Here are Damon Smith's reviews of Doctor Sleep, Sorry We Missed You, After The Wedding, Brittany Runs A Marathon, Tales From The Lodge and The Aeronauts...

DOCTOR SLEEP (15, 152 mins)
Four stars

A young boy pedalling his tricycle over wooden floors laid with hexagonal patterned carpet, twin girls dressed in matching sky blue party dresses tied with white bows at the waist, a tidal wave of blood cascading out of ornate elevator doors, an axe-wielding father chasing his terrified young son around a floodlit, snow-laden maze.

In 1980, director Stanley Kubrick slalomed down the claustrophobic halls of the Overlook Hotel as imagined in Stephen King's 1977 novel The Shining, delivering a highly stylised depiction of isolation and escalating madness, which divided critics and elicited strong words of disapproval from the author.

Almost 40 years later, the disturbing image of Jack Nicholson grinning maniacally through a splintered bathroom door, snarling "Here's Johnny!", is firmly embedded in popular culture and Kubrick's film has been re-appraised as a defining moment of the horror canon.

Writer-director Mike Flanagan takes on the daunting task of revisiting the psychologically damaged survivors of the Overlook Hotel in a suspenseful sequel adapted from King's 2013 novel.

In a daring creative flourish which pays rich dividends, he mimics Kubrick's distinctive visual language to recreate key scenes from The Shining on meticulously rebuilt sets, embedding these flashbacks in a present-day story of sobriety and ghoulish fanaticism that conjures moments of gnawing, primal fear like its predecessor.

Dick Hallorann (Carl Lumbly), the Overlook Hotel's avuncular chef, teaches Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) to use his extrasensory powers to imprison angry spectres inside locked boxes in his mind.

Initially, Danny turns to the bottle - like his father Jack - to dull the pain but he finds sobriety and friendship in the New Hampshire town of Frazier, supported by downstairs neighbour and AA sponsor Billy Freeman (Cliff Curtis).

Nightmares of the past resurface when a teenager called Abra (Kyliegh Curran) makes contact.

She has unwittingly tapped into her "shine" to witness the ritualistic murder of a boy (Jacob Tremblay) at the hands of a cult called The True Knot.

Abra's abilities mark her as a prime target for the group's malevolent leader Rose The Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) and chief lieutenant Crow Daddy (Zahn McClarnon).

Fearing for the girl's safety, Danny prepares to face the demented disciples of The True Knot, undaunted by the consequences because he has accepted: "We're all dying. The world is one big hospice with fresh air."

Doctor Sleep replicates Kubrick's style beautifully to tighten a knot of tension in our stomachs and sustain that discomfort for two-and-a-half hours.

McGregor plumbs dark recesses to movingly expose fissures in his recovering alcoholic's facade opposite Curran, who is mesmerising in her first film role.

Ferguson is chilling as a protective and vengeful matriarch, who believes in the morality of her group's murderous actions, setting up a barn-storming showdown in the familiar and chilly surroundings of the Colorado Rockies.

SORRY WE MISSED YOU (15, 101 mins)
Four stars

Shopping on the high street continues to experience a steady decline as online retailers woo more of our hard-earned cash.

However, there are hidden costs to the consumer nirvana of casually swiping or tapping a finger to complete everyday purchases.

The battle for profits has shifted from storefronts to the roads where couriers fiercely compete for corporate accounts with GPS-tracked drivers, same-day and next-day delivery, and the promise of hourly slots so customers know when to be at home to sign for a parcel.

Consumers are kings or queens and a small army of men and women do our bidding on traffic-clogged streets where every second counts towards performance targets.

Director Ken Loach and long-time screenwriter Paul Laverty refuse to turn a blind eye in a gritty slice-of-life drama, which confidently delivers inner turmoil and desperation to a married couple in Newcastle upon Tyne.

In many ways, Sorry We Missed You is a companion piece to the award-winning 2016 film I, Daniel Blake, exploring the intolerable pressure on hard-working families trapped in a vicious and unremitting cycle of long work hours for minimum pay.

Misery has always enjoyed Loach's company and there are some desperately bleak moments here.

Yet Laverty finds glimmers of joy in the gloom like a father and daughter bonding on a delivery route or a family curry night where the man of the house bullishly orders the hottest dish because, "Vindaloo separates the men from the boys!"

Ricky (Kris Hitchen) and wife Abby (Debbie Honeywood) are barely keeping their heads above water as they provide for belligerent teenage son Seb (Rhys Stone) and younger daughter Lisa Jane (Katie Proctor).

Despite Abby's misgivings, Ricky sells the family car to invest in a delivery truck franchise that could turn his fortunes around.

Long hours and penalties for late delivery of online orders keep Ricky on the road, while Lisa Jane is forced to take the bus to carry out her duties as a caregiver in the local community.

When Seb plays truant to spray paint graffiti with friends, the fabric of family life tears at the seams and Ricky and Abby are faced with agonising choices.

"I never thought it would be this difficult," laments Ricky.

Sorry We Missed You confirms Loach as a socially and politically conscious standard bearer for the working class, who believes in the power of cinema to prick consciences and meet inequality with fiery rhetoric.

Hitchen and Honeywood are superb as frazzled parents, struggling to dig themselves out of debt at the expense of precious time with their children.

Dramatic tension intensifies in the film's final 15 minutes when two generations violently butt heads and looking back in anger could distract from safely navigating the road ahead.

AFTER THE WEDDING (12A, 112 mins)
Three stars

Love and marriage go together like a startled horse and runaway carriage in writer-director Bart Freundlich's English language remake of Danish director Susanne Bier's Oscar-nominated 2006 drama.

