Tara Brady and Don­ald Clarke

re­view the cur­rent cin­ema re­leases

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

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 BELKO EX­PER­I­MENT ★★★ Di­rected by Greg McLean. Star­ring John Gal­lagher Jr, Tony Gold­wyn, Adria Ar­jona, John C McGin­ley, Melonie Diaz, Josh Brener, Michael Rooker Eighty Amer­i­cans em­ploy­ees of an NGO in Columbia are shut­tered in and in­structed by a voice on the in­ter­com to kill two of their co­work­ers within 30 min­utes. Or else. The script, from Guardians of

the Galaxy’s James Gunn, can be in­el­e­gant as it backs into its high con­cept. Still, this is mostly good, clean – well, not clean – generic fun from Wolf Creek di­rec­tor McLean, bol­stered by a solid en­sem­ble cast and im­pres­sive blood­work. 18 cert, lim re­lease, 88 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 BUNCH OF KUNST ★★★ Di­rected by Chris­tine Frantz. Fea­tur­ing An­drew Fearn, Ja­son Wil­liamson Frantz’s film on en­gag­ing, pro­fane Not­ting­ham mu­si­cal duo Sleaford Mods does noth­ing we haven’t seen be­fore in fly-on-the wall rock­u­men­taries. We talk to the fam­ily. We visit Glas­ton­bury for a slightly un­com-

fort­able gig. We get taken around the tour bus and en­counter few sig­nif­i­cant re­minders of This Is

Spinal Tap. The di­rec­tor makes no of­fer to ex­plain the ap­peal to the hith­erto un­con­verted. For all that, the boys are suf­fi­ciently en­gag­ing to keep the film in­ter­est­ing. Club, lim re­lease, 104 min DC FAST AND FU­RI­OUS 8 ★★★ Di­rected by F Gary Gray. Star­ring Vin Diesel, Dwayne John­son, Char­l­ize Theron, Ja­son Statham, Michelle Ro­driguez, Kurt Rus­sell, He­len

Mir­ren, Scott East­wood In­de­scrib­ably silly eighth episode in the car-chas­ing and he­li­copter-ex­plod­ing fran­chise. This time round, Theron comes on board as a ruth­less hacker with am­bi­tions to do some­thing ter­ri­ble. She and Mir­ren - as an ab­surd East End moll - are slightly mis­used, but the stunts are as ex­trav­a­gant as ever. The cen­tre­piece sees evil Charize send a mass of re­mote con­trolled cars about the streets of Man­hat­tan. It’s com­pletely stupid. It’s com­pletely awe­some. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 135 min DC GET OUT ★★★★★ Di­rected by Jor­dan Peele. Star­ring Daniel Kalu­uya, Al­li­son Wil­liams, Cather­ine Keener 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 THE GIFT ★★ Di­rected by Damian O’Cal­laghan. Star­ring Alan Devine, Una Ka­vanagh, Dawn Brad­field, Bren­dan Grace A teacher falls into de­pres­sion when his wife dies. Made in and around Kil­lar­ney, The Gift is a sin­cerely in­tended study of the griev­ing process that de­liv­ers lessons worth heed­ing. Un­for­tu­nately, the pic­ture’s rough edges and thin con­struc­tion let it down. Still, it does have the odd­est cameo from Bren­dan Grace since his cackle

from within a crate in the lit­tle-seen Dick Dick­man PI. 15A cert, lim re­lease, 82 min DC GO­ING IN STYLE ★★ Di­rected by Zach Braff. Star­ring Mor­gan Free­man, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Ann-Mar­gret, Christo­pher Lloyd, Matt Dil­lon Free­man, Caine and Arkin, de­prived of their pen­sions, de­cide to rob a bank. This is an­other of those films that pre­tends to show older peo­ple re­spect while ac­tu­ally treat­ing them like comic nin­com­poops. You know the sort of thing. They don’t know how tech­nol­ogy works. They for­get where they are. They have to go to the loo a lot. Ha ha! It’s funny be­cause it’s pa­tro­n­is­ing. Use­less. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 96 min DC NEW RE­LEASE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2 ★★ See re­view, page 9 THE HAND­MAIDEN ★★★★★ Di­rected by Chan-wook Park. Star­ring Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo , Cho Jin-woong Park brings lav­ish grace to his adap­ta­tion of Sarah Wal­ters’s novel Finger­smith. This is eas­ily the most lav­ish pe­riod piece of the past year, com­posed of strik­ing, be­witch­ing tableaux that could of­ten pass for an­cient scrolls or wood­cut­tings. The tricksy plot stream­lines and im­proves the fi­nal messy sec­tion of the source, to tease and mis­lead even the most as­tute viewer. The les­bian sex scenes are as pas­sion­ate as ru­moured. 18 cert, lim re­lease, 144 min TB HAND­SOME DEVIL ★★★★ Di­rected by John But­ler. Star­ring Fionn O’Shea, Ni­cholas Gal­itzine, Moe Dun­ford, An­drew Scott, Michael McEl­hat­ton, Ruairi O’Con­nor, Amy

