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The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM LISTINGS - Tara Brady and Don­ald Clarke re­view cur­rent cin­ema re­leases

ALEX CROSS 15A cert, gen re­lease, 101 min Not pre­viewed for crit­ics

AMOUR ★★★★★ Di­rected by Michael Haneke. Star­ring Jean-Louis Trintig­nant, Em­manuelle Riva, Is­abelle Hup­pert Haneke makes it clear where we’re all headed from the open­ing shot of the least eva­sive, but most mov­ing, film of his ca­reer. Po­lice break into an ele­gant Paris apart­ment to find an el­derly woman ly­ing dead upon her bed. It’s ar­guably one of Amour’s cheerier tableaux. We flash­back through the woman’s de­cline and her hus­band’s ef­forts to cope. Slowly and qui­etly, Haneke’s 11th fea­ture equals and sur­passes all the emo­tional jolts once sup­plied by the ex­plod­ing pig’s head of Benny’s Video. 12A cert, QFT, Belfast; IFI/Light House, Dublin, 127 min TB

ARGO ★★★★ Di­rected by Ben Af­fleck. Star­ring Ben Af­fleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Good­man 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

NEW RE­LEASE

CE­LESTE AND JESSE FOR­EVER ★★★ 15A cert, gen re­lease, 92 min See re­view, page 15

DEATH OF A SU­PER­HERO ★★★ Di­rected by Ian Fitzgib­bon. Star­ring Andy Serkis, Thomas Brodie-Sang­ster, Ais­ling Lof­tus, Michael McEl­hat­ton, Sharon Hor­gan Im­pres­sive Ir­ish film from the di­rec­tor of A Film with Me in It about a teenager who sub­li­mates thoughts about his ter­mi­nal disease into vi­o­lent comic-book art. The per­for­mances are all top-notch (notably an un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally quiet Serkis as the boy’s psy­chi­a­trist) and the script is sen­si­tive about all is­sues ad­dressed. Un­for­tu­nately, the pic­ture is that just lit­tle bit light on nar­ra­tive. Good work, none­the­less. 15A cert, Gate, Cork; Light House, Dublin; Eye, Gal­way, 96 min DC

NEW RE­LEASE

DOLL­HOUSE ★★★ 16 cert, lim re­lease, 99 min See re­view, page 15

END OF WATCH ★★★ Di­rected by David Ayer. Star­ring Jake Gyl­len­haal, Michael Peña, Anna Ken­drick, Amer­ica Fer­rera, Natalie Martinez We’re in­tro­duced to an up­stand­ing young LAPD go-get­ter (Gyl­len­haal) and his trusty part­ner (Peña) on their rounds as the former at­tempts to film for a night-school project. This fram­ing de­vice is quickly dis­carded in favour of high-speed sirens, bro­mance and the duo’s pur­suit of a drugs car­tel. It’s a cheat, though it does cheat in a man­ner that en­hances the film’s en­ter­tain­ment value. 16 cert, gen re­lease, 109 min TB

GAM­BIT ★ Di­rected by Michael Hoff­man. Star­ring Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman, Stan­ley Tucci, Cloris Leach­man, Tom Courte­nay Wit­less, id­i­otic up­dat­ing of a 1960s swing­ingLon­don ca­per farce fea­tur­ing Diaz as a com­edy Texan, Firth as a com­edy English­man and Tucci as a com­edy Ger­man. Some crit­ics, em­brac­ing the im­pend­ing sea­son of good will, have sug­gested that the en­tire project is a sly pas­tiche that ac­tively em­braces anachro­nism. They may well be right. If so, the pic­ture’s stink has a slightly more com­plex fin­ish. But it still stinks. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 90 min

DC GREAT EX­PEC­TA­TIONS 12A cert, gen re­lease, 128 min Not pre­viewed for crit­ics

HO­TEL TRAN­SYL­VA­NIA ★★ Di­rected by Gen­ndy Tar­takovsky. Voices of Adam San­dler, Selena Gomez, Andy Sam­berg, Kevin James, Jon Lovitz, Cee Lo Green, Steve Buscemi, 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

THE HUNT/JAGTEN ★★★★ Di­rected by Thomas Vin­ter­berg. Star­ring Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, An­nika Wed­derkopp Su­perbly grip­ping Dan­ish drama from the di­rec­tor of Festen con­cern­ing a kinder­garten teacher who is hounded al­most to mad­ness af­ter be­ing wrongly ac­cused of child mo­lesta­tion. Mikkelsen is su­perb as the tor­tured pro­tag­o­nist pro­pelled through an un­bear­able gaunt­let, and the film has an unstoppable mo­men­tum and fu­ri­ous mo­ral pur­pose. The only flaw is a rather clumsy metaphor that finds the hero tak­ing time out for a stag hunt. Un­miss­able. 15A cert, IFI/IMC Dún Laoghaire/ Light House/Screen, Dublin, 115 min DC

NEW RE­LEASE

LAU­RENCE AL­WAYS ★★★★★ Club, IFI, Dublin, 161 min See re­view, page 16

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, 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 MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS ★★★ 16 cert, gen re­lease, 95 min See re­view, page 17

