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Don­ald Clarke and Joe Grif­fin re­view all cur­rent cin­ema re­leases

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Filmlistings -

BRIGHT STAR Di­rected by Jane Cam­pion. Star­ring Ben Whishaw, Ab­bie Cor­nish Cam­pion brings a del­i­cate touch to the story of the ro­mance be­tween doomed poet John Keats (frail Whishaw) and seam­stress Fanny Brawne (vi­brant Cor­nish). What we end up with is a pretty, well-acted film con­cern­ing two or­di­nary folk, one of whom hap­pens to be a lit­er­ary icon. It’s got John Keats in it, but is not re­ally about John Keats – even if we do get to hear ev­ery word of Ode to a Nightin­gale. PG cert, Light House, Dublin; Eye, Gal­way, 119 min DC

A CHRIST­MAS CAROL Di­rected by Robert Zemeckis. Star­ring Jim Car­rey, Robin Wright Penn, Gary Old­man Bob Hoskins, Colin Firth, Cary El­wes A Christ­mas Carol may be im­per­ish­able, but, with all those adap­ta­tions out there, you have to do some­thing very in­no­va­tive to stand out from the pack. Zemeckis has achieved just that. Stick­ing stub­bornly with his hor­ri­ble amal­gam of 3-D mo­tion-cap­ture and com­puter an­i­ma­tion, the di­rec­tor has de­liv­ered a ver­sion per­formed by am­bu­la­tory show­room dum­mies sport­ing the glassy eyes of re­cently em­balmed corpses. Faith­ful, but hor­ri­ble. PG cert, gen release, 96 min DC CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEAT­BALLS Di­rected by Phil Lord, Chris Miller. Voices of Bill Hader, Anna Far­ris, James Caan This an­i­mated com­edy fol­lows an ec­cen­tric sci­en­tist who in­vents a ma­chine that turns wa­ter into food. Slap­stick culi­nary-themed hi-jinks fol­low. The sec­ond half is less ap­petis­ing than the open­ing scenes, but it’s pleas­ingly an­i­mated and gen­er­ally amus­ing. G cert, gen release, 90 min JG AN ED­U­CA­TION Star­ring Carey Mul­li­gan, Peter

Sars­gaard, Do­minic Cooper, Al­fred Rosamund Molina, Pike, Olivia Wil­liams, Emma Thomp­son Im­pres­sive adap­ta­tion of Lynn Bar­ber’s mem­oir (adapted by Nick Hornby) telling how, while study­ing for her A-lev­els in the early 1960s, Bar­ber car­ried on an af­fair with a con­sid­er­ably older busi­ness­man. The pe­riod de­tail is de­li­cious and Mul­li­gan is a rev­e­la­tion in the cen­tral role, though per­haps her age – she was ac­tu­ally 22 when the film was shot – makes the re­la­tion­ship seems less in­ap­pro­pri­ate than it was. But this is still a crack­ing drama. 15A cert, lim release, 95 min DC FAN­TAS­TIC MR FOX Di­rected by Wes An­der­son. Voices of Ge­orge Clooney, Meryl Streep, Ja­son Schwartz­man, Bill Mur­ray, Owen Wil­son A fox goes to war with three fat farm­ers. You could, if you were be­ing dif­fi­cult, point out that Wes An­der­son’s stop-mo­tion adap­ta­tion of Roald Dahl’s clas­sic doesn’t have much in it for kids. Sure, the twangy mu­sic is cool, the retro-an­i­ma­tion is quirky and the voice work by the likes of Mur­ray and Clooney is drily ironic. But do in­fants care about all that? Maybe not, but An­der­son fans will have a ball. PG cert, gen release, 87 min DC THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE/LE PREMIER JOUR DU RESTE DE TA VIE Di­rected by Remi Bezan­con. Star­ring Jac­ques Gam­blin, Zabou Bre­it­man, Deborah Fran­cois, Marc-An­dre Grondin, Pio Mar­mai A French fam­ily deals with var­i­ous crises in the 1980s and 1990s. Is there a name for that genre of film (or play or book or se­ries) that vis­its sev­eral dis­crete in­ci­dents evenly scat­tered through a lengthy pe­riod in the life of a group of char­ac­ters? There should be. It’s an ir­re­sistible form that is ex­ploited to agree­able ef­fect in this nice-looking soap opera. Not as clever as it thinks it­self to be, mind, but fun. 16 cert, IFI/Light House/Screen, Dublin, 114 min DC

