Dogman Released 19th October
Director Matteo Garrone returns to the blighted Neapolitan coastal resort which provided the setting for his film Gomorrah for another stylishly directed story steeped in crime and violence. In a store on the crumbling seafront, Marcello (Marcello Fonte, below) scrapes a living as a dog groomer; he takes a quiet satisfaction in his good relations with his neighbours. But all this is threatened by the local thug who terrorises him and the community. The blisteringly powerful conclusion is all the more potent knowing that this superb tragi-comic drama is based on a true story
Science Fair Released 19th October
This affectionate documentary follows a group of gifted and eccentric schoolchildren from around the world in their quest to score the top prize at the world’s largest pre-college science competition. A scarily driven 14-year-old who has devised a water purity test competes against a coding geek who once programmed his calculator to generate Shakespearean insults. Likeable characters and jaw-dropping endeavours make this a crowd pleaser in the vein of Spellbound, the Oscar-nominated account of the 1999 National Spelling Bee.
A Star is Born Released on 5th October
In his directorial debut, Bradley Cooper takes a story nearly as old as Hollywood itself (this is the third remake of the 1937 original) and makes it feel fresh. Lady Gaga gives a barnstorming performance as a hungry young hopeful and Cooper plays the semi-derelict alcoholic actor who helps her succeed. It’s a heart-swelling crowd-pleaser of a movie, which belts out its emotional beats with the same shattering impact that Gaga deploys on the songs.