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Tara Brady and Don­ald Clarke re­view cur­rent cin­ema re­leases

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

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, Light House, Dublin, 127 min TB

ARGO Di­rected by Ben Af­fleck. Star­ring Ben Af­fleck, Alan

Arkin 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 BUL­LET TO THE HEAD 16 cert, gen re­lease, 91 min See re­view, page 12 NEW RE­LEASE BULL­HEAD Club, IFI/Screen, Dublin, 124 min See re­view, page 12 NEW RE­LEASE CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY 3D PG cert, gen re­lease, 91 min No re­view; not pre­viewed for crit­ics

DJANGO UN­CHAINED

Di­rected by Quentin Tarantino. Star­ring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Sa­muel L Jack­son, Wal­ton Gog­gins, Don John­son, James Re­mar, Dennis Christo­pher, Bruce Dern, Jonah Hill It’s two years be­fore the Amer­i­can Civil War and Django (a car­nal, smoul­der­ing Foxx) and an im­pos­si­bly lo­qua­cious Ger­man part­ner (Waltz) head off to Candy­land to free Django’s wife from the evil clutches of Leonardo DiCaprio. Un­chained bor­rows from the spaghetti west­ern and the rape-re­venge fan­tasy to avert any need for the im­pend­ing split in the Union. Sly ref­er­ences to Gone with the Wind and The Dukes of Haz­zard dec­i­mate the white­washed de­pic­tions of plan­ta­tion life of­fered up since the ad­vent of mov­ing pic­tures. Tarantino goes big and bold. 18 cert, gen re­lease, 165 min TB NEW RE­LEASE FLIGHT 15A cert, gen re­lease, 138 min See re­view, page 11 GANG­STER SQUAD Di­rected by Ruben Fleis­cher. Star­ring Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone, Sean Penn, An­thony Mackie, Gio­vanni Ribisi, Michael Peña, Robert Pa­trick Cops hunt down vil­lains in post-war LA. A great deal of money has been spent mak­ing this film look like one of those pe­riod plays what Ernie used to write for More­cambe and Wise. A shame­less trans­po­si­tion of The Un­touch­ables from Chicago to Los An­ge­les, the film is laden with clunky B-movie clichés: guns with in­ex­haustible mag­a­zines, coats that don’t crease, cops’ wives who feel wid­owed by their hus­bands’ work. For­get it, Jake. It really ain’t Chi­na­town. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 112 min DC THE HOB­BIT: AN UN­EX­PECTED JOUR­NEY Di­rected by Peter Jack­son. Star­ring Martin Free­man, Andy Serkis, Ian McKellen, Ian Holm, Cate Blanchett, Christo­pher Lee The first sec­tion in Jack­son’s lu­di­crously overextended three-part 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-per­sec­ond 3D in some un­lucky venues. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 166 min DC NEW RE­LEASE HYDE PARK ON HUD­SON 12A cert, gen re­lease, 95 min See re­view, page 13 NEW RE­LEASE I WISH Club, IFI, Dublin, 127 min See re­view, page 13 THE IM­POS­SI­BLE/ LO IM­POSI­BLE Di­rected by Ser­gio G Sánchez. Star­ring Naomi Watts, Ewan McGre­gor, Tom Hol­land, Geral­dine Chap­lin The tragic In­dian Ocean earth­quake of 2004 is trans­lated into a crass mar­riage of white man’s bur­den and “hol­i­days from hell” in this sur­pris­ingly in­com­pe­tent drama from the di­rec­tor of The Or­phan­age. Os­car-nom­i­nated Watts and new­comer Hol­land put in solid per­for­mances as a Span­ish (played as Bri­tish) mother and son caught up in the chaos of a tsunami. They are but small pos­i­tives in a grander mess. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 113 min TB JACK REACHER Di­rected by Christo­pher McQuar­rie. Star­ring Rosamund Pike, Tom Cruise, Werner Her­zog, Richard Jenk­ins, Robert Du­vall Largely baf­fling adap­ta­tion of a best­selling crime novel by Lee Child con­cern­ing a big, tough loner hired by a young lawyer to help solve a se­ries of baf­fling mur­ders. Cruise is mis­cast as the hulk­ing hero. The ac­tion se­quences seem to have been bolted on rather hur­riedly. But Her­zog is gen­uinely hi­lar­i­ous as the master vil­lain. Come to think of it, much of the film is very funny. It’s just hard to know how much of that is on pur­pose. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 130 min DC

JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI Di­rected by David Gelb Jiro Ono, the owner and head sushi chef of Sukiyabashi Jiro, is con­sid­ered to be the great­est sushi shokunin in the world. Book­ings at his tiny Tokyo restau­rant have to be made year in ad­vance – it’s the only eatery un­der a rail­way arch to have gar­nered three Miche­lin stars. This fas­ci­nat­ing doc­u­men­tary por­trait of the man and his food traces the out­line of a po­ten­tially Shake­spearean dilemma, then gives in to the rhyth­mic sound of chop­ping fish. PG cert, Light House, Dublin, 81 min TB THE LAST STAND Di­rected by Kim Ji-Woon. Star­ring Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger, For­est Whi­taker, Johnny Knoxville, Ro­drigo San­toro, Luis Guzmán “How are you, sher­iff?” ask a gombeen col­lec­tive of towns­peo­ple as Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger comes fly­ing through a store­front win­dow. “Old,” Arnold replies in his uniquely Aus­trian All-Amer­i­can drawl. If you like that joke, there’s plenty more just like it in Kim Ji-Woon’s mash up of Rio Bravo and Wacky Races. It’s not the most so­phis­ti­cated en­ter­tain­ment but it’s recog­nis­ably an Arnie flick. He really will be back. Who knew? 15A cert, gen re­lease, 107 min TB LES MISÉRABLES Star­ring Hugh Jack­man, Rus­sell Crowe, Anne Hath­away, Amanda Seyfried Spir­ited adap­ta­tion of the hit 1980s mu­si­cal high­lights both the virtues and the de­mer­its of the source ma­te­rial. Hooper’s much-touted Big Idea was to have the ac­tors sing live on set. The gam­ble has, for the most part, paid off. Jack­man is solid as the ex-con­vict pur­sued through 19th-cen­tury France by Crowe’s melod­i­cally un­cer­tain cop. Hath­away chews her part into pieces. Seyfried can do

Cou­ples re­treat: Os­car nom­i­nees Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field in Lin­coln, on na­tional re­lease

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