Tara Brady and Don­ald Clarke re­view the cur­rent cin­ema re­leases

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

THE AGE OF SHAD­OWS ★★★★

Di­rected by Kim Jee-woon. Star­ring Song Kang-ho, Gong Yoo, Han Ji-min, Shin Sung-rok, Shingo Tsu­rumi Kim Jee-woon is a fas­ci­nat­ing tal­ent who has presided over at least one mas­ter­piece ( A Tale of Two Sis­ters). The

Age of Shad­ows, loosely based on the 1923 bomb­ing of Ja­panese po­lice head­quar­ters in Seoul, is not quite up to that stan­dard, but it’s pretty darn en­ter­tain­ing. Even the mo­ments that, on pa­per, sim­ply should not work – ul­tra­vi­o­lence set to the strains of Louis Arm­strong’s When You’re Smil­ing, Ravel’s Bolero play­ing over the cli­max – feel pleas­ing and fresh. Club, lim re­lease, 140 min TB

ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL ★★★★★

Di­rected by Rainer Werner Fass­binder. Star­ring Brigitte Mira, El Hedi ben Salem, Barbara Valentin, Irm Her­mann

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, a stark Ger­man New Cin­ema riff on Dou­glas Sirk’s peer­less melo­drama All That Heaven Al­lows, con­cerns a May-De­cem­ber ro­mance be­tween a lone­some, older clean­ing lady (Mira) and Moroc­can Gas­tar­beiter (ben Salem). The star-crossed lovers are soon vic­timised by gos­sipy neigh­bours, lo­cal shop­keep­ers, and fam­ily. Prej­u­dices based on na­tion­al­ity, race, age, gen­der and gen­eral oth­er­ness, fuse and split to pro­duce un­wel­come hy­brid in­tol­er­ances in Fass­binder’s scowl­ing dis­sec­tion. Timely and heart-break­ing, some 43 years af­ter its debut. 15A cert, lim re­lease, 93 min TB

AQUARIUS ★★★★★

Di­rected by Kle­ber Men­donça Filho. Star­ring Sô­nia Braga,

Hum­berto Car­rão At 60, re­tired mu­sic critic Clara (Braga) is a badass who can turn heads and rock out to Queen bet­ter than any­one else in her pic­turesque sea­side Brazil­ian city. She is now the sole res­i­dent in the taste­ful beach­side build­ing, de­spite the pa­tro­n­is­ing, lupine ad­vances of Diego (Car­rão), the son of the prop­erty vul­ture who wants to tear down and re­de­velop the block. Men­donça’s film has epic sweep, real emo­tion and, at its heart, a quite bril­liant per­for­mance. 18 cert, IFI, Dublin, 146 min TB

THE AU­TOPSY OF JANE DOE ★★★★

Di­rected by An­dré Øvredal. Star­ring Emile Hirsch, Brian Cox, Ophe­lia Lovi­bond, Michael McEl­hat­ton, Ol­wen Kelly, Jane

Perry Øvredal’s ex­cel­lent fol­low up to Troll­hunters cast Hirsch and Cox as father and son car­ry­ing out an au­topsy on a pos­sessed body. The char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion is thin, but these two fine ac­tors man­age to drape flesh across the bare bones. (Apolo­gies for the on-the-nose metaphor). The film is, how­ever, all about the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of shad­owy men­ace, and Øvredal proves a young mas­ter of that art. A very orig­i­nal horror. 16 cert, lim re­lease, 86 min DC

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST ★★★

Di­rected by Bill Con­don. Star­ring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGre­gor, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, Emma Thomp­son Con­don’s film, a flat-pack re­build of the an­i­mated 1991 fairy­tale, quickly demon­strates the lim­i­ta­tions of movie life be­yond the draw­ing board. Un­for­giv­ably, the en­chanted (and once en­chant­ing) ob­jects – Mrs Potts the teapot, Lu­mière the can­de­labra, et al – are con­sid­er­ably less charm­ing as real-world knick­knacks with pen­cilled in eyes and mouths. The CG is vari­able and Watson is bland and joy­less as Belle. For all that, it will sat­isfy those look­ing for a live-ac­tion fac­sim­ile of the clas­sic. PG cert, gen re­lease, 129 min TB

