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

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

AQUA­MAN ★★★ Direct­ed­byJamesWan.Star­ring Ja­sonMo­moa,Am­berHeard,Willem Dafoe,Pa­trick­Wil­son,Ni­cole

Kid­man,DolphLund­gren 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. 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

NEWRELEASE BEAU­TI­FUL BOY ★★★ Di­rected by Felix Van Groenin­gen. Star­ringSteveC­arell,Ti­mothée Cha­la­met,Mau­raTier­ney,AmyRyan Ni­cholas (Cha­la­met) has been miss­ing for a few days be­fore he turns up, clearly at the tail end of a drug binge and un­able to talk to his wor­ried fa­ther, David (Carell). It’s the start of a pre­dictable, mad­den­ing pat­tern and down­ward spi­ral. Upon each re­turn, Ni­cholas looks fur­ther gone than be­fore, un­til fi­nally, he’s steal­ing from his own fam­ily to pay for his crystal meth habit. The dual pro­tag­o­nist struc­ture al­lows for two tremen­dous per­for­mances that hang off noth­ing in par­tic­u­lar. The film ends so abruptly, there’s noth­ing Van Groenin­gen – the bril­liant Bel­gian di­rec­tor who rein­vented the weepie with The Bro­ken Cir­cle

Break­down (2012) – can do to con­vince the viewer that this is a movie. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 121 min TB

BO­HEMI­ANRHAP­SODY ★★★★ Direct­ed­byBryanSin­ger.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

BUM­BLE­BEE ★★★★ Direct­ed­byTrav­isKnight.Star­ring HaileeSte­in­feld,JohnCena,Jorge

Len­de­borgJr,An­ge­laBas­sett 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 DC


Direct­ed­byDó­nalÓCéil­leachair. Fea­tur­ingDan­nySheehy,Liam Holden,Bren­danBe­g­ley,Bre­andán

Mo­ri­arty,GlenHansar­d 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. 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, QFT, Belfast, 97 min DC

CO­LETTE ★★★★ Direct­ed­byWashWest­more­land. Star­ring Keira Knight­ley, Do­minic West,EleanorTom­lin­son,Denise

Gough, Aiysha Hart Si­donie-Gabrielle Co­lette (Knight­ley) is a pig­tailed teenager liv­ing in a cor­ner of Bur­gundy who is not ad­verse to a roll in the hay with her par­ents’ slick and much older friend Willy (Henry Gau­thier-Vil­lars, played by West). It’s only af­ter the naive coun­try girl has mar­ried and moved to Paris with Willy that she and we come to re­alise that he’s a lit­er­ary fraud. A wom­an­iser, a bully, and gambler, Willy is re­luc­tant to let the brink of poverty come be­tween him and whor­ing, