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

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NEWRELEASE AS­SAS­SI­NA­TION NA­TION ★★★★ Di­rected by Sam Levin son. Star­ring Odessa Young, Suki Wa­ter house, Hari Nef, Abra, Bill Skårs­gard, Bella Thor ne, Joel M cH ale It’s not al­ways sub­tle, but Levin­son’s satire con­cern­ing a town where ev­ery se­cond cit­i­zen has his browser his­tory hacked has in­de­cent zip and im­pres­sive edge. The mes­sages are con­veyed by a dizzy­ing mass of vi­o­lent, sex­ual im­ages – some leer­ing in the style of Larry Clarke – that throb to an ex­cel­lent score by Ian Hultquist. Bravura shots abound. It falls apart a lit­tle in an an­ar­chic last act, but the last line is an ab­so­lute killer. 18 cert, gen re­lease, 108 min DC

BOHEMIANRHAPSODY ★★★★ Di­rected by Bryan Singer. Star­ring Rami Malek, Lucy Boyn­ton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Squab­bling is a defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic of Bo­hemian Rhap­sody, which blazes through Fred­die Mer­cury’s life in a se­ries of agree­ably cheesy vi­gnettes: Fred­die’s Parsi ori­gins and dis­ap­prov­ing dad, his life­long love for Mary Austin (Boyn­ton), the tours, the par­ties, the lone­li­ness be­tween, the hang­ers-on, and var­i­ous erup­tions of cre­ative dif­fer­ences with the band. The fi­nal scene, a flaw­less, mov­ing repli­ca­tion of Queen’s en­tire 20-minute set from Live Aid, is ab­surdly im­pres­sive, with Malek in­ter­pret­ing Mer­cury as a ge­o­mag­netic storm. A kind of magic. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 134 min TB

NEWRELEASE THECAMINOVOYAGE ★★★★ Di­rected byDó­nalÓCéil lea chair. Star­ring Danny She e hy, Li am Holden, Bren­dan Beg ley,B rea ndán

Mo­ri­arty, Glen Hans a rd It takes some class of de­ter­mi­na­tion to row all the way from Ire­land to San­ti­ago de Com­postela in North­ern Spain. It takes more to do so in a tra­di­tional naomhóg. Yet four brave men – poet Sheehy, artist Holden, mu­si­cian Be­g­ley and stone­ma­son Mo­ri­arty – set out to do just that in three gru­elling yearly stages, be­gin­ning in 2014. Mu­si­cian Glen Hansard joined them later. Ó Céil­leachair’s film records the jour­ney with care and grace. You’ll feel up­lifted and a lit­tle ex­hausted by the close. PG cert, lim­ited re­lease, 97 min DC

COLD WAR/ZIMNA WOJNA ★★★★★ Di­rected by Paw el Paw­likows ki. Star­ring Joanna Kulig, To­masz Kot, Bo­rys Szyc 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 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, QFT, Belfast, 103 min TB

FAN­TAS­TIC BEAST S: THE CRIMES OF GRINDEL­WALD ★★ Di­rected by David Yates. Star­ring Ed­die Red may ne, Jude Law, Kather­ine Water­ston, Dan Fogler, Zoe Kr av itz, Al­i­son Su­dol, Johnny De pp, Ezra Miller, Call um Turner, Clau­di­aKim Fan­tas­tic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a bit of a mar­vel. Yates’ pic­ture fleshed out the Harry Pot­ter uni­verse with­out dis­ap­pear­ing up its own Quid­ditch. What has gone wrong? Red­mayne is back as the mag­i­cal zo­ol­o­gist Newt Sca­man­der in a con­fus­ing, over­pop­u­lated film that plays like the work of a par­tic­u­larly anal Pot­ter Red­dit. The march of non-per­son­al­i­ties serves to bury many of the char­ac­ters we liked so much from the first film. Oh, well. The cos­tumes, at least, are lovely. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 134 min DC FIRST MAN ★★★★

Di­rected by Damien C hazel le. Star­ring Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Ja­son Clarke, Kyle Chan­dler, Corey S toll, Ci arán 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