THE MASTER ★★★★★ Di­rected by Paul Thomas An­der­son. Star­ring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Sey­mour Hoff­man, Amy Adams, Laura Dern A gorgeously shot, head-twist­ing gem of a puz­zle pic­ture. Phoenix plays a dam­aged naval veteran who falls in with – but is not en­tirely in­doc­tri­nated by – a cult leader (Hoff­man) who

closely re­sem­bles L Ron Hub­bard. Phoenix of­fers a star­tlingly an­i­mal­is­tic per­for­mance. Hoff­man of­fers ar­ro­gance and barely con­cealed un­cer­tainty. The film cre­ates end­less fas­ci­nat­ing nar­ra­tive stubs that the viewer is forced to com­plete. 16 cert, Gate, Cork; Light House, Dublin; Eye, Gal­way; Show­time, Lim­er­ick, 143 min DC

NEW RE­LEASE MOTHER’S MILK ★★★

Club, Triskel, Cork (Sun-Wed); IFI, Dublin (Mon), 99 min

See re­view, page 17

NA­TIV­ITY 2: DAN­GER IN THE MANGER! ★

Di­rected by Deb­bie Isitt. Star­ring David Ten­nant, Jes­sica Hynes, Marc Woot­ton With Martin Free­man safely hob­bit­ing on the other side of the world, it falls to Mr Poppy (BBC3 reg­u­lar Woot­ton) the first in­stal­ment’s ter­tiary, sub­nor­mal side­kick, to come off the bench and make armpit noises. Ten­nant joins the panto crew as a pair of war­ring twin brothers fac­ing off at an X Fac­tor- in­spired Christ­mas sin­ga­long. We are not re­minded of Kind Hearts and Coro­nets. This isn’t a cast, it’s a pe­nal bat­tal­ion, and the film is as “fun” as the zany ex­cla­ma­tion point sug­gests. G cert, gen re­lease, 105 min TB

NEW RE­LEASE

THE OR­ANGES ★★

16 cert, lim re­lease, 90 min See re­view, page 17

PARA­NOR­MAN ★★★★

Di­rected by Sam Fell and Chris But­ler. Voices of Kodi SmitMcPhee, Anna Ken­drick, Casey Af­fleck, John Good­man New Eng­land mis­fit Norman (SmitMcPhee) 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

RISE OF THE GUARDIANS ★★★

Di­rected by Peter Ram­sey. Voices of Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, Hugh Jack­man, Chris Pine, Isla Fisher, Dakota Goyo Per­fectly amus­ing, if rather over-fussy, an­i­ma­tion con­cern­ing at­tempts by var­i­ous myth­i­cal be­ings – Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and so forth – to frus­trate the evil plans of the boogey­man. It looks very nice and the voices are all very good, but the film doesn’t really make sense of its premise. Since when has the Sand­man been a good guy? Don’t we need the evil leg­ends too? Never mind; it hardly mat­ters. G cert, gen re­lease, 97 min DC

SAM­SARA ★★★★

Di­rected by Ron Fricke Stag­ger­ingly beau­ti­ful, oc­ca­sion­ally dis­turb­ing “chill- out” doc­u­men­tary fea­tur­ing shots of the world’s most as­ton­ish­ing sights scored to a fine ethe­real sound­track. Fricke & co de­serve credit sim­ply for lo­cat­ing so many pe­cu­liar struc­tures, land­scapes and peo­ple. Who knew the world con­cealed all this ec­cen­tric, undis­cov­ered love­li­ness? The eco­log­i­cal grand­stand­ing is oc­ca­sion­ally op­pres­sive, but the star­tling im­ages – chant­ing monks, enor­mous gorges, chick­ens be­ing pro­cessed – are im­pos­si­ble to re­sist. 12A cert, Light House, Dublin; River­bank, Kil­dare, 102 min DC

NEW RE­LEASE

SEVEN PSY­CHOPATHS ★★★

16 cert, gen re­lease, 110 min See re­view, page 15

SIGHT­SEERS ★★★★★

Di­rected by Ben Wheat­ley. Star­ring Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Eileen Davies, Richard Glover Wheat­ley’s tremen­dous fol­low-up to Kill List – fun­nier, but no less dark – finds Oram and Lowe (also co-writ­ers) as mo­rose English car­a­van en­thu­si­asts whose bel­liger­ence turns to bloody vi­o­lence while vis­it­ing var­i­ous drab beauty spots. The script is per­fectly formed. A sub­plot in­volv­ing pos­si­ble ca­nine rein­car­na­tion and a tragic, ear­lier col­li­sion be­tween a ter­rier and knit­ting nee­dles only adds to the sus­pi­cion that this is the best Bri­tish hor­ror-com­edy since Shaun of the Dead. 16 cert, lim re­lease, 88 min TB

