All is True (12A)***

Dir: Kenneth Branagh

With: Kenneth Branagh, Ian McKellen, Judi Dench

Runtime: 101 minutes

THIS fond imagining of Shakespeare’s retirement comes to you from director and star, Kenneth Branagh, and Ben Elton, who wrote the screenplay. Branagh plays England’s bard with Judi Dench as Anne Hathaway, the couple getting to know each other again after his many years in London. Returning to Stratford-upon-Avon turns out to be no easy task for the great man as he comes to terms with personal and professional loss. Elton’s script teases the audience into a game of what is true and what is not. Mostly enjoyable, but not without the odd toe-curling moment when the joke is too obvious. On the subject of obvious, check out Branagh’s nose, which has to be the worst fake conk in film since Nicole Kidman graced The Hours.

Boy Erased (15)***

Dir: Joel Edgerton

With: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Joel Edgerton

Runtime: 115 minutes

BASED on Garrard Conley’s memoir, this Arkansas-set drama shines a light on so-called gay conversion therapy. Lucas Hedges plays Jared, the only son of preacher man Marshall Eamons and his wife Nancy (Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman turning out for fellow Aussie Joel Edgerton, who directs and stars as a course leader). When someone at college outs Jared to his parents they send him off to a centre where he will be told that being gay is a choice, and one he should not make. The film takes its time to hit an emotional peak, and it never quite reaches the level of rage one hopes for. Kidman is terrific, though, as a mom finding her inner steel magnolia.

Alita: Battle Angel (12A)**

Dir: Robert Rodriguez

With: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly

Runtime: 122 minutes

WHAT sets Alita: Battle Angel apart from umpteen other teen targeted movies based on a series of graphic novels is a name in the credits: James Cameron, of Avatar, Titanic and Terminator no less. The blend of real and computer generated images familiar from Avatar reaches new heights here, and the story of a female warrior (Rosa Salazar) fighting to regain her purpose in life ticks all the boxes if a kick-ass heroine is what you are after. Otherwise, Robert Rodriguez delivers a by the numbers story of girl meets scientist (Christoph Waltz), girl meets boy, and girl cues up the inevitable sequel.