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Tara Brady and Don­ald Clarke re­view cur­rent cin­ema re­leases

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM LISTINGS -

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, Triskel, Cork; Light House, Dublin; River­bank, Kil­dare, 127 min TB NEW RE­LEASE ANTIVIRAL ★★★ 15A cert, Light House, Dublin, 103 min See re­view, page 13

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 Em­bas- sy 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 BUL­LET TO THE HEAD ★★ Di­rected by Wal­ter Hill. Sylvester Stal­lone, Sung Kang, Sarah Shahi, Ade­wale Akin­n­uoye-Ag­baje, Ja­son Mo­moa, Chris­tian Slater Stal­lone is a hit­man seek­ing vengeance for his part­ner in the lat­est thriller from veteran Wal­ter Hill. If you were minded to be gen­er­ous, you might ar­gue that Bul­let to the Head is what The Ex­pend­ables dearly wished to be. It’s nippy. It’s fan­tas­ti­cally vi­o­lent. And it’s not ab­so­lutely ter­ri­ble. It’s not good, you un­der­stand: Stal­lone can’t move his face; the di­a­logue stinks. But it passes the time. 16 cert, gen re­lease, 91 min DC NEW RE­LEASE BULL­HEAD ★★★★ Di­rected by Michaël R Roskam. Star­ring Matthias Schoe­naerts, Jeroen Perce­val Jacky (Schoe­naerts), a player in the Bel­gian il­le­gal hor­mone mar­ket, is a sim­mer­ing mess of rage, steroids and para­noia. He lit­er­ally butts heads with those who dis­please him. He bel­lows at fam­ily mem­bers; alone, he paces and crum­ples into help­less bovine shapes. If you’re in the mar­ket for a lower class of drug ped­dling than Break­ing Bad’s crys­tal­meth scam or for a more volatile king­pin than Break­ing Bad’s Heisen­berg, then writer-di­rec­tor Roskam’s fine, grim de­but film is for you. Club, QFT, Belfast; IFI/Screen, Dublin, 124 min TB

DJANGO UN­CHAINED

★★★★★ Di­rected by Quentin Tarantino. Star­ring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Sa­muel L Jack­son, Wal­ton Gog­gins, Don John­son, James Re­mar, 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

FLIGHT ★★★ Di­rected by Robert Ze­meckis. Star­ring Den­zel Washington, Don Chea­dle, Melissa Leo, Kelly Reilly, John Good­man, Bruce Green­wood The first 30 min­utes of Flight fea­ture one of the most thrilling and dis­turb­ing avi­a­tion catas­tro­phes ever com­mit­ted to cel­lu­loid. Hav­ing flung us to earth in such spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion, Ze­meckis then set­tles down to a per­fectly ac­cept­able, some­what flabby, oc­ca­sion­ally im­plau­si­ble tale of al­co­holism and re­demp­tion. Washington is su­perb as the pi­lot with a taste for booze. But the strange, im­bal­anced struc­ture dis­con­certs through­out. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 138

min DC GANG­STER SQUAD ★★ Di­rected by Ruben Fleis­cher. Star­ring Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone, Sean Penn 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 NEW RE­LEASE HITCH­COCK ★★ 12A cert, gen re­lease, 98 min See re­view, page 12 THE HOB­BIT: AN UN­EX­PECTED JOUR­NEY ★★ Di­rected by Peter Jack­son. Star­ring Martin Free­man, Andy Serkis, Ian McKellen, Ian Holm, Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch, James Nes­bitt 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 HYDE PARK ON HUD­SON ★★ Di­rected by Roger Michell. Star­ring Bill Mur­ray, Laura Lin­ney, Sa­muel West, Olivia Col­man, Elizabeth Marvel, Olivia Wil­liams Mur­ray plays FDR, West is Ge­orge VI and Col­man is the Queen Mum in a badly cast, oc­ca­sional lu­di­crous study of the monarch’s 1939 visit to the US. It’s not the strong­est premise for a movie, though Hyde Park on Hud­son some­how con­trives to make it seem rather less than the sum of its parts. Will those Bri­tish snobs ever learn to love their coarse Yan­kee coun­ter­parts? You’ll have to wait un­til the hot dog-themed de­noue­ment to find out. Mostly ab­surd. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 95 min TB NEW RE­LEASE I GIVE IT A YEAR ★★ 16 cert, gen re­lease, 97 min See re­view, page 12 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

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, 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

Man of steel: Sylvester Stal­lone in Bul­let to the Head, on na­tional re­lease

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