Tara Brady and Don­ald Clarke

re­view the cur­rent cin­ema re­leases

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

THE BLACK PAN­THERS: VAN­GUARD OF THE REV­O­LU­TION ★★★

Di­rected by Stan­ley Nel­son. Fea­tur­ing Ja­mal Joseph, Kath­leen Cleaver, Wil­liam Cal­houn, Ericka Hug­gins, Wayne Pharr, Emory Dou­glas, Elaine

Brown, Ju­lian Bond Work­ing with­out a voiceover, em­ploy­ing pro­mis­cu­ous talk­ing heads, Nel­son walks us through the story of the Black Pan­ther Party in ef­fi­cient, if un­ex­cit­ing, fash­ion. We get the early swag­ger. We get the rad­i­cal chic. We get the in­evitable slide into divi­sion. But we don’t get much insight into the per­son­al­i­ties. At its best when al­low­ing the fe­male voices to be heard. Their pas­sion re­mains undimmed. Club, QFT, Belfast (Thurs only), 114 min

DC

NEW RE­LEASE

BRIEF EN­COUNTER

★★★★★

See re­view, page 11

NEW RE­LEASE

BROOK­LYN ★★★★

See re­view, page 10

NEW RE­LEASE

BURNT

See re­view at Irish­times.com

CRIM­SON PEAK ★★★

Di­rected by Guillermo del Toro. Star­ring Mia Wasikowska, Jes­sica Chas­tain, Tom Hid­dle­ston, Char­lie Hunnam,

Jim Beaver Edith (Wasikowska), an Amer­i­can heiress, is swept off her feet by the dash­ing English baronet Sir Thomas Sharpe (Hid­dle­ston). She is taken to Sharpe’s crum­bling fam­ily pile to live with his sin­is­ter sis­ter, Lady Lu­cille (Chas­tain), and var­i­ous ghosts. Del Toro’s well-staffed Gothic ro­mance ought to play like an in­verted Northanger Abbey. But de­spite a spec­tac­u­lar set, the film doesn’t draw view­ers in. Away from the Man­der­ley-ish op­u­lence and the ooz­ing walls, struc­turally,

Crim­son Peak is a mess. Dis­ap­point­ing. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 118 min TB

EVER­EST ★★★

Di­rected by Bal­tasar Kor­mákur. Star­ring Ja­son Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Emily Wat­son, Keira Knight­ley, Sam Wor­thing­ton,

Jake Gyl­len­haal Mod­estly suc­cess­ful drama con­cerns it­self with a tragic in­ci­dent from 1996 dur­ing which eight climbers died on Ever­est. The tech­ni­cal stuff is fine, but the pic­ture suf­fers from shal­low writ­ing. In­deed, the char­ac­ters are so wispily drawn that it be­comes hard to care about their fates. As the snow picks up and the climbers fur­ther ob­scure bearded faces with gog­gles and hoods, it be­comes hard to even tell one from an­other. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 121 min DC

FRESH DRESSED ★★★★

Di­rected by Sacha Jenk­ins. Fea­tur­ing Phar­rell Wil­liams, Da­mon Dash, Nas, Karl Kani, Kanye West, Nas Jones, An­dre

Leon Tal­ley To heck with that glum, blonde Bond: the award for the sea­son’s liveli­est film goes to this madly en­ter­tain­ing his­tory of hip-hop style. It’s only right and proper that Jenk­ins’s doc­u­men­tary has many flavours: aca­demic Todd Boyd is on hand to re­count to trace the term “Sun­day Best” back to slave-own­ers and note the Chris­tian in­flu­ence on African-Amer­i­can style; var­i­ous rap­pers-turned-fash­ion-moguls (P Diddy, Kanye West) pop up to dis­cuss their brands. Fun stuff. Club, Light House, Dublin, 90 min TB

NEW RE­LEASE

HE NAMED ME MALALA

★★★

See re­view, pagew 11

HO­TEL TRAN­SYL­VA­NIA 2

★★★

Di­rected by Gen­ndy Tar­takovsky. Voices of Adam San­dler, Andy Sam­berg, Se­lena Gomez, Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Keegan-Michael

