Memoria (2021)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide

Fans of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s unique brand of lucid-dream cinema can rest easy that everything that’s great about the Thai director’s films is present and correct in this new one – despite the unexpected transplant to Colombia and the presence of A-lister Tilda Swinton in the lead. The mystery of the strange sonic boom that only Swinton’s character seems to be able to hear proceeds in the lulling, hypnagogic style that’s made Apichatpong one of contemporary world cinema’s most celebrated figures. Yet his youthful love of Spielberg movies has also never been more apparent.

It Always Rains on Sunday (1947)

Where’s it on? Talking Pictures TV, Saturday, 16.25

It Always Rains on Sunday (1947)

In fact the forecast is merely cloudy this weekend, but that evocatively gloomy title summons up much of the noirish, postwar trappings of this Ealing classic set in Bethnal Green. Directed by Robert Hamer, who also brought us the dark, doily-clad worlds of Pink String and Sealing Wax (1945) and Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949), it’s a downbeat thriller about the hunt for a runaway convict that plays out amid the pubs, markets and street life of London’s East End. It’s pungent, cynical and thoroughly entertaining.

Cow (2021)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide

British director Andrea Arnold has been across the Atlantic the last few years, doing big HBO series and making American Honey (2016). It’s good to have her back in the UK for this unexpected swerve into nonfiction – a documentary in which humans appear only on the periphery. Instead it follows the day-to-day existence of Luma, a dairy cow who makes for soulful company across 98 minutes as Arnold brings us up close and personal with her life on the farm. 

Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched (2021)

Where’s it on? Shudder

Here’s a treat for horror fans – a lengthy but compulsively watchable documentary that attempts to grapple with folk horror, that ever-popular subgenre obsessed with secrets in the landscape and the clash between ancient ways and modernity. The debut feature by Kier-La Janisse, founder of the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, it begins by discussing the so-called ‘unholy trinity’ of Witchfinder General (1968), Blood on Satan’s Claw (1972) and The Wicker Man (1973) before lengthening its shadows to encompass countless film and TV clips. If you like this stuff, this is heaven.

A Hero (2021)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide

A bit like an Iranian cousin to the Safdie brothers’ Uncut Gems (2019), A Hero might be the tensest film you’ll see this January. Being held over in cinemas another week, it’s one of director Asghar Farhadi’s acutely calibrated moral-conundrum thrillers, following the fortunes of Rahim (Amir Jadidi), a would-be self-starter who’s ended up in prison because he was unable to repay his debtor. The universe seems to offer him a leg up, however, when on temporary leave he comes into possession of a handbag full of gold. It’s what he does with it that opens up an ethical can of worms.