Tara Brady and Don­ald Clarke review the cur­rent cin­ema re­leases

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

ANTHROPOID ★★★★

Di­rected by Sean El­lis. Star­ring Cil­lian Mur­phy, Jamie Dor­nan, Toby Jones, Char­lotte Le Bon This drama­ti­sa­tion of the 1941 Czech re­sis­tance plot to as­sas­si­nate SS gen­eral Rein­hard Hey­drich, a prime mover be­hind the Fi­nal So­lu­tion, is both pleas­ingly redo­lent of a very old-fash­ioned war film, and yet its own pic­ture. Anthropoid re­peat­edly stresses that those it de­picts are or­di­nary men and women be­set by ex­tra­or­di­nary cir­cum­stances. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 120 min TB

BAD MOMS ★★★

Di­rected by Jon Lu­cas and Scott Moore. Star­ring Mila Ku­nis, Kris­ten Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Jada Pin­kett Smith Writer-di­rec­tors Lu­cas and Moore (screen­writ­ing bros be­hind The Han­gover and 21 & Over) oc­ca­sion­ally miss a beat with their de­pic­tions of soc­cer moms drool­ing over a “hot wid­owed dad”. But mostly, Bad Moms is re­mark­ably as­tute about the pres­sures and neu­roses of mod­ern par­ent­ing. Good jokes help, as does a warm-hearted de­noue­ment that ex­on­er­ates the mean girls. They’re just moms, too, you know? Top-notch cast. 16 cert, gen re­lease, 100 min TB

BADEN BADEN ★★★

Di­rected by Rachel Lang. Star­ring Salome Richard, Claude Gen­sac, Swann Ar­laud Set around blank build­ings in con­tem­po­rary Strasbourg, Lang’s de­but of­fers a great char­ac­ter study of a quiet, odd hero­ine. Ana (Richard) trav­els home to that bor­der town and, while build­ing a new bath­room for her grand­mother, makes friends with a nice hard­ware em­ployee and a pre­ten­tious ex-boyfriend. We are never quite sure why Ana does the things she does, but we be­come fond enough of her to con­tinue ask­ing our­selves the ques­tions. Eric Rohmer would have liked her. Club, IFI, Dublin, 95 min DC

BLAIR WITCH ★★

Di­rected by Adam Win­gard. Star­ring James Allen McCune, Cal­lie Her­nan­dez, Valo­rie Curry Win­gard, the clever fel­low be­hind mum­blecore slasher hit You’re Next and ’80s-tas­tic in­stant cult clas­sic The Guest, does that clever Clover­field thing of re­boot­ing The Blair Witch Project un­der cover of dark­ness. What could pos­si­bly go wrong? More than you might think. This year’s Blair Witch feels like a re­make Book of Shad­ows: Blair Witch 2 – that no­to­ri­ous fran­chise killing se­quel – rather than the 1999 found footage clas­sic. A mess. 16 cert, lim re­lease, 89 min TB

NEW RE­LEASE BLOOD FA­THER ★★★

See review, page 10-11

BRID­GET JONES BABY ★★★

Di­rected by Sharon Maguire. Star­ring Renée Zell­weger, Colin Firth, Pa­trick Dempsey, Emma Thomp­son, Shirley Henderson, Jim Broad­bent, Celia Im­rie Ten years af­ter the events of the last film, Brid­get (rather late in life) finds her­self pregnant. But is the fa­ther Mark Darcy (Firth) or this Amer­i­can bil­lion­aire (Dempsey). A vast im­prove­ment Edge of Rea­son, BB’s Baby tones down the broad hu­mour and du­bi­ous gen­der pol­i­tics to de­liver a sur­pris­ingly sober en­ter­tain­ment. True, the love ri­vals aren’t suf­fi­ciently con­trasted and the juke­box sound­track is ex­haust­ing. But this is much bet­ter than we had a right to sus­pect. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 123 min DC

CAFÉ SO­CI­ETY ★★★

Di­rected by Woody Allen. Star­ring Jesse Eisen­berg, Kris­ten Ste­wart, Steve Carell, Blake Lively, Parker Posey Eisen­berg plays a nervy New Yorker, part of a noisy Jewish fam­ily, who reaches Hol­ly­wood with plans to work for his un­cle (Carell), a pow­er­ful agent. Be­fore long, he’s in love with his un­cle’s as­sis­tant (Ste­wart). The pe­riod de­tail is lovely. The cast fire well off one an­other. There are no huge sur­prises. In short, in­dus­try­s­tan­dard late Woody Allen. 12A cert, Triskel, Cork; IFI, Dublin, 98 min DC