SIL­VER LIN­INGS PLAYBOOK ★★★

Di­rected by David O Rus­sell. Star­ring Bradley Cooper, Jen­nifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Ju­lia Stiles, Chris Tucker Rus­sell’s fol­low-up to The Fighter is a mix of in­tegrity and fa­tal com­pro­mise. Cooper is strong and Lawrence ex­cel­lent as a pair of bi-po­lar mal­con­tents who get to­gether in a grey, grit­tily ren­dered Philadel­phia. Much of the di­a­logue is sharp. About half­way through, how­ever, the film takes a re­gret­table turn to­wards the mun­dane when the pair en­ter a po­ten­tially lifechang­ing dance com­pe­ti­tion. What started out as a brave com­edy ends up feel­ing like a sen­ti­men­tal con. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 121 min DC

SKY­FALL ★★★

Di­rected by Sam Men­des Star­ring Daniel Craig, Javier Bar­dem, Ralph Fi­ennes, Al­bert Fin­ney, Judi Dench The lat­est Bond ad­ven­ture is cer­tainly a great im­prove­ment on the mud­dled, com­pro­mised Quantum of So­lace. Men­des brings real sweep and mo­men­tum to the ac­tion. The re­la­tion­ship be­tween Craig’s class­less 007 and Dench’s flinty M is very nicely played. But, like ev­ery Bond flick of the past 30 years, Sky­fall feels more than a lit­tle com­pro­mised: at­tempts to up­date the grue­some “Bond girl” par­a­digm are laugh­ably per­func­tory; the prod­uct place­ment is dis­gust­ing. A fine thriller, but no mas­ter­piece. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 143 min DC

NEW RE­LEASE

SO UN­DER­COVER ★★★

12A cert, gen re­lease, 94 min See re­view, page 15

TROU­BLE WITH THE CURVE ★★★

Di­rected by Robert Lorenz. Star­ring Clint East­wood, Amy Adams, Justin Tim­ber­lake, John Good­man, Matthew Lil­lard, Robert Pa­trick El­derly base­ball scout (East­wood) is strug­gling with fail­ing eye­sight and chronic grumpi­ness when he sets out to look at a new prospect in North Carolina. The suits in the board­room are hes­i­tant; the new cor­po­rate breed (Lil­lard) gath­ered around the CEO (Pa­trick) want to stick to the stats. Like Clint’s sim­i­larly ro­man­tic Grand Torino, Curve prom­ises a fu­ture wherein hard­work­ing women and im­mi­grants shall in­her­ent the earth. And ev­ery­one has a mind to that cyn­i­cal Money­ball a good spank­ing. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 111 min TB

NEW RE­LEASE

TURN ME ON, GO­DAMMIT! ★★★★

Club, Light House, Dublin, 76 min See re­view, page 17

THE TWI­LIGHT SAGA: BREAK­ING DAWN – PART 2 ★★★

Di­rected by Bill Con­don. Star­ring Kris­ten Ste­wart, Robert Pat­tin­son, Tay­lor Laut­ner, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Michael Sheen, Dakota Fan­ning The fran­chise is fi­nally placed in its tomb (for now) with an epic ad­ven­ture that finds the vam­pire lovers or­gan­is­ing an as­sault against their camp Vol­turi en­e­mies. As ever, the pic­ture strikes a few bum notes (the Ir­ish vam­pires are par­tic­u­larly hi­lar­i­ous). But Break­ing Dawn 2 of­fers a very ef­fi­cient, mildly touch­ing, morally unim­peach­able con­clu­sion to a chron­i­cle that has left an in­deli­ble im­pact on con­tem­po­rary pop­u­lar cul­ture. The leads are as charis­matic as ever. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 115 min DC

UN­TOUCH­ABLE/ IN­TOUCH­ABLES ★★★★ Di­rected by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano. Star­ring François Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny Sene­galese émi­gré Driss (Sy) has no in­ten­tion of get­ting hired when he ap­plies to be a live-in carer for mil­lion­aire para­plegic Philippe (Cluzet). Fol­low­ing a dis­as­trous in­ter­view – dur­ing which Driss flirts with the aris­to­crat’s foxy sec­re­tary and steals a Fabergé egg – no one is more sur­prised than he when the older man takes him on for a trial. Slowly the two be­come friends in this feel­good smash, the big­gest gross­ing non-English-lan­guage film of all time. 15A cert, Triskel, Cork; Lis­towel Clas­sic, Kerry, 112 min TB

WHAT RICHARD DID ★★★★★

Di­rected by Lenny Abra­ham­son. Star­ring Jack Reynor, Roisin Murphy, Sam Kee­ley What Richard Did opens with three young south Dublin men in a car cruis­ing be­tween the get-to­geth­ers and hook-ups of a pre-col­lege sum­mer. The driver is school­boy rugby star Richard (Reynor), a “su­per-rich” kid with a car, ac­cess to the fam­ily beach house and a charmed life. He has never wanted for any­thing and, sure enough, when he sets his sights on Lara (Murphy), he seems to eas­ily win her over from Conor (Kee­ley). There are no di­rect ref­er­ences to the source novel (Kevin Pow­ers’s Bad Day in Black­rock) or the case that pre­ceded it in Abra­ham­son’s fine third fea­ture, only im­per­fect teens with im­per­fect lives ahead. 15A cert, Light House, Dublin, 87 min TB

Jack Frost (voiced by Chris Pine) in Rise of the Guardians, on na­tional re­lease

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