WHAT’S ON IN CIN­E­MAS

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

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - THETAKE CINEMA -

BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYAL E ★★ Di­rected by Drew God­dard. Star­ring Jeff Bridges, Cyn­thia Erivo,J on Hamm, Dakota John­son, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pull­man, Chris He ms worth, Nick Of­fer man A bunch of one-note odd­balls -- Hamm’s seedy sales­man, Erivo’s soul singer, Bridges’ whiskey priest – ar­rive at a Lake Taho mo­tel and fall out. If God­dard is go­ing to make a film that so shame­lessly echoes the post-Tarantino fol­lies of the mid-1990s, are we al­lowed to just re­print a re­view from that same era? Things to Do in Den­ver When You’re Dead sounds about right. The ac­tors are all fine, but El Royale out­stays its wel­come long be­fore the fi­nal, ex­haust­ing show­down. 16 cert, gen re­lease, 141 min DC

BLACK47 ★★★★

Di­rected by Lance Daly. Star­ring Hugo Weav­ing, James F rec he ville, Stephen Re a, Barry Keogh an The first widely re­leased fea­ture to fo­cus on the Great Famine is an un­mis­tak­able genre piece. It’s The Out­law Josey Wales with fewer Co­manches but more rain. Weav­ing is the weath­ered cop pur­su­ing Frecheville’s be­reaved avenger across the dev­as­tated west of Ire­land. At times, the de­ter­mi­na­tion to in­clude ev­ery his­tor­i­cal de­tail causes the pack­age to strain. But the grey pools of De­clan Quinn’s cin­e­matog­ra­phy and the evoca­tive strains of Brian Byrne’s score keep the brain twitch­ing in even the glummest mo­ments. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 99 min DC

BLACKKKLANS­MAN ★★★★

Di­rected by Spike Lee. Star­ring John David Wash­ing­ton, Adam Driver, Laura Har­rier, Top her Grace Com­ing off as a spicy mix of 1970s cop show, blaxs­ploita­tion thriller, civil rights jeremiad and di­dac­tic doc­u­men­tary, Lee’s lat­est cir­cles around the true story of a black cop who in­fil­trated the Ku Klux Klan. With one swift move­ment, the sharp John David Wash­ing­ton (son of Den­zel) shakes off his fam­ily his­tory and carves out a place just for him­self. The col­li­sion of styles is ex­hil­a­rat­ing. Ter­ence Blan­chard’s sound­track is a blast. What’s not to like? Spike’s best in decades. 16 cert, gen re­lease, 135 min DC

COLD WAR/ ZIMN A WOJNA ★★★★★

Di­rected by Paw el Paw­likows ki. Star­ring Joanna Kulig, To­masz Kot,

Bo­rys Szy c Love is not enough in this sor­row­ful, swoon­ing Soviet-era drama con­cern­ing pi­anist Wik­tor (Kot) and the blonde, cheru­bic singer-dancer Zula (the mes­meris­ing Kulig) who heads his folk en­sem­ble. When the troupe reaches East Ber­lin, the pair have a clear chance to de­fect but it soon be­comes clear that only one of them has any de­sire to cross the Iron Cur­tain. Thus be­gins a decade of bor­der-cross­ing, part­ings and re­unions. Al­most in­de­cently mov­ing and eas­ily one of the films of the year. 15A cert, IFI, Dublin, 85 min TB

COLUM­BUS ★★★★

Di­rected by Kog on ada. Star­ring John Cho, Ha­ley Lu Richard­son, Parker Posey, Rory Culkin , Michelle Forbes It seems only fair that mod­ern ar­chi­tec­ture – in­clud­ing Eero Saari­nen’s Ir­win Union Bank build­ing and the Miller House and IM Pei’s Cleo Rogers Me­mo­rial Li­brary – takes cen­tre stage in de­but­ing writer-direc­tor Kog­o­nada’s care­fully cal­i­brated, min­i­mal­ist drama. Tak­ing cues from the clean, un­fussy lines of those con­struc­tions,

Colum­bus con­cerns a book trans­la­tor (Cho) who finds him­self stranded in the In­di­ana town of the ti­tle, where he be­friends an ar­chi­tec­tural en­thu­si­ast (Richard­son). Could pass as a US re­make of a hith­erto undis­cov­ered Ya­su­jiro Ozu drama. Club, Triskel, Cork; IFI, Dublin, 104 min TB triskel