Key, Molly Shan­non Cartoon fans were some­what per­plexed when the first fea­ture film from Tar­takovsky turned out to be the rather pedes­trian Ho­tel Tran­syl­va­nia. But au­di­ences rather liked the idea of a mon­ster re­sort pop­u­lated by Adam San­dler play­ers. Hap­pily, this sec­ond mon­ster mash makes for a slicker spec­ta­cle than the 2012 orig­i­nal, even if most of the jokes are as old as the 539-yearold pro­tag­o­nist. The corni­ness is, in­deed, all part of the fun. PG cert, gen re­lease, 89 min TB

THE IN­TERN ★★

Di­rected by Nancy Mey­ers. Star­ring Robert De Niro, Anne

Hath­away, Rene Russo De Niro and Hath­away play a boss and the boss’s new in­tern. But Bob is the in­tern and Anne is the boss. Ge­nius! Right? Wrong. Mey­ers seems to have de­cided that be­cause she is a woman, other women – all women – are fair game. Thus we are treated to some of the most fan­tas­tic dou­ble­s­peak, back­tracks and whataboutery. Why does Ben carry a hand­ker­chief every­where? Be­cause women cry all the time. And so on. Un­for­giv­able. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 120 min TB

NEW RE­LEASE

KILL YOUR FRIENDS ★

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THE LAST WITCH HUNTER

★★★

Di­rected by Breck Eis­ner. Star­ring Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Eli­jah Wood, Óla­fur Darri Ólaf­s­son, Michael Caine, Julie

En­gel­brecht, Rena Owen If you care to read up on such things, you will dis­cover that The Last Witch

Hunter was born from “con­ver­sa­tions with Vin Diesel”. Diesel is, among many other things, a fan of (the not en­tirely dis­sim­i­lar)

Dun­geons and Dragons role-play­ing game, as well as this movie’s pro­ducer and star. In­deed, it is dif­fi­cult to imag­ine a re­al­ity where

The Last Witch Hunter could ex­ist with­out Vin Diesel. The re­sult­ing sword-fest is not so aw­ful as it sounds. How could it be? Harry Pot­ter for emo kids. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 106 min TB

THE LEG­END OF LONG­WOOD ★★★

Di­rected by Lisa Mulc­ahy. Star­ring Lucy Mor­ton, Miriam Mar­golyes, Lor­can Bon­ner, Bren­dan Con­roy, Lor­can Cran­itch, Stephen Cromwell,

Fiona Glas­cott This kid-friendly drama opens with a tragic ac­ci­dent as horse-mad New Yorker Mickey Miller (Mor­ton), in­jures her trusty steed in a jump at­tempt. It’s the kind of loss that fre­quently kick­starts su­pe­rior fam­ily films and count­less fairy­tales, but it is soon glossed over as the 12-year-old and her fam­ily move to Ire­land, ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the es­tate in­her­ited from a hith­erto un­known rel­a­tive. Safe, tol­er­a­ble drama fol­lows. PG cert, gen re­lease, 99 min TB

LEG­END ★★★

Di­rected by Brian Hel­ge­land. Star­ring Tom Hardy, Emily Brown­ing, Chazz Palminteri “Lon­don. A city in western Europe. The ’60s. The decade be­tween the 1950s and the 1970s. A time of gang­sters and geezers. But mostly gang­sters. And mostly the Kray Broth­ers. Who were gang­sters. In Lon­don. The city. In the ’60s. The decade.” And so on. The lat­est at­tempt to (let’s be hon­est) glam­or­ise the Krays is buoyed up by a dual turn from Hardy, but it is too soaked in geezer cliches to take se­ri­ously. 18 cert, gen re­lease, 111 min TB

LIS­TEN TO ME, MAR­LON

★★★★

Di­rected by Ste­van Ri­ley.

