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

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

AQUAMAN ★★★ Di­rected by James Wan. Star­ring Ja­son Mo mo a, Am­ber Heard, Will em Dafoe, P at rick Wil­son, Ni­cole Kid­man, Dolph Lund­gren, Yahya Ab­dul-Ma­teen II, Te­muera Mor­ri­son

The lat­est DC adap­ta­tion starts promis­ingly with the fu­ture Aquaman’s dad dis­cov­er­ing a wa­tery At­lantean (Kid­man) next to his re­mote light­house. The marry and raise the hero. All those bits are re­ally charm­ing. Then the sub-Thor mytho­log­i­cal stuff be­gins and the su­per­struc­ture jud­ders. There’s only so much fab­u­lous mar­itime vul­gar­ity a chap can han­dle and Wan ex­ceeds the av­er­age hu­man limit some­time be­fore the first hour. Aquaman is still more di­gestible than any DC flick since Won­der

Woman. 12A cert, gen release, 143 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 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 BUM­BLE­BEE ★★★★ Di­rected by Travis Knight. Star­ring Hailee Stein feld, John Ce na, Jorge Len­de­borg Jr, John Or­tiz, Ja­son Drucker, Pamela Ad­lon, Stephen Schneider, An­gela Bas­sett

Good grief. Af­ter a decade of ear-split­ting rub­bish, Michael Bay’s Tran­form­ers se­quence has (with­out Bay at the helm) de­liv­ered a glo­ri­ous en­ter­tain­ment. Travis Knight’s shame­lessly Spiel­ber­gian film casts Ste­in­feld as a re­bel­lious teen in 1987 who en­coun­ters au­to­bot Bum­ble­bee in the form of a VW Bee­tle. She be­lat­edly al­lows hu­man­ity into the se­ries and – af­ter the hor­rid ob­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion of fe­male bod­ies in ear­lier episodes – hol­lows out some wel­come fem­i­nist space. Fun for all. It’s like Knight and Bay! 12A cert, gen release, 109 min. Opens De­cem­ber 24th DC


Di­rected by Dó­nal Ó Céil­leachair. Star­ring Danny She e hy, Li am Holden, Bren­dan Be­g­ley, Bre­andán 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 men – poet Sheehy, artist Holden, mu­si­cian Be­g­ley and stone­ma­son Mo­ri­arty – set out to do just that in three gru­elling yearly stages, be­gin­ning in 2014. 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, Light House, Dublin (Sat/Sun only), 97 min DC

CREED II ★★★★ Di­rected by Steven Caple Jr. Star­ring Michael B Jor­dan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thomp­son, Dolph Lund gr en, Flo­rian Mun tea nu, Phyli­cia Rashad, Brigitte Nielsen

The fol­low-up to Ryan Coogler’s ex­cel­lent Creed also stands as a be­lated se­quel to Rocky IV. Ivan Drago (Lund­gren) is back and his son is chal­leng­ing for the ti­tle. Will Don­nie Creed (Jor­dan) fight the man who killed his dad? Will Rocky (Stallone, OB­VI­OUSLY) be in his cor­ner? That would be telling. We can re­veal that Creed II is al­most as sleek as its pre­de­ces­sor and cer­tainly as well acted. If you don’t leave punch­ing the air, con­sider throw­ing in the towel. 12A cert, gen release, 130 min DC

FAN­TAS­TIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD ★★ Di­rected by David Yates. Star­ring Eddie Red may ne, Jude Law, Kather­ine Water­ston, Dan Fogler, Zoe Kravitz, Ali­son Su­dol, Johnny Depp 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


Di­rected by El­iz­a­beth Chai Vasarhe­lyi, Jimmy Chin

Some way into the year’s most white knuckle film, rock climber Alex Hon­nold re­calls that more than one ex-girl­friend has told him that he has a per­son­al­ity dis­or­der. By then we’re deep into his two-year prepa­ra­tions to climb the sheer wall of El Cap­i­tan, a kilo­me­tre-high sheer gran­ite im­pos­si­bil­ity in Yosemite Na­tional Park. If he man­ages it, he’ll be the first climber to scale the mono­lith free solo. That’s as in with­out ropes and safety equip­ment, as in one fin­ger and toe at a time up a land­mark that looks like it be­longs in a Road­run­ner car­toon. Per­son­al­ity dis­or­der? The man is bonkers. Ter­ri­fy­ing but mag­i­cal. PG cert, IFI/Light House, Dublin, 99 min TB