CRAZY RICH ASIANS ★★★

Di­rected by Jon M Chu. Star­ring Con­stance Wu, Michelle Yeoh, Henry Gold­ing Rachel (Wu), a Chi­nese-Amer­i­can pro­fes­sor at NYU and a hugely lik­able clever-clogs, ac­com­pa­nies her suave boyfriend, Nick (Gold­ing), a Chi­nese businessman from Sin­ga­pore, home for his best friend’s wed­ding. Only then does Rachel learn that Nick is the heir to a real-es­tate em­pire, a “crown prince” as the lo­cals have it. Nick’s im­pe­ri­ous mother (Yeoh) ex­pects him to re­turn to Sin­ga­pore and marry a suit­able – read rich – lo­cal. A big-skirted Cin­derella story that coasts on the chem­istry be­tween Wu and Gold­ing. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 121 min TB

NEW RE­LEASE DOG­MAN ★★★★

Di­rected by Mat­teo G arr one. Star­ring Marcello Fonte, Edoardo Pesce, Al­ida Bal­dari Cal­abria Marcello (Fonte) is a small, timid, kindly man who runs a dog groom­ing par­lour on a largely aban­doned sweep of the south­ern Ital­ian coast. The neigh­bour­hood is rou­tinely ter­rorised by a coke-ad­dled ex-boxer (Pesce), a mon­strous vari­ant of La Strada’s Zam­pano. Fonte, who was de­servedly named best ac­tor at Cannes ear­lier this year, brings an un­for­get­table pathos and a dole­ful ex­pres­sion pitched some­where be­tween Peter Lorre and Char­lie Chap­lin to his wronged beta-male hero. 15A cert, lim re­lease, 103 min TB

FACES PLACES/VISAGES VIL­LAGES ★★★★

Di­rected by and fea­tur­ing Agnès Varda and JR This fun, free­wheel­ing doc­u­men­tary hatched be­tween 89-year-old cin­ema vet­eran Varda and 33-year-old out­door in­stal­la­tion artist JR is just about the most adorable film of the year. Although slow on stairs, there is a spring in her step as the direc­tor of Cleo From 5 to 7 takes to road with JR’s cam­era-shaped van and a printer ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing the gi­ant pho­to­graphic im­ages he uses in his large-form art­works. Rolling into var­i­ous vil­lages around France, they find suit­able sub­jects and make en­chant­ing art. An ab­so­lute de­light. Club, QFT, Belfast (Wed-Thurs only), 89 min TB

NEW RE­LEASE FAHRENHEIT11/9 ★★★★

Di­rected by Michael Moore. Fea­tur­ing Michael Moore, Don­ald Trump, Hil­lary Clin­ton Michael Moore is back do­ing what he does: satir­i­cal mon­tage, du­bi­ous stunts and pow­er­ful if some­times un­re­li­able re­port­ing from the front line. This time round, we get (in­evitably) a re­port from the front line of the Trump Wars. There’s some­thing on the Park­land shoot­ings. There’s some­thing on the wa­ter scan­dal in the direc­tor’s home­town of Flint, Michi­gan. It may be fa­mil­iar, but the jokes are still good and the anger is still right­eous. If you like Moore you’ll like this. Club, lim re­lease, 120 min DC

FIRST MAN ★★★★

Di­rected by Damien C hazel le. Star­ring Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Ja­son Clarke, Kyle Chan­dler, Corey S toll, Ciarán Hinds, Olivia Hamil­ton Fine study of Neil Arm­strong from the direc­tor and star of La La Land. The film is great on the sen­sual as­sault of space travel, but it is most no­table as a char­ac­ter study. Who bet­ter to play such a fa­mously un­know­able char­ac­ter than the peren­ni­ally blank Gosling? Foy will get more de­mand­ing roles in her ca­reer, but she may be re­lieved that her dreaded “wife part” is more fleshed out than is usu­ally the case. Spec­tac­u­lar, but also in­ti­mate. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 141 min DC

