Pinch, punch, first of the month (no returns)! But not only is it the beginning of a new month, but it’s also the start of an all-new blockbuster week at the movies, from a bittersweet Marvel farewell to the origins of a martial arts legend…

Movie of the Week


At Home


Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023, dir. James Gunn)

CAST: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Sean Gunn, Chukwudi Iwuji, Will Poulter, Elizabeth Debicki, Maria Bakalova, Sylvester Stallone, Michael Rosenbaum, Daniela Melchior, Nico Santos, Asim Chaudhry, Callie Brand

CREW: James Gunn (director, writer), Kevin Feige (producer), John Murphy (composer), Henry Braham (cinematographer), Greg D’Auria and Fred Raskin (editors)

PLOT: The Guardians of the Galaxy – Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Pratt), Drax (Bautista), Nebula (Gillan), Mantis (Klementieff), Groot (Diesel) and Rocket (Cooper) – are adjusting to their new lives on the outpost of Knowhere, but when a sinister being known as the High Evolutionary (Iwuji), who has ties to Rocket’s troubled past, suddenly returns, the team must band together once more to take down their new foe – but added antagonism from the all-powerful Adam Warlock (Poulter), and former teammate Gamora (Saldaña) threatens to tear the gang apart for good…


1) They’ve been some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most popular heroes, but now is the time to say goodbye in this definitive final chapter in Star-Lord, Rocket et al multi-movie story

2) Director-writer James Gunn (who was briefly fired from the project by Disney due to some offensive social media postings) returns to steer the heroes he helped introduced to a meaningful and emotionally satisfying conclusion

3) Some fan-favourite characters make their film debut here, including Adam Warlock – played here by BAFTA-winner Will Poulter – and Cosmo the Spacedog, voiced by Oscar nominee Maria Bakalova

4) Naturally, there’s an awesome mix of soundtrack choices that range from lively 80s hits to some more modern choices (you can thank Peter Quill’s new Zune for the newer tracks)

5) Who survives and who doesn’t is one of the big mysteries going in – but expect Rocket, the gun-toting raccoon who has long since been a staple throughout the Marvel franchise, to play his biggest role to date

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is showing in cinemas from Wednesday 3rd May 2023



Return to Seoul (2022, dir. Davy Chou)

CAST: Park Ji-min, Oh Kwang-rok, Cho-woo Cho, Guka Han, Kim Sun-young, Yoann Zimmer, Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, Hur Ouk-sook, Son Seung-beom, Emeline Briffaud, Lim Cheol-hyun, Régine Vial Goldberg, Dong Seok-kim

CREW: Davy Chou (director, writer), Katia Khazak and Charlotte Vincent (producers), Jérémie Arcache and Christophe Musset (composers), Thomas Favel (cinematographer), Dounia Sichov (editor)

PLOT: Freddie (Ji-min), a 25-year-old woman born in South Korea and adopted by French parents, travels to her birth country and seeks out her biological parents, which soon takes a surprising turn…


1) Filmmaker Davy Chou tells an intriguing story of identity and culture clash in this soulful international drama

2) Chou was inspired to make the film after accompanying a friend, who has been through a similar ordeal as the protagonist here, to visit her own biological family

3) Lead actor Park Ji-min, a visual artist making her film debut, delivers a fierce and unpredictable performance that fully exposes her character’s inner frustrations

4) It was selected to be Cambodia’s entry for this year’s International Feature Film Oscar (Chou is part-Cambodian), but it ultimately wasn’t nominated

5) There are some shocking turns that keep the drama fully active, but also some heartfelt moments to highlight the core emotional themes

Return to Seoul is showing in cinemas from Friday 5th May 2023 (and will be streaming exclusively on MUBI from Friday 7th July 2023)

The Laureate (2022, dir. William Nunez)

CAST: Tom Hughes, Laura Haddock, Dianna Agron, Fra Fee, Julian Glover, Patricia Hodge, Indica Watson, Christien Anholt, Edwin Thomas, Timothy Renouf

