With Martin Free­man safely hob­bit­ing on the other side of the world, it falls to Mr Poppy (BBC3 reg­u­lar Woot­ton) the first

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The Man with the Iron Fist, on na­tional re­lease THE MASTER Di­rected by Paul Thomas An­der­son. Star­ring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Sey­mour Hoff­man, Amy Adams, Laura Dern A gorgeously shot, head­twist­ing 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, Cen­tury, Done­gal; Light House, Dublin; Eye, Gal­way, 143 min NA­TIV­ITY 2: DAN­GER IN THE MANGER! Di­rected by Deb­bie Isitt. Star­ring David Ten­nant, Jes­sica Hynes, Marc Woot­ton 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 THE OR­ANGES Di­rected by Ju­lian Farino. Star­ring Hugh Lau­rie, Leighton Meester, Cather­ine Keener, Adam Brody, Oliver Platt Mid­dle-aged drone (Lau­rie) runs off with young fool (Meester) in an un­com­fort­able com­edy. The per­for­mances are strong but the writ­ers fail to ex­pand the story be­yond its premise, and the script seems to have its sex­ual pol­i­tics all skew- whiff. Ev­ery­body is ter­ri­bly down on poor Ms Meester and seems to re­gard Lau­rie as noth­ing worse than a silly old fool. Even­tu­ally, to ex­pected ap­plause, Leighton gets clob­bered. Why is no one thump­ing Hugh Lau­rie? 16 cert, lim re­lease, 90 min

RISE OF THE GUARDIANS Di­rected by Peter Ram­sey. Voices of Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, Hugh Jack­man, Chris Pine, Isla Fisher 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 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, 102 min SEVEN PSY­CHOPATHS Di­rected by Martin McDonagh. Star­ring Colin Far­rell, Sam Rock­well, Woody Har­rel­son, Christo­pher Walken, Tom Waits, Ab­bie Cornish, Zeljko Ivanek, Gabourey Sidibe You have to worry a lit­tle when a movie looks to be mak­ing post­mod­ern ex­cuses for it­self. Martin McDonagh’s hec­tic, very funny fol­low-up to In Bruges con­cerns a Hol­ly­wood scriptwriter (granted all the boozy clichés) who is fail­ing to com­pose a screen­play named, yes, Seven Psy­chopaths. The script notes cer­tain fail­ings in it­self, but fails to point out that the de­noue­ment runs badly out of steam. Still, Walken and Rock­well are su­per as ec­cen­tric side­kicks. 16 cert, gen re­lease, 110 min 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 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

SIL­VER LIN­INGS PLAYBOOK 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 NEW RE­LEASE TINKER­BELL AND THE SE­CRET OF THE WINGS 3D G cert, gen re­lease, 75 min See re­view, page 13 SO UN­DER­COVER Di­rected by Tom Vaughn. Star­ring Mi­ley Cyrus, Jeremy Piven, Kelly Os­bourne A biker chick and part-time pa­parazzo (Cyrus) helps her dad – a dis­cred­ited cop with a heap of gam­bling debts – catch var­i­ous love rats on the gumshoe beat. She’s so not in­ter­ested when an FBI agent (Piven) of­fers 50 grand to in­fil­trate a snooty col­lege soror­ity and cosy up to the daugh­ter of the Ge­or­gian mafia’s ac­coun­tant. But then dad comes back from the track with a sad face. Bring on the FBI fash­ion­istas (no, really, they’re here): it’s time for a gir­lie makeover. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 94 min

TURN ME ON, GO­DAMMIT! Di­rected by Jan­nicke Sys­tad Ja­cob­sen. Star­ring He­lene Bergsholm Hell is boys and lip­gloss. In a sleepy Nor­we­gian bor­ough, 15-year-old Alma grap­ples with om­niv­o­rous hor­mones and pol­y­sex­ual day­dreams. Ev­ery­one Alma meets – really, ev­ery­one – is fod­der for sex­ual fan­tasies, none more so than Ar­tur, the tall, mono­syl­labic boy from down the street. When Ar­tur ex­poses him­self to Alma, how­ever, her friends are not in­clined to be­lieve her ac­count of events. Alma’s sub­se­quent un­pop­u­lar­ity forms the spine of this tart coming-of-age tale. Club, Light House, Dublin, 76 min 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 UN­TOUCH­ABLE/ IN­TOUCH­ABLES Di­rected by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano. Star­ring François Cluzet, Omar Sy 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, 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. 15A cert, Light House, Dublin; Tip­per­ary Excel Cen­tre, 112 min NEW RE­LEASE WHAT EVER HAP­PENED TO BABY JANE? Club, QFT, Belfast; IFI, Dublin, 133 min See re­view, page 12

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, QFT, Belfast, 87 min NEW RE­LEASE YOU WILL BE MY SON/ TU SERAS MON FILS Club, IFI, Dublin, 96 min See re­view, page 12

That bloke and kung fu lovelies in

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