Cinema new releases for Friday 23rd February - our film expert Jason Best reviews the best movies coming out...
The Birth of the Dragon – Out Friday 23rd February
Although this action movie about martial arts icon Bruce Lee took quite a pummelling from critics, it remains a breezily enjoyable affair. Fittingly, it revolves around Lee’s most legendary fight, his clash with Shaolin master Wong Jack Man in 1964, an episode from early in Lee’s career that remains shrouded in mystery. The filmmakers have cooked up a plot involving Triad gangsters, a beautiful indentured waitress and the American who loves her (called Steve McKee in a nod to Lee’s famous student Steve McQueen). This may not be how things actually happened, but it is certainly rousing on screen. ***
The Ice King – Out 23 Feb
For many, John Curry was Rudolf Nureyev on ice. A gold medal winner at the 1976 Winter Olympics, he turned figure skating into an art form with the grace and beauty of his balletic routines. Off the rink, however, he battled personal demons, as this enthralling documentary reveals. Can’t tell a Triple Lutz from a Salchow? Curry’s genius on the ice will still have your head spinning. ****
I, Tonya – Already Out
Margot Robbie burns up the ice as disgraced 1990s figure skater Tonya Harding in this ferociously funny black-comedy biopic. Skating a thin line between send-up and celebration, the Oscar-nominated Robbie totally nails the role of the redneck rebel who shook up her prissy sport – and then became a national hate figure after being implicated in an attack on rink rival Nancy Kerrigan. Robbie’s fellow Oscar nominee Allison Janney is a blast, too, as Harding’s impossibly mean-spirited mom. *****
Dark River – Out 23 Feb
Mud is thicker than water. Following their father’s death, long-estranged siblings Ruth Wilson and Mark Stanley wrangle for control of the family’s struggling farm in this powerful Yorkshire-set drama. Brace yourself for some bitter emotional tussles and some even more painful revelations about the past in writer-director Clio Barnard’s superbly acted film. Makes Emmerdale look like a rural idyll. ****
Main pic: James Dittiger; Ice King – Dogwoof Films, I, Tonya – Alamy Stock Photo.