THE BOSS BABY ★★★

Di­rected by Tom McGrath. Voices of Alec Bald­win, Miles Christo­pher Bak­shi, Tobey Maguire, Jimmy Kim­mel, Lisa

Kudrow, Steve Buscemi Bald­win pro­vides the voice for a tyran­ni­cal baby in a busi­ness suit who spreads ter­ror across an in­creas­ingly des­per­ate house­hold. Ad­mit it. You’ve got that im­age of Trump in a truck at the front of your brain. In fact, the Boss Baby is just too or­gan­ised and fo­cused to stand as a good par­ody of the Prez. Not that this was the in­ten­tion. A rea­son­ably ef­fect metaphor for the pres­sures of new par­ent­hood fea­tur­ing de­cent an­i­ma­tion and rea­son­able jokes. G cert, gen re­lease, 97 min DC

CHiPS ★

Di­rected by Dax Shep­ard. Star­ring Michael Peña, Dax Shep­ard, Jes­sica McNamee, Adam Brody, Ryan Hansen,

Kris­ten Bell Ah, CHiPs. It’s star­tling to dis­cover that the cop show ran from 1977 all the way through to 1983. That’s a lot of light hu­mour and heavy pile­ups. Talk­ing of car crashes, what bet­ter way to cel­e­brate such a quaint se­ries than with a squalid, in­co­her­ent catastrophe that makes one yearn for such rel­a­tively harm­less en­ter­tain­ments as the

A Team film? There is not enough mouth rinse in south­ern Cal­i­for­nia to fully purge the af­ter­taste. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 100 min DC

NEW RE­LEASE A DARK SONG ★★★

See re­view, page 11

ELLE ★★★★

Di­rected by Paul Ver­ho­even. Star­ring Is­abelle Hup­pert, Lau­rent Lafitte, Anne Con­signy, Charles Ber­ling, Chris­tian

Berkel Hup­pert is star­tling as a rape sur­vivor who, af­ter shaking her­self down, con­tin­ues to live her priv­i­leged life as if noth­ing much had hap­pened. No­body could ques­tion the craft on dis­play: lush cin­e­matog­ra­phy from Stéphane Fon­taine and in­sis­tent stalk­ing chords by com­poser Anne Dud­ley. The witty di­a­logue merges im­pres­sively with Hitch­cock­ian men­ace. But a provo­ca­tion in the last act may be too much for even the most tolerant Ver­ho­even fans. Com­pelling, but dan­ger­ous. 18 cert, IFI, Dublin, 130 min DC

FREE FIRE ★★★

Di­rected by Ben Wheat­ley. Star­ring Sharlto Co­p­ley, Ar­mie Ham­mer, Brie Larson, Cil­lian Mur­phy, Jack Reynor, Babou

Ceesay Two IRA man fall out with their arms sup­pli­ers in a flashy ver­sion of the 1970s. Wheat­ley and Amy Short, his part­ner and scriptwriter, won­der whether it is pos­si­ble to spread an in­te­rior gun­fight over a whole hour of screen time. The an­swer seems to be: no. The in­ter­nal lay­out of the arena fast be­comes unclear. Many cin­ema­go­ers will find them­selves yearn­ing for a floor plan and an app that shows where Lar­sons are in re­la­tion to Reynors. 18 cert, gen re­lease, 90 min DC

