Tara Brady and Don­ald Clarke re­view cur­rent cinema re­leases

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NEW RE­LEASE ALPS/ALPEIS ★★★★ Club, IFI/Light House, Dublin, 93 min See re­view, page 12 NEW RE­LEASE ARGO ★★★★ 15A cert, gen re­lease, 120 min See re­view, page 13

BEASTS OF THE SOUTH­ERN WILD Di­rected by Benh Zeitlin. Star­ring Qu­ven­zhané Wal­lis, Dwight Henry

Adapted from a play by Lucy Alibar, this stun­ning de­but con­cerns the des­per­ate ad­ven­tures of an African-Amer­i­can child – a meaner Huck Finn, a much nicer Oskar Matzerath from The Tin Drum – liv­ing close to cruel na­ture in a fan­tas­tic cor­ner of the Mis­sis­sippi Delta. Ev­ery­thing about the film rat­tles the senses. The mu­sic is en­thralling. The myth­i­cal tone is sin­gu­lar. And the lead per­for­mance by tiny Qu­ven­zhané seems al­most su­per­nat­u­ral in its as­sur­ance. 12A cert, Reel Pic­ture, Cork; Cineworld/Light House, Dublin; Eye, Gal­way, 93 min Crivens! Jings! Pixar bounces back from the tur­key that was Cars 2 with this gor­geously hewn, of­ten very funny princess ad­ven­ture set in a ver­sion of the Scot­tish High­lands ro­man­tic enough to make Sir Wal­ter Scott seem like Irvine Welsh. The jokes are great. The voice­work zings. Okay, the mag­i­cal sub­plot is half-baked and the film lacks a proper vil­lain. Oh, well. The stu­dio can’t pro­duce a mas­ter­piece ev­ery time. This fine film is enough to be go­ing on with. PG cert, lim re­lease, 100 min

BRAVE Di­rected by Mark An­drews and Brenda Chap­man. Voices of Kelly Macdon­ald, Emma Thomp­son, Billy Con­nolly CALL ME KUCHU Di­rected by Katherine Fair­fax Wright and Ma­lika Zouhal­iWor­rall. Fea­tur­ing David Kato, Stosh Mugisha, Naome Ruzin­dana

“Kuchu” is slang for ho­mo­sex­ual in Uganda, where be­ing gay car­ries the risk of a prison sen­tence. This ex­em­plary, dis­qui­et­ing doc­u­men­tary from a cou­ple of first-time film-mak­ers pro­files the African repub­lic’s plucky un­der­ground LBGTI community as new leg­is­la­tion pro­poses the death penalty for HIV-pos­i­tive gay men and a seven-year stretch for any­one who fails to re­port a sus­pected ho­mo­sex­ual. Club, Light House, Dublin 86 min

THE CAM­PAIGN Di­rected by Jay Roach. Star­ring Will Fer­rell, Zach Gal­i­fi­anakis, Dy­lan Mc­Der­mott, John Lith­gow, Dan Aykroyd, Brian Cox

Fer­rell and Gal­i­fi­anakis are splen­did as nicely com­ple­men­tary can­di­dates – one sleek and ex­pe­ri­enced, the other fat and un­com­fort­able – run­ning for a con­gres­sional seat in North Carolina. The po­lit­i­cal satire isn’t ex­actly sub­tle: crude ver­sions of real-life play­ers ap­pear; ba­bies get punched. And Mitt’s melt­downs ex­ceeded the film-mak­ers’ most pes­simistic spec­u­la­tions. But this re­mains a very funny pic­ture founded on an ad­mirable foun­da­tion of cyn­i­cism. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 85 min

DI­ARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS Di­rected by David Bow­ers. Star­ring Zachary Gor­don, Steve Zahn

The lat­est pic­ture in the kids’ fran­chise finds the pro­tag­o­nist fac­ing up to sum­mer in some anony­mous subur­ban hell. He elects to hang about in the coun­try club to im­press a girl. The per­for­mances are all right. It’s harm­less. But the thing is just so drab and bour­geois. What hap­pened to mad­ness? What hap­pened to re­bel­lion? G cert, gen re­lease, 93 min

