WHAT’S ON IN CIN­E­MAS

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - THE TAKE -

Tara Brady and Don­ald Clarke’s picks of the cur­rent film re­leases

NEW RE­LEASE AN­NI­HI­LA­TION ★★★★ Di­rected by Alex Gar­land. Star­ring Natalie Port man, Jen­nifer Ja­son Leigh, Gina Ro­driguez, Tessa

Thomp­son, Os­car Isaac Port man, Leigh and the rest in­ves­ti­gate a mys­te­ri­ous por­tal in Gar­land’s im­pres­sive adap­tion of Jeff Van­derMeer’s philo­soph­i­cal sci­ence-fic­tion novel. The more fa­mil­iar as­pects of An­ni­hi­la­tion are en­livened by the fe­male dy­namic, which sel­dom con­forms to sim­plis­tic group archetypes. Port­man’s Lena is a com­pli­cated hero­ine with com­pli­cated feel­ings about her hus­band. This is no or­di­nary gen­der-swapped res­cue mis­sion: her jour­ney is mo­ti­vated as much by guilt and obli­ga­tion as it is by love. An ar­rest­ing, visu­ally im­pres­sive puz­zler, go­ing straight to Net­flix on this side of the At­lantic. Net­flix, 115 min TB

BLACK PAN­THER ★★★ Di­rected by Ryan Coogler. Star­ring Chad­wick Bose man, Michael B Jor­dan, Lu pit aN yong’ o,Danai

G uri ra, Martin Free­man Marvel’s first out­ing with a black pro­tag­o­nist stars Bose­man as an African king who, from time to time, fights op­pres­sion as the lithe Black Pan­ther. Coogler has as much right to di­rect a so-so chil­dren’s film as the next chap, but a lit­tle more roughage would have been nice. It’s ef­fi­cient, fun and very well acted. But the ex­cess of CGI is suf­fo­cat­ing and the sur­face plot is im­pos­si­ble to care about. Just good enough. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 134 min DC

NEW RE­LEASE BOMB SHELL: THE HEDY LA­MAR R STORY ★★★★ Di­rected by Alexan­dra Dean. Fea­tur­ing He dy Lam arr, Mel Brooks, Peter Bo gd a no vi ch, Diane Kruger Fas­ci­nat­ing doc­u­men­tary on a movie star who, as well as be­ing de­clared the most beau­ti­ful of her age, found time to in­vent a weapons guid­ance sys­tem that helped in the de­vel­op­ment of

Blue­tooth. Dean’s pic­ture talks us through these de­tails with great lu­cid­ity. Bomb­shell suf­fers from some com­mon com­plaints of mod­ern doc­u­men­tary – too much mu­sic; un­nec­es­sary, if per­fectly de­cent, an­i­mated se­quences – but it does re­mind us of a class of per­son­al­ity that doesn’t ex­ist any­more. A treat. Club, lim re­lease, 98 min DC

COCO ★★★★ Di­rected by LeeUnk rich and Adrian Molina. Star­ring An­thony Gon­za­lez, Gael Gar­cía Ber­nal, Ed­ward James

Ol­mos The lat­est from Pixar risks telling chil­dren (and all oth­ers) a tale of the Mex­i­can Day of the Dead. On pa­per, the mythol­ogy scans as com­pli­cated and dark, but in the ca­pa­ble hands of Os­car-win­ner Unkrich and Pixar vet­eran Molina, Coco is ac­ces­si­ble for even the youngest. The an­i­ma­tion es­chews the tir­ing photo-re­al­ism of

Cars 3 and The Good Di­nosaur in favour of the trans­port­ing car­ni­va­lesque, re­plete with a stage show by Fried aK ah lo and candy- coloured Xoloitzcui­ntli. Wel­come back. PG cert, gen re­lease, 105 min TB

EARLYMAN ★★★★ Di­rected by Nick Park. Voices of Ed­die Red­mayne, Tom Hid­dle­ston,

Maisie Wil­liams, Miriam Mar­golyes, Ti­mothy Spall, Rob Bry­don, Richard

Ayoade The lat­est stop-mo­tion treat from Aard­man An­i­ma­tion fol­lows a group of pre­his­toric odd­balls as they pre­pare for a foot­ball match against more tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced neigh­bours. The puns are solid. The char­ac­ters are charm­ing. And the an­i­ma­tion re­tains the home­made feel that be­gan win­ning fans 40 years ago. It cheers you up sim­ply to know they still ex­ist. PG cert, gen re­lease, 88 min DC