Hu­ber­man But­ler’s lovely fol­low up to The Stag stars O’Shea as an artis­tic young fel­low cop­ing badly at a posh, rugby-ob­sessed school. Gal­itzine plays the jock with whom he grad­u­ally learns to con­nect. Set in a de­lib­er­ately un­cer­tain pe­riod, with con­tem­po­rary fash­ions scored to 1980s mu­si­cal ref­er­ences, Hand­some Devil is proudly tra­di­tional in its sto­ry­telling. Set­backs come at just the right mo­ments to pre­pare us for the next out­burst of fist-in-the-air re­lief. A cracker. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 94 min DC NEW RE­LEASE HEAL THE LIV­ING/RÉPARER LES VIVANTS ★★★★ See re­view, page 11 NEW RE­LEASE LADY MAC­BETH ★★★★★ See re­view, page 10 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 PEPPA PIG: MY FIRST CIN­EMA EX­PE­RI­ENCE ★★★ Di­rected by Mark Baker. Voices of Emma Grace Arends, Har­ley Bird, Mor­wenna Banks, David Gra­ham, Oliver May, Alice May, John Sparkes A dec­la­ra­tion of com­pet­ing in­ter­ests: this re­viewer did in­deed re­ceive a free Peppa Pig sticker set ahead of the Dublin pre­miere of Peppa Pig: My First Cin­ema Ex­pe­ri­ence. Ea­gle-eyed viewers (and ad­ver­tis­ing stan­dard au­thor­i­ties) will note that the word “movie” is not at­tached to this the­atri­cal ex­trav­a­ganza. Nor should it be. My First Cin­ema

Ex­pe­ri­ence is pre­cisely that: a gen­tle in­tro­duc­tion to the dark rooms and big, bright screens of the mul­ti­plex. It’s cheap, cheer­ful and im­pos­si­ble to hate. G cert, gen re­lease, 72 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 THE PROM­ISE ★★★ See re­view, page 11 A QUIET PAS­SION ★★★ Di­rected by Ter­ence Davies. Star­ring Cyn­thia Nixon, Jen­nifer Ehle, Keith Car­ra­dine, Cather­ine Bai­ley, Jodhi May, Emma Bell, Dun­can Duff In­ter­est­ing, only par­tially suc­cess­ful study of Emily Dick­in­son (Nixon) that moves from dis­con­cert­ing Wildean com­edy of man­ners to the pre­dicted mis­ery. Davies works Dick­in­son’s po­etry into the script, re­sult­ing in vi­o­lently bipo­lar shifts in mood and overly man­nered di­a­logue. The writ­ing is here, but the au­thor is much harder to pin­point. Nixon in­hab­its the role per­sua­sively and the pe­riod de­tail is lovely, but it doesn’t quite come off. Club, Triskel, Cork, 125 min TB RAW ★★★★ Di­rected by Ju­lia Du­cour­nau. Star­ring Garance Mar­il­lier, Ella Rumpf, Rabah Nait Oufella,

Lau­rent Lu­cas A vet­eri­nary stu­dent, orig­i­nally a veg­e­tar­ian, turns to can­ni­bal­ism af­ter tast­ing flesh. The Franco-Bel­gian hor­ror does a great job of rep­re­sent­ing the car­niv­o­rous urge as a Cro­nen­ber­gian dis­ease. What re­ally sets

Raw apart, how­ever, is the ap­palling power of its dis­gust­ing im­ages. Fran­cis Ba­con would have got on all right with the drip­ping flesh. Han­ni­bal Lecter would, how­ever, have been dis­gusted at the in­el­e­gant prepa­ra­tion of the co­mestibles. A real orig­i­nal. 18 cert, QFT, Belfast, 98 min DC RULES DON’T AP­PLY ★★★ Di­rected by War­ren Beatty. Star­ring War­ren Beatty, Lily

Collins, Alden Ehren­re­ich, An­nette Ben­ing, Matthew Brod­er­ick, Alec Bald­win, Ha­ley Ben­nett, Candice Ber­gen, Paul Sorvino, Martin Sheen, Hart Bochner, Ed Har­ris, Amy Madi­gan, Oliver Platt, Collins plays the lat­est young star­let pro­pelled to­wards com­pro­mise when sum­moned to LA from the rose-cov­ered in­lands. Promised a con­tract with Howard Hughes (Beatty), she soon falls in with Ehren­re­ich’s at­trac­tive young driver. There are things to ad­mire here: the pe­riod de­tail is nice; Beatty is prop­erly un­easy. But the tone is all over the place. The screw­ball scenes, in par­tic­u­lar, are weirdly mist­imed. It re­mains, how­ever, an in­ter­est­ing folly. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 126 min DC THE SENSE OF AN END­ING ★★★ Di­rected by Ritesh Ba­tra. Star­ring Jim Broad­bent, Char­lotte Ram­pling, Har­riet Wal­ter, Michelle Dock­ery,