Resetting the action from Copenhagen to New York, After The Wedding is enslaved to an emotionally manipulative plot that feels just as contrived more than a decade later, despite a neat gender swap of the central roles.

While the original film explored fractious family dynamics through the eyes of two men, Freundlich chooses to glimpse heartache from the perspective of Julianne Moore's corporate trailblazer and Michelle Williams's do-gooder, whose fates collide at the titular nuptials.

Williams delivers a masterclass in minimalist expression and Oscar winner Moore seizes every opportunity to wring tear-soaked pathos from her character's anguished situation.

Dialogue occasionally crackles - "You don't have to be poor to have good intentions" - and Billy Crudup offers solid support as a husband facing the devastating repercussions of a life-changing, spur-of-the-moment decision.

However, the well-oiled mechanics of the central story obscure raw emotion and Freundlich stubbornly refuses to stray into the fascinating moral quagmire where wealthy individuals and corporations in the west assert control over lives thousands of miles away in the guise of philanthropy.

Isabel (Williams) lives in Kolkata in West Bengal, where she has cast aside the trappings of her formative years in America to co-found an orphanage.

She is particularly attached to one little boy called Jai (Vir Pachisia) so when a rich benefactor summons her to New York to agree a charitable donation to shore up the orphanage's finances, Isabel is reluctant to abandon her responsibilities.

"We were here long before God brought you to us," a colleague reminds Isabel and she hurriedly packs, promising to return in good time for Jai's birthday.

The benefactor turns out to be powerful businesswoman Theresa Young (Moore), who is poised to sell her company so she can spend more time with her loved ones.

Theresa cannot sign paperwork until after the weekend, when her daughter Grace (Abby Quinn) is due to marry nice guy Frank (Will Chase).

The businesswoman extends an invitation to an irritated and impatient Isabel, who agrees to attend to secure the funding that the orphanage desperately needs.

Arriving late for the lavish ceremony, Isabel is shocked to discover that she recognises Theresa's husband, gifted sculptor Oscar Carlson (Crudup).

Their shared history threatens to derail Grace's fairy tale nuptials.

After The Wedding fails to land the emotional body blows of the original film even with Williams and Moore trading their best verbal punches.

Freundlich doesn't provide characters with the time or space to explore their messy feelings, always keeping one eye on the next twist.

Revelations are coolly and calmly telegraphed so we are braced for the fallout well before histrionics unfold on screen.

Also released...

(15, 104 mins)

Jillian Bell delivers a winning performance as a 20-something who needs to lose weight to avoid a medical emergency, in a feelgood comedy drama inspired by writer-director Paul Downs Colaizzo's roommate and her journey of self-improvement.

Brittany Forgler (Bell) parties hard and drinks to excess in New York City without any consideration for the consequences.

Following a visit to her doctor, she is ordered to lose weight and get fit to prevent further damage.

Fees to join a local gym are prohibitively expensive so Brittany reluctantly accepts an invitation from her seemingly perfect neighbour Catherine (Michaela Watkins) to join the neighbourhood running group.

On the first laboured jog, Brittany meets gay father Seth (Micah Stock) and they immediately bond as they huff and puff around the course.

The running group allows Brittany to forge touching friendships with Catherine and Seth.

The trio hatches a plan: to push their bodies to the limit by entering the New York City marathon.

As part of her new regime, Brittany begins work as a pet sitter and she enjoys a flirtation with fellow sitter Jern (Utkarsh Ambudkar).

(15, 89 mins)

A reunion of university pals turns into a fight for survival in a bloodthirsty comedy horror written and directed by Abigail Blackmore.

Emma (Sophie Thompson), Joe (Mackenzie Crook), Martha (Laura Fraser), Paul (Dustin Demri-Burns) and Russell (Johnny Vegas) gather at an isolated lodge to scatter the ashes of their friend Jonesy, who drowned in a lake.

It's a sombre occasion and dynamics in the group are complicated by the arrival of bachelor Paul's new girlfriend, Miki (Kelly Wenham), who doesn't share any personal history with the mourners.

As night falls, the pals entertain each other by telling scary stories about ghouls, zombies and the supernatural.

The fear becomes real when Miki is attacked and the university friends realise they are at the mercy of dark forces.

While Joe, who has a potentially fatal heart condition, steadies his nerves, the rest of the gang search for an escape route from their hellish predicament.

(PG, 101 mins)

Inspired by a true story, The Aeronauts takes flight with a cargo of dramatic licence to chart a high-altitude expedition that pushes two emotionally driven souls to the upper limit of human endurance.

James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) is a scientist in 19th-century London, who believes the secret to unlocking weather patterns lies 30,000ft above the earth in the clouds.

While colleagues in the scientific community pour scorn on his ideas, James is convinced to prove his theory by attempting a record-breaking hot air balloon flight piloted by Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones).

She is the wife of a famous pilot, Pierre (Vincent Perez), who lost his life during a previous flight.

Haunting by memories of the doomed ascent, Amelia valiantly accompanies James in the wicker basket in search of grand adventure.

As they soar into a raging storm, James' elderly parents (Sir Tom Courtenay, Anne Reid) and his good friend John Trew (Himesh Patel) patiently await news.


1. Joker

2. Terminator: Dark Fate

3. Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil

4. The Addams Family

5. Bigil

6. A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

7. Zombieland: Double Tap

8. Abominable

9. Gemini Man

10. Countdown

(Chart courtesy of Cineworld)