Tara Brady and Don­ald Clarke re­view the cur­rent cin­ema re­leases

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

AF­TER THE STORM ★★★★ Di­rected by Hirokazu Koreeda. Star­ring Hiroshi Abe, Kirin Kiki,

Yoko Maki The great Ja­panese di­rec­tor re­turns with the story of a bro­ken mar­riage and its ef­fects on chil­dren. As ever, the di­rec­tor has fash­ioned a lovely, ap­peal­ing, lightly comic film that ex­ists some­where be­tween late Ozu and early Spiel­berg. Just when you think you’re watch­ing a vari­a­tion on The Par­ent Trap, the film wan­ders away from big strings and melo­drama. The bick­er­ing, es­pe­cially be­tween Ry­ota and his sus­pi­cious sis­ter, is keenly ob­served. PG cert, IFI, Dublin, 118 min TB

ALIEN COVENANT ★★ Di­rected by Ri­d­ley Scott. Star­ring Michael Fass­ben­der, Kather­ine Water­ston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Car­men Ejogo, Jussie Smol­lett, Cal­lie

Her­nan­dez The lat­est in the cy­cle be­gins very much more like a pre­quel to Alien than a se­quel to

Prometheus. A colony ship ap­proaches a rainy planet on which a hore­shoe-shaped ship has crashed. There’s a face-hug­ger. There are giant eggs. So far, so en­joy­ably shame­less. Sadly, in its sec­ond half the film gives in to the sort of fan ser­vice that drags down so much pop­u­lar cul­ture. Who cares where the Aliens came from? 16 cert, gen re­lease, 120 min DC

BAYWATCH ★ Di­rected by Seth Gor­don. Star­ring Dwayne John­son, Zac Efron, Alexan­dra Dad­dario, Kelly Rohrbach, Priyanka Cho­pra, Jon Bass, Ilfe­nesh

Hadera It’s worse than you might have feared. Here is a film so poor, so half-ar­sed, so con­temp­tu­ous of its au­di­ence, that it screws up one of the great, (pre­vi­ously) in­fal­li­ble tropes of con­tem­po­rary cin­ema: the David Hassle­hoff cameo. The part­ner­ship be­tween John­son and Efron is squan­dered. There is barely enough story to fill an episode of the source TV se­ries. Early on, Zac won­ders aloud if this isn’t just some sadis­tic haz­ing rit­ual. Maybe it is. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 118 min TB

NEW RE­LEASE BER­LIN SYN­DROME ★★★ See re­view, page 11 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

DAUGH­TERS OF THE DUST ★★★★★ Di­rected by Julie Dash. Star­ring Cora Lee Day, Bar­bara O, Alva Rogers, Trula Hoosier, Umar Ab­dur­ra­hamn, Adisa An­der­son,

Kaycee Moore In 1991, Julie Dash’s lav­ish, po­etic Daugh­ters of

the Dust be­came the first movie di­rected by a black woman to get a wide the­atri­cal re­lease. It’s de­pic­tion of mo­cambo life, of an en­clave be­yond slav­ery pre-dates the re­sis­tance nar­ra­tives of 12 Years a Slave, Django Un­chained and Birth of a Na­tion by decades. It’s reap­pear­ance in cin­e­mas is, of course, largely down to Bey­oncé’s

Lemon­ade – the vis­ual al­bum lib­er­ally pays homage to Daugh

ters. Worth dis­cov­er­ing or re­dis­cov­er­ing. 12A cert, lim re­lease, 108 min TB

NEW RE­LEASE DES­TINY/DER MUDE TOD ★★★★★ See re­view, page 11 DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE LONG HAUL [/4STARS] ★★ Di­rected by David Bow­ers. Star­ring Jason Drucker, Owen Asz­ta­los, Char­lie Wright, Ali­cia Sil­ver­stone, Tom Everett Scott The lat­est adap­ta­tion of Jeff Kin­ney’s books con­cern­ing a sat-upon kid and his strug­gles against the world. Even re­turn­ing di­rec­tor Bow­ers can’t stop this unlovely in­stal­ment from go­ing south. The trou­ble be­gins when the Hef­fley fam­ily em­bark on a cross-coun­try road trip to visit their grand­mother on her 90th birth­day. There’s a mean-spirit­ed­ness in The Long Haul – a ver­i­ta­ble show­case of self­ish­ness and break­ing and en­ter­ing – that sim­ply wasn’t there be­fore. Disor­gan­ised, dull. Enough. PG cert, gen re­lease, 92 min TB

A DOG’S PUR­POSE ★★★ Di­rected by Lasse Hall­ström. Star­ring Den­nis Quaid, Britt Robert­son, Josh Gad, KJ Apa,