THE GRINCH ★★★ Di­rected by Scott Mosier and Yar­row Cheney. Voices of Bene­dict Cum ber batch, Rashida Jones, An­gela Lans bury, Phar­rell 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 spoils 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

NEW RELEASE KHRUSTALYOV, MY CAR ★★★★ Di­rected by Alek­sei Ger­man. Star­ring Yuriy Tsurilo, Nina Rus­lanova

Yuri Glin­shi (Tsourilo), an al­co­holic brain sur­geon and for­mer Red Army gen­eral, is sent, for a spell, to the gu­lag. The jour­ney east is a Boschean night­mare, in which he is as­saulted anally with the han­dle of a shovel, but only marginally more grotesque than ev­ery­thing else in the film. Stark, high-con­trast mono­chrome photography, a cease­less, rov­ing cam­era, Alt­manesque over­lap­ping dialogue and en­tirely ran­dom in­ci­dents make for chaotic view­ing. Peo­ple come and go with­out in­tro­duc­tion or elu­ci­da­tion. All of them are in keep­ing with the Soviet’s au­teur Alek­sei Ger­man’s grim view of hu­man­ity. A lack of ei­ther po­lit­i­cal or ge­o­graph­i­cal con­text and the frag­mented dizzy­ing nar­ra­tive add to an es­ca­lat­ing sense of un­ease. Club, IFI, Dublin, 150 min TB

NEW RELEASE THE LAST MOVIE ★★★★ Di­rected by Den­nis Hop­per. Star­ring Den­nis Hop­per, Stella Gar­cia, Don Gor­don, Julie Adams, Sylvia Miles, To­mas Mil­ian, Peter Fonda, Henry Ja­glom, Sa­muel Fuller, Kris Kristof­fer­son, Russ Tam­blyn, Michelle Phillips, Dean Stock well, Rod Cameron, John Phillip Law, James Mitchum

Hop­per’s fol­low-up to Easy Rider was a fa­mous catas­tro­phe. The di­rec­tor and star re­turned from Peru with a chaotic meta-west­ern that pointed a smug (if un­steady) fin­ger at west­ern deca­dence. This 1971 release has rarely been re­vived, but it de­serves at­ten­tion for nov­elty value alone. Brassed up with very of-their-time so­lar flares, swelling with am­bi­tions and pos­si­bil­i­ties, it re­flects an open­ness to the wildest ex­per­i­ment in Amer­i­can cin­ema that slunk back un­der­ground shortly af­ter­wards. Club, lim release, 108 min DC

NEWRELEASE MARY POP­PINS RE­TURNS ★★★ Di­rected by Rob Mar­shall. Star­ring Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mor­timer, Pixie Davies, Nathanael Sal ah, Joel Daw­son, Colin Fir th, Meryl St reep, Julie Wal­ters, An­gela Lans bury, Dick Van Dyke, David Warner

Some re­views have claimed that the re­vis­it­ing of Mary Pop­pins is “prac­ti­cally per­fect in ev­ery way”. It’s not. It’s not ter­ri­ble ei­ther. One might rea­son­ably call it as­ton­ish­ingly ad­e­quate in ev­ery re­gard. Blunt is well-cast, if a bit too flinty, and throws her­self into the role with aban­don. Tak­ing the Dick Van Dyke chair, Miranda can’t de­cide whether to do proper Cock­ney or com­i­cally height­ened Cock­ney. The songs are tol­er­a­ble. There’s no story to

speak of. But, yes, it’s fine. G cert, gen release, 130 min DC


Di­rected by Chris­tian Rivers. Star­ring Hugo Weav­ing, Hera Hil­mar, Robert Sheehan, Ji­hae, Ro­nan Raftery, Leila Ge­orge, Pa­trick Malahide, Stephen Lang

It’s some years into a dystopian fu­ture and ma­raud­ing city-ma­chines – like La­puta and Howl’s Mov­ing Cas­tle – rove around in search of smaller, weaker city ma­chines to ab­sorb and en­slave. The cru­ellest im­pe­ri­al­ists of the lot live in the City of Lon­don, an end­lessly greedy em­pire de­ter­mined to gob­ble all of con­ti­nen­tal Europe while know­ing all the while that their own en­tire sys­tem is un­sus­tain­able. Ahem. Sheehan and Ji­hae shine amid spec­tac­u­lar steam­punk vi­su­als and a mess of generic world-build­ing. 12A cert, gen release, 128 min TB