NEWRELEASE GOOSE­BUMPS 2: HAUNTED HAL­LOWEEN ★★★

Di­rected by Ari San del. Star­ring Jeremy Ray Tay­lor, Caleel Harris, Ken Jeong, Jack Black Con­trary to the dire ac­com­pa­ny­ing warn­ings on the pro­mo­tional ma­te­ri­als – “Chil­dren un­der 8 may find some of the film’s con­tent too scary” – is good, clean fam­ily fun. But the pic­ture is haunted, al­right: haunted by the ab­sence of Jack Black, who turns up as RL Stine in a late and in­signif­i­cant cameo. It thus falls to an en­tirely new set of lik­able younger char­ac­ters to do the heavy lift­ing when Slappy, the evil mega­lo­ma­niac from the first film, re­turns. PG cert, gen re­lease, 90 min TB

NEWRELEASE HAL­LOWEEN ★★★

Di­rected by David Gor­don Green. Star­ring Jamie Lee Cur­tis, Judy Greer, Will Pat­ton, Vir­ginia Gard­ner, Nick Cas­tle The 11th film in the Hal­loween fran­chise hov­ers some­where be­tween re­boot and se­quel. Forty years af­ter the mur­der­ous events of the 1978 orig­i­nal, Lau­rie Strode (Jamie Lee Cur­tis) is a sur­vival­ist granny with PTSD whose para­noia and fears around Michael My­ers has alien­ated her from her daugh­ter (Greer) and grand­daughte (Matichak). An early scene in Hal­loween 2018 dis­misses the no­tion that Michael and Lau­rie are bi­o­log­i­cal sib­lings. Boom – ev­ery­thing you knew since 1981 is wrong. It’s the only in­no­va­tion in this per­fectly en­ter­tain­ing, de­cently scary, en­tirely pre­dictable bit of fans er­vice. 18 cert, gen re­lease, 105 min TB

THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS ★★★

Di­rected by Eli Roth. Star­ring Cate Bl an chett, Jack Black, Kyle Mac Lachl an, Owen V ac caro Roth’ s un­ex­pected kids’ movie wastes no time in whisk­ing the viewer and its 10-year-old pro­tag­o­nist, Lewis (Vac­caro), into a strange new gothic

world. It’s 1955, and fol­low­ing the death of his par­ents Lewis has been sent to live with his odd ball, ki­mono wear­ing un­cle (al­ways ami­able Black), a war­lock, and his good witch neigh­bour (Blanchett). To­gether they must undo some bad magic left be­hind by their en­chanted house’s pre­vi­ous owner (MacLach­lan). This is whim­si­cal new ter­ri­tory for the direc­tor be­hind such gory stan­dards as Hos­tel, but Roth has crafted a very con­vinc­ing Spiel­ber­gian fam­ily en­ter­tain­ment. PG cert, gen re­lease, 105 min TB

JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN ★★

Di­rected by David Kerr. Star­ring Row an Atkinson, Ben Miller, Olga Ku ry lenko, Jake La cy, Emma Thomp­son As long ago as 2003, Johnny English, an en­tirely su­per­flu­ous spy spoof, was al­ready un­der­whelm­ing and out­moded when it tran­si­tioned from lik­able TV ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign to the big screen. The be­lated 2011 se­quel didn’t of­fer much of an im­prove­ment, but it was a riot placed be­side this un­nec­es­sary, half­baked third film. Emma Thomp­son, play­ing a half-bright Bri­tish PM, the charm­ing tal­ents of Kurylenko and Lacy (play­ing a tech-bro bil­lion­aire), and even Atkinson’s con­tor­tions are squan­dered by a script that doesn’t seem to con­tain a sin­gle joke. PG cert, gen re­lease, 89 min TB

NEW RE­LEASE THE LONELY BAT­TLE OF THOMAS READ ★★★

Di­rected by Fear­gal Ward Thomas Reid was the stub­born Kil­dare man who, in the mid­dle part of this decade, re­fused to sell a hunk of land, ear­marked for “strate­gic in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment”, to a dum­founded In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity. Ward’s hugely im­pres­sive, of­ten beau­ti­ful doc­u­men­tary (bor­der­ing on docu-drama) uses recre­ations, in­ter­views and a wan­der­ing cam­era to cre­ate a por­trait of a gen­uine orig­i­nal: ec­cen­tric, de­ter­mined, in­fu­ri­at­ing. Two worlds ex­ist in par­al­lel here: the mod­ern and the an­cient. Nei­ther has, at time of re­lease, en­croached sig­nif­i­cantly on the other. 12A cert, lim re­lease, 80 min DC

