourish the film's underlying message of steadfast unity in the face of adversity.

Songs are relentlessly upbeat but instantly forgettable, relying on snappy lyrical wordplay like "We got this/You got this/We got this together!"

Parents will certainly be in this with their excitable tykes.

Rating: Two stars


It's entirely fitting that Richard Dale, Peter Webber and Fan Lixin's nature documentary should be a visually sumptuous exercise in recycling.

The six hour-long episodes of the BBC series Planet Earth II, which was broadcast in winter 2016, have been re-edited with previously unseen footage into a feature-length celebration of our "small blue planet with a rocky moon travelling around a star".

The soothing narration of Sir David Attenborough has been replaced by the silky tones of Robert Redford, working from a script penned by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Goodbye Christopher Robin) that is heavy on the hyperbole.

"As far as we know, one day spent here is the most amazing thing in the universe," coos Redford as almost 40 photographers capture startling images of the most remote locations on the globe.

It's a ravishing spectacle but some sequences will be achingly familiar to viewers of the TV show, most notably dramatic footage from the Galapagos Islands of a young marine iguana emerging from hot sand and attempting to outrun dozens of deadly racer snakes.

Rating: Three stars


Based on the seventh book in Jo Nesbo's best-selling series, The Snowman is a ham-fisted detective yarn with ice rather than blood in its veins, which cannot muster a single flurry of tension over the course of two glacial hours that feel closer to three.

A mild case of frostbite might be favourable to shivering with boredom through director Tomas Alfredson's anaemic hunt for a diabolical serial killer, who strikes during the first winter snowfall.

Dramatic momentum is frozen solid from the chilly opening frames and Michael Fassbender's lifeless lead performance as a grizzled detective battling alcoholism fails to thaw our sympathy.

Frenetic editing renders one pivotal fight sequence incomprehensible and with each clearly telegraphed twist, Alfredson is incapable of shifting out of first gear.

Unthinkably, he's built an abominable Snowman.

Rating: Two stars


The Hangover downs shots with Deliverance and The Blair Witch Project, and blood flows more readily than booze in David Bruckner's horror thriller.

Laced with Nordic mythology and laddish banter, The Ritual is a grim tale of four hapless 30-something pals (Rafe Spall, Robert James-Collier, Arsher Ali and Sam Troughton), who get lost in a Scandinavian forest and come face to face with a malevolent force that drives them to the brink of despair.

You won't need a map and compass to navigate each twist in Joe Barton's script, adapted from the novel by Adam Nevill, or discern the order in which thinly-sketched characters are most likely to perish.

The Ritual resists the temptation for cheap, jump-out-of-your-seat scares to focus on a sustained build-up of tension.

Bruckner's approach works, tickling our discomfort until the underwritten characters' fears are realised in a climactic bloodbath augmented with digital effects.

Rating: Three stars


The spirit of reconstruction runs deep in The LEGO Ninjago Movie, the third computer-animated adventure in the rapidly-expanding franchise.

Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher and Bob Logan's film lazily bolts together themes from The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie to explore a strained father-son dynamic against a backdrop of martial arts mayhem.

The riotous, barnstorming comedy of the first two films has been heavily diluted and a live-action framing device featuring Hong Kong superstar Jackie Chan as the owner of a mystical shop feels like an obvious stylistic conceit.

Polished one-liners are disappointingly thin on the brick-plated ground and vocal performances fail to elevate the material above the parapet of mediocrity.

A linear quest for a mysterious artefact called The Ultimate, Ultimate Weapon provides a flimsy hook for the toybox tomfoolery, and should hold the attention of very young audiences who are already familiar with the lucrative Ninjago brand.

Rating: Three stars

BLADE RUNNER 2049 (15)

Director Denis Villeneuve's eagerly awaited sequel honours the past and respectfully expands the nihilistic universe imagined by Philip K Dick in his novel Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?

In Blade Runner 2049, androids dream of wooden horses and possessing the one thing that cannot be coded into their meticulously crafted bodies: a soul.