NEW RE­LEASE THE GIRL IN THE SPI­DER’S WEB ★★★ Di­rected by Fede Ál­varez. Star­ring Claire Foy, Sver­rir Gud­na­son, Lakeith Stan field, Sylvia Hoe ks, Stephen Mer­chant, Vicky Krieps, Claes Bang Lis­beth Sa­lan­dar is back in an adap­tion – keep up here – of the se­quel to Steig Lars­son’s Mil­len­nium tril­ogy penned, after that author’s death, by David Lager­crantz. The film re­draws Lis­beth as James Bond, or pos­si­bly the Equaliser, as she gets drawn into a con­vo­luted plot to cap­ture all the nu­clear launch codes in the world. Even the ti­tles fea­ture naked danc­ing lady sil­hou­ettes. Fede Ál­varez is a fine ac­tion di­rec­tor, and his ex­cit­ing set­pieces pro­vide de­cent com­pen­sa­tion for Lis­beth’s now om­nipo­tent skills. But the plot is a shaggy, loose-ended mess. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 115 min TB

THE GRINCH ★★★ Di­rected by Scott Mosier and Yar­row Cheney. Voices of Bene­dict Cum ber batch, Rash ida Jones, An­gela L ans bury, P har­rell Wil­liams The lat­est adap­ta­tion of the 1957 Dr Seuss book How the Grinch Stole Christ­mas! is jeop­ar­dised by a dis­tinct lack of bah hum­bug­ging. The Grinch, as voiced by Cum­ber­batch, dotes on his loyal dog, Max. and sp oils Fred, the fat rein­deer he en­lists into his Christ­mas-steal­ing scheme. We’re told the Grinch’s heart is two sizes too small, but there’s noth­ing in his in­ter­ac­tions with the Whos of Whoville to sup­port this ab­nor­mal car­dio­vas­cu­lar the­ory. As all-ages Christ­mas porn goes, it’s a huge im­prove­ment on The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and the unlovely

Jim Car­rey Grinch. G cert, gen re­lease, 86 min TB

HAL­LOWEEN ★★★ Di­rected by David Gor­don Green. Star­ring Jamie Lee Cur­tis, Judy Greer,Wil­lPat­ton 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 fanser­vice. 18 cert, gen re­lease, 105 min TB THEHATEUGIVE ★★★★

Di­rected by Ge­orge Till­man Jr. Star­ring Am and la St en berg, Regina Hall, Rus­sell Hornsby, Com­mon Stir­ring, in­spir­ing adap­ta­tion of Angie Thomas’s novel con­cern­ing a young African-Amer­i­can woman cop­ing with the shoot­ing of her friend by a cop. If any­thing, the film tries too hard to cover all an­gles of the de­bate. Her white boyfriend strug­gles to keep up; an­other pal re­veals low-level racist ten­den­cies. All this can feel a lit­tle schematic, but Sten­berg’s mes­meric per­for­mance keeps the pic­ture aloft. She has the gift of spread­ing warmth wher­ever she goes and her in­tel­li­gence shines through in ev­ery scene. 12A cert, lim re­lease, 132 min DC

JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN ★★ Di­rected by David Kerr. Star­ring Row an Atkin­son, Ben Miller, Olga Kurylenko 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 JULIET,NAKED ★★★★

Di­rected by Jesse Per etz. Star­ring Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke, Chris O’ Dowd, Me­gan D odds Byrne throbs with sub­li­mated frus­tra­tion as An­nie, an English­woman liv­ing tol­er­a­bly with an aca­demic (O’Dowd) ob­sessed with reclu­sive rock star Tucker Crowe (Hawke). Things turn pe­cu­liar when An­nie hap­pens upon Tucker on­line. Adapted from a Nick Hornby novel, Juliet, Naked takes a women’s per­spec­tive on com­mon male tox­i­c­i­ties. There are truths here about age. There are truths about the lies we tell our­selves. A rare, en­chant­ing rom­com in an era where such things barely ex­ist. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 97 min DC THE LONELY BAT­TLE OF THOMAS REID ★★★★ 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: the mod­ern and the an­cient. Nei­ther has, at time of re­lease, en­croached sig­nif­i­cantly on the other. 12A cert, Light House, Dublin (Fri/Sun/Mon only), 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, Light House, Dublin (Sun/Tues only), 121 min TB

NEW RE­LEASE NA­TIV­ITY ROCKS! THIS AIN’ T NO SILENT NIGHT ★★ Di­rected by Deb­bie Is itt. Star­ring Si­mon Lip kin, Daniel Boys, Craig Revel Hor­wood, Bradley Walsh, Meera Syal, He­len Ge­orge, Ruth Jones, Celia Im­rie, Hugh Den­nis and


Claire Foy as Lis­beth Sa­lan­der in The Girl in the Spi­der’s Web.

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