CREW: William Nunez (director, writer, producer), Guy de Beaujeu and Christian Parton (producers), Brian Byrne (composer), Adam Barnett (cinematographer), David Massachi (editor)

PLOT: In 1920s Britain, war poet Robert Graves (Hughes) meets and becomes romantically involved with American writer Laura Riding (Agron), despite being married to painter Nancy Nicholson (Haddock). Breaking away from contemporary society, Riding moves in with Robert and Nancy, but the arrival of Irish poet Geoffrey Phibbs (Fee) creates waves of tension between everyone…


1) The complicated love life of acclaimed British writer Robert Graves forms the basis for this intimate romantic drama

2) Tom Hughes portrays Graves alongside Laura Haddock as his painter wife Nancy Nicholson, and Glee veteran Dianna Agron as American writer Laura Riding

3) Writer-director William Nunez explores Graves’ fluctuating sexuality in a plot filled with adultery, polyamory, and perhaps even a spot of murder

4) It makes an intriguing double feature with Terence Davies’ Benediction, a similar film about fellow 1920s writer Siegfried Sassoon

5) The film won numerous awards at the Oxford International Film Festival,(where part of the film was shot), including Best Feature and Best Actor for Hughes

The Laureate is showing in cinemas from Friday 5th May 2023

Ip Man: The Awakening (2021, dirs. Li Xi Jie and Zhang Zhu Lin)

CAST: Miu Tse, Chen Guan Ying, Zhao Yu Xuan, Hao Yan Fei

CREW: Li Xi Jie and Zhang Zhu Lin (directors), Liu Bayin and Lan Fang (writers), Gu Lei and Gu Sibin (producers), Wu Guichuan (cinematographer), editor TBA

PLOT: A young Master Ip (Tse) has left his home town to start a new life in Hong Kong, but when he intervenes in a kidnapping, he becomes the target of a ruthless human trafficking ring, whose boxing champion he must inevitably take on…


1) The legendary Ip Man, a Wing Chun martial arts master whose students included fellow legends like Bruce Lee, gets a suitably action-packed origin tale

2) It is separate from the main Ip Man film series, which launched the international appeal of John Wick and Star Wars standout Donnie Yen

3) Young actor Miu Tse, known for his appearances alongside Jet Li in films like Legend of the Red Dragon and The Enforcer, brings a fresh new portrayal of the iconic figure

4) There is plenty of impressive stunt work and fight choreography to marvel at, which is sure to excite long-time martial arts movie fans

5) At just under 80 minutes, it is also by far the swiftest Ip Man film to exist so far!

Ip Man: The Awakening is showing in cinemas from Friday 5th May 2023 (and is now streaming exclusively on Icon Film Channel)

Lakelands (2023, dirs. Robert Higgins and Patrick McGivney)

CAST: Éanna Hardwicke, Danielle Galligan, Lorcan Cranitch, Dafhyd Flynn, Dara Devaney, Gary Lydon, Trevor Kaneswaran

CREW: Robert Higgins and Patrick McGivney (directors, writers, producers), Daithi O’Dronai (composer), Simon Crowe (cinematographer), Allyn Quigley (editor)

PLOT: Cian (Hardwick), a young Gaelic footballer, is attacked on a night out and left with a career-ending injury, prompting a journey to find a new identity in a town where Gaelic football is the central religion…


1) This tender Irish drama, from debut feature filmmakers Robert Higgins and Patrick McGivney, puts a debilitating human dilemma front and centre

2) Young rising stars Éanna Hardwicke and Danielle Galligan shine in a pair of moving central performances

3) The unique sport of Gaelic football forms a major overarching presence throughout the film

4) Look out for a supporting turn by Gary Lydon, who recently stole scenes as a nasty policeman in The Banshees of Inisherin

5) It’ll be hard not to be moved by the raw human emotion on display at all times

