Esther McCarthy reviews the latest cinema releases for your weekend
Spider-Man: Far From Home (12A) ****
For the first hour or so, this is a delight, light-hearted and colourful with plenty of romance thrown in, before wobbling a little with a scattershot, CGI-heavy finale.
Set following the shocking events of Avengers: Endgame, the movie knits nicely into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Tom Holland's Peter Parker is now 16 and looking forward to embarking with his schoolpals on a lengthy tour of some of the most famous European capitals, starting with a jaunt along the canals of Venice.
He’s hoping to spend more time with MJ (an endearing Zendaya), a sharp and cool classmate that he’s developed feelings for.
In fact, there’s lot of teen-movie fun to be had early in the film, with Peter’s friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) hitting it off with the bookish Betty (Angourie Rice) and forming an unlikely romance.
But Peter’s trip is about to become a lot more exciting - he’s been gifted Tony Stark’s famous tinted glasses, with a control programme called Edith (which gives rise to one of the film’s best jokes) giving him unparalleled powers and communications access.
He’ll need them. Venice is about to come under attack from villains known as The Elementals, who take the form of a water monster which attacks the city. Peter will need help - and it could come in the form of a new fighter named Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) who offers to join forces with him.
The film loses some of its urgency in the final half hour due to an over-reliance of CGI which sucks some of the tension out of the film.
Vita & Virginia (15A) ***
Top actresses Gemma Arterton and Elizabeth Debicki play two talented society women in this tale of friendship and sexual desire.
Set in 1920s England, but actually filmed in various locations in Ireland, Vita & Virginia centres on the friendship and passionate love affair between two married women in bohemian high society.
Arterton is Vita Sackville-West, a novelist and wife of a top diplomat who refuses to be penned down by convention and has embarked on several love affairs.
But the woman she has set her sights on is one of the most legendary yet - the gifted but troubled Virginia Woolf (Debicki), whose eccentricities and struggles with intimacy only serve to increase Vita’s fascination with her.
What emerges is a union that will go on to inspire one of Woolf’s most-beloved books, Orlando. Tonally and stylistically it doesn’t always gel, but it’s an intriguing period drama that adds new layers to the character of Woolf, largely thanks to Debicki’s terrific central performance.
She goes beyond caricature to bring to life Woolf, a gifted, bluntly articulate genius who struggles to find her place in the world around her.