of the in­creas­ingly per­ilous con­di­tions, the Master has no in­ten­tion of turn­ing back. But is an old-school Tol­stoy-brand fall and re­demp­tion in the works? Club, lim re­lease, 91 min TB NEW RE­LEASE FALSE TRAIL/JÄGARNA 2 ★★★ 16 cert, lim re­lease, 125 min

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

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, lim re­lease, 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 pre pos­ter­ous-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

BOX­ING DAY ★★★★ Di­rected by Bernard Rose. Star­ring Danny Hus­ton, Matthew Ja­cobs, Lisa Enos

Brusque and avari­cious , it re­quires all of Hus­ton’s charm to keep us on­side as the en­tre­pre­neur ca­joles and lightly sneers at his crum­pled chauf­feurJa­cobs). The driver, a di­vorced dead­beat with a fu­ri­ous ex-wife, can ill af­ford to com­plain, and the two men ven­ture fur­ther and fur­ther into win­try, snow­bound Colorado in search of prop­er­ties on the verge of fore­clo­sure. Re­gard­less

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, lim re­lease, 96 min DC DOLL­HOUSE ★★★ Di­rected by Kirsten Sheri­dan. Star­ring Seana Ker­slake, Johnny Ward, Kate Stan­ley Bren­nan, Shane Curry, Ciaran Mc­Cabe, Jack Reynor, Conor Neary, Deirdre O’Kane, Peter Gowan Sheri­dan’s third fea­ture be­gins with a group of teenagers break­ing into a house in the view-rich Mil­lion­aires’ Repub­lic of Dalkey. What fol­lows features co­pi­ous amounts of im­pro­vi­sa­tion and no lit­tle self-in­dul­gence. It’s an in­ter­est­ing ex­per­i­ment, but the se­quence of work­shops never quite co­a­lesces into a work­able film. Still, the cast are all first class, and the film buzzes with raw en­ergy. 16 cert, lim re­lease, 99 min DC END OF WATCH ★★★ Di­rected by David Ayer. Star­ring Jake Gyl­len­haal, Michael Peña, Anna Ken­drick, Amer­ica Fer­rera 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 high­speed 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 THE HOB­BIT: AN UN­EX­PECTED JOUR­NEY ★★ Di­rected by Peter Jack­son. Star­ring Martin Free­man, Andy Serkis, Ian McKellen, Ian Holm, Ai­dan Turner, Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch, James Nes­bitt, Billy Con­nolly, Cate Blanchett, Christo­pher Lee, Eli­jah Wood, Evan­ge­line Lilly, Hugo Weav­ing The first sec­tion in Jack­son’s lu­di­crously overextended three­part adap­ta­tion of a neat, per­fectly formed chil­dren’s book of­fers un­happy in­sights as to what’s gone wrong with the movie in­dus­try. Fea­tur­ing buck­ets of ex­tra­ne­ous chat­ter and too much prepara­tory fuss­ing, the movie barely finds time to set the characters loose on their quest. The story fi­nally takes off when Serkis ar­rives as Gol­lum, but, by then, the movie is be­yond sav­ing. Avail­able in dis­tract­ing 48 frames-per-sec­ond 3D in some un­lucky venues. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 166 min DC HO­TEL TRAN­SYL­VA­NIA ★★ Di­rected by Gen­ndy Tar­takovsky. Voices of Adam San­dler, Selena Gomez, Andy Sam­berg, Steve Buscemi 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 LIFE OF PI ★★★★ Di­rected by Ang Lee. Star­ring Su­raj Sharma, Ayush Tandon, Ir­rfan Khan, Tabu, Adil Hus­sain, Rafe Spall, Gérard Depar­dieu Against the odds, Lee man­ages to make some­thing gen­uinely mag­i­cal of Yann Martel’s al­le­gor­i­cal novel con­cern­ing a young man trapped in a lifeboat with a Ben­gal tiger. The “spir­i­tual” sub­texts are a bit cosy and un­threat­en­ing, But Lee, as ever, in­vests the tale with real emo­tional punch. The com­put­er­gen­er­ated im­agery strays into the fan­tas­tic for a pur­pose and, for once, the 3D is used to very good ef­fect. A beau­ti­ful, touch­ing piece of work. PG cert, gen re­lease, 127 min DC

LOVE CRIME/CRIME D’AMOUR

★★★ Di­rected by Alain Corneau. Star­ring Kristin Scott Thomas, Lu­di­vine Sag­nier, Pa­trick Mille, Ger­ald Laroche, Guil­laume Mar­quet What an odd film. Be­gin­ning as a study of women in the work­place – haughty Scott Thomas and young Sag­nier are at log­ger­heads – Love Crime sud­denly takes a turn into much broader ter­ri­tory. The en­tire film ends up look­ing like a hi­lar­i­ously overextended ver­sion of a pro­logue to an un­seen episode of Columbo. This is not nec­es­sar­ily a crit­i­cism. It’s ut­terly lu­di­crous, but good fun through­out. Sub­ject of an up­com­ing re­make by Brian DePalma. Club, IFI, Dublin, 104 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, Jes­sica Chas­tain, Frances McDor­mand Un­like its pre­de­ces­sors, and with a curt­sey be­fore Her­bie and In­spec­tor Clouseau, the third

of Pi, 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 MID­NIGHT’S CHIL­DREN ★★★ 12A cert, lim re­lease, 146 min See re­view, page 11

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, Light House, Dublin; Eye, Gal­way, 143 min DC 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 PARENTAL GUID­ANCE ★ G cert, gen re­lease, 104 min See re­view, page 12

PITCH PER­FECT ★★★ Di­rected by Ja­son Moore. Star­ring Anna Ken­drick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wil­son, Anna Camp, Alexis Knapp, Sky­lar Astin, Elizabeth Banks En­er­get­i­cally sung, good­na­tured teen mu­si­cal fol­low­ing the en­trants in an a cap­pella com­pe­ti­tion as they at­tempt to make up for past em­bar­rass­ments. The num­bers are nicely car­ried off. The cast is ex­cel­lent from top to bot­tom. But the ap­par­ent at­tempts to be hip and hap­pen­ing are plain hi­lar­i­ous. Be­fore the close, Ken­drick’s rad­i­cal DJ will have in­tro­duced her new friends to the avant garde stylings of, erm, Jessie J and Bruno Mars. Mind you don’t frighten the horses, dear. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 112 min DC THE POOL ★★★★ Di­rected by Chris Smith. Star­ring Venkatesh Cha­van Venkatesh is an un­e­d­u­cated 18-year-old scrab­bling a liv­ing on the streets of Pan­jim, Goa, clean­ing ho­tel rooms and sell­ing plas­tic bags on the street with a savvy, or­phaned 10-year-old. Be­tween shifts and hard-earned snack foods, Venkatesh ob­sesses over a shim­mer­ing swim­ming pool on the more salu­bri­ous side of town. He comes to stalk the sad, mys­te­ri­ous fam­ily who live there, watch­ing them from a nearby mango tree. Even­tu­ally he be­friends the man and his teenage daugh­ter and dis­cov­ers their tragic se­cret. Club, lim­ited re­lease, 98 min TB 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 DC

NEW RE­LEASE SAFETY NOT GUAR­AN­TEED

★★★★ Club, IFI, Dublin, 86 min See re­view, page 11

SAM­SARA ★★★★ Di­rected by Ron Fricke Stag­ger­ingly beau­ti­ful, oc­ca­sion­ally dis­turb­ing “chill- out” doc­u­men­tary fea­tur­ing shots of

Ocean colour scene: Life

on na­tional re­lease

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