MANDY ★★★★★

Di­rected by Pan os Cos mat os. Star­ring Ni­co­las Cage, An­drea Rise­bor­ough, Li­nus Roache Os­ten­si­bly, this is a movie in which log­ger Red (Cage) ex­acts a ter­ri­ble re­venge against a Man­son Fam­ily-like re­li­gious cult and their can­ni­bal biker co­horts from hell (ac­tual hell) – we don’t wish to spoil these ad­ver­saries, but wow! – af­ter they have ab­ducted his girl­friend Mandy (Rise­bor­ough). Any sum­mary ig­nores the in­cred­i­ble tex­tures. Ched­dar Goblin Mac­a­roni, any­one? It’s fas­ci­nat­ing watch­ing Cage snake his way in and around the 1980s largesse of the project. As Roache’s creepy man-child leader has it: “You’re a spe­cial one, Mandy.” Club, Triskel, Cork; Light House, Dublin, 121 min TB

NIGHT SCHOOL ★

Di­rected by Mal­colm D Lee. Star­ring Kevin Hart, Tif­fany Had dish, Rob Rig­gle, Keith David, Loretta Devine The direc­tor of Girls Trip fails to find any­thing worth­while to do with the least aw­ful per­former from that puz­zlingly well-re­ceived film. The gifted Had dish plays a teacher at­tempt­ing to usher Hart through a high-school equiv­a­lency exam. Stretch­ing each rou­tine out to crim­i­nal over-ex­ten­sion, the pic­ture (which some­how lists six screen­writ­ers) fluffs its few promis­ing turns and leans heav­ily into its most overused cliches. Had­dish has noth­ing to work with. Hart is a men­ace. See me af­ter class. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 111 min DC

1945 ★★★

Di­rected by Ferenc Török. Star­ring Pét er Ru­dolf, TamásSz­abó Kim mel, DóraSzt ar en ki, Ben c eT asná di Two strangers ar­rive in a small Hun­gar­ian town in Au­gust of 1945, thereby kick­ing off a com­mu­nity-wide panic in this monochrome drama. Cin­e­matog­ra­pher Elemér Ragá­lyi’s el­e­gant black-and-white tableaux and the heavy his­tor­i­cal sub­ject mat­ter can’t quite com­pen­sate for a fran­tic, clut­tered script that de­mands so many com­ings-and-go­ings, at times it could be mis­taken for an episode of ’Allo ’Allo. But Török’s en­gag­ing, if clut­tered fea­ture has im­por­tant and timely things to say about his­tor­i­cal guilt and re­mem­brance. Club, IFI, Dublin (Sun/Wed only), 91 min TB

ROSIE ★★★★

Di­rected by Pad dy Breath na ch. Star­ring Sarah Greene, Moe Dun­ford, El­lie O’ Hall oran, Ruby Dun ne, Dar rag h McKen­zie, Molly M cC ann Work­ing from a script by Roddy Doyle, Breath­nach gives us a trou­bling, mov­ing study of how home­less­ness now func­tions. Greene and Dun­ford are su­per as a cou­ple flung into a ho­tel when their land­lord sells up. Rosie is claus­tro­pho­bic through­out, but Doyle’s durable hu­man­ism does pro­vide some light in the dark­ness. The mech­a­nism of so­ci­ety has be­come clogged, but the film wastes no time blam­ing those who merely main­tain the cogs and levers. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 82 min DC

A SIM­PLE FAVOUR ★★

Di­rected by Paul Feig. Star­ring Anna Ken­drick, Blake Lively,

Henry Gold­ing Feig, the tal­ented comic direc­tor of Brides­maids, di­rects tal­ented peo­ple in this ton­ally be­wil­der­ing mud­dle. Darcey Bell’s hot source novel is, by all ac­counts, a dry thriller in the style of Gone Girl. How that be­came this weird, un­cer­tain com­edy is a mys­tery. The messy plot con­cerns a peppy mommy vlog­ger (Ken­drick) who is asked by her glam­ourous new chum (Lively) to pick up her son from school. Ev­ery char­ac­ter is two-di­men­sional. Ev­ery twist is point­less. The fi­nal re­veal will leave you apoplec­tic. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 117 min TB

