What's on the big screen this week
TWO classic tales return to cinema screens this week in very slick, big-budget reboots.
Firstly, there's Disney's CGI extravaganza The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. The fantasy adventure film stars Mackenzie Foy as Clara, a young girl who is gifted a locked egg from her deceased mother and sets out in a magical land to retrieve the key.
Then there's director Otto Bathurst's, in his feature film debut, edgy take on the hooded vigilante Robin Hood. Taron Edgerton and Jamie Foxx helm the remake, which is sure to divide viewers. On the plus side, Aussies Ben Mendelsohn and Tim Minchin shine in their supporting roles.
Also out this week is the sophisticated crime drama Widows, which puts a powerhouse female cast - including Aussies Elizabeth Debicki and Jacki Weaver - front and centre.
Here are this week's highlights of the big screen and why you should see them:
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (PG)
A young girl is transported into a magical world of gingerbread soldiers and an army of mice.
Why you should see it: This fantasy extravaganza certainly dazzles visually, appealing to your inner princess, and - somewhat surprisingly - beneath all the colour and glitter is a decent storyline.
Robin Hood (M)
A war-hardened Crusader and his Moorish commander mount an audacious revolt against the corrupt English crown.
Why you should see it: This very modern take on the hooded vigilante is aimed squarely at millennials but with a mish-mash of styles and historical inaccuracies, it's likely to only appeal to its target market. Read the interview with director Otto Bathurst.
Widows (MA 15+)
Four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands' criminal activities take fate into their own hands and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.
Why you should see it: Director Steve McQueen and his powerhouse cast reject the pleasures of a conventional genre pay-off in favour of a more powerful, thought-provoking film. Read the review.
The Children Act (M)
As her marriage crumbles, a judge must decide a case involving a teenage boy who is refusing a blood transfusion on religious principle.
Why you should see it: Emma Thompson's impeccably restrained performance as High Court Judge Fiona Maye is worthy of some Oscar buzz.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (M)
Making good on his threat, Grindelwald escapes custody and sets about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings.
Why you should see it: A beautifully designed film is let down by a jumbled storyline full of too many characters to keep track of. Read the interview with Dan Fogler.
The Old Man & The Gun (M)
At the age of 70, career robber Forrest Tucker embarks on a string of bank robberies that confound the authorities and enchant the public.
Why you should see it: Robert Redford's final big-screen appearance is a real crowd pleaser and a great swan song for the screen veteran's retirement. Read the review.
The Girl in the Spider's Web (MA 15+)
Young computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist find themselves caught in a web of spies, cybercriminals and corrupt government officials.
Why you should see it: Claire Foy spins a new take on action heroine Lisbeth Salander but purists beware. Read the review.
Bohemian Rhapsody (M)
Rami Malek stars in this foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury, who defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet.
Why you should see it: Malek completely commits to his portrayal of Mercury, but by delivering more copycat portrayals of performances than behind the scenes insights this ends up feeling like a somewhat sanitised rock flick. Read about the dark truth behind the hit film.