THE CLAN/EL CLAN ★★★★

Di­rected by Pablo Trap­ero. Star­ring Star­ring Guillermo Fran­cella, Peter Lan­zani, Lili Popovich In the 1980s, the Puc­cio fam­ily be­came no­to­ri­ous in Ar­gentina for kid­nap­ping and some­times killing their wealthy neigh­bours. Direc­tor Trap­ero, that re­li­able pur­veyor of cin­e­matic thrills, trans­forms this real-life saga into a film that func­tions as both a slick, pop-scored Scors­ese-alike crime flick and an un­set­tling study of po­lit­i­cal and per­sonal per­ver­sity. The fa­mil­iar beats of the crime saga are all present, but the dark po­lit­i­cal and so­ci­etal sub­text makes for a new, dis­com­bob­u­lat­ing sen­sa­tion. Club, IFI, Dublin, 108 min TB

ADATE FOR MAD MARY ★★★★

Di­rected by Dar­ren Thorn­ton. Star­ring Seána Ker­slake, Tara Lee, Charleigh Bai­ley, Denise MacCor­mack, Siob­hán Shana­han Thorn­ton’s tri­umphant first fea­ture has the un­mis­tak­able shape of a con­ven­tional ro­man­tic com­edy. Ker­slake plays a young woman, re­cently re­leased from pri­son, who needs to find a date for her best friend’s wed­ding (Bai­ley). The jokes are good. The tim­ing is great. But the film suc­ceeds best as an ex­traor­di­nar­ily nu­anced char­ac­ter study. Ker­slake could hardly be bet­ter: tough, but wounded. Bai­ley is equally fine as a woman who’s moved on. A small mas­ter­piece. 15A cert, lim re­lease, 82 min DC

NEW RE­LEASE DE PALMA ★★★★

See review, page 11

DEEPWATER HORI­ZON ★★★

Di­rected by Peter Berg. Star­ring Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Rus­sell, Kate Hud­son, John Malkovich, Dou­glas M Grif­fin, James DuMont, Joe Chrest Of­ten thrilling, ul­ti­mately frus­trat­ing study of the cir­cum­stances lead­ing to the de­struc­tion of the Deepwater Hori­zon ex­plo­ration plat­form in 2010. Berg does a very good job of ex­plain­ing the lo­gis­tics in the open­ing sec­tion. Wahlberg is great as the work­ing Joe. Malkovich is per­fect as the BP ex­ec­u­tive who – like the sher­iff in Jaws – won’t lis­ten to safety con­cerns. Un­for­tu­nately, the film-mak­ers lose con­trol when the ac­tual dis­as­ter strikes. Or­der is not made of chaos. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 107 min DC

NEW RE­LEASE THE FENCER ★★★

See review, page 11

FIND­ING DORY ★★★★

Di­rected by An­drew Stan­ton. Voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Al­bert Brooks, Hay­den Ro­lence, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Ol­son, Ty Bur­rell,, Diane Keaton, Idris Elba, Do­minic West The prospect of a se­quel to Find­ing Nemo may make most fans sound ex­actly like that pic­ture’s res­i­dent wor­ry­wart, Mar­lin: Do we really need a se­quel some 13 years later? Find­ing Nemo is per­fect: why risk ru­in­ing it? Hap­pily, the new film is good enough to squash such reser­va­tions. Great voice work, some lovely new char­ac­ters and a touch­ing pon­der­ing of how par­ents cope with dis­abled chil­dren. Pixar still has it. G cert, gen re­lease, 103 min TB

FREE STATE OF JONES ★★

Di­rected by Gary Ross. Star­ring Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ma­her­shala Ali, Keri Rus­sell, Bren­dan Glee­son, Christo­pher Berry, Sean Bridgers Long, wor­thy at­tempt to tell the story – or rather several sto­ries – of an in­ner re­bel­lion within the Con­fed­er­acy dur­ing the Amer­i­can Civil War. McConaughey is lugubri­ous as a medic who sets up his own im­pro­vised state in Mis­sis­sippi. Are we look­ing at an ex­clave of the Union? Is the hero an an­ar­chist? These are among the many ques­tions left only half-an­swered in a film that can’t set­tle on a di­rec­tion. The African-Amer­i­can char­ac­ters are par­tic­u­larly un­der-served. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 140 min DC