SMALL FOOT ★★★

Di­rected by Karey Kirk­patrick. Voices of Chan­ning Ta­tum, James Cord en, Zen day a, Com­mon, Le B ron James, Danny DeVito Small foot, an in­ver­sion of the Big Foot myth in which Abom­inable Snow Per­sons are ter­ri­fied to learn that hu­mans are real, is bogged down with elab­o­rate mythol­ogy in­tro­duced in song. But once the film gets into its stride, it’s a lik­able and zany fam­ily fable. The voice cast is charm­ing and the crea­ture de­sign ap­peal­ing, even if the hu­man char­ac­ters, as is of­ten the case in CG an­i­ma­tion, don’t re­ally cut it. The theme – your lead­ers are ly­ing to you – is a wel­come swerve for a kid’s film, as is a rap num­ber per­formed by Com­mon that rhymes: “Over time/ We Sur­mised/ We were fac­ing geno­cide.” Deep. G cert, gen re­lease, 96 min TB

A STAR IS BORN ★★★★★

Di­rected by Bradley Cooper. Star­ring Bradley Cooper, Lady Ga ga, Sam El­liott, An­drew Dice Clay, Rafi G av ron A tri­umphant re­turn to an in­de­struc­tible Hol­ly­wood warhorse. Gaga ex­ceeds all ex­pec­ta­tions as the tal­ented work­ing-class in­genue pro­pelled to fame by Cooper’s soused rocker. Lean­ing into the male lead like a bird in­ves­ti­gat­ing promis­ing move­ments among the un­der­growth, she is ex­otic when she’s or­di­nary and rooted when she’s fan­tas­tic. Cooper is equally strong – browned to the colour of yes­ter­day’s tea – as a de­cent man laid low by ad­dic­tion. The mu­sic is great. The nim­ble cam­era-work is a plea­sure. What’s not to like? 15A cert, gen re­lease, 135 min DC

NEWRELEASE

TOUCH ME NOT ★★★ Di­rected by Adina Pin ti lie. Star­ring Laura Ben­son, Chris­tian Bay­er­lein, Tó­mas Le­mar­quis Pin­tille’s bizarre pseudo-doc – win­ner of the Golden Bear at Ber­lin -- sends Laura (Ben­son), an English­woman trou­bled by un­cer­tainly de­fined neu­roses, on a jour­ney down var­i­ous sex­ual by­ways. She meets a trans woman. She watches a male sex worker mas­tur­bate. How un­like the home life of their own dear queen! The film is ob­scure, un­set­tling and ut­terly lack­ing in hu­mour, but it gets at some awk­ward truths about hu­man sex­u­al­ity and its eva­sions. A one-off (for good or ill). Club, lim re­lease, 125 min DC

VENOM ★★★

Di­rected by Ruben Fleis­cher. Star­ring Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed Hardy plays a jour­nal­ist in­fected with a sym­bi­otic alien in Sony’s lat­est un­con­nected Marvel adap­ta­tion. With re­views em­bar­goed un­til day of re­lease and the star telling re­porters his best bits have all been cut out, Venom was shap­ing up to be a dis­as­ter of Green Lan­tern pro­por­tions. It’s rub­bish all right – too much CGI, too lit­tle story – but, thanks to some Nic Cageian ex­cess from the star, it’s per­fectly en­ter­tain­ing rub­bish. Less up it­self than In­fin­ity Wars. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 112 min DC

THE WIFE ★★★

Di­rected byBjö rn Run ge. Star­ring Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, Chris­tian Slater, Max Irons, El­iz­a­beth McGovern It’s 1992 and the long-suf­fer­ing wife (Close) of a much-lauded Amer­i­can nov­el­ist (Pryce) trav­els to Stockholm, where her hus­band will re­ceive the No­bel Prize for Lit­er­a­ture. It’s a mo­ment of tri­umph that un­ex­pect­edly leaves all par­ties reel­ing. Work­ing from a clever script by Jane An­der­son (Olive Kit­teridge), Swedish direc­tor Runge’s film ver­sion of the 2003 Meg Wolitzer novel piv­ots around a sub­tle, in­scrutable turn from Close, mak­ing her the book­ies’ favourite to win the Best Ac­tress Os­car next spring. 15A cert, Light House, Dublin, 100 min TB

PHO­TO­GRAPH: SONY PIC­TURES

Madi­son Ise­man, Caleel Harris and Jeremy Ray Tay­lor in Goose­bumps 2: Haunted Hal­loween.

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