A FAN­TAS­TIC WOMAN / UNAMUJER FANTÁSTICA ★★★★★ Di­rected by Sebastián Le­lio. Star­ring

Daniela Vega, Fran­cisco Re yes This Chilean drama, whch won best for­eign lan­guage pic­ture at the Os­cars, de­tails the strug­gles of a trans woman to make a life for her­self fol­low­ing be­reave­ment. Which makes it sound heav­ier than it is. Yes, there are mo­ments of anger and frus­tra­tion, an ex­tended scream against lazy as­sump­tions and blink­ered big­otry. But it is also light, funny, wry and in­spir­ing. IThe charis­matic star Vega al­lows a vul­ner­a­bil­ity to peak through the cara­pace of con­fi­dence. She is in vir­tu­ally ev­ery scene, and she owns ev­ery one of them.15A cert, IFI/Light

House, Dublin, 104 min DC

FIND­ING YOUR FEET ★★★ Di­rected by Richard Lon c raine. Star­ring Imelda Staunton, Ti­mothy Spa ll, Celia Im­rie, Joanna Lu mley When Lit­tle Eng­lan­der San­dra (Staunton) dis­cov­ers her hus­band is hav­ing an af­fair, she sen­si­bly packs her bags and heads to Lon­don to stay with her es­tranged and free-spir­ited sis­ter, Bif (Im­rie). It takes a lit­tle time, but slowly San­dra ac­cli­ma­tises to Bif and her com­mu­nity dance group chums, a lively bunch in­clud­ing some of Bri­tain’s best loved char­ac­ter ac­tors. The film quickly swerves into Full Monty ter­ri­tory. But be­tween the ca­per­ing, there are sub­plots con­cern­ing Alzhiemer’s, ter­mi­nal cancer, adul­tery, and in fla­grante death. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 111 min TB

FIFTY SHADES FREED ★ Direct­ed­byJamesFo­ley.Star­ring Dako­taJohn­son,JamieDor­nan,

Mar­cia Gay Har­den, Rita Ora The safe-word is bored. When last we left cin­ema’s dullest screen cou­ple, the lip-bit­ing so­cial climber Anas­ta­sia (John­son) and her bil­lion­aire abuser (Dor­nan) were locked into a danger­ously un­healthy re­la­tion­ship, de­fined by sex­ual pos­ses­sion, emo­tional need­i­ness, one-per­center ma­te­ri­al­ism, un­in­ter­est­ing se­crets, even less in­ter­est­ing lies, and sex toys. What could pos­si­bly go wrong? Even the lik­able stars, Jamie Side­groin and Dakota Front­boob, can’t get a rise from the third and least event­ful in­stal­ment of this flac­cid tril­ogy. 18 cert, gen re­lease, 105 min TB

GAMENIGHT ★★★★ Di­rected by John Fran­cis Da­ley, Jonathan Gold stein. Star­ring Ja­son B ate man, Rachel McA­dams, Kyle Chan­dler, Sharon H or­gan Semi-amus­ing stu­dio come­dies are now so rare that, when a prop­erly funny one ar­rives, the temp­ta­tion is to have it stuffed and mounted. Game

Night con­cerns in­sanely com­pet­i­tive yup­pies (Bate­man and McA­dams) who de­vote their evenings to gam­ing ex­er­cises in mid-brain one-up­man­ship. One event, a staged mur­der mys­tery party, goes quickly out of con­trol. The trick is to keep the di­a­logue so sharp and the re­la­tion­ships so cleanly de­fined that no­body both­ers to ques­tion the in­creas­ingly pre­pos­ter­ous plot turns. Di­rec­tors Da­ley and Gold­stein fol­lowup their hi­lar­i­ous, un­fair ly de­rided up­dat­ing of

Na­tional Lam­poon’s Va­ca­tion with a

crit­i­cal hit that shows were right about them all along. So there. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 100 min DC

NEWRELEASE GRINGO ★★★ Di­rected by Nash Edger­ton. Star­ring David O ye lowo, Char lize Theron, Joel Edger­ton, Amanda Sey fried, Than die New­ton, Sharl to Co­p­ley Edger­ton is a high-fly­ing suit in Big Pharma; Theron is his part­ner in crime. Shenani­gans en­sue in a plot that takes a com­pany-wide switch to med­i­cal mar­i­juana, a Mex­i­can car­tel, and Oyelowo stag­ing his own kid­nap. Var­i­ous char­ac­ters ar­rive and quickly exit the stage. Some, like Co­p­ley’s con­scious-pricked bounty hunter, are mem­o­rable. Oth­ers, par­tic­u­larly a blink and you’ll miss her Seyfried, serve no nar­ra­tive pur­pose what­so­ever. It’s chaotic, but it moves at a pace and is aware of its own silli­ness. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 110 min TB

