The White Crow – the latest films coming to Portsmouth cinemas

Ralph Fiennes as Pushkin in The White Crow. Picture: PA
Ralph Fiennes as Pushkin in The White Crow. Picture: PA
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Grab the popcorn for these new releases. 

The White Crow (12A)

Oscar-nominated actor Ralph Fiennes ventures behind the camera for the third time to dramatise the rise of Soviet Union ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev and his 1961 defection to the west.

Interspersed with colour-bleached flashbacks, The White Crow is a beautifully poised study of creative genius in flux and the meticulously choreographed dance sequences are on pointe.

Nureyev's notorious outbursts are tastefully diluted to a few choice scowls and, surprisingly, the film doesn't clearly verbalise why the dancer took the anguished decision to abandon his fiercely protective homeland.

Fiennes's picture opens on a Trans-Siberian train in 1938 where a baby boy is welcomed into the world in humble and chaotic surroundings.

At the age of 17, Rudolf (Ivenko) is taken under the wing of revered dance instructor Alexander Ivanovich Pushkin (Fiennes).

Rudolf is self-confident to the point of arrogance, boasting that it will not take long until everyone knows his name.

Pushkin's wife Xenia (Chulpan Khamatova) invites the cocksure dancer to stay at their apartment during his tutelage and manipulates the situation to seduce Rudolf behind the back of her unsuspecting husband.

However, Rudolf's appetite is not restricted to women and he kindles a smouldering desire for fellow dancer Yuri (Sergei Polunin).

In 1961, Nureyev travels to Paris with members of the Kirov Ballet.

It is the first time since the Cold War that the company has performed in the west and security is tight.

Nureyev defies the edicts of his KGB handlers to savour the seductive delights of the capital in the company of French dancer Pierre Lacotte (Raphael Personnaz) and his friend Clara Saint (Adele Exarchopoulos).

By chance, Clara is a close acquaintance of the French minister of cultural affairs, who could oil bureaucratic cogs and facilitate a claim for political asylum.

The brutal tug of war between east and west culminates in a tense finale at Le Bourget Airport in Paris, where Nureyev attempts to slip from the grasp of his minders with the international media swirling around the departures hall.

The White Crow is a handsomely crafted biographical drama, which lacks that all-important pas de deux with the lead character's inner turmoil as he musters courage to defect.           

Released March 22.

Five Feet Apart (12A)

Two hospitalised teenagers fall madly in love as they undergo treatment in a romantic drama directed by Justin Baldoni which hopes to be this year's The Fault In Our Stars.

Stella Grant (Haley Lu Richardson) looks like any other fun-loving 17-year-old, except she must spend a large part of her waking life in hospital, undergoing treatment for cystic fibrosis.

Her best friend Poe (Moises Arias) is also a patient with the same genetic disorder and they support one another through the inevitable emotional peaks and troughs.

Her life is full of routines, boundaries and self-control – all of which get put to the test when she meets Will Newman.

Stella meets charming patient Will (Cole Sprouse) and she is instantly smitten.

Hospital protocol dictates that they must maintain a safe distance to avoid transferring infections, so Stella and Will conduct a fledgling romance five feet apart.

While Stella accepts her diagnosis and follows the advice of medics, Will is a rebel and flouts rules.

This daredevil attitude puts Stella at risk but the teenagers are too caught up in the emotional whirl to fully appreciate the consequences.                              

Released March 22.

What Men Want (15)

Sassy sports agent Alison Davis (Taraji P Henson) has worked hard to earn a promotion but she is passed over for a male colleague to the dismay of her office assistant Brandon (Josh Brener).

Alison commiserates with gal pals, who invite a psychic called Sister (Erykah Badu) to share her foresight with the group.

Alison drinks a cup of pungent tea and then heads to a nightclub with her friends, where she hits her head.

When she finally regains consciousness, the sports agent can hear the innermost thoughts of every man around her.

Alison realises she can exploit this newfound ability to outwit her rivals in the office. 

Out now. 

Us (15)

In 1986, when she was a girl, Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong'o) wandered into a hall of mirrors at Santa Cruz amusement park and came face-to-face with an unspeakable horror.

Fast-forwarding to the present day, Adelaide and her husband Gabe (Winston Duke) head to their beach house with children Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex) to spend time with good friends Josh and Kitty Tyler (Tim Heidecker, Elisabeth Moss).

Late one night, four shadowy figures materialise in the driveway and Gabe attempts to scare them away. 

Trapped with their Machiavellian mirror images, the Wilsons must find a way to defeat their diabolical reflections.

Released March 22.