Emma Watson in Beauty and the Beast, Kristen Stewart's Paris-set ghost story and three more must-see movies coming to a cinema near you this month
Boundless members can save up to 40 per cent on cinema tickets. See boundless.co.uk/save-more/cinema-benefits for more info
Out 17 March. Certificate 15
Kristen Stewart reunites with French director Olivier Assayas for this Paris-set ghost story.
Like their previous outing, Clouds of Sils Maria, Stewart plays an assistant – this time to an almost-absent German supermodel named Kyra. By day, Stewart’s character Maureen sprints around the city collecting designer outfits for her boss to wear around the world; but she also has an ability to connect with the spirit world, in particular her dead brother Lewis.
The film gets spookier as it unfolds – notably in a protracted scene on the Eurostar, with Maureen rapidly texting back and forth with an unknown entity. It’s a curious work, not always successful but highly original nevertheless – and Stewart is at the top of her game here.
Beauty and the Beast
17 March. Certificate PG
After the live-action remake of Cinderella, Disney turns to its 1991 animated classic to bring it to a new audience.
Bill Condon directs this timeless tale of a prince (Dan Stevens) who is cursed by an enchantress and turned into the Beast – a fate he is condemned to endure forever unless he finds true love.
Playing Belle, the spirited villager who encounters him, is Emma Watson. Both are great to watch, although the real fun comes from the CG-animated antiquities that live in the Beast’s gothic castle.
Emma Thompson as a teapot, Ian McKellen as a clock, and Ewan McGregor as a candelabra are all wonderful. Together with some marvellous songs – ‘Be Our Guest’ is a real treat – this is Disney family entertainment at its best.
Out 31 March. Certificate 15
British director Ben Wheatley (Kill List, High-Rise) makes his first foray into America. Well, sort of. Nominally set in a Massachusetts warehouse in 1978, Free Fire was actually shot in Brighton.
But with a cast that includes Cillian Murphy, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer and Sharlto Copley, and zingy dialogue from Wheatley’s regular writer/wife Amy Jump, this feels like an homage to gritty Hollywood crime dramas of the era, like the Robert Mitchum classic The Friends of Eddie Coyle.
Effectively a giant shoot-out between rival gangs after an arms deal goes wrong, it’s violent, loud but frequently hilarious. And, somehow, amid all the bullets and bravado, Wheatley delivers a cohesive story of survival-at-all-costs.
Out 10 March. Certificate 18
One of this year’s most pleasurable arthouse movies, Elle is the best sort of adult entertainment. A provocative book by Philippe Djian, directed by the Dutch-born Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct), it stars France’s superlative Isabelle Huppert, who (finally) gained the first Oscar nomination of her career for this performance.
Huppert plays Michèle, the CEO of a video games company who is assaulted in her own home. With violence in her past, her warped psychology takes a further turn when she discovers the identity of the attacker. Neither a victim nor an avenging angel, Michèle is a fascinating character, made more so by Huppert’s rock-solid performance.
If you’re looking for something sophisticated and complex yet darkly funny, look no further.
The Lost City of Z
Out 24 March. Certificate 15
James Gray’s true life story of early 20th Century English explorer Percy Fawcett is an adventure story in the truest sense of the word. The Indiana Jones of his day, Fawcett (played by Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam) ventured into uncharted regions of the Amazon in search of the eponymous Lost City, where an advanced civilisation supposedly resided, leaving his wife (Sienna Miller) behind.
A story about passion and obsession, Gray’s realisation of Fawcett’s world, both in the stuffy environs of the Royal Geographic Society and out in the hostile jungles, is perfectly achieved. Co-starring Robert Pattinson as Fawcett’s unhinged companion, and Tom Holland (the new Spider-Man) as his son, it’s an exquisite and engrossing film. The Fitzcarraldo of its day.