Tara Brady and Don­ald Clarke re­view cur­rent cinema re­leases

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILMLISTINGS -

ALPS/ALPEIS ★★★★ Di­rected by Yor­gos Lan­thi­mos. Star­ring Agge­liki Papou­lia, Aris Serve­talis, Johnny Vekris, Ari­ane Labed, Stavros Psyl­lakis, Efthymis Filip­pou, Maria Kirozi Lan­thi­mos’s dis­qui­et­ing, ab­surd fol­low up to Dog­tooth fol­lows a screwy bunch of Greeks who im­per­son­ate the re­cently dead so that be­reaved fam­ily and friends might tran­si­tion eas­ily through the griev­ing process. Their darkly comic prac­tices – throw­ing balls at a rac­quet tied to a co­matose tennis player, per­fect­ing a rib­bon rou­tine for rhyth­mic gym­nas­tics – mask a deeper a po­lit­i­cal, psy­cho-sex­ual al­le­gory and a whole mess of ob­scu­ran­tism. Club, IFI/Light House, Dublin, 93 min TB NEW RE­LEASE AMOUR ★★★★★ 12A cert, IFI/Light House, Dublin, 127 min

See re­view, page 12 ARGO ★★★★ Di­rected by Ben Af­fleck. Star­ring Ben Af­fleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Good­man, Vic­tor Gar­ber, Tate Dono­van Get ready for war room ac­tion, ac­tion, ac­tion as Af­fleck’s third fea­ture as di­rec­tor trans­forms a pre­pos­ter­ous-sound­ing 1979 CIA op­er­a­tion into a ro­bust thriller. Can Agent Men­dez (Af­fleck), aided by fun sup­port­ing play­ers Cranston, Good­man and Arkin, res­cue six US Em­bassy work­ers stranded in rev­o­lu­tion­ary Iran? The Ay­a­tol­lah Khome­ini’s troops have rarely looked as en­ter­tain­ing and na­cho-friendly as they do here. But Argo’s mo­men­tum and mus­cu­lar­ity is hard to re­sist. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 120 min TB BARAKA ★★★★ Di­rected by Ron Fricke Here’s a wel­come 70mm reis­sue for Fricke’s 1992 mon­tage of ex­otic im­ages scored to spooky, pe­cu­liar tunes. Baraka (even­tu­ally suc­ceeded by this year’s Sam­sara) is at times just a lit­tle preachy about naughty mankind. But the tech­ni­cal bril­liance of the pho­tog­ra­phy and the sheer in­ge­nu­ity in­volved in dig­ging up so many ex­tra­or­di­nary lo­ca­tions will win over even the most cyn­i­cal view­ers. If ever there were a film worth see­ing on the big­gest screen, it’s this. Club, Model, Sligo, 96 min DC 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, Light House, Dublin, 93 min DC BRAVE ★★★★ Di­rected by Mark An­drews and Brenda Chap­man. Voices of Kelly Macdon­ald, Emma Thomp­son, Billy Con­nolly 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 DC 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 DC 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 DC 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 other re­spect, is a ’tween TV spe­cial. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 90 min TB HERE COMES THE BOOM ★★ Di­rected by Frank Co­raci. Star­ring Kevin James, Salma Hayek, Henry Win­kler For no good rea­son other than the press­ing de­mands of high con­cept, a bi­ol­ogy teacher (the harm­less James) elects to be­come a mixed mar­tial arts fighter. Even if he loses, the fees are so healthy he will, surely, earn enough money to fi­nance his school’s threat­ened mu­sic pro­gramme. The films starts de­cently enough as a comic ver­sion of Mr Hol­land’s Opus. But the cen­tral con­cept – or­gan­ised thug­gery – seems wildly in­ap­pro­pri­ate for a fam­ily com­edy. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 104 min DC 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 TB NEW RE­LEASE JA­SON BECKER: NOT DEAD YET ★★★★ Club, Light House, Dublin, 87 min See re­view, page 13 LOOPER ★★★★★ Di­rected by Rian John­son. Star­ring Bruce Wil­lis, Joseph Gor­don-Le­vitt, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Jeff Daniels 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, Movie House, Belfast; Cork Om­ni­plex; IMC Dún Laoghaire/Santry Om­ni­plex, Dublin, 118 min DC 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, 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 TB NEW RE­LEASE THE MAS­TER ★★★★★ 16 cert, gen re­lease, 143 min See re­view, page 11 NEW RE­LEASE MEN­TAL ★★ 15A cert, gen re­lease, 115 min See re­view, page 12