I, TONYA ★★★★ Di­rected by Craig Gille­spie. Star­ring Mar got Rob­bie, Se­bas­tian Stan,

Al­li­son Jan­ney Sear­ing, po­lit­i­cally edgy study of the jour­ney that took Tonya Hard­ing (Rob­bie) from ice skat­ing star to the most re­viled woman in 1994 Amer­ica. The film’s sym­pa­thies lie with Hard­ing, roundly abused by her ruth­less mother and man­ager, LaVona (Jan­ney), and her vi­o­lent, shot­gun-wield­ing hus­band (Stan). The film’s treat­ment of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence is oc­ca­sion­ally a lit­tle uneasy. But a fired-up Rob­bie and an in­can­des­cently hor­rid Jan­ney make it work. A blast. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 110 min TB

THEICEKING ★★★★

Di­rected by James Ersk­ine Fas­ci­nat­ing, well-struc­tured doc­u­men­tary about the bril­liant English ice skater John Curry – one of the first Bri­tish celebri­ties to dis­cuss a di­ag­no­sis of Aids. The Ice King is an agree­ably un­fussy af­fair. A pre­cise, clipped voiceover from Fred­die Fox brings Curry to life again. Con­tem­po­rary in­ter­views are kept to a min­i­mum as we en­joy im­pres­sive footage of the skater in his pomp. Par­tic­u­larly strong on the me­dia’s un­ease about ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity in the 1970s. Club, IFI, Dublin (Sun­day only), 89 min DC

LADY­BIRD ★★★★★ Di­rected by Greta Ger­wig. Star­ring Saoirse Ro­nan, Lau­rie Met­calf, Tracy Letts,Lu­casHedges,Tim­o­thée Cha­la­met Glo­ri­ously funny, sur­pris­ingly mov­ing comic-drama about the

strug­gles be­tween a feisty teenager (Ro­nan, de­light­ful) and her ha­rassed mum (Met­calf, nu­anced) in mil­len­nial Sacra­mento. For some­body so of­ten iden­ti­fied as the most fash­ion­able of cin­e­matic hip­sters, ac­tor-turned-di­rec­tor Ger­wig proves (not for the first time) to have an enor­mously gen­er­ous spirit. No­body is per­fect in the Lady

Bird uni­verse. But no­body is fully ma­lign ei­ther. Lau­rie gets her mo­ment of cathar­sis. Ro­nan is even­tu­ally al­lowed the chance to breath. Es­sen­tial. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 94 min DC

NEW RE­LEASE THE LODGERS ★★★ Di­rected by Brian O’ M al­ley. Star­ring Char­lotte Vega, Bill Miln er, Eu­gene Si­mon, David Bradley, Deirdre O’Kane, Moe Dun­ford, Roisin Mur­phy Two As­cen­dency twins, haunted by ma­lign “Lodgers”, lurk in their big Ir­ish house in the years fol­low­ing the first World War. Work­ing from a script by David Turpin, the pic­ture hangs around some fas­ci­nat­ing ideas about oth­er­ness in Ir­ish so­ci­ety, but there is a sense that too much tin­ker­ing has gone on with the ma­chin­ery. A ter­rific found­ing con­cept leads on to a de­noue­ment that could only be more baf­fling if it were in Ja­panese. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 93 min DC

THE MERCY ★★ Di­rected by James Marsh. Star­ring Colin Firth, Rachel Weisz, David

Thewlis On Oc­to­ber 31st, 1968, busi­ness man and am­a­teur sailor Don­ald Crowhurst set off in the

Sun­day Times Golden Globe Race, a com­pe­ti­tion to be the first per­son to sail non­stop and sin­gle-hand­edly around the world. In com­mon with its tragic pro­tag­o­nist, The Mercy has nowhere to go. Crowhurst, as es­sayed by Colin Firth, sets out on a plainly doomed mis­sion which turns out to be a plainly doomed mis­sion. All at sea. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 102 min TB