Matthew Goode Broad­bent plays an ag­ing grump un­cov­er­ing se­crets from 40 years ear­lier af­ter in­her­it­ing the di­ary of a long-dis­eased friend. Nick Payne’s fine screen­play - though largely faith­ful - tweaks Ju­lian Barnes’s source novel with great cun­ning. The plot is less am­bigu­ous. The pro­tag­o­nist is less rep­re­hen­si­ble at the be­gin­ning and comes closer to re­demp­tion at the close. The changes suit the de­mands of main­stream cin­ema and the warm aes­thetic Ba­tra ex­hib­ited in his fine The Lunch­box. 15A cert, lim re­lease, 108 min DC SMURFS: THE LOST VIL­LAGE ★★ Di­rected by Kelly As­bury. Voices of Demi Lo­vato, Rainn Wil­son, Joe Man­ganiello, Jack McBrayer,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 NEW RE­LEASE SUNTAN ★★★ See re­view, page 11 TA­BLE 19 ★★★ Di­rected by Jef­frey Blitz. Star­ring Anna Ken­drick, Craig Robin­son, June Squibb, Lisa Kudrow, Stephen Mer­chant Per­fectly tol­er­a­ble post-mum­blecore com­edy con­cern­ing the guests round the worst ta­ble at an unlovely wed­ding. Ken­drick plays the for­mer maid of hon­our who was de­moted af­ter break­ing up with the best man. Squib was, long ago, nanny to the bride. Mer­chant plays a dis­tant rel­a­tive who cur­rently lives in a half­way house af­ter serv­ing time for em­bez­zle­ment. And so on. Some char­ac­ters work bet­ter than oth­ers. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 87 min DC THEIR FINEST ★★★★ Di­rected by Lone Scher­fig. Star­ring Gemma Arter­ton, Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy, He­len McCrory, Jack Hus­ton, Richard E Grant, Rachael Stir­ling, Henry Good­man A var­ied team of film-mak­ers shoot a pa­tri­otic drama in Eng­land dur­ing the se­cond World War. Arter­ton, who plays the writer, does tremen­dous work, bring­ing a rare vul­ner­a­bil­ity to a Blitz-era hero­ine where a

lesser thes­pian might have opted for full-blown Stiff Up­per Lip. Pic­ture Brief En­counter’s Celia John­son with a Welsh lilt. The pro­duc­tion makes charm­ing use of the no-bud­get film-within-the-film and of its tal­ented, like­able en­sem­ble. Funny, mov­ing and cast in depth. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 117 min TB THE TRANSFIGURATION ★★★★ Di­rected by Michael O’Shea. Star­ring Eric Ruf­fin, Chloe Levine, Aaron Clifton Moten Fas­ci­nat­ing vam­pire (or is it?) thriller con­cern­ing a young man who trav­els from Queens to posher bits of New York in search of blood. It’s not just the neigh­bour­hood or the pro­tag­o­nist’s eth­nic­ity. The Transfiguration main­tains a strange dis­as­so­ci­ated gaze over so­cioe­co­nomic and psy­cho­log­i­cal dis­tress, an out-of-body sen­sa­tion that re­calls John Sayles’s The Brother from An­other Planet or Boaz Yakin’s Fresh in its si­mul­ta­ne­ous world­li­ness and oth­er­world­li­ness. Club, lim re­lease, 97 min TB THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE ★★ Di­rected by Niki Caro. Star­ring Jes­sica Chas­tain, Jo­han Helden­bergh, Michael

McEl­hat­ton, Daniel Brühl A zookeeper’s wife (Chas­tain) works to save Jews from the War­saw ghetto dur­ing the se­cond World War. Not ev­ery film con­cern­ing the Holo­caust needs to ex­hibit ruth­less doc­u­men­tary in­tegrity. But there is an in­vis­i­ble line be­yond which pret­ti­fi­ca­tion risks trig­ger­ing of­fense. Though a pro­fes­sional op­er­a­tion stuffed with fine ac­tors, this adap­ta­tion of Diane Ack­er­man’s non­fic­tion book stum­bles over that bor­der with dead­en­ing reg­u­lar­ity. Cosy, sen­ti­men­tal, dis­hon­est. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 127 min DC

The Hand­maiden, out now on lim­ited re­lease

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