NEW RE­LEASE THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN ★★★

See review, page 9

THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS ★★★★

Di­rected by Colm McCarthy. Star­ring Gemma Arter­ton, Paddy Con­si­dine, Glenn Close, Sen­nia Nanua, Fisayo Ak­i­nade, Do­minique Tip­per Sin­gu­lar postapoc­a­lyp­tic zom­bie film fea­tur­ing a break­out per­for­mance by Nanua. With a nod to 28 Days Later, this adap­ta­tion of MR Carey’s well-re­garded novel beats the odds and re­boots the dystopian fantasy. The project’s Bri­tish­ness brings a para­dox­i­cal ex­oti­cism to the ma­te­rial (Amer­i­can zom­bies are so over, right?), while re­call­ing the clas­sic wasted land­scapes of John Wyn­d­ham. Work­ing on a rel­a­tively small bud­get, Scot­tish direc­tor Colm McCarthy fash­ions a ter­ri­fy­ing alt-fu­ture from con­fined spa­ces and group dy­nam­ics. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 111 min TB

HELL OR HIGH WA­TER ★★★★

Di­rected by David Macken­zie. Star­ring Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges Pine (de­ter­mined, prac­ti­cal) and Foster (way­ward, un­pre­dictable) are broth­ers who rob banks in var­i­ous cor­ners of ru­ral west Texas. The boys tar­get branches of just one bank – the one threat­en­ing to fore­close on their farm – with a mind to pro­tect­ing the fam­ily legacy. But Of­fi­cer Bridges is on their tail. This classy con­tem­po­rary western that com­bines the so­cial com­men­tary of 1970s US cin­ema with the manly ac­tion of Raoul Walsh. 15A cert, lim re­lease, 102 min DC

HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE ★★★★

Di­rected by Taika Waititi. Star­ring Sam Neill, Ju­lian Den­ni­son, Rhys Darby, Rima Te

Wi­ata An old man (Neil) and his nephew Ricky (Den­ni­son) make for the New Zealand un­der­growth in a much-ac­claimed com­edy. Direc­tor Waititi puffs up the mythol­ogy of the place, only to pop it like a bal­loon. Ricky takes to the out­law life­style – he does have a dog named Tu­pac, af­ter all – but in the end thinks twice. Sweep­ing cin­e­matog­ra­phy and play­ful edit­ing make the ad­ven­ture all the more ma­jes­tic. 12A cert, IFI/Light House, Dublin, 101 min TB

THE INFILTRATOR ★★★

Di­rected by Brad Fur­man. Star­ring Bryan Cranston, Diane Kruger, Ben­jamin Bratt, John Leguizamo Dur­ing the 1980s, US cus­toms and drug en­force­ment agent Bob Mazur went deep un­der­cover as he, to use a well-worn deep un­der­cover phrase, “fol­lowed the money”. The cash in ques­tion be­longed to in­fa­mous Colombian drug lord Pablo Es­co­bar. Cranston is su­per in the key role, but The Infiltrator comes across as pedes­trian. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 127 min TB

KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS ★★★★

Di­rected by Travis Knight. Voices of Char­l­ize Theron, Art Parkin­son, Ralph Fi­ennes, Rooney Mara, Matthew McConaughey Kubo (voiced by Done­gal teenager Parkin­son) lives in a re­mote cave with his ail­ing mother (Theron) and has in­her­ited her sto­ry­telling prow­ess. Us­ing a shamisen (a tra­di­tional Ja­panese stringed in­stru­ment) and mad origami skills, he re­gales local vil­lagers with epic tales of der­ring-do. The lat­est from Laika An­i­ma­tion (cre­ators of Co­ra­line) of­fers a feast for the eyes and balm for the soul. Sweep­ing tableaux, a won­der­ful voice cast and great ad­ven­tures. PG cert, gen re­lease, 101 min TB