Juliet Ry­lance, Peggy Lip­ton It’s a shaggy beast of a con­ceit: a dog, voiced by Gad, pon­ders the na­ture of his (or some­times her) ex­is­tence through suc­ces­sive rein­car­na­tions. These lives are shaped and de­ter­mined by hu­man com­pan­ions and the kind­ness (and un­kind­ness) of strangers. Against all odds, this trans­lates into a warm, fam­ily-friendly en­ter­tain­ment, par­tic­u­larly for those who live with a dog. Or have lived with a dog. Or have ever seen a pic­ture of a dog on the in­ter­net. Cheesy but nice. PG cert, gen re­lease, 100 min TB

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2 ★★ Di­rected by James Gunn. Star­ring Chris Pratt, Zoe Sal­dana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Kurt Rus­sell, Sylvester Stal­lone, Karen Gil­lan Disor­dered, manic se­quel to the galaxy-hop­ping su­per­hero romp that re­peats all the first film’s gim­micks with half as much con­vic­tion an a quar­ter as much en­ergy. There is no plot top speak of. Peter Quill (Pratt) and his mob fall in with Kurt Rus­sell’s mega­lo­ma­niac and spend two hours trad­ing quips and lis­ten­ing to cheesy 1970s FM hits. If you want another yard of generic Guardians ma­te­rial then here it is. I sup­pose it’s “for the fans”. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 136 min DC

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

I AM NOT MADAME BOVARY ★★★ Di­rected by Feng Xiao­gang. Star­ring Fan Bingbing, Zhang Ji­ayi, Yu Hewei, Dong Cheng­peng, Guo Tao Solid take on a Chi­nese moral­ity play about a woman who, with her lover, con­spires to kill her hus­band. I Am Not Madame Bovary, a com­mer-

cial smash in China, looks like a con­scious at­tempt to fol­low that na­tion’s art­house au­teurs into the global mar­ket­place. The film breaks eye-lines rules with 180 flips while un­abashedly em­u­lat­ing tra­di­tional ink-wash paint­ing. Ev­ery tree and rooftop re­minds one of silk scrolls or Chi­nois­erie wall­pa­per. Sadly, it’s still a lit­tle dull. Club, QFT, Belfast (Mon-Wed), 137 min TB

KING ARTHUR: LEG­END OF THE SWORD ★★★ Di­rected by Guy Ritchie. Star­ring Char­lie Hun­nam, Astrid Bergès-Fris­bey, Jude Law, Dji­mon Houn­sou, Eric Bana, Ai­dan Gillen, Fred­die Fox, Craig

McGin­lay, Tom Wu We will say the fol­low­ing in favour of Guy Ritchie’s King Ar­fur. It’s a much bet­ter As­sas­sin’s Creed film than

As­sas­sin’s Creed. The king of the geezers restages the myth as duff-up be­tween vil­lains in the streets of Lon­dinium’s East End. It doesn’t re­ally hold to­gether. The draw­ing of the sword is botched. Hun­nam lacks charisma as Ar­fur. But there is a crazy joy to the film’s un­apolo­getic gang­ster logic. Shame no­body will go and see it. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 126 min DC

LADY MAC­BETH ★★★★★ Di­rected by Wil­liam Ol­droyd. Star­ring Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, Paul Hil­ton, Naomi Ac kie, Christo­pher Fair bank Stir­ring, ki­netic adap­tion of Niko­lia Leskov’s 1865 novella Lady

Mac­beth of the Mt­sensk, con­cern­ing a young woman who fights back vi­o­lently af­ter be­ing sold into a love­less mar­riage. Ol­droyd re­lo­cates the stort to Northum­ber­land with windy, ef­fec­tive re­sults. Pugh, who made such an un­for­get­table de­but in Carol Mor­ley’s The

Fall­ing, is re­mark­able as the var­i­ously car­nal, ruth­less, suf­fer­ing, pitiable, mon­strous anti-hero­ine. Imag­ine the fur and feath­ers An­gela Carter would spit out if she chewed up Down­ton

Abbey. 16 cert, Triskel, Cork, 89 min TB

NEW RE­LEASE THEMUMMY ★★ See re­view, page 10 NEW RE­LEASE MY COUSIN RACHEL ★★★ See re­view, page 11 MY LIFE AS A COUR­GETTE/ MA VIE DE COUR­GETTE ★★★★★ Di­rected by Claude Bar­ras. Voices of Gas­pard Sch­lat­ter, Six­tine Mu­rat, Paulin Jac­coud, Michel Vuiller­moz, Raul Rib­era, Estelle Hen­nard, El­liot Sanchez Won­der­ful French an­i­ma­tion con­cern­ing a group of dis­ad­van- taged youths in a care home. The film is a beau­ti­fully bal­anced, vis­ual mar­vel. Bar­ras has a habit of hold­ing group shots longer than ex­pected to press home the in­creas­ing close­ness of the kids. He gives them round, ex­pres­sive eyes, framed by red­dened rims that speak to their con­tin­u­ing stress. Only a jerk would com­plain about it paint­ing to rosy a pic­ture of such sce­nar­ios. 12A cert, lim re­lease, 66 min DC