Lakelands is showing in cinemas from Friday 5th May 2023

Harka (2022, dir. Lotfy Nathan)

CAST: Adam Bessa, Salima Maatoug, Ikbal Harbi, Najib Allagui, Khaled Brahem

CREW: Lotfy Nathan (director, writer, producer), Habib Attia, Maurice Fadida, Fabian Gasmia, Alex Hughes, Eugene Kotlyarenko, Riccardo Maddalosso, Tariq Merhab, Benoit Roland, Nicole Romano, Donato Rotunno and Julie Viez (producers), Eli Keszler (composer), Maximilian Pittner (cinematographer), Sophie Corra and Thomas Niles (editors)

PLOT: In Tunisia, young Ali (Bessa) sells contraband petrol on the black market in order to fund a better life for himself. However, after his father suddenly dies, he is placed in charge of his younger sisters Alyssa (Maatoug) and Sarra (Harbi) as they face eviction…


1) Documentary filmmaker Lotfy Nathan makes his narrative debut with a powerful portrait of family and community

2) The film is inspired by the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, which sparked both the Tunisian Revolution and the Arab Spring during the early 2010s

3) French-Tunisian actor Adam Bessa, who you might recognise from Netflix’s action hit Extraction (and its upcoming sequel), gives a powerful lead performance that earned him an award at last year’s Cannes Film Festival

4) It was shot in the city of Sidi Bouzid, where the Tunisian Revolution started, making it the first film to be shot there since the uprising

5) Nathan embodies his documentarian side by casting mostly non-professional actors in supporting roles, and shooting some of the real-life protests that occurred during production, adding to the film’s naturalism and timeliness

Harka is showing in cinemas from Friday 5th May 2023

Pamfir (2022, dir. Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk)

CAST: Oleksandr Yatsentyuk, Stanislav Potiak, Solomiya Kyrylova, Olena Khokhlatkina, Myroslav Makoviychuk, Ivan Sharan

CREW: Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk (director, writer), Laura Briand, Aleksandra Kostina, Giancarlo Nasi, Klaudia Smieja-Rostworowska, Bogna Szewczyk and Jane Yatsuta (producers), Laetitia Pansanel-Garric (composer), Nikita Kuzmenko (cinematographer), Nikodem Chabior (editor)

PLOT: In Western Ukraine, reformed smuggler Pamfir (Yatsentyuk) returns to his village after many years of absence, where he hopes to make an honest living and set a good example for his beloved teenage son Nazar (Potiak). However, when Nazar commits a costly act of sabotage, Pamfir is forced to undertake a risky job in order to pay for the damage his son has caused…


1) This compelling and deeply effective drama from Ukraine (filmed before Russia’s invasion) explores how far someone would go to protect their loved ones

2) The film was still in post-production at the time of the invasion, prompting a brave mission by the sound designer to transfer all the necessary materials across the border from the bombarded sound studio during the first few days of the conflict

3) It is the feature debut of writer/director Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk, who previously made the 2013 documentary Krasna Malanka which has rarely screened in full

4) The commitment of the actors to this project was so strong that they were instructed to live as an actual family during the shoot, and even refer to each other by their characters’ names

5) There are unexpected thrills and a tiny bit of dark comedy to make this a compelling watch

Pamfir is showing in cinemas from Friday 5th May 2023

The Blue Caftan (2023, dir. Maryam Touzani)

CAST: Lubna Azabal, Saleh Bakri, Ayoub Missioui

CREW: Maryam Touzani (director, writer), Nabil Ayouch (producer), Kristian Eidnes Andersen (composer), Virginie Surdej (cinematographer), Nicolas Rumpl (editor)

PLOT: In the Moroccan town of Salé, Mina (Azabel) runs a traditional caftan store with her tailor husband Halim (Bakri). To keep up with customer demand, they hire talented young man Youssef (Missioui), but the secretly gay Halim finds himself attracted to his new apprentice…


1) Selected as Morocco’s official entry for the recent International Feature Film Oscar, this tender romantic drama explores various types of love in an unexpected part of the world