LIT­TLE MEN ★★★★

Di­rected by Ira Sachs. Star­ring Greg Kin­n­ear, Jen­nifer Ehle, Paulina Gar­cia, Al­fred Molina, Theo Taplitz, Michael Bar­bieri Clever, fe­cund drama con­cern­ing a Man­hat­tan fam­ily that moves to Brook­lyn and (al­most by ac­ci­dent) do the wrong thing. With ac­tion stop­ping just short of 85 min­utes, it would be easy to mis­take Ira Sachs’s lat­est ur­ban minia­ture as a tri­fle. In­stead, this un­der­stated drama thumbs its nose at the busi­ness of gen­tri­fi­ca­tion, al­beit with del­i­cately cal­cu­lated move­ments. A nu­anced screen­play in­sists that these Man­hat­tan in­ter­lop­ers aren’t bad as peo­ple or par­ents. It’s just that, com­par­a­tively speak­ing, their pri­or­i­ties are screwy and they talk a good deal of non­sense. Club, QFT, Belfast; Triskel, Cork; IFI/Light House, Dublin, 85 min TB qft, triskel

THE LOVERS AND THE DESPOT ★★★★

Di­rected by Ross Adam. Star­ring Choi Eun-hee, Paul Courte­nay Hyu As­ton­ish­ing story of Shin Sang-ok and Choi Eun-hee, the South Korean cou­ple kid­napped by the North Korean regime and pressed into the com­mu­nist repub­lic’s movie busi­ness. Shin died in 2006, so it falls to these record­ings and Choi’s rec­ol­lec­tions to form the spine of Adam and Ro­ert Can­nan’s ac­count of one the moviev­erse’s most no­to­ri­ous true-life crimes. Grip­ping through­out. Club, lim re­lease, 100 min TB

THE MAG­NIF­I­CENT SEVEN ★★★

Di­rected by An­tione Fuqua. Star­ring Den­zel Wash­ing­ton, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Peter Sars­gaard, Vin­cent D’Onofrio Ad­e­quate re­make of John Sturges’s clas­sic 1960 western con­cern­ing a band of mer­ce­nar­ies who pro­tect a town from rob­ber barons. Fuqua’s movie digs its spurs into 2016 by hav­ing some­thing and noth­ing to do with race. The some­thing is the in­clu­sion of a black man (Wash­ing­ton), a Mex­i­can (Gar­cia-Rulfo), a Co­manche (Sens­meier) and an Asian (Lee) among the mighty seven. The noth­ing is the rel­a­tive lack of big­otry that greets the party. It just about makes sense. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 133 min DC

THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH ★★★★

Di­rected by Ni­co­las Roeg. Star­ring David Bowie, Rip Torn, Candy Clark, Buck Henry, Bernie Casey Bowie, in his best film role, plays an alien cop­ing in­dif­fer­ently with life in 1970s Amer­ica. He and Roeg can­not be faulted in their cre­ation of a supreme, durable anti-per­son­al­ity. And this 1976 film de­serves ironic cel­e­bra­tion for be­ing so very much of its time: lens flare, in­co­her­ent deca­dence, a sense of ut­ter cul­tural ex­haus­tion. For all that, it fits slightly awk­wardly into Roeg’s high pe­riod. Fas­ci­nat­ing, un­for­get­table, end­lessly ram­bling. Club, Triskel, Cork, 138 min DC

NEW RE­LEASE MAT­TRESS MEN ★★★★

See review, page 11

MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PE­CU­LIAR CHIL­DREN ★★★

Di­rected by Tim Bur­ton. Star­ring Eva Green, Asa But­ter­field, Chris O’Dowd, Al­li­son Jan­ney, Ru­pert Everett, Ter­ence Stamp, Judi Dench, Sa­muel L Jack­son Stop me if you’ve heard this one be­fore: an or­di­nary, put-upon kid dis­cov­ers that his life is not so or­di­nary af­ter all, and, par­al­lel to our dreary world, there’s an unseen mag­i­cal realm. Bur­ton’s very Burtony film works beau­ti­fully for its first half as we are taken to a bleak house in Wales pop­u­lated by young mu­tants. Green is su­per as the ti­tle char­ac­ter. The hor­ror is un­set­tling. It does, how­ever, be­come a bit samey in the Pot­teresque con­clu­sion. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 127 min TB

SAUSAGE PARTY ★★

Di­rected by Con­rad Ver­non and Greg Tiernan. Voices of Michael Cera, James Franco, Selma Hayek, Jonah Hill, Ed­ward Nor­ton, Seth Ro­gen, Paul Rudd The food in your su­per­mar­ket gets a ter­ri­ble shock when its taken home for cook­ing in this scabrous an­i­ma­tion. For al­most an hour, Sausage Party is the full kiel­basa: a dar­ing satire of reli­gious be­liefs and, si­mul­ta­ne­ously, a hi­lar­i­ous, adults-only spoof of Pixar’s win­ning ‘What if X had feel­ings?’ prod­uct line. There’s even a full­blown, old-school Dis­ney num­ber wherein su­per­mar­ket pro­duce wel­come an­other day. Sadly, it to­tally falls to bits in its last act. That’s not clever; that’s just filthy. 16 cert, lim re­lease, 86 min TB