Fea­tur­ing Mar­lon Brando Made with the co-op­er­a­tion of Mar­lon Brando’s es­tate, Lis­ten to Me,

Mar­lon is struc­tured around pri­vate tape record­ings that find the ac­tor mus­ing on ev­ery as­pect of his life. At times he is in­volved in auto-psy­cho­anal­y­sis. Else­where, he seems to be treat­ing the record­ing as a diary. Fas­ci­nat­ing as the in­sights are, the doc­u­men­tary is miss­ing con­trary voices. The archival ma­te­rial ex­ists in a vac­uum, with no me­di­a­tion. Some­body needs to be ask­ing ques­tions. Club, QFT, Belfast (Sun only); Light House, Dublin, 95 min

TB

THE LOB­STER ★★★★

Di­rected by Yor­gos Lan­thi­mos. Star­ring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Léa Sey­doux, Olivia Col­man, Ben Whishaw, John C

Reilly, Ashley Jensen Farrell plays David, one of sev­eral cit­i­zens dis­patched to a re­mote ho­tel for a reck­on­ing with the so­cial en­gi­neers: if they fail to form part of a cou­ple within 45 days, they will be turned into the an­i­mal of their choice. Lan­thi­mos’s drily hi­lar­i­ous

fol­low up to Alps and Dog­tooth says things about the pres­sures so­ci­ety places on us to form cou­ples. But there is more: few films so eerily com­pose a com­plete and be­liev­able fan­tas­tic world. Sin­gu­lar. 15A cert, lim re­lease, 118 min DC

MAC­BETH ★★★★

Di­rected by Justin Kurzel. Star­ring Michael Fass­ben­der, Mar­ion Cotil­lard, Paddy Con­si­dine, Sean Har­ris, Jack Reynor, El­iz­a­beth De­bicki, David

Thewlis The braw news is that Kurzel, Aus­tralian di­rec­tor of the agree­ably hor­ri­ble Snow­town, has knocked to­gether the most mus­cu­lar, propul­sive film ver­sion of Shake­speare’s most cin­e­matic tragedy. Adam Arka­paw’s cam­era fights with mist, smoke and Cale­do­nian murk to lo­cate con­vinc­ing mid-me­dieval fug. The film fea­tures an im­pres­sively tor­tured Mac­beth in Fass­ben­der and an un­usu­ally ex­otic Lady Mac­beth in Cotil­lard. It’s just a shame that so much of the di­a­logue is so muddy. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 113 min DC

THE MAR­TIAN ★★★

Di­rected by Ri­d­ley Scott. Star­ring Matt Da­mon, Jes­sica Chas­tain, Kris­ten Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Kate Mara, Sean Bean,

Chi­we­tel Ejio­for What would two years of alien iso­la­tion do to a hith­erto ro­bust psy­che? This is one of the ques­tions not asked in a cast­away drama with all the psy­cho­log­i­cal depth of Gil­li­gan’s

Is­land. Still, Scott’s adap­ta­tion of Andy Weir’s high pulp makes up in ex­cite­ment what it lack in insight. Da­mon is ef­fec­tive as the botanist left stranded on Mars fol­low­ing a wild storm. The earth­bound cast try their hard­est in of­ten-su­per­flu­ous roles. For all its flaws, The

Mar­tian un­de­ni­ably en­gages. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 140 min DC

MAYA THE BEE ★★

Di­rected by Alexs Sta­der­mann. Voices of Coco Jack Gil­lies, Jus­tine Clarke, Heather Mitchell, Jacki Weaver, Miriam

Mar­golyes, Noah Tay­lor A lit­tle bee learns truths while thwart­ing an at­tempted in­sur­rec­tion. Ap­par­ently an­i­mated on a 1982 ZX Spec­trum, the film is harm­less, well-mean­ing, com­pe­tently voiced and en­tirely de­void of any dis­tinc­tive char­ac­ter. But it does have cul­tural in­ter­est. The 1912 source novel was, ap­par­ently, a mil­i­taris­tic al­le­gory that used the story to gen­uinely warn against the im­mi­nent ar­rival of racially im­pure Aus­lan­ders. Hats off for pro­duc­ing some­thing so harm­less from some­thing so hor­rid. Gen cert, gen re­lease, 88 min DC