ELENA Di­rected by An­drei Zvyag­int­sev. Star­ring Nadezhda Mark­ina, An­drei Smirnov

Is it too soon to name Zvyag­int­sev as a Rus­sian mas­ter to rank along­side Sokurov and Tarkovksy? It seems not. This stun­ning film (fol­low-up to the bril­liant The Re­turn and the dis­ap­point­ing The Ban­ish­ment) stud­ies the un­com­fort­able mar­riage be­tween two older Mus­covites: Mark­ina is the work­ing-class nurse who cared for Smirnov’s mag­nate dur­ing a mi­nor ill­ness. Af­ter a steady start, the film de­vel­ops into a brain-shak­ing moral tragedy. Beau­ti­fully shot. Hyp­notic. Caus­tic. Club, QFT, Belfast, 109 min

FOR A GOOD TIME CALL Di­rected by Jamie Travis. Star­ring Ari Graynor, Lauren Miller, Seth Ro­gen, Justin Long, Mimi Rogers, Nia Varda­los

Yuck! If there’s one thing more an­noy­ing than the dumb main­stream sex com­edy, it’s the dumb main­stream sex com­edy that has as­pi­ra­tions to­wards indie funk. Travis’s wit­less fea­ture de­but stars Graynor and Miller as a pair of some­time en­e­mies who be­come pals while run­ning a phone sex line. Their ac­tiv­i­ties are, pre­sum­ably, sup­posed to be “em­pow­er­ing”. How or why is never made clear. Grubby, clumsy and charm­less. 16 cert, gen re­lease, 85 min

FRANKENWEENIE Di­rected by Tim Bur­ton. Voices of Char­lie Ta­han, Cather­ine O’Hara, Wi­nona Ry­der, Martin Short, Martin Lan­dau

Bur­ton con­tin­ues to do Bur­ton. Af­ter Dark Shad­ows, a film that played like a par­ody of his own cosy gothic aes­thetic, the mid­dleaged fright­mas­ter has re­turned with a monochrome stop-mo­tion take on his own early short con­cern­ing a lonely boy who re­an­i­mates his re­cently flat­tened dog. It’s all very fa­mil­iar: lol­lipop heads, nods to clas­sic hor­ror. But the pic­ture still feels sur­pris­ingly en­er­getic. How en­vi­able it is to re­tain such an un­shak­able con­nec­tion to one’s own child­hood. PG cert, gen re­lease, 86 min

FUN SIZE Di­rected by Josh Schwartz. Star­ring Vic­to­ria Jus­tice, Jane Levy, Chelsea Han­dler, Johnny Knoxville

This er­ratic re­work­ing of Ad­ven­tures in Babysit­ting, a sup­posed big-screen tran­si­tion for pop­u­lar Nick­leodeon mop­pet Vic­to­ria Jus­tice, re­ally wants to hang with the big­ger kids. The sec­ond film to emerge with a re­stricted rat­ing from Nick­leodeon’s movie im­print is pop­u­lated by “edgier” types Han­dler and Knoxville. Grown-up gags sit un­easily in a film that, in ev­ery

Fri­day, Novem­ber 9 , 2012 other re­spect, is a ’tween TV spe­cial. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 90 min

GIN­GER AND ROSA Di­rected by Sally Pot­ter. Star­ring Elle Fan­ning, Alice En­glert, Alessan­dro Nivola, Christina Hendricks, Ti­mothy Spall, Oliver Platt, An­nette Ben­ing

Beau­ti­fully made but lu­di­crously hol­low drama con­cern­ing two fe­male pals grow­ing up in the shadow of the bomb dur­ing the early 1960s. The pe­riod de­tail is so sump­tu­ously ide­alised the film proves im­pos­si­ble to take se­ri­ously. Ev­ery record player plays Th­elo­nious Monk, Miles Davis or Char­lie Parker. A meal of pie and mash looks as if it was pre­pared for a mod­ern, Miche­lin-starred irony can­teen. It’s a shame, be­cause Fan­ning is first class. 15A cert, QFT, Belfast, 90 min

