It’s the weekend. Which means you could go out and live a fullfilled life: see an exhibition, run around the countryside like a wild ‘un, party like a craft beer loving millenial and stuff your face with brunch.
Or, you could sit in a dark room until your eyes go square and get ahead on this week’s best cinematic and televisual releases so that you can stride into the office early on Monday and bellow: “Has anybody seen that cool thing on Netflix? Because I certainly have.”
Here’s this week’s best releases brought to you by Tristan Cross, Ralph Jones, Jordan Waller and Gary Ogden.
Film of the week: Peter Rabbit
(PG) In cinemas 16 March; Sony
When did kids’ films begin to fetishise metafictionality? This CGI version of Peter Rabbit contains so many knowing references to its own artifice it comes close to morphing into an episode of Family Guy. In order for self-referencing dialogue to fly, your script had better be sufficiently funny. Fortunately, Peter Rabbit is peppered with so many beautifully crafted jokes it can be as metatextual as it pleases.
Rarely has a film - let alone one ostensibly designed for children - made me so gleefully roar with laughter. It is presented in the pleasingly knowing tone that ensures there are gags not just for kids but also - perhaps primarily - for the cynical adults who have sat through a thousand tales following an achingly familiar rubric.
Rapping sparrows, two mice shaving a fox, and a rabbit giving Domhnall Gleeson a wet willy may not have been in Beatrix Potter’s gentle tales, but that doesn’t stop them being funny. Whether you take this view or the view that Potter would be weeping into her popcorn is of course a matter of personal taste. There are definitely some needlessly crude moments, and the film is perhaps best interpreted as an evolution of the Peter Rabbit concept rather than a love letter to Potter’s cherished tales. But its numerous hilarious moments should be celebrated for the life-affirming shrieks they provoke.
Best line taken out of context: “Which is why I think she’s just got a thing for most man-butts.”
Most engaging animal: Oh, so many to choose from. But the answer is a pig in a purple velvet jacket who wears lip balm and claims he is about to go on a diet.
Do they reference the title in the script? Yes.
Watch this film if you hated: The 3.5-hour 1954 film Seven Samurai, by Akira Kurosawa.
Moment your dad would like best: Peter Rabbit considering slipping a carrot down the butt-crack of old Mr McGregor.
(12A) In cinemas now; Warner Bros
Now this is a feminist movie. Trousers?? Mama, mia! Turns out if you get a shovel and a flashlight, head on down to your nearest cemetery and start rifling through the graves while shooting anyone who tries to stop you through the head with a bow and arrow, it’s considered a ‘crime’ that will see you quickly incarcerated. If you can willingly suspend your disbelief for an hour or two, mind, you might enjoy the new Tomb Raider reboot. Lara Croft is back, and this time she’s traded Angelina Jolie for Alicia Vikander, and shorts for trousers, and wacky OTT set pieces for an extremely physical jungle survival. But don’t worry, she’s still raiding the hell out of tombs.
(15) In cinemas now; Lionsgate
In 1972, Peter Sellers performed an impression of Michael Caine on Parkinson, in which he imagined Caine reciting facts from the Guinness Book Of Records, finishing with a flourish that asserted “not a lot of people know that”. It wasn’t until a wry nod to the impression in 1983’s Educating Rita that Caine actually uttered the phrase that he has become so synonymous with. Not a lot of people know a lot of things about Michael Caine, and My Generation aims to remedy this.
(15) In cinemas now; Universal
I am a good boy and I read the Bible every day. Thus I cannot help but be regularly reminded of the Good Book’s portrayal of Mary Magdalene, sullied by time and misogynists. The Mary I know from the New Testament is a chronically misunderstood figure, so I fell to my knees and thanked Yahweh when I learned of this adaptation that sticks to the biblical account. Whenever I’ve pictured Jesus he’s always looked like Joaquin Phoenix as well, so that’s a bonus.
(15) In cinemas 16 March; Curzon
You know what happens at Cannes? People like me - film buffs and sophisticates - attend screenings and delight in booing. It’s cinema’s equivalent of walking round an art gallery and regarding everything as if it’s of worth. The worse it is, the more we stare, as if to show that we can appreciate every aspect of life for its intrinsic artistic worth. This film is a ruthless and extremely funny satire of just that. And it won Cannes’ Palme d’Or, so just slowly let it sink in how good it must be.
And finally, if you only stream two things, make it:
(15) Available on Netflix, 18 March; A24
Got a thirst for a 17th century set historical-drama-occult horror? Then boy, oh boy, do we have a film suggestion for you. Dying crops, hints of the plague, evil farm animals and something god awful traipsing about the woods. All wrapped around a healthy dose of morale crushing bleakness and palpitation inducing intensity. A family treat for all.
(15) Available on Netflix now; Netflix
A giant, oily bubble that’s expanding at an alarming rate and murders everyone who steps inside? The sensible thing to do would be to swerve an adventure within it, but Natalie Portman and co. have different ideas. Onwards into the fray they go, and it’s not long before mutated crocodiles are on their case, amongst other threats of varying shape and size. Loses track a bit towards the end, does this, but overall it’s a pretty wild ride packed full of fanciful ideas and imaginative visuals. That sodding wolf will 100% give you ten million nightmares, too.