Motifs from Ridley Scott's 1982 film reverberate tantalisingly throughout this pristine follow-up, deftly stitching together two timelines without completely excluding audiences who are blissfully ignorant of the original.

Familiarity undoubtedly enriches the experience but also sows seeds of nostalgia-tinged disappointment.

For all its bravura production design and flawless special effects, Blade Runner 2049 doesn't smack gobs with its invention, apart from a sensual three-way sex scene that gently tickles our g-spot.

Like the automata that enrich human lives, Villeneuve's film is one small yet significant iteration shy of perfection.

Rating: Four stars


A plane crash in mountainous terrain brings together strangers on different emotional flight paths in director Hany Abu-Assad's romantic drama.

Based on the novel by Charles Martin, The Mountain Between Us is a gooey collision of beautiful people in peril: a photojournalist (Kate Winslet) on assignment for a national UK newspaper and a gifted neurosurgeon (Idris Elba).

The script goes into freefall well before a bravura crash sequence, which the director seemingly captures in a single fluid take, his camera gliding back and forth inside the claustrophobic fuselage until the inevitable, sickening plunge towards terra firma.

Oscar winner Winslet and Golden Globe winner Elba don't have a great deal to work with, but both actors threaten to melt the 10 inches of spring snow with their lustful glances and heartfelt delivery of corny dialogue.

A final destination is clearly telegraphed far in advance of the softly lit, breathless sex scene. Don't expect much turbulence before landing.

Rating: Three stars


Adapted from Jeannette Walls' best-selling memoir of the same title, director Destin Daniel Cretton's tonally uneven picture asks us to believe that formative years marked by abandonment and rejection could inspire four siblings to discover the inner strength that will stand them in good stead for the future.

It's a harsh lesson in self-preservation, delivered with gusto by an impressive ensemble cast led by Oscar winner Brie Larson.

Those sterling performances, which frequently claw at our hearts, elevate a chronologically fractured script that fails to endear us to a booze-sodden father (Woody Harrelson), who has a mantra to justify every hard knock until he must finally confront the pain he has wrought.

"I spent my whole life running from those demons in the wild," he laments, "and the whole time they were hiding in my belly."

That would explain the picture's bloated midsection.

Rating: Three stars


The dark age of celebrity parents monetising their cherubic children dawned many years before the scourge of selfies, social media and smartphones.

In the handsomely crafted drama Goodbye Christopher Robin, battle-scarred author AA Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) and his wife Daphne (Margot Robbie) treat their young son (Will Tilston) as a sales tool in the mid-1920s to promote the literary adventures of a hunny-loving bear called Winnie-The-Pooh.

The sacrifice of one little boy's childhood innocence for the happiness and healing of a shell-shocked Britain, which has been devastated by the Great War, is at the wounded heart of Simon Curtis's picture.

The script, co-written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Simon Vaughan, gradually exposes the anguish and resentment that festered beneath the Hundred Acre Wood.

It's an emotionally chilly film, reflected in Gleeson's restrained performance, which internalises Milne's post-traumatic stress and shuts out his family as well as us.

Rating: Three stars


Director Matthew Vaughn's high-octane spy caper sequel opens with a digitally enhanced bang: an outlandish fight sequence inside a London taxi, aptly choreographed to Prince's foot-stomping anthem Let's Go Crazy.

For the next two hours, Vaughn and co-writer Jane Goldman oblige.

They sacrifice logic at the altar of cartoonish calamity as Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and technical support guru Merlin (Mark Strong) join forces with Kingsman's swaggering Transatlantic counterparts, Statesman, in order to defeat drugs cartel kingpin Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore).

Kingsman: The Golden Circle quickly accelerates into the same preposterous groove as its 2015 predecessor, unleashing an exhausting blitzkrieg of hyper-stylised mayhem.

The sole zinging addition to this expensive cocktail is Sir Elton John, playing a deliciously potty-mouthed exaggeration of himself.

