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

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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; Light House, Dublin, 127 min 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 pre­pos­ter­ous­sound­ing 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 NEW RE­LEASE BEAU­TI­FUL CREA­TURES 12A cert, gen re­lease, 124 min See re­view, page 13 BUL­LET TO THE HEAD Di­rected by Wal­ter Hill. Sylvester Stal­lone, Sung Kang, Chris­tian Slater

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, lim re­lease, 91 min

DJANGO UN­CHAINED Di­rected by Quentin Tarantino. Star­ring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Sa­muel L Jack­son, Don John­son 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 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 an 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 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 NEW RE­LEASE FOR ELLEN Club, IFI, Dublin, 94 min See re­view, page 12 NEW RE­LEASE A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD 15A cert, gen re­lease, 97 min See re­view, page 12 HITCH­COCK Di­rected by Sacha Ger­vasi. Star­ring An­thony Hop­kins, He­len Mir­ren, Scar­lett Jo­hans­son, Toni Col­lette, Jes­sica Biel, Danny Hus­ton Hitch­cock lands in cinemas with the dull thud of a corpse mi­nus the Bernard Her­mann ac­com­pa­ni­ment. A daft tale of mys­tery and peep­holes fash­ioned around the pro­duc­tion of Psy­cho, this slight, friv­o­lous drama goes through the mo­tions with all the en­thu­si­asm of a late fran­chise prequel. Ger­vasi, the di­rec­tor of the sub­lime Anvil: The Story of Anvil, knows well to pep­per the pro­ceed­ings with Hitch­cock­ian cuts and chi­canery. But oc­ca­sional flair and an A-list cast are sim­ply not enough to carry this er­ratic ori­gins story. Hop­kins is so en­tombed in pros­thetic jowls that there might be any num­ber of peo­ple un­der there. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 98 min THE HOB­BIT: AN UN­EX­PECTED JOUR­NEY Di­rected by Peter Jack­son. Star­ring Martin Free­man, Andy Serkis, Ian McKellen 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-per­sec­ond 3D in some un­lucky venues. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 166 min I GIVE IT A YEAR Di­rected by Dan Mazer. Star­ring Rose Byrne, Rafe Spall, Anna Faris, Simon Baker, Stephen Mer­chant, Min­nie Driver, Ja­son Fle­myng, Olivia Col­man Fol­low­ing a per­func­tory mon­tage in­volv­ing cute meet­ings and cuter pro­pos­als, Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall launch them­selves into an orgy of bick­er­ing, sneer­ing, scowl­ing and low be­hav­iour. Fea­tur­ing all the usual Work­ing Ti­tle tropes (it even be­gins with an aw­ful best-man speech), Mazer’s film is far too sour to work as a main­stream rom­com. But ev­ery­thing is point­ing in that di­rec­tion. Maybe we’re all too in thrall to genre. Who knows? It still doesn’t make any sense. 16 cert, gen re­lease, 97 min 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

Pretty in pink: Vanel­lope von Sch­weetz (voiced by Sarah Sil­ver­man) in Wreck-It Ralph

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 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 noth­ing with the weedy Cosette. Un­for­tu­nately, it loses steam in the sec­ond act. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 158 min A LIAR’S AU­TO­BI­OG­RA­PHY: THE UN­TRUE STORY OF MONTY PYTHON’S GRA­HAM CHAP­MAN Di­rected by Bill Jones, Jeff Simp­son, Ben Tim­lett Gra­ham Chap­man died in 1989, but not be­fore record­ing some of the mostly made-up de­tails of his life. Three direc­tors, most of the re­main­ing Pythons (Eric Idle was a no-show) and 14 an­i­ma­tion stu­dios trans­lated this pleas­ing non­sense into a 3D mo­tion pic­ture. Un­hap­pily, the re­sults are a fright­ful mess. There are some neat ideas in car­toon form, but too of­ten the art­work is crudely ba­sic or plain weird. In­ter­est­ing de­tails that might ac­tu­ally per­tain to Chap­man’s life are lost in the sur­real wit­ter­ings and Yel­low Pack Sub­ma­rine vi­su­als. Club, QFT, Belfast, 85 min LIFE OF PI Di­rected by Ang Lee. Star­ring Su­raj Sharma, Ir­rfan Khan 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 LIN­COLN Di­rected by Steven Spiel­berg. Star­ring Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gor­don-Le­vitt, James Spader, Hal Hol­brook, Tommy Lee Jones In his sober study of the 16th US pres­i­dent, Spiel­berg shuns bat­tle­field hero­ics for an ex­am­i­na­tion of the machi­na­tions re­quired to pi­lot the eman­ci­pa­tion amend­ment through congress. Day-Lewis is spook­ily im­pres­sive in the lead role. The com­plex story is ex­plained with ad­mirable lu­cid­ity. There are, per­haps, a few too many con­ver­sa­tions in shaded cor­ners, and John Wil­liams’s score is un­ac­cept­ably in­tru­sive. But this re­mains a com­pelling and mov­ing treat­ment of twisty ma­te­rial. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 151 min McCULLIN Di­rected by Jac­qui Mor­ris, David Mor­ris In this doc­u­men­tary, distin­guished English war pho­tog­ra­pher Don McCullin is re­vealed as a clear, com­pas­sion­ate thinker who long ago shook off any silly il­lu­sions about the job or lofty no­tions about art. Fea­tur­ing lengthy con­tri­bu­tions from its sub­ject, the film an­swers most of the ques­tions you want asked. Did McCullin ever as­sist the vic­tims in his pho­to­graphs? (Yes.) Was he ever se­ri­ously fright­ened? (Even­tu­ally.) Were the au­thor­i­ties an­gered by his snaps? (Fre­quently.) Club, Triskel, Cork; Light House, Dublin, 90 min MAN ON THE TRAIN Di­rected by Mary McGuck­ian. Star­ring Don­ald Suther­land, Larry Mullen Jr A sin­is­ter stranger makes friends with an el­derly gen­tle­man in a fit­ful adap­ta­tion of a mildly di­vert­ing 2002 Pa­trice Le­conte movie. In his act­ing de­but, drum­ming le­gend Larry Mullen strug­gles man­fully against mis­cast­ing as the name­less enigma. Suther­land gal­lantly tries to hack his way through his over­writ­ten di­a­logue. But the re­la­tion­ship never makes much sense and the story never prop­erly kicks into gear. The at­tempts at ad­dress­ing Amer­i­cana are un­der­cut by the film’s con­spic­u­ous Cana­dian lo­ca­tions. Club, Gate, Cork, 101 min

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