GET OUT ★★★★★

Di­rected by Jor­dan Peele. Star­ring Daniel Kalu­uya, Al­li­son Wil­liams, Cather­ine Keener, Bradley Whit­ford, Caleb Landry Jones Mag­nif­i­cent so­cial horror that – in imi­ta­tion of Guess Who’s Com­ing to Din­ner – sends a white girl and her black boyfriend to her par­ents in lib­eral sub­ur­bia. Here is a film about racism in a sup­pos­edly post-racial so­ci­ety that fea­tures few acts of ex­plicit prej­u­dice. The film builds el­e­gantly from sin­is­ter omens to full-on vis­cera-gur­gling may­hem. But Get Out has more to do with dis­com­fort and envy than blind ha­tred. What a strange mar­vel it is. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 104 min DC

GHOST IN THE SHELL ★★

Di­rected by Ru­pert San­ders. Star­ring Scar­lett Jo­hans­son, Michael Pitt, Pilou As­bæk, Chin Han, Juli­ette Binoche, Takeshi Ki­tano, Peter Fer­di­nando Dis­ap­point­ing, unimag­i­na­tive re­make of the clas­sic Ja­panese manga con­cern­ing a cy­borg with a hu­man mind. The dumb­ing-down is dis­ap­point­ing, but it might have made for a de­cent cops-and-rob­bers ac­tioner if di­rec­tor San­ders and screen­writer Jamie Moss hadn’t left in the ur­ban pil­low shots and con­tem­pla­tive spa­ces of the 1995 film. Sadly, we have noth­ing to con­tem­plate, ex­cept our own bore­dom. Jo­hans­son does what she does. But the film still feels pro­foundly un­nec­es­sary. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 106 min TB

NEW RE­LEASE

GO­ING IN STYLE ★★ See re­view, pages 10-11

GRAD­U­A­TION/ BACALAUREAT ★★★★

Di­rected by Cris­tian Mungiu. Star­ring Adrian Ti­tieni, Maria Dra­gus, Lia Bug­nar, Malina Manovici, Vlad Ivanovu The di­rec­tor of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and

2 Days re­turns with an in­tri­cate tale of mid-level cor­rup­tion in his na­tive Ro­ma­nia. A doc­tor is tempted to fix his daugh­ter’s exam re­sults af­ter she is at­tacked on the way to school. Util­is­ing hugely long takes, Mungiu in­vites his char­ac­ters to talk through their wor­ries in closely writ­ten duo-

logues that in­sin­u­ate hid­den mo­ti­va­tions into ev­ery phrase. What emerges is a male-dom­i­nated so­ci­ety that – at its apex – seems re­signed to rep­e­ti­tions of the same old evils. 15A cert, lim re­lease, 127 min DC

NEW RE­LEASE I AM NOT YOUR NE­GRO ★★★★★ See re­view, page 11 KONG: SKULL IS­LAND ★★★★

Di­rected by Jor­dan VogtRoberts. Star­ring Tom Hiddleston, Sa­muel L Jackson, John Good­man, Brie Larson, John C Reilly Who saw this

com­ing? Kong: Skull Is­land and Apoca­lypse Now should just get a room to­gether. Vogt-Roberts’s hugely en­joy­able semi-pre­quel to the re­cent Godzilla sends a team of Amer­i­cans to the tit­u­lar South Pa­cific is­land in the mid 1970s. A gi­ant ape awaits. The char­ac­ter­i­sa­tions are thin, but the shame­less rev­el­ling in Viet­nam movie cul­ture is im­pos­si­ble to re­sist. He­li­copters surge in with speak­ers blazing. Cre­dence and The Stooges blare. An ab­so­lute hoot. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 118 min DC

THE LEGO BAT­MAN MOVIE ★★★★

Di­rected by Chris McKay. Voices of Will Ar­nett, Zach Gal­i­fi­anakis, Michael Cera, Ralph Fi­ennes Christo­pher Nolan’s Bat­man re­mains the blue­print for Ar­nett’s mar­vel­lous take­down of the Caped Crusader. Un­der the di­rec­tion of McKay, Ar­nett re­lent­lessly prods at Bat­man with a help­ing of BoJack Horse­man-brand mis­ery and nar­cis­sism. Be­tween mer­ci­less but fond lam­poon­ing, there’s an en­ter­tain­ing all-ages com­edy that val­ues to­geth­er­ness and jokes equally. G cert, gen re­lease, 104 min TB