Clad in feathers, sequins and frou-frou, the rocket man is out of this world.

Rating: Three stars


Twenty years after Dame Judi Dench beautifully captured the aching loneliness of Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown, the diminutive national treasure slips back into regal garb for Stephen Frears' heart-warming comedy drama torn from a long-lost page in history.

Set during the final five years of Victoria's turbulent reign, the picture touches upon some of the same themes as Dame Judi's earlier portrayal, albeit with more humour.

Mrs Lighter Brown, if you will.

The year is 1887 and Queen Victoria (Dame Judi) is comfortably installed as Empress of India, although she has never visited the domain.

In Agra, two lowly men - Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) and Mohammed (Adeel Akhtar) - are chosen by British authorities to present the monarch with a ceremonial gold coin called a mohur.

They travel to Windsor Castle, where Abdul catches Victoria's eye and is rapidly promoted to the monarch's spiritual adviser or "Munshi".

Rating: Three stars


The time for diplomacy is dead - and so are the terrorists who threaten Western ideals - in Michael Cuesta's testosterone-fuelled action thriller.

Opening with a shooting at a Spanish resort, chillingly reminiscent of the 2015 Tunisian beach attack, American Assassin rampages across the globe, gleefully pulling the trigger on anyone who dares to desecrate a fluttering Stars And Stripes.

Mitch Rapp (Dylan O'Brien) proposes to his sweetheart Katrina (Charlotte Vega) shortly before she is killed by merciless gunmen on a crowded beach in Ibiza.

Revenge boils in his veins and over the next 18 months, Mitch metamorphoses into a gym-toned angel of death in order to infiltrate the terrorist cell responsible for Katrina's death.

Before he can complete his suicide mission, Mitch falls into the clutches of the CIA's deputy director, Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan), who offers Mitch the opportunity to train with Cold War veteran Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton) as part of a covert operation codenamed Orion.

Rating: Two stars


A maniacal koala bear with delusions of grandeur threatens the safety of creatures great and small in The Jungle Bunch.

Based on a hit French TV series, director David Alaux's jaunty computer-animated adventure follows in the pawprints of a menagerie of brightly coloured tales populated by anthropomorphised critters including Zootropolis, Sing, The Secret Life Of Pets and Kung Fu Panda.

Could this be animal magic too? Sadly not.

A simplistic screenplay, co-written by Alaux and Eric Tosti, is light on uproarious comedy and pulse-quickening set pieces, repeatedly opting for wide-eyed cuteness over narrative sophistication and invention.

Parents who are dragged into the jungle by excitable tykes will be enjoying big catnaps in the dark rather than purring with delight.

Rating: Two stars

IT (15)

Director Andres Muschietti's nerve-jangling adaptation of Stephen King's hefty tome portrays the fictional town of Derry, Maine, as a hotbed of exploitation, abuse and degradation committed by adults on the young.

Menace leaches from every frame and the three screenwriters make our skin crawl by exposing the festering underbelly of a community that has stopped listening or caring.

In June 1989, seven tormented pre-teens bond as the Losers' Club, drawn together by mutual beatings at the hands of sadistic 15-year-old Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton).

The stuttering leader of the Losers' Club, Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher), is haunted by the loss of his younger brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott), who was dragged into the subterranean lair of Pennywise the clown (Bill Skarsgard) the previous autumn.

Bill vows revenge in the company of his fellow misfits but Pennywise intends to feast upon children's fears.

Roll up for all the fun of the fair from hell.

Rating: Four stars


Justice is blind and frost-bitten in Wind River, an impeccably crafted thriller set in snow-laden Wyoming, where the murder of a teenager sends a chill through a community riven by bigotry and fear.

Taylor Sheridan, Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Hell Or High Water and Sicario, returns to the director's chair for a high-stakes game of cat and mouse in unforgiving terrain.

Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) works as a tracker for the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

During one sortie into the wilderness, Cory stumbles upon the frozen body of 18-year-old Natalie Hanson (Kelsey Chow).