THE SIEGE OF JADOTSVILLE ★★★

Di­rected by Richie Smyth. Star­ring Jamie Dor­nan, Mark Strong, Ja­son O’Mara, Michael McEl­hat­ton Stir­ring ac­tion film de­tail­ing the 1961 Congo siege, in which an Ir­ish bat­tal­ion re­sisted re­peated at­tacks from Katangese se­ces­sion­ists. Dor­nan is con­vinc­ing as the heroic Cmdnt Pat Quin­lan and the ac­tion is bril­liantly staged. But the lower ranks are short in the char­ac­ter depart­ment. Older view­ers will be amused at the sight of Mark Strong – usu­ally the ac­tion man – as a young Conor Cruise O’Brien. Think of it as the post-colo­nial Zulu. 15A cert, lim re­lease, 108 min DC

SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU ★★★

Di­rected by Richard Tanne. Star­ring Parker Sawyers, Tika Sumpter Could a film about the first date be­tween Barack Obama and Michelle Robin­son (as she then still was) be as in­suf­fer­able as it sounds? No, ac­tu­ally. Southside with You plays al­most like a su­per­hero gen­e­sis story. The duo make for good com­pany but the courtship can only just sus­tain the weight of his­tory. We’re of­ten left to marvel at the Man He Will Be­come rather than his po­ten­tial as a suitor. En­ter­tain­ing ha­giog­ra­phy, none­the­less 12A cert, lim re­lease, 85 min TB

NEW RE­LEASE SU­PER­SONIC ★★★

See review, irish­times.com

SWISS ARMY MAN ★★★

Di­rected Daniel Schein­ert, Daniel Kwan. Star­ring Paul Dano, Daniel Rad­cliffe, Mary El­iz­a­beth Win­stead Dano plays a sui­ci­dal cast­away who, when Rad­cliffe’s dead body washes up on his beach, uses the corpse as raft, wa­ter foun­tain and sound­ing board. Daniel is, if you will, a Swiss Army Man. With­out an ac­tor of Dano’s an­gu­lar charm, the film would be eaten alive by its own con­ven­tional quirk­i­ness. Dano throws him­self into the part with an en­thu­si­asm that the ma­te­rial scarcely jus­ti­fies. It’s odd on the sur­face, but con­ven­tional at its sen­ti­men­tal heart. Club, Light House, Dublin, 97 min DC

WARDOGS ★★★

Di­rected by Todd Phillips. Star­ring Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, Bradley Cooper Two twen­tysome­thing un­re­con­structed bros stum­ble into a $300 mil­lion con­tract to sup­ply the Afghan mil­i­tary with mil­lions of rounds of AK-47 am­mu­ni­tion. When War Dogs grows up, it really, really wants to be Good­fel­las. Or at least The Wolf of Wall Street. It’s got the blar­ing pop sound­track, yakking in diner booth scenes, and a clas­sic rags-to-riches-to-uh-oh tra­jec­tory. And a great deal of what hap­pens is true. It of­ten suc­ceeds. But equally of­ten it’s just bor­ing. 15A cert, lim re­lease, 116 min TB

NEW RE­LEASE WAR ON EV­ERY­ONE ★

See review, page 10

THE YOUNG OF­FEND­ERS ★★★★

Di­rected by Peter Foott. Star­ring Alex Mur­phy, Chris Wal­ley, Hi­lary Rose, Pas­cal Scott, PJ Gal­lagher Hi­lar­i­ous Ir­ish com­edy con­cern­ing two young Cork layabouts who head into the coun­try in search of washed-up co­caine. The key to the film’s suc­cess is a mag­nif­i­cent comic part­ner­ship be­tween Wal­ley and Mur­phy. Both play de­cent guys at the mercy of their baser in­stincts. They do ter­ri­ble things, but they are not ter­ri­ble peo­ple. Were it not for a hugely mis­guided piece of cast­ing in the last act, this might be a mod­ern clas­sic. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 83 min DC

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Pe­cu­liar Chil­dren, out now on gen­eral re­lease

Free State of Jones, out now on gen­eral re­lease

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