The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - SEVEN DAYS | FILM -

PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2 ★ Di­rected by Andy Fick­man. Star­ring Kevin James, Molly

Shan­non Our hero finds him­self thwart­ing crim­i­nals while at a con­ven­tion in Las Ve­gas. No sane con­sumer will ex­pect too much from a film called Paul Blart Mall Cop 2. If he or she emerges from the cinema with thumbs still op­pos­able and frontal lobes in­tact then it should be ac­counted a small victory. We’ll give it that. Oth­er­wise, the sec­ond film in the com­edy cy­cle lives down to all low­ered ex­pec­ta­tions. PG cert, gen re­lease, 93 min DC

PHOENIX ★★★★ Di­rected by Chris­tian Pet­zold. Star­ring Nina Hoss, Ron­ald Zehrfeld, Nina Kun­zen­dorf, Trys­tan Put­ter, Michael Maertens, Imo­gen Kogge, Felix

Romer A sur­vivor of the Holo­caust, un­recog­nis­able af­ter fa­cial surgery, re­turns to Ber­lin and con­vinces her hus­band that she is a stranger. As in the films of Dou­glas Dirk, a pre­pos­ter­ous nar­ra­tive con­vul­sion is played with such con­vic­tion and sin­cer­ity that all reser­va­tions are swept to the wind. All other films seem, for a mo­ment, wa­tery by com­par­i­son. Hoss im­poses her­self on the drama with all the in­sis­tence of a less fab­u­lous Di­et­rich. She is one of the ac­tors of the age. Club, IFI, Dublin, 98 min DC A PI­GEON SAT ON A BRANCH RE­FLECT­ING ON EX­IS­TENCE ★★★★★ Di­rected by Roy An­der­s­son. Star­ring Hol­ger An­der­s­son, Nils West­blom, Char­lotta Lars­son, Vik­tor Gyl­len­berg, Lotti Torn­ros, Jonas Ger­holm, Ola Stens­son Girls blow bub­bles from an apart­ment win­dow. Peo­ple in a bus queue de­bate over what day of the week it is. Pith-hel­meted colo­nial troops lead African cap­tives into a gi­ant cop­per­horned drum that ro­tates and makes mu­sic once the peo­ple in­side are be­ing roasted alive. Amazingly, no­body asks “Is it about a bi­cy­cle?” The lat­est slice of so­cial­ist sur­re­al­ism from a Swedish mas­ter is his fun­ni­est, most mourn­ful yet. For­mally con­tained, no cam­era move­ments to speak of, but end­lessly fe­cund. 12A cert, lim re­lease, 100 min TB

PITCH PER­FECT 2 ★★★ Di­rected by El­iz­a­beth Banks. Star­ring Anna Ken­drick, Jayson Sanchez, Rebel Wil­son, Adam DeVine, Anna Camp, Brit­tany

Snow The a cap­pella singers are back to re­store their sul­lied name. No­body would con­fuse Pitch Per­fect 2 with a master­piece of au­ral har­mony. In­deed, El­iz­a­beth Banks’s se­quel to an agree­able 2012 hit is a chaotic mess. For all that, it turns out to one of the fun­ni­est films we’ve seen this year. Banks, mak­ing her de­but as direc­tor, and re­turn­ing writer Kay Can­non do a su­per job of ex­ploit­ing their char­ac­ters’ key comic traits. PG cert, gen re­lease, 114 min DC

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