LIFE ★★★

Di­rected by Daniel Espinosa. Star­ring Jake Gyl­len­haal, Re­becca Fer­gu­son, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada,

Ariyon Bakare A starry crew aboard the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion sends a snark-talk­ing Reynolds to snaf­fle a space probe re­turn­ing from Mars with soil sam­ples. Mis­sion ac­com­plished, a sci­en­tist (Bakare) pokes at the spec­i­men un­til, oops, it trans­forms into a vagina-grem­lin-starfish-mon­ster that starts pick­ing the crew off. If you can’t wait for Alien: Covenant, here’s an­other per­fectly ser­vice­able re­tread of the same ma­te­rial. Un­sur­pris­ing. Di­vert­ing. For­getable. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 104 min TB

LO­GAN ★★★★

Di­rected by James Man­gold. Star­ring Hugh Jack­man, Patrick Ste­wart, Richard E Grant, Boyd Hol­brook, Stephen Mer­chant Im­pres­sive, ele­giac film con­cern­ing the later days of the man who was Wolver­ine. Lo­gan (Jack­man) now lives mis­er­ably with ail­ing Pro­fes­sor X (Ste­wart) and stressed Cal­iban (Mer­chant) in a dusty part of Texas. The mu­tants seem to be dy­ing out. Then a gifted child moves into their life. Man­gold’s film ends in tra­di­tional su­per­hero fash­ion, but, to that point, it man­ages an un­ex­pected grit and wel­come semi-se­ri­ous­ness. The vi­o­lence is bloody. 16 cert, gen re­lease, 140 min DC

THE LOST CITY OF Z ★★★★

Di­rected by James Gray. Star­ring Char­lie Hun­nam, Robert Pat­tin­son, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland, Ian Mc­Di­armid In 1906, when the Royal Geo­graph­i­cal So­ci­ety de­cides to send a “neu­tral party” to make a bor­der map be­tween Bo­livia and Brazil, Percy Fawcett (Hun­nam) jumps at the chance to sur­vey the re­gion and re­store his fam­ily’s rep­u­ta­tion. At its best, we’re re­minded of Aguirre, the Wrath of God. Sadly, de­spite a script that is achingly sym­pa­thetic to­ward Mrs Fawcett, the film gets rather stuck when at home with the wife. 15A cert, lim re­lease, 141 min TB

NEW RE­LEASE NERUDA ★★★ See re­view, pages 10-11 NEW RE­LEASE PEPPA PIG: MY FIRST CIN­EMA EX­PE­RI­ENCE See re­view, irish­times.com PER­SONAL SHOP­PER ★★★★

Di­rected by Olivier As­sayas. Star­ring Kris­ten Ste­wart, Lars

Eidinger, Si­grid Bouaziz By day, an Amer­i­can in Paris (Ste­wart) bikes be­tween up­mar­ket re­tail­ers pick­ing up jew­ellery and dresses for a bratty, ill-de­fined celebrity. By night, she re­searches the para­nor­mal and yearns for a sign from her twin brother, who has re­cently died from a heart con­di­tion she shares. There are bun­dles of ideas float­ing round As­sayas’s busy film. Not all fit to­gether. But an­other spook­ily ef­fec­tive per­for­mance from Ste­wart el­e­vates the piece. The di­rec­tor’s best in a decade. 15A cert, lim re­lease, 105 min TB

POWER RANGERS ★★★

Di­rected by Dean Is­raelite. Star­ring Dacre Mont­gomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lynn, Becky G, El­iz­a­beth Banks, Bryan Cranston, voice of Bill

Hader Sur­pris­ingly, this ver­sion of the 1990s kids show is eas­ily good enough to rec­om­mend to those seek­ing shel­ter from a rain­storm. The kids are charm­ing. Is­raelite, di­rec­tor of the de­cent Project