NEW RELEASE MUG ★★★★ Di­rected by Mal­go­rzata Szu­mowska. Star­ring Ma­teusz Kosciukiewicz, Robert Talar­czyk, Mal­go­rzata Gorol, Ag­niezska Pod­si­ad­lik, Ro­man Gan­car­czyk

Jacek (the bril­liant Kosciukiewicz) is al­ready a heavy-metal out­sider in small-town Poland when a hor­ri­ble ac­ci­dent dur­ing the erec­tion of the world’s big­gest Je­sus statue leaves him re­quir­ing the coun­try’s first face trans­plant. His girl­friend (Gorol) dumps him and his own mother can’t stand to look at him. Only his stern, loyal sis­ter (Pod­si­ad­lik) con­tin­ues to love him un­con­di­tion­ally. The un­holy re­la­tions be­tween Catholi­cism, ethno-na­tion­al­ism, and right­ist sen­ti­ment hang around the mar­gins of Szu­mowska’s clever, af­fect­ing film. 15A cert, lim release, 91 min TB

NA­TIV­ITY ROCKS! THIS AIN’T NO SILENT NIGHT ★★ Di­rected by Debbie Is itt. Star­ring Si­mon Lip­kin, Daniel Boys, Craig Revel Hor­wood, Bradley Walsh, Meera Syal, Celia Im­rie, Hugh Den­nis, Anna Chan­cel­lor

Coven­try, as the fic­tional mayor of that place re­minds us in Na­tiv­ity Rocks!, has sur­vived bomb­ing and ra­tioning and poverty. But can it with­stand a fourth film in the

Na­tiv­ity se­quence? Kind of. The plot con­cerns the stag­ing of a rock opera to help the city win most Christ­massy spot in the land. Char­ac­ters come and go ran­domly. There’s a lot of chat­ter about fam­ily and Christ­mas and the mag­nif­i­cent city of Coven­try – did we men­tion Coven­try al­ready? Marginally more tol­er­a­ble than the last one. G cert, gen release, 100min TB


Di­rected by David Low­ery. Star­ring Robert Red­ford, Casey Af­fleck, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tika Sumpter, Isiah Whit­lock Jr, Tom Waits

Red­ford (al­legedly in his last role) and Spacek are de­light­ful as an age­ing bank rob­ber and the woman who of­fers him a be­lated shot at do­mes­tic­ity. Low­ery’s film has the grace to treat its elder char­ac­ters with re­spect. It does that by treat­ing them like hu­man be­ings: nu­anced char­ac­ters with the same needs as peo­ple their grand­chil­dren’s age. Scored to great tunes by Scott Walker and The Kinks, it could hardly of­fer a more sat­is­fac­tory swan­song to an ad­mired star. 12A cert, gen release, 92 min DC


★★★ Di­rected by Phil John­ston, Rich Moore. Voices of John C Reilly, Sarah Sil­ver­man, Gal Gadot, Taraji P Hen­son, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Al­fred Molina

Ralph (Reilly), for­mer brute from a plat­form game Fix-It Felix

Jr, and Vanel­lope von Sch­weetz (Sil­ver­man), speed star from rac­ing game Su­gar Rush, are liv­ing in equi­lib­rium when a vi­tal part for Su­gar Rush gets bro­ken. The two use their ar­cade’s newly up­graded in­ter­net con­nec­tion to ac­cess the world that lies beyond the wires. The se­quel to

Wreck-It Ralph is a bit ram­shackle in its plot­ting, but there are many good jokes about cur­rent on­line dis­con­tents. PG cert, gen release, 112 min DC


Di­rected by Hirokazu Kore-eda. Star­ring Lily Franky, Sakura Ando

Kore-eda was a de­served win­ner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes with this Dick­en­sian tale of a fam­ily of thieves who – out of com­mon de­cency – adopt an abused young girl. The Ja­panese film-maker has been con­struct­ing quiet, nu­anced mas­ter­pieces for 20 years and Shoplifters shows all his tal­ents to ad­van­tage. The film creeps up on you. It yields its plea­sures stealth­ily. It has, how­ever, more to say about ques­tions of pub­lic and pri­vate moral­ity than whole li­braries. 15A cert, IFI/Light House, Dublin, 120 min DC