NEW RE­LEASE GRASS­ROOTS 15A cert, lim re­lease, 98 min See re­view, page 13 NEW RE­LEASE HERE COMES THE BOOM 12A cert, gen re­lease, 104 min See re­view, page 12 HO­TEL TRANSYLVANIA Di­rected by Gen­ndy Tar­takovsky. Voices of Adam San­dler, Se­lena Gomez, Andy Sam­berg, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Jon Lovitz, Cee Lo Green, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shan­non, David Spade

Vam­pires are so over. How else might one ex­plain Ho­tel Transylvania, in which an over­pro­tec­tive Drac­ula, voiced by Adam San­dler, must ac­cept that daugh­ter Se­lena Gomez is all growed up? Weary par­ents will sigh and sharpen their stakes, though smaller folks will be per­fectly con­tent with the film’s mon­ster mash of puppy love, silly voices, shoe­horned mu­si­cal num­bers and flat­u­lence gags. So very over. PG cert, gen re­lease, 91 min

LOOPER Di­rected by Rian John­son. Star­ring Bruce Wil­lis, Joseph Gor­don-Le­vitt, Emily Blunt

Will won­ders never cease? We fi­nally have a hugely en­ter­tain­ing and pop­u­lar sci-fi film that is nei­ther a se­quel nor a re­make. John­son’s smash­ing time travel ad­ven­ture con­cerns as­sas­sins who are re­quired to elim­i­nate hood­lums that have been beamed back from the fu­ture. The tem­po­ral puz­zles are worth pe­rus­ing. The ac­tion se­quences are first class. And the film even has two con­vinc­ing love sto­ries at its heart. You will be­lieve that Gor­don-Le­vitt could grow up to be Wil­lis. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 118 min

MADA­GAS­CAR 3: EUROPE’S MOST WANTED Di­rected by Eric Dar­nell, Tom McGrath. Voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Sch­wim­mer, Jada Pin­kett Smith, Sacha Baron Co­hen, Cedric the En­ter­tainer, Andy Richter, Bryan Cranston, Jes­sica Chas­tain, Martin Short, Paz Vega, Frances McDor­mand

Un­like its pre­de­ces­sors, and with a curt­sey be­fore Her­bie and In­spec­tor Clouseau, the third part of the bil­lion-dol­lar fran­chise traces a fran­tic chase across Europe. It’s a good move for the neu­rotic New York zoo an­i­mals. Freed from the nar­ra­tive con­straints of be­ing ship­wrecked and/or cap­tive, the quar­tet tear through the old con­ti­nent with McDor­mand’s de­mented French cap­tain hot on their re­spec­tive tails. G cert, gen re­lease, 93 min

ON THE ROAD Di­rected by Wal­ter Salles. Star­ring Gar­rett Hed­lund, Sam Ri­ley, Kris­ten Ste­wart, Amy Adams, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen

In­spired by his new care­free chum Dean Moriarty (a heav­ily ro­man­ti­cised Neal Cas­sady), Sal Paradise (Ker­ouac er­satz) leaves the house of his grim-faced mother for a se­ries of en­coun­ters with women, drugs and jazz. None of this, alas, amounts to any­thing that looks or feels like a proper movie. Per­haps its a tes­ta­ment to Ker­ouac’s mas­tery of his own screwy mi­lieu that all at­tempts to adapt his sem­i­nal novel are doomed to fail. 16 cert, Movie Junc­tion, Cork; Mer­maid, Wick­low, 124 min

PARA­NOR­MAL AC­TIV­ITY 4 Di­rected by Ariel Schul­man and Henry Joost. Star­ring Katie Feather­ston, Kathryn New­ton

When the spooky lit­tle boy from across the street comes to stay with perky teen Alex (New­ton) and her shiny nu­clear fam­ily, things quickly start go­ing bump in the night. Could it be that Alex and her cam­era-mad boyfriend are about to fall vic­tim to the chair-rat­tling, door-slam­ming, light-switch­ing evil that is the Para­nor­mal Ac­tiv­ity de­mon? Once you trem­bled in fear as he un­screwed a kitchen saucepan rack: now cower in ab­ject hor­ror as he drops a whole freak­ing chan­de­lier. 16 cert, gen re­lease, 88 min

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