NEW RE­LEASE MOMANDDAD ★★★★ Di­rected by Brian Tay­lor. Star­ring Ni­co­las Cage, Selma Blair, Lance

Hen­rik­sen Think back on the most un­hinged screen mo­ments of Ni­co­las Cage’s ca­reer. Mul­ti­ply all these scenes to­gether and you still can’t match the awe­some lu­nacy of Nic killing a pool ta­ble in the de­light­fully deliri­ous Mom and Dad. With a taboo-trounc­ing twist on James Tip­tree Jr’s 1977 sci-fi clas­sic The

Screwfly So­lu­tion, this fraz­zled new film from the re­li­ably hy­per­ac­tive Tay­lor (Crank: High Volt­age) con­cerns a mys­te­ri­ous sig­nal that starts trans­mit­ting through tele­vi­sion screens and ra­dios. The mad­ness is all to en­joy­able ends. 16 cert, gen re­lease, 86 min TB

MON­STER FAM­ILY ★ Di­rected by Hol ger Tappe.Voic es of Emily Wat­son, Nick Frost, Jes­sica Brown Find lay, Celia Im­rie, Cather­ine

Tate,Ja­sonIsaacs It was brave of the pro­duc­ers of this Euro-baloney to hire a writer called Catha­rina Junk. Wat­son voices a book­store owner who ac­ci­den­tally phones Drac­ula and gets caught up in his yearn­ing for com­pany. Based, some­what in­cred­i­bly, on an ac­tual book, Mon­ster House does seem to have had proper money put its

way. Though never pretty, the com­puter an­i­ma­tion is slick enough to com­pare with the mid-price ef­forts of Amer­i­can com­peti­tors. PG cert, gen re­lease, 93 min DC

PHANTOMTHR­EAD ★★★★ Di­rected by Paul Thomas An­der­son. Star­ring Daniel Day-Lewis, Vic ky Krieps, Les­ley Man ville, Camilla

Ruther­ford, Gina Mc­Kee An­der­son’ s lat­est ex­per­i­ment in the cin­ema of tyranny stars Day-Lewis as a suc­cess­ful cou­turier in a ver­sion of 1950s Lon­don un­touched by smog or ra­tioning. Reynolds Wood­cock (for it is he) is even­tu­ally chal­lenged in his toxic mas­culin­ity by a smart young wait­ress (Krieps) with a ter­ri­fy­ing fun­gal strat­egy. The tech­ni­cal elan is so icily per­sua­sive that it’s easy to put the film’s many quan­daries on the long fin­ger. Spooky. Puz­zling. Per­sua­sive. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 130 min DC

THE POST ★★★★ Di­rected by Steven Spiel­berg Star­ring Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Bruce Green­wood, Bob O den kirk,

MichaelS­tuhlbarg Ef­fec­tive, un­flashy in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the Wash­ing­ton Post’s ef­forts to print the Pen­tagon Pa­pers – re­veal­ing the state’s dis­hon­esty about the Viet­nam War – dur­ing a tur­bu­lent pe­riod for Amer­ica. Hanks is solid as edi­tor Ben Bradlee and Streep sub­tle as pub­lisher Katharine Gra­ham. But it’ s the film’ s con­ver­sa­tion with events in its near fu­ture (Water­gate) and dis­tant fu­ture (the cur­rent Trumpoc­racy) that sets it apart. The Post’s cheeky clos­ing shots will de­light fans of post-clas­si­cal Hol­ly­wood. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 116 min DC

REDSPARROW ★★ Di­rected by Fran­cis Lawrence. Star­ring Jen­nifer Lawrence. Joel Edger­ton, Matthias Sc hoe na er ts, Char­lotte Ramp ling, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeremy Irons, Ciarán Hinds

Red Spar­row has a big idea. Or at least no­tions. Or we think it does. We open with the ghastly idea that re­cently re­cruited for­mer bal­le­rina-turned-spy Lawrence has been sex­u­ally pen­e­trated by her mark. Ram­pling plays the head­mistress of a (we’re quot­ing the script) “whore school” where (quote) girls learn to have “magic pussies”. The film is big on tor­ture porn and vi­o­lence against women while dou­bling as a show­case for J-Law’s lu­di­crious ac­cent and many, many out­fit changes. There is a post-cold war ca­per buried in the mud­dled, in­sanely bor­ing Red Spar­row. But ap­par­ently it has no in­ten­tion of sur­fac­ing or blow­ing its cover. 16 cert, gen re­lease, 140 min TB