She has been sexually assaulted and rookie FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) arrives soon after from the Las Vegas office to take charge of the investigation.

Rating: Four stars


The heady musk of bromance pervades as Samuel L Jackson and Ryan Reynolds wedge tongues firmly in cheek to play the hitman and his protector in Patrick Hughes's high-octane action comedy.

The Hitman's Bodyguard is a fitfully entertaining, testosterone-saturated romp that borrows the basic premise of the 1977 Clint Eastwood thriller The Gauntlet and orchestrates mayhem around the fractious on-screen chemistry of its two leads.

Reynolds and Jackson relish the potty-mouthed dialogue but it's co-star Salma Hayek who sinks her painted talons deepest into every scene.

She is a delirious delight as the latter man's snarling, sex-charged wife, who makes her entrance by severing a carotid artery with a beer bottle and spits choice expletives from her perfectly glossed lips.

She perfectly embodies the film's outlandish, knockabout spirit.

Rating: Three stars


There are peanuts and pistachios aplenty in director Cal Brunker's computer-animated sequel but the biggest nuts are family audiences who shell out for this plodding, derivative mess.

The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature is a joyless and clumsily constructed affair, which continues the misadventures of a selfish purple squirrel (voiced by Will Arnett), who learnt a valuable lesson about self-sacrifice in the first film after he carelessly destroyed one animal community's winter store.

Alas, the bushy-tailed rodent has relinquished any warmth or likeability by the opening frames of this pedestrian follow-up, which follows the squirrel and his four-legged army as they battle a greedy mayor (Bobby Moynihan) for control of the city park.

Physical humour falls flat and action set-pieces, including a fur-raising ride on a rollercoaster, are loosely bolted together with gossamer-thin strands of romance and reconciliation.

Rating: Two stars


The Emoji Movie is a computer-animated adventure set inside a teenage boy's mobile phone, which hacks the source code from Inside Out and Zootopia to invent a metropolis where these tiny text message icons live, perpetually at the beck and call of the user.

It's an intriguing premise but director Tony Leondis, who co-wrote the script with Eric Siegel and Mike White, delivers a horribly misjudged journey of self-discovery that can be neatly summed up with one emoji: poop.

So-called punchlines fall flat with excruciating frequency and the film's rallying cry for community over selfishness is trumpeted in the most ham-fisted and saccharine fashion ("What good is it to be number one if there aren't any other numbers?").

Rating: One star


Adapted from Dav Pilkey's series of colourful children's books, David Soren's energetic computer-animated adventure is like a pair of oft-worn Y-fronts: saggy and frayed in places, but structurally sound.

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie embraces puerile humour with a goofy grin and repeatedly trots out fart and poop gags to keep youngsters in the audience sniggering with glee.

Fourth-grade pals George Beard (voiced by Kevin Hart) and Harold Hutchins (Thomas Middleditch) hypnotise mean-spirited school headmaster Benjamin Krupp (Ed Helms) using a plastic ring from a box of frosted cereal.

The tykes convince the headmaster that he is a superhero called Captain Underpants, who gallivants around their community of Piqua, Ohio, wearing just a pair of white Y-fronts and a flowing red cape.

Rating: Three stars


Co-directed by Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda and Eric Guillon, Despicable Me 3 is a pick 'n' mix of half-formed ideas, crudely stitched together with flimsy subplots that lack any forward momentum.

The third chapter relies heavily on the googly-eyed Minions and there are fleeting giggles involving the comical stooges and their high-pitched lingo of Esperanto meets gobbledygook.

Alas, human protagonists are a drab bunch by comparison, even with the introduction of a long-lost twin brother for lead character Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and a new arch villain, Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), who is stuck in a 1980s time warp, necessitating a soundtrack laden with bygone gems including Take On Me, 99 Red Balloons and Into The Groove.

Visuals are slick and colourful, but beneath the wrapping what we're left with, sadly, is Despicable Meh.

Rating: Two stars