5 to See: This Weekend

This weekend ASFF selects five films that take in the breadth of human experience. Documentaries, comedy, gothic romance and social thrillers, these films deal with issues of crisis, creation, celebrity and the consequences of politics on the present and future.

Whitney (Altitude)

After his Bob Marley movie, filmmaker Kevin Macdonald returns to the music documentary with this in-depth look at the life and death of pop star Whitney Houston. An authorised portrait, Macdonald talks to family members, friends, confidantes and colleagues in a quest to get behind the headlines and unearth the real Whitney, who went from a singing sensation to doomed diva.

The First Purge (Universal)

The low-budget violent B movie series continues with a fourth entry, a prequel that takes us back to the origins of the “purge” – the annual 12-hour period when all Americans can commit crimes, including murder, without fear of reprisals. Written again by creator James DeMonaco, directorial duties are taken up by Burning Samds’ Gerard McMurry, in a story that turns the franchise into a race war.

Postcards From The 48% (Guerrilla Films)

David Wilkinson’s documentary is a state-of-the-nation look at Britain in 2018, as he speaks to a smattering of those who voted to Remain in the European Union referendum. The case for voters to continue to protest Brexit is cogently made, with Wilkinson considering the consequences of leaving the EU – everything from economic peril to a new hard border in Ireland. If only he’d made this before the vote two years ago.

Mary Shelley (Curzon Films)

Saudi Arabian director Haifaa Al-Mansour (Wadjda) makes her English-language movie debut with this tale of one of literature’s most remarkable talents. Elle Fanning plays Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, the creator of the iconic Gothic horror novel Frankenstein, Or The Modern Prometheus. Although as the film’s title suggests, this is as much about her affair with poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (Douglas Booth), as the lovers defy their elders in a scandalous romance.

Swimming With Men (Vertigo Releasing)

 Inspired by a real-life male synchronised swimming team from Sweden, Oliver Parker’s comedy is a film that sets out to be The Full Monty in trunks. Rob Brydon is the middle-aged man with marital troubles who finds a new lease of life – and a penchant for pools – when he meets a group of guys who gets their kicks from throwing shapes in the water. Co-stars include Charlotte Riley, Thomas Turgoose and Adeel Akhtar.

All films released between 4 and 6 July.

James Mottram

1. Still from The First Purge. Courtesy of Universal.
2. Still from Whitney. Courtesy of Altitude.
3. Still from The First Purge. Courtesy of Universal.
4. Still from Postcards From The 48%. Courtesy of Guerrilla Films.
5. Still from Mary Shelley. Courtesy of Curzon Films.
6. Still from Swimming With Men. Courtesy of Vertigo Releasing.