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Ef­fi­cient adap­ta­tion of Stephen Sond­heim’s mu­si­cal con­cern­ing myths and fairy tales. Some of it is very well sung. Most of it is well acted. But, as we might ex­pect from the direc­tor of Chicago and Nine, this ver­sion never quite takes flight. Fa­tally stranded be­tween stage and screen, it seems un­com­fort­able in its own skin. The act­ing is mixed. Streep is too huge as the witch. Cor­den is like­able as the baker. Blunt is gen­uinely ter­rific as his wife. PG cert, gen re­lease, 125 min

IT FOL­LOWS Stunning hor­ror film fo­cus­ing on an en­tity that, for rea­sons ob­scure, plods men­ac­ingly af­ter the last per­son to have sex with some­body sim­i­larly in­fected. Plenty of bad hor­ror films have wasted po­ten­tially promis­ing sce­nar­ios. But the fas­ci­nat­ing tex­ture of It Fol­lows sets it apart from the mucky, blood-soaked pack. Can­nily framed in 1970s am­bi­ence, scored bril­liantly by Disas­ter­piece,the film is both deeply ref­er­en­tial and en­tirely orig­i­nal. 16 cert, lim re­lease, 100 min

JUPITER AS­CEND­ING

Don­ald Clarke

What links Rwanda, Grand Bu­dapest, Best Ex­otic Marigold and Tran­syl­va­nia? Which of this year’s best pic­ture Os­car nom­i­nees has just be­come the most prof­itable 2014 re­lease at the US box of­fice? Iden­tify the film from this scene from its French poster (right). In what way were Elaine Stritch and Joan Rivers re­cently ex­cluded? What char­ac­ter links Jean Sim­mons, Mar­i­anne Faith­full, He­lena Bon­ham be­hind Kick Ass re­unite for a film that ex­ceeds even that unlovely en­ter­tain­ment in its vul­gar­ity, empty flash and taste for ex­ces­sive set-pieces. Though com­pe­tently acted and lushly up­hol­stered, this child­ish film is peren­ni­ally let down by bold-type irony: so blud­geon­ing that it ceases to merit the de­scrip­tion. Enough with es­pi­onage par­o­dies. 16 cert, gen re­lease, 129 min KU­MIKO THE FOR­TUNE HUNTER

Strange, beau­ti­ful US film con­cern­ing a Ja­panese woman who trav­els to the Dako­tas af­ter de­vel­op­ing an ob­ses­sion with the Coens’ Fargo. It’s a cold film that gains depth from the fiercely en­gaged per­for­mance by Kikuchi. Much in Ku­miko seems de­lib­er­ately un­real. But the char­ac­ter’s un­shak­able sor­row – and pos­si­ble men­tal ill­ness – is tan­gi­ble through­out. A very im­pres­sive, very sin­gu­lar piece of work. Watch out for the best rab­bit in re­cent cinema. Club, QFT, Belfast; Light House, Dublin, 104 min

PADDING­TON

PROJECT AL­MANAC There’s a de­cent rip-off of Looper and Primer lurk­ing within this de­but fea­ture from young Dean Is­raelite. A bunch of teens find a time ma­chine and, af­ter muck­ing up the uni­verse via the But­ter­fly Ef­fect, are re­quired to rush around time mak­ing it bet­ter. There are a few good jokes, and the ac­tors are charm­ing. But the found-footage pre­sen­ta­tion kills it stone dead. Enough of that, al­ready. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 106 min NEW RE­LEASE RUN ALL NIGHT See re­view, page 11 THE SEC­OND BEST MARIGOLD HO­TEL

Well, they re­ally are tempt­ing fate with that ti­tle. Are they not? One half ex­pects the poster to carry a tagline such as “will do well enough” or “if you’ve noth­ing bet­ter to do with your af­ter­noon”. Any­way, the sec­ond film in the grey-pound cy­cles re­unites the lik­able stars for di­min­ish­ing re­turns. Bizarrely, the plot, for long sec­tions, plays like the Ho­tel In­spec­tors episode of Fawlty Tow­ers with Gere in the Bernard Crib­bins role. PG cert, gen re­lease, 122 min

SELMA reser­voirs of right­eous anger. The cam­era is al­lowed to in­dulge in some bravura shots. Ha­giog­ra­phy is dodged. Proper fear is sum­moned up. The film’s old-fash­ioned emo­tional surge ac­cen­tu­ates the ab­sur­dity of it tak­ing half a cen­tury for Hol­ly­wood to prop­erly ad­dress King’s le­gacy. Oyelowo is elec­tric in the lead. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 128 min

SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE Should we lower the bah when dis­cussing the lat­est stop-mo­tion fea­ture from Aard­man An­i­ma­tion? It’s not that we would ever sus­pect the stu­dio of woolly think­ing or do­ing any­thing on the sheep. But Shaun the Sheep Movie is a spin-off from a spin-off. Ewe do won­der . . . Oh for­get all that. You don’t need to be told that Aard­man’s lat­est is a de­light from be­gin­ning to end. G cert, gen re­lease, 85 min

STILL ALICE

There is much to rec­om­mend this study of a mid­dle-aged woman’s decline from Alzheimer’s, but it will al­ways be known as the Film For Which Ju­lianne Moore Fi­nally Won Her Os­car. Sadly, the rest of the film doesn’t quite live up to its cen­tral per­for­mance. The story is thin. At times it plays like a doc­u­men­tary. Mak­ing the hero­ine a lin­guist feels just a lit­tle bit on the nose (the first word she for­gets is “lex­i­con”). Enor­mously mov­ing for all that. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 101 min NEW RE­LEASE SUITE FRAN­CAISE See re­view, page 11

Gad is a loser who, some­how or other, gets en­gaged to some­body above his sta­tion and, friend­less, hires Hart to be his best man. The two leads in­ter­act to­gether quite well. The odd de­cent set-piece is un­leashed. What a shame the film-mak­ers have de­vel­oped only an hour’s worth of proper comic busi­ness. There is a con­stant sense that the tal­ent is mug­ging to fill up min­utes. Play foot­ball! Set fire to Cloris Leach­man! Oh, please. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 101 min

WHIPLASH

A ded­i­cated Teller plays a young jazz drum­mer hon­ing his para­did­dles at a re­spected con­ser­va­tory in New York City. He rapidly falls un­der the ma­lign shadow of a de­mented men­tor, played by Os­car-win­ning JK Sim­mons. We’ve seen this re­la­tion­ship be­fore: the hard-ass ca­jol­ing the young tal­ent to make the best of him­self. But Whiplash pushes the ob­ses­sions and the psy­choses to the limit. This is jazz drum­ming as form of war­fare. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 106 min

WHITE GOD

If you know any­thing about Mun­druczó’s ex­tra­or­di­nary sixth fea­ture (win­ner of Un Cer­tain Re­gard at Cannes 2014) you will know that it is the film in which dogs take over Bu­dapest. But it ac­tu­ally starts out as a rel­a­tively sober piece con­cern­ing a girl and her much-loved dog: think Dis­ney only darker. The shift into apoca­lypse is sur­pris­ing, but not jar­ring. Through­out White God we are aware of pun­gent satire at our el­bow. Fas­ci­nat­ing stuff. Club, QFT, Belfast, 117 min NEW RE­LEASE X+Y See re­view, page 11

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