HARRY BROWN Di­rected by Daniel Bar­ber. Star­ring Michael Caine, Emily Mor­timer, Liam Cun­ning­ham Morally du­bi­ous but con­spic­u­ously stylish and fran­ti­cally ex­cit­ing re­venge thriller, fol­low­ing Caine’s ex-Royal Marine as his seeks to clean up his drug-rid­den neigh­bour­hood with a hand­gun. The de­pic­tion of the es­tate is some­times a lit­tle too height­ened (one drugs den looks like some­thing from Alien) but the film is so tense, and Caine’s per­for­mance so se­cure, that it’s easy to dis­miss any faults. A fine suc­ces­sor to such ques­tion­able

clas­sics as Dead Man’s Shoes and The Last House on the Left. 18

cert, gen release, 103 min DC THE IN­FOR­MANT! Di­rected by Steven Soderbergh. Star­ring Matt Da­mon, Scott

Bakula The 1990s ly­sine price­fix­ing con­spir­acy doesn’t sound like the stuff of en­ter­tain­ing cin­ema. How­ever, util­is­ing a groovy ti­tle font and jaunty in­ci­den­tal mu­sic by the vet­eran Marvin Ham­lisch, Soderbergh has at­tempted to turn the story into a hip, hap­pen­ing 1960s farce. It’s a gam­ble, but, buoyed by Da­mon’s crazy, hi­lar­i­ous turn, it pays off. If noth­ing else,

The In­for­mant! the most en­ter­tain­ing film ever made about agribusi­ness fraud. 15A cert, gen release, 108 min DC JEN­NIFER’S BODY Di­rected by Karyn Kusama. Star­ring Me­gan Fox, Amanda Seyfried Screen­writer Di­ablo Cody fol­lows-up the sub­lime

Juno with a hor­ror satire in which Ms Fox is trans­formed into a real, blood-drink­ing de­mon. Un­for­tu­nately, the pic­ture’s ar­gu­ments have all been made be­fore, the per­for­mances are in­dif­fer­ent, and the film-mak­ers have no feel (re­ally, no feel at all) for the dy­nam­ics of hor­ror. 15 cert, gen release, 102 min DC THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS Di­rected by Grant Heslov. Star­ring Ge­orge Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Ewan McGre­gor,

Kevin Spacey How far can you get with lit­tle else but good­will in your back­pack? On the ev­i­dence of this en­joy­ably barmy adap­ta­tion of a non-fic­tion book by Jon Ron­son, half way round the world. Fo­cus­ing on a jour­nal­ist’s en­counter with ag­ing mem­bers of the US Army’s para­nor­mal divi­sion, the pic­ture is fun, de­spite hav­ing no real story and in­dulging in an ab­surd de­noue­ment. Without Clooney’s charm it might have been un­bear­able. 15A cert, gen release, 93 min DC 9 Di­rected by Shane Acker. Voices of Eli­jah Wood, Jen­nifer Con­nelly, Martin Lan­dau, Christo­pher Plum­mer, John C Reilly, Crispin Glover Var­i­ous cloth-skinned dolls fight clank­ing ro­bots in a postapoc­a­lyp­tic land­scape that looks a lit­tle like the af­ter­math of the Blitz. It may seem per­verse to de­scribe a film about the end of the world as lack­ing am­bi­tion, but, though nicely de­signed and of­ten rather mov­ing, this an­i­mated fea­ture from young Shane Acker does seem like a small thing. It’s di­vert­ing but eas­ily for­got­ten. Still, the crea­tures are rather love­able. 12A cert, gen release, 79 min DC

A SE­RI­OUS MAN Di­rected by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen. Star­ring Michael Stuhlbarg, Fred Melamed,

Richard Kind, Adam Arkin The lat­est mas­ter­piece from the Coens goes among a tight-knit Jewish com­mu­nity in 1960s Min­nesota to up­date the story of Job. Stul­barg plays a pro­fes­sor whose life is steadily fall­ing apart: his wife is hav­ing an af­fair; his brother is giv­ing into mild so­cio­pathic urges; some nut is send­ing rude let­ters about him to his boss. Both hi­lar­i­ous and ni­hilis­tic, A Se­ri­ous Man has one aw­ful mes­sage: there’s no rea­son why bad things hap­pen to good peo­ple. 15A cert, Cineworld/IFI/ Screen, Dublin, 105 min DC TAK­ING WOOD­STOCK Di­rected by Ang Lee. Star­ring Demetri Martin, Emile Hirsch, Imelda Staunton Ang Lee re­turns to 1969 for a tale set on

Choos­ing Mr Right: Tay­lor Laut­ner, Kris­ten Ste­wart and Robert Pat­tin­son in The Twi­light Saga: New Moon, on na­tional release

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