Di­rected by Karey Kirk­patrick. Voices of Chan­ning Ta­tum, James Cor­den, Zen­daya, Com­mon, LeBron 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


Di­rected by Boots Ri­ley. Star­ring Lakeith Stan­field, Tessa Thomp­son, Jer­maine Fowler, Omari Hard­wick, Terry Crews, Pat­ton Oswalt, David Cross. Danny Glover, Steven Yeun, Ar­mie Ham­mer

Stan­field is “Cash” Green, a flunk­ing mil­len­nial re­duced to liv­ing in his un­cle’s garage and work­ing a low-paid po­si­tion with a tele­mar­ket­ing firm. Cash strug­gles at work un­til a veteran (Glover) ad­vises him to use his white voice. As a “power caller”, Cash leaves be­hind the trou­bles of his friends and co­work­ers as they strug­gle to unionise against a rigged sys­tem. It’s only when he is in­vited to a party with a bonkers chief ex­ec­u­tive (Ham­mer) that he re­alises just how rigged. Busy, bound­less and bril­liant, this is the mad­cap Marx­ist ad­ven­ture com­edy you need to see right now. 16 cert, gen release, 112 min TB

SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE ★★★★ Di­rected by Bob Per­sichetti, Peter Ram­sey, Rod­ney Roth­man. Voic­e­sof Shameik Moore, Jake John­son, Hailee Ste­in­feld, Ma­her­shala Ali, Lily Tom­lin, Zoë Cravitz, Ni­co­las Cage, Liev Schreiber, Chris Pine

One al­ter­na­tive ver­sion of Spider-Man en­coun­ters many oth­ers in a daz­zling animation from the team be­hind The

Lego Movie. The candy-charged flash man­ages to ac­com­mo­date soul and sin­cer­ity. The film’s em­brace of di­ver­sity stretches beyond the so­cial to the sub-atomic and the quan­tum me­chan­i­cal (no, re­ally). The struc­tural in­no­va­tion helps con­firm – de­spite wel­come ad­vances in rep­re­sen­ta­tion – how con­ser­va­tive most Marvel films are. Eas­ily the best su­per­hero movie of 2018. PG cert, gen release, 117 min DC


Di­rected by Bradley Cooper. Star­ring Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam El­liott, An­drew Dice Clay, Rafi Gavron

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. Then­im­ble­cam­era-work­isaplea­sure. What’s not to like? 15A cert, gen release, 135 min DC


★★★★ Di­rected by Tim War­dle. Fea­tur­ing Ed­ward Gal­land, David Kell­man, Robert Shafran

“When I tell peo­ple my story, they don’t be­lieve it,” says Robert Shafran at the be­gin­ning of this as­ton­ish­ing doc­u­men­tary. It tran­spires that, adopted as a baby, he was one of triplets whose later meet­ing the film re­lates with great lu­cid­ity. Work­ing with Ir­ish ed­i­tor Michael Harte, di­rec­tor War­dle crafts an im­pec­ca­ble se­quence of re­veals that take in a refugee from the Holo­caust, un­eth­i­cal sci­en­tific de­sign, and files that can’t be opened un­til 2055. A sure­fire Os­car con­tender. 12A cert, IFI/Light House, Dublin, 97mins TB

THE WILD PEAR TREE ★★★★ Di­rected by Nuri Bilge Cey­lan. Star­ring Ay­din Dogu Demirkol, Mu­rat Cem­cir, B ennu Yildirim­lar

Si­nan (Demirkol), a re­cent grad­u­ate, re­turns to his mar­itime home with plans to self-pub­lish a philo­soph­i­cal tome in­spired by those sur­round­ings. He ar­gues with dad. He but­ton­holes a fa­mous writer. Turk­ish di­rec­tor Cey­lan’s lat­est con­ver­sa­tional epic is gor­geously filmed and fea­tures more el­e­gantly con­structed philo­soph­i­cal mus­ings. The daunt­ing length and nar­ra­tive in­er­tia are, per­haps, in dan­ger of be­com­ing di­rec­to­rial fetishes, but there is some­thing mirac­u­lous about Cey­lan’s abil­ity to draw us into in­ac­tion. Club, QFT, Belfast (Wed/Thurs only), 188 min DC

Bum­ble­bee, out now on gen­eral release

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