THE SHAPE OF WA­TER ★★★★ Di­rected by Guillermo del Toro. Star­ring Sally Hawkins, Michael Shan­non, Richard Jenk­ins, Doug Jones, Michael St uh lb arg, Oc­tavia

Spencer Hawkins plays a lonely mute jan­i­tor who falls for a (lit­er­ally) fishy hu­manoid im­pris­oned in a CIA re­search cen­tre dur­ing the cold war. Any­body who savoured Del Toro’s work on Pan’s Labyrinth will be at home in The Shape of Wa­ter’s green uni­verse. Alexan­dre De­s­plat’s score wheezes warmly be­neath a story that pow­ers to­wards an epiphany so in­evitable that . . . Well, if you haven’t

worked that out we won’t spoil it for you. Maybe it’s a bit too cosy. Re­mark­able nonethe­less. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 123 min DC

NEWRELEASE SWEET COUN­TRY ★★★★★ Di­rected by War­wick Thorn­ton. Star­ring Hamil­ton Mor­ris, Sam Neill,

BryanBrown It is nine years since Thorn­ton’s Sam­son and Delilah was awarded the Cam­era d’Or prize at Cannes. Hap­pily, Sweet Coun­try, the best Oz-based neo-western since John Hill­coat’s The Propo­si­tion, proves well worth the wait. The film con­cerns a 1920s-era man­hunt for an abo­rig­i­nal stock­man (Mor­ris) who has killed a vi­cious white vet­eran in self-de­fence. Thorn­ton’s di­rec­tion, cine­matog­ra­phy and screen­play could not be more im­pact­ful or ochre. The en­sem­ble cast are ex­cel­lent. And the fron­tier has sel­dom looked so for­bid­ding. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 114 min TB

THREE BILL BOARDS OUT­SIDE EB­BING,MIS­SOURI ★★★ Di­rected by Martin McDon­agh. Star­ring France sM cD or ma nd, Woody H ar rel son, Sam Rock well, Lu­cas H edges, Ab­bie Cor­nish, Peter

Din­klage McDon­agh’s third film as di­rec­tor – al­ready an awards mon­ster – starts quite bril­liantly. Mc­Dor­mand plays a des­per­ate mother who re­fuses to take the mur­der of her daugh­ter ly­ing down. Har­rel­son is the de­cent po­lice chief, Rock­well his racist deputy. Sadly the beau­ti­fully knot­ted nar­ra­tive be­gins to fray over messier sec­ond and third acts. The uneasy treat­ment of racism be­comes more no­tice­able. The im­prob­a­ble twists be­come harder to for­give. A shame. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 115 min DC

NEW RE­LEASE WONDERWHEE­L ★★★ Di­rected by Woody Allen. Star­ring Kate Wins let, Justin Tim­ber lake,

Juno Tem­ple, Jim Belushi Woody Allen’s lat­est stars Winslet as a trou­bled woman, liv­ing with a sec­ond hus­band in Coney Is­land, who get tempted into a big sin after fall­ing for a younger man (Tim­ber­lake). Won­der

Wheel falls near the Allen me­dian: some good per­for­mances, some bad ones, a few half-baked ideas, some mem­o­rable im­ages. Vit­to­rio Storaro’s pho­tog­ra­phy is de­li­cious. The per­for­mances are sound enough. But, like so much of Allen’s later work, it doesn’t feel quite fin­ished. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 101 min DC

NEW RE­LEASE YOU WERE NEVER RE­ALLY HERE ★★★★★ Di­rected by Lynne Ram say. Star­ring Joaquin Phoenix, Eka­te­rina Sam so nov, Alessan­dro Ni vol a, Alex

Manet te, John Do man Ram­say re­turns with a sear­ing re­venge drama set in a ter­ri­fy­ing, height­ened ver­sion of New York City. Phoenix stars as a pri­vate op­er­a­tive who spends most of his time res­cu­ing vic­tims of sex­ual slav­ery. A US sen­a­tor hires him to re­cover his daugh­ter and pun­ish those who put her through hell. The first death trig­gers a ver­i­ta­ble cor­nu­copia of butch­ery. It is a brash, noisy, vi­o­lent pic­ture, but it is also a sub­tle, in­tri­cate, thought­ful one. 18 cert, gen re­lease, 90 min DC

PHO­TO­GRAPH: STUDIOCANA­L

Joaquin Phoenix in You Were Never Re­ally Here.

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