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Fast & Furious 9

No mere film critic could possibly stand in the way of the “steroidal humungousness” of Fast & Furious 9, says Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian. Divorced from the rules of narrative – and gravity – it’s a “cheerfully refreshing change from the locked-down world of the slow and the placid”. One minute gang leader turned international superagent Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) drives fast and duels with his long-lost brother Jakob (John Cena) as he tries to save the world from a cyberhacking superweapon. Next his team are “blasted off into space in their car” to destroy a satellite. Isaac Newton is “among the people getting their asses kicked here”, but for the rest of us it’s great fun.

The genius of this “uproariously brainless smash’-em-up” is that it knows exactly how absurd it is, says Kevin Maher in The Times. Characters fling out lines like “This is ridiculous!” and “How come he’s not dead?!”. By the film’s midpoint, they’ve rattled through a multi-vehicle minefield death run, a jungle gunfight and a low-flying stealth bomber catching a jet-powered Dodge Charger in midair. Rather a long time ago now, this £4.3bn franchise was simply about street racing, but now the movies are self-consciously preposterous yarns about LA drag racers turned globetrotting spies who have been known to chase Russian nuclear subs across Siberian ice floes. Yes, Vin Diesel has the acting range of “a smooth rubbery CGI testicle”. But this “late-era Roger Moore Bond” film series has mastered living on the edge – even “the edge of self-parody”.

Fast & Furious 9 is in cinemas now. Watch the trailer here.

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The Father

The Father is like “King Lear in the Twilight Zone”, says Owen Glieberman in Variety. Anthony – played by Anthony Hopkins, who won an Oscar for his “tour de force” here – has dementia. His daughter, Anne (Olivia Colman), tells him she’s moving to Paris with the man she loves. All of a sudden she’s a different woman (Olivia Williams). Her husband (Mark Gatiss) becomes someone else (Rufus Sewell). Then there is no husband – they were divorced five years ago. We are drawn right into the “I see ghosts, can’t you see them too?” experience of Anthony’s life.

I deliberately swerved writer and director Florian Zeller’s 2012 stage version, says Charlotte O’Sullivan in the Evening Standard. Dementia doesn’t usually tee up many thrills. But his Hollywood adaptation “is as scary as anything in The Shining”. Corridor lampshades and kitchen tiles keep changing. It’s not all terror, though– the chaos is mad, sad, and funny. The final scene “will probably make you cry harder than any other film this year.” Plenty of films have told us what it’s like to have dementia, or to love someone who has it. But rarely are we pitched into that swirling mind in “the eye of the storm”.

IMDb trivia The main character is called Anthony because the role was written for Hopkins and no one else. The director claimed it was a dream come true when he accepted. At one point Anthony says he was born on December 31, 1937 – which is the actor’s date of birth.

The Father is in cinemas now. Watch the trailer here.