MIS­SIS­SIPPI GRIND ★★★

Di­rected by Anna Bo­den, Ryan Fleck. Star­ring Ryan Reynolds, Ben Men­del­sohn, Si­enna Miller, Al­fre Woodard, James To­back Reynolds and Men­del­sohn play two gam­blers (re­spec­tively suave hustler and sad loser) mak­ing their way down the Mis­sis­sippi for a big card game. The tex­ture of the film is great: su­per per­for­mances, rough blues, nice shots of high Amer­i­cana. But the pic­ture needs a few more twists among its turns. We also don’t get nearly enough tense turns of the card. The gambling, in­deed, be­comes al­most in­ci­den­tal. 15A cert, lim re­lease, 109 min DC

OLDER THAN IRE­LAND

★★★★

Di­rected by Alex Fe­gan Mov­ing doc­u­men­tary go­ing among 30 of the na­tion’s cen­te­nar­i­ans. Wider po­lit­i­cal and mar­tial de­vel­op­ments do in­evitably make their way into the film. But Older

Than Ire­land is at its most mov­ing when ad­dress­ing the uni­ver­sal ex­pe­ri­ences that shape all lives: first day at school, mar­riage, be­reave­ment. The film will at­tract com­par­isons with Ken Wardrop’s great His & Hers. It is not quite so tech­ni­cally ac­com­plished, but it is com­piled with great wit and com­pas­sion. PG cert, IFI/Light House, Dublin, 81 min DC

PAN ★

Di­rected by Joe Wright. Star­ring Levi Miller, Hugh Jack­man, Gar­rett Hed­lund,

Rooney Mara, Amanda Seyfried, Adeel Akhtar, Cara

Delev­ingne Come back, Hook! All is for­given. This is a strange ori­gin story for Pe­ter Pan in which, among other ec­cen­tric­i­ties, Hed­lund’s Hook re­mains a cheery In­di­ana Jones fig­ure. Un­in­ten­tion­ally named for the re­views it has al­ready be­gun to at­tract, Joe Wright’s Pan seems set to con­firm that JM Bar­rie’s most fa­mous cre­ation has no cur­rency out­side the 20th cen­tury. You may as well draw con­clu­sions about Pan’s rel­e­vance by star­ing up the back end of a horse. PG cert, gen re­lease, 111 min DC

PARA­NOR­MAL AC­TIV­ITY 7

★★

Di­rected by Gre­gory Plotkin. Star­ring Chris J. Mur­ray, Brit Shaw, Dan Gill, Ivy Ge­orge,

Olivia Tay­lor Dud­ley A young fam­ily com­pris­ing hip­ster dad Ryan ( Mur­ray), hot mom Emily (Shaw) and cut­sey-pie kid Leila (Ge­orge) pre­pare to cel­e­brate Christ­mas with guests. While un­tan­gling the dec­o­ra­tions, Ryan’s vis­it­ing, lately dumped, brother Mike hap­pens upon an old cam­era and a stash of VHS cas­settes. You won’t need top be told that hor­ror en­sues. This fran­chise is very tired, but there are still a few half-de­cent shocks. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 88 min TB

THE PRO­GRAM ★★★

Di­rected by Stephen Frears. Star­ring Ben Fos­ter, Chris O’Dowd, Guillaume Canet, Jesse Ple­mons, Lee Pace, De­nis Méno­chet, Dustin Hoff­man Frears’s clever bi­o­graph­i­cal drama wisely benches the per­spec­tive of plucky sports jour­nal­ist David Walsh (O’Dowd) in favour of a de­tailed ac­count of Lance Arm­strong’s ex­tra­or­di­nary dop­ing reg­i­men. Fos­ter is su­perbly and ap­po­sitely hubris­tic in the cen­tral role. We’re never sure if his in­creas­ingly volatile Arm­strong wishes to ad­vance the lie or get caught in the telling. Bud­getary con­straints tell on oc­ca­sion, but the cast, work­ing from a nu­anced screen­play by John Hodge ( Trainspot­ting, Shal­low Grave) en­sure the pic­ture takes the yel­low jer­sey. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 103 min TB

QUEEN OF IRE­LAND

★★★★★

Di­rected by Conor Hor­gan. Fea­tur­ing Rory O’Neill/Panti

Bliss A study of na­tional trea­sure Rory O’Neill AKA Panti Bliss. How do we love The Queen of Ire­land? It’s not just that the film of­fers a big, warm, congratulatory hug for a na­tion which fi­nally learned to stop wor­ry­ing and love its own peo­ple. Leav­ing aside its im­por­tance as a his­tor­i­cal chron­i­cle, The Queen of Ire­land is a su­per movie, re­plete with tragedy, com­edy, a plucky, un­likely hero­ine, and a sweep­ing dra­matic arc. Es­sen­tial. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 86 min TB

NEW RE­LEASE SCOUT’S GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCA­LYPSE ★★

See re­view, page 11

SICARO ★★★★

Di­rected by De­nis Villeneuve.