NEW RE­LEASE NORMAN See re­view, irish­times.com PI­RATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: SALAZAR’S RE­VENGE ★★ Di­rected by Joachim Røn­ning and Es­pen Sand­berg. Star­ring Johnny Depp, Javier Bar­dem, Bren­ton Th­waites, Kaya Scode­lario, Kevin McNally,

Ge­of­frey Rush, Or­lando Bloom, Keira Knight­ley There comes a mo­ment in Pi­rates of the Caribbe

an: Al­imony’s Re­venge when Johnny Depp and new­com­ers Or­lando 2.0 (Th­waites) and Keira 2.0 (Scode­lario) find them­selves be­ing chased by the rot­ting corpse of a shark. That’s right. Not con­tent with hav­ing fig­u­ra­tively jumped the shark dur­ing the mud­dled On Stranger Tides (2011), this stale, bloated fran­chise has only gone and killed the fish for good mea­sure. It’s more of the same. And the same was bad. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 129 min TB

THE RED TUR­TLE/LA TORTUE ROUGE ★★★★ Di­rected by Michael Du­dok de

Wit Lovely an­i­ma­tion from Stu­dio Ghi­bli con­cern­ing a man who, af­ter be­ing ship­wrecked, gets men­aced – or maybe pro­tected – by a giant tur­tle. The damp washes and el­e­gant story are right up to Ghi­bli’s con­sis­tently high stan­dard. The pic­ture’s baf­fling swerves do noth­ing to de­flate its fi­nal emo­tional pay­off. What we have is a beau­ti­ful fable that plays out in an en­vi­ron­ment that is so ef­fec­tively re­alised the view­ers feels he has lived there for days. Not to be missed. PG cert, Light House, Dublin, 81 min DC

NEW RE­LEASE THE SHACK ★★ See re­view, page 11 SNATCHED ★★ Di­rected by Jonathan Levine. Star­ring Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Wanda Sykes, Joan Cu­sack, Ike Bar­in­holtz, Tom Bate­man, Os­car Jae­nada Use­less Amy and use­less mom Goldie get kid­napped while on hol­i­day in South Amer­ica. Schumer is al­lowed to in­dulge her in­fu­ri­at­ing habit of re­peat­ing the punch­lines of bad jokes – now as a mut­ter, now as a growl – in a hope­less ef­fort to bully us into laugh­ter. More un­for­giv­ably, Hawn is of­fered a role that gives her noth­ing to do at in­or­di­nate length. A waste. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 90 min DC

SPARK: A SPACE TALE ★★ Di­rected by Aaron Wood­ley. Voices of Jace Norman, Jes­sica Biel, Su­san Saran­don, Pa­trick

Ste­wart, Hilary Swank Crappy in­ter­na­tion­ally co-pro­duced an­i­ma­tion, ahoy! Thir­teen years ago – just long enough to pro­duce a bratty teen called Spark – the evil Gen­eral Zhong over­threw his pre­sum­ably nicer brother to seize the throne of the planet Bana, us­ing a doo-dah thingy known as a “slick”. These space-time con­tin­uum-bust­ing slicks are defe­cated – out by an in­ter­ga­lac­tic ma­rauder known as a space kraken. So far, so Scien­tol­ogy, right? The B52s are com­ing! If only. PG cert, gen re­lease, 91 min TB

WONDERWOMAN ★★★ Di­rected by Patty Jenk­ins. Star­ring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Hus­ton, David Thewlis, Con­nie Nielsen,

Elena Anaya Gadot stars as an Ama­zon su­per-woman who helps Pine’s agent de­feat the Ger­mans dur­ing (in ques­tion­able taste) the first World War. It wouldn’t take much for Won­der Woman to be­come the best film in the DC Ex­tended Uni­verse to date. Sure enough, it knocks Sui­cide Squad and Batman v Su­per­man into a cocked cowl. It’s funny, lively and un­pre­ten­tious. It is un­en­cum­bered with DC “Easter eggs”. Sadly, it does still end in a bor­ing su­per-punch up. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 140 min DC

Gal Gadot in Won­der Woman, out now on gen­eral re­lease

My Life as a Cour­gette, out now on lim­ited re­lease

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