Wyatt Oleff, Finn Wolfhard, Jeremy Ray Taylor, and Jack Dylan Grazer in a scene from the movie It.
Wyatt Oleff, Finn Wolfhard, Jeremy Ray Taylor, and Jack Dylan Grazer in a scene from the movie It. Roadshow Films

What's on the big screen this week

READY to be scared witless by a terrifying clown? Or perhaps you'd prefer a film that takes place around a dinner table and focuses on the complexities of family relationships as the characters grapple with the truth about a heinous crime.

Both options are on the table this week as two films based on bestselling novels make their silver screen debuts - Stephen King's It and Dutch author Herman Koch's The Dinner.

There's been a huge build-up to It and this week red balloons - the calling card of the film's evil clown Pennywise - started popping up in cities across the globe such as Sydney and Pennsylvania, freaking out fans and ahead of the movie's release.

Here are this week's highlights of the big screen and why you should see them:

The Dinner (M)

The Dinner is splitting critics down the middle as some label the film adaptation of Herman Koch's novel overcomplicated and others approve of the depiction of family dysfunction.

The film centres around a meal at a classy restaurant between successful politician Stan Lohman (Richard Gere) and his brother Paul (Steve Coogan) and their wives.

The dinner is a tense affair and as the evening progresses, the characters' cracks begin to show and a dark secret about their children emerges.

Why you should see it: If you like a film that gets you thinking and delivers a twist at the end, this is it. Read the review here.

It (MA15+)

It first horrified us in the form of Stephen King's 1986 novel of the same name, a story about a group of bullied preteens known as The Losers Club, who are terrorised by the immortal clown, Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard).

Skarsgard has described the filming of It one of the loneliest experiences he'd had while on set as he was kept separate to the young cast so they could bond while he nailed the role.

Why you should see it: If you are already wary of clowns, perhaps you actually shouldn't see this film, however those who love a good scare will be treated to what's being dubbed the scariest movie of the year. Read the review here.

Continuing:

Girls Trip (MA 15+)

When four lifelong friends travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there's enough dancing, drinking, brawling, and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.

Why you should see it: This hilariously raunchy film isn't for the prudish, but it's sure to be a hit here after taking the US box office by storm. Read the review.

The Hitman's Bodyguard (MA 15+)

The world's top bodyguard gets a new client, a hit man who must testify at the International Court of Justice. They must put their differences aside and work together to make it to the trial on time.

Why you should see it: Stars Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson do their best with what would otherwise be a lazy comedy. Read the review.

Gifted (M)

Frank, a single man raising his child prodigy niece Mary, is drawn into a custody battle with his mother.

Why you should see it: Chris Evans, aka Captain America, shows his softer side in this quality tear-jerker. Read the review.

Ali's Wedding (M)

After a reckless lie sets off a catastrophic chain of events, Ali, the son of a Muslim cleric, finds himself caught between his sense of duty to his family and following his heart.

Why you should see it: Australia's first mainstream Muslim rom-com is a true joy to watch. Read the review.

All Saints

All Saints is based on the true story of salesman-turned-pastor Michael Spurlock, the tiny church he was ordered to shut down and a group of refugees from Southeast Asia. Together, they risked everything to plant seeds for a future that might just save them all.

Why you should see it: This faith-based film doesn't hit you over the head with religion or scripture, thankfully. Instead it focuses on the humanity of its characters.

American Made (MA 15+)

A pilot lands work for the CIA and as a drug runner in Central and South America during the 1980s.

Why you should see it: Tom Cruise is back in top form as the charming, but morally dubious Barry Seal in this incredible true story. If you like the Netflix series Narcos, then you'll like this. Read the review.

47 Metres Down

Two sisters vacationing in Mexico are trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean. With less than an hour of oxygen left and great white sharks circling nearby, they must fight to survive.

Why you should see it: There are a few thrills thanks to the toothy villains but this flimsy story is full of plot holes. Still, it's entertaining. Read the review.

Logan Lucky (M)

Two brothers attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina.

Why you should see it: Director Steven Soderbergh's hillbilly heist movie is a playfully subversive variation on the robbery theme. A top-shelf cast, including Channing Tatum, Adam Driver and Daniel Craig, ensure Soderbergh gets away with it - yet again. Read the review.

The Dark Tower (M)

The last Knight Warrior, Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O'Dim, also known as the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together.

Why you should see it: This is an ambitious film, but fans of the books will be comforted to know King was on board as a producer. But don't expect The Dark Tower to follow The Gunslinger to the letter. King has confirmed they take the story in some new directions. Read the reviews.



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