2) It is an emotional and thematically complex exploration of romance, and of a middle-aged couple whose longevity together is put at serious risk

3) Lead actors Lubna Azabel and Saleh Bakri share an easy chemistry with one another, while young supporting player Ayoub Missioui shows off his alluring screen presence

4) Moments of sly humour undercut some of the more heartfelt drama, but never to where you feel as though it’s tone-deaf

5) There’s some real meat to this film, which also marks the second debut feature by Maryam Touzani, previously of the acclaimed 2019 drama Adam

The Blue Caftan is showing in cinemas from Friday 5th May 2023






One True Loves (2023, dir. Andy Fickman)

CAST: Phillipa Soo, Simu Liu, Luke Bracey, Tom Everett Scott, Michaela Conlin, Lauren Tom, Michael O’Keefe

CREW: Andy Fickman (director, producer), Taylor Jenkins Reid and Alex J. Reid (writers), Adam Beasley, Sarah Finn, Arianne Fraser, Michael Jefferson, Petr Jákl, Willie Kutner, Ryan Donnell Smith and Betsy Sullenger (producers), Nathan Wang (composer), Greg Gardiner (cinematographer), Jeff Freeman (editor)

PLOT: After her husband Jesse (Bracey) goes missing after a helicopter crash, Emma (Soo) moves back to her old home in Massachusetts to put her life back together. Four years later, she reconnects with her old friend Sam (Liu), and the two of them soon become engaged – but when news surfaces that Jesse has survived, she must choose between her fiancé and her husband…


1) Charm is the key in this romantic drama, which is adapted from Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel of the same name (and yes, that is the same author behind the source material for Amazon’s recent hit series Daisy Jones and the Six)

2) Reid also provides the screenplay with his brother Alex, assuring a relatively close adaptation from the original book

3) It’s a formidable screen vehicle for Hamilton alumni Phillipa Soo, who forms the emotional centre of the main love triangle

4) Soo has two pretty swift romantic interests to choose from here: Shang-Chi himself Simu Liu, and Australian hunk Luke Bracey

5) The performances sparkle and – yes – charm their way into your hearts, in a familiar but reliable romantic story for everyone to enjoy

One True Loves is streaming exclusively on Prime Video from Wednesday 3rd May 2023

The Artifice Girl (2023, dir. Franklin Ritch)

CAST: Tatum Matthews, Franklin Ritch, Sinda Nichols, David Girard, Lance Henriksen, Ivana Barnes, Thomas Hamby, Alyssa Moody, Lucy Noelle, Rashaud Sessions

CREW: Franklin Ritch (director, writer, editor), Aaron B. Koontz and Ashleigh Snead (producers), Alex Cuervo (composer), Britt McTammany (cinematographer)

PLOT: Internet vigilante Gareth (Ritch) has created an artificially-intelligent digital model of a young girl named Cherry (Matthews) whom he uses to trap and expose online predators, but when Cherry begins to rapidly advance beyond her programming, he and special agents Deena (Nichols) and Amos (Girard) start to question what it is to be human…


1) Filmmaker Franklin Ritch arrives onto the scene with a thought-provoking sci-fi thriller that asks some very challenging questions about our rapidly advancing society

2) Ritch also stars in the film as the creator of a revolutionary AI, which is played with convincing subtle menace by young actor Tatum Matthews

3) Also among the cast is legendary character actor Lance Henriksen, whom viewers will recognise as heroic android Bishop from the Alien franchise

4) With AI dominating the news as of late, it seems an impeccable time to be reminded of both the wonders and the potential dangers of man-made consciousness

5) Told in three chapters, prepare for plenty of surprising turns that make this seemingly straightforward narrative a lot more unpredictable

The Artifice Girl is available to rent/buy on most digital platforms from Monday 1st May 2023

That’s about it for this week – thanks for joining us, and be sure to come back next week for a whole new set of movies to work up an appetite for!

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