★★★ 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 TB PARANOR­MAN ★★★★ Di­rected by Sam Fell and Chris But­ler. Voices of Kodi SmitMcPhee, Tucker Al­brizzi, Anna Ken­drick, Casey Af­fleck, John Good­man New Eng­land mis­fit Nor­man (Smit-McPhee) can see dead peo­ple. Dad bel­lows when Nor­man passes on mes­sages from his late grand­mother to turn the heat­ing up. Cheer­leader sis­ter (Ken­drick) de­rides her si­b­ling as a freak. Now, as Nor­man’s al­ready gothic home­town ap­proaches the 300th an­niver­sary of the hang­ing of a no­to­ri­ous Salem- era witch, only his sixth sense can save the pop­u­lace from a wave of ma­raud­ing zom­bies. Splen­did new an­i­ma­tion from the mak­ers of Co­ra­line. PG cert, gen re­lease, 92 min TB PEO­PLE LIKE US ★ Di­rected by Alex Kurtz­man. Star­ring Chris Pine, El­iz­a­beth Banks, Olivia Wilde, Jon Favreau, Michelle Pfeif­fer, Philip Baker Hall This deeply an­noy­ing film – whose most re­mark­able achieve­ment is that it came into be­ing with­out the as­sis­tance of Ni­cholas Sparks – wal­lows in cre­ative rein­ven­tion. Pine plays a cruel busi­ness­man who, af­ter his wretched fa­ther dies, dis­cov­ers he’s had a half­sis­ter (Banks) all this time. Cue self-help waf­fle and guff about get­ting in touch with your in­ner self. The film, though de­cently put to­gether, will re­pel most sen­si­ble Euro­pean cyn­ics. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 114 min DC THE PERKS OF BE­ING A WALLFLOWER ★★★ Di­rected by Stephen Ch­bosky. Star­ring Lo­gan Ler­man, Emma Wat­son, Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd, Tom Savini, Joan Cu­sack Pitts­burgh, 1991. Four­teen- year-old Char­lie (Ler­man) is a high school fresh­man with a his­tory of men­tal ill­ness and un­likely in­ductee in a hip group of mix-tape-wield­ing se­niors led by the fab­u­lous Sam (Wat­son) and her flam­boy­ant gay step­brother Patrick (Miller). Boot­leg copies of The Smiths’ Asleep are soon ex­changed and Char­lie finds ad­di­tional sup­port from a kindly English teacher (Rudd), with a shelf full of com­ing-of-age clas­sics in Stephen Chob­sky’s sweet com­ing-of-age tale, adapted from his own novel. 15A cert, lim re­lease, 103 min TB RUBY SPARKS ★★★★ Di­rected by Jonathan Day­ton and Va­lerie Faris. Star­ring Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, An­to­nio Ban­deras, El­liott Gould, An­nette Ben­ing This zesty film hangs around a con­ceit that pops up ev­ery few years or so: an au­thor is con­fronted with one of his own cre­ations and is forced to ques­tion the na­ture of re­al­ity. Dano is the blocked au­thor. Kazan (also writer of the movie) is his Pixie girl cre­ation. The movie starts off in a light place, then

Ira­nian ca­per: Ben Af­fleck in Argo, on na­tional re­lease

The met­al­head sur­vivith: Ja­son Decker: Not Dead Yet, open­ing to­day ex­clu­sively at the Light House, Dublin. Read Tara Brady’s re­view on page 13

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