Al­manac, flings his cam­era around with dex­ter­ous glee. The slum­ming older char­ac­ter ac­tors en­joy them­selves hugely. We apol­o­gise for the faint praise, but Power Rangers is com­fort­ably su­pe­rior more ef­fi­cient, fun­nier, less pompous – than any­thing from the cur­rent DC uni­verse. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 123 min DC

NEW RE­LEASE A QUIET PAS­SION ★★★ See re­view, page 11 NEW RE­LEASE RAW ★★★★ See re­view, page 9 THE SALES­MAN ★★★★

Di­rected by As­ghar Farhadi. Star­ring Sha­hab Ho­seini, Taraneh Ali­doosti, Baba Karimi An Ira­nian cou­ple un­dergo con­vul­sions while re­hears­ing for a pro­duc­tion of Death of a Sales­man. The lat­est knotty drama from Farhadi en­tered his­tory when Trump’s travel ban helped it to­wards a for­eign-lan­guage Os­car. It de­serves to be known for more than that. Like A Sep­a­ra­tion, the new film is con­cerned with the ways that doubt and dis­hon­esty un­der­mine re­la­tion­ships. Ali­doosti and Hos­seini tease out the threads with sub­tlety and in­tel­li­gence. 12A cert, lim re­lease, 124 min TB

THE SE­CRET SCRIP­TURE ★★

Di­rected by Jim Sheri­dan. Star­ring Rooney Mara, Vanessa Red­grave, Eric Bana, Jack Reynor, Theo James, Ais­ling O’Sullivan, Ai­dan Turner, Tom Vaughan-Lawler, Su­san Lynch, Pauline McLynn Mara and Reynor play star-crossed lovers in an un­sat­is­fac­tory ver­sion of Se­bas­tian Barry’s much-ad­mired novel. So baf­fling are the mo­ti­va­tions and so weird are the co­in­ci­dences that the film sug­gests an adap­ta­tion of a South Amer­i­can magic re­al­ist text. One half ex­pects Jack Reynor to turn into an ele­phant or Ai­dan Turner to be­come a lake. If you’ve read the source, you can prob­a­bly fill in the yawn­ing gaps. If you haven’t, you will scratch your head raw. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 108 min DC

SMURFS: THE LOST VIL­LAGE ★★

Di­rected by Kelly As­bury. Voices of Demi Lo­vato, Rainn Wilson, Joe Manganiello, Danny Pudi, Mandy Patinkin, Ju­lia Roberts,

Gordon Ram­say This an­i­mated re­boot (that’s right, those 2011 and 2013 live ac­tion mash-ups with Neil Patrick Harris and Bren­dan Glee­son have been smurfed out of his­tory) opens with Smur­fette ( Lo­vato) in con­tem­pla­tive mode. What, she won­ders, is the point of be­ing Smur­fette? She may well ask. The fol­low­ing ac­tion does noth­ing to detox­ify the char­ac­ter’s re­ac­tionary rep­u­ta­tion. Lazy, per­func­tory, dull, The Lost Vil­lage is a pile of smurf­ing smurf. G cert, gen re­lease, 90 min TB

SWEET DREAMS ★★★

Di­rected by Marco Bel­loc­chio. Star­ring Va­le­rio Ma­s­tan­drea,

Bérénice Béjo A man suf­fers af­ter the mys­te­ri­ous death of his mum. Based on an au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal novel by Mas­simo Graminelli, Sweet Dreams is very pro­fes­sion­ally car­ried off. Béjo turns up to con­firm that she is among the warm­est screen pres­ences of the age. Daniele Cipri’s cam­era adapts to dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ments with great dex­ter­ity. But this tale of a boy’s love for his mother tells us little that we have not heard in a hun­dred other Ital­ian films. Club, lim re­lease, 134 min DC

NEW RE­LEASE TA­BLE 19 ★★★ See re­view, page 9

Not so fast: Brie Larson in Free Fire, out now on gen­eral re­lease

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