Star­ring Emily Blunt, Beni­cio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Vic­tor Gar­ber, Jon Bern­thal, Daniel Kalu­uya, Jef­frey Dono­van, Raoul Tru­jillo,

Julio Ce­sar Cedillo Tense thriller set amid drug wars be­tween US paramil­i­taries and the Mex­i­can car­tels. Blunt stars as an FBI agent who gets sucked into the al­pha­bet soup of fed­eral bully boys. We end up with a propul­sive ad­ven­ture that, while re­main­ing grimly cyn­i­cal about the mo­ti­va­tions of her col­leagues, ges­tures to­wards the quasi-myth­i­cal cin­ema of both An­thony and Michael Mann. It’s a shame Blunt is asked to be lit­tle more than the eyes and ears of the au­di­ence. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 121 min DC

SPEC­TRE ★★★

Di­rected by Sam Men­des. Star­ring Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Sey­doux, Ralph Fi­ennes, Mon­ica Bel­lucci, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Har­ris, Dave Bautista, An­drew Scott, Rory

Kin­n­ear The 24th James Bond film finds 007 redis­cov­er­ing the sin­is­ter or­gan­i­sa­tion of the ti­tle. Craig’s weary blue-col­lar Bond re­mains com­pelling (if much less faith­ful to Flem­ing’s im­pe­rial snob than some pre­tend). But this is a creaky en­ter­tain­ment. The women are un­der­used and un­set­tlingly com­pli­ant. Waltz’s vil­lain, like too much else in the pic­ture, ex­ists only to fa­cil­i­tate ex­haust­ing ref­er­ences to the ear­lier pic­tures. If Spec­tre weren’t guar­an­teed to make a for­tune, you’d think the fran­chise was ail­ing. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 148 min DC

SUF­FRAGETTE ★★★

Di­rected by Sarah Gavron. Star­ring Carey Mul­li­gan, He­lena Bon­ham Carter, Bren­dan Glee­son, Anne-Marie Duff, Ben Whishaw,

Ro­mola Garai, Meryl Streep A work­ing-class woman (Mul­li­gan), rad­i­calised by ev­ery­day bru­tal­i­ties, stands up for the suf­fragette cause in the years be­fore the first World War. This over­due drama re­minds us how far out­side main­stream val­ues the more com­mit­ted cam­paign­ers were forced to tread. It is such a shame that Gavron’s well-ap­pointed film ends up in such bour­geois her­itage ter­ri­tory. It’s de­cently acted and un­de­ni­ably well mean­ing, but no­body is likely to con­fuse Suf­fragette with The Bat­tle of Al­giers. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 106 min DC

TAXI TEHRAN ★★★★

Di­rected by Ja­far Panahi Star­ring Ja­far Panahi The

di­rec­tor of This Is Not a Film and Closed Cur­tain – still un­der the watch­ful eye of the Ira­nian author­ity – ven­tures about the tit­u­lar city. We are asked to be­lieve that the di­rec­tor, now work­ing as a taxi driver, has mounted the cam­era as a se­cu­rity de­vice. What fol­lows is an in­ge­nious, of­ten funny, char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally self-con­scious study of a coun­try cop­ing sto­ically be­neath the yoke of op­pres­sion. The di­rec­tor’s best since Off­side. Club, IFI, Dublin, 82 min DC

Fresh Dressed,

out now on lim­ited re­lease

Street beat

Chips are down: Ryan Reynolds and Ben Men­del­sohn in

Mis­sis­sippi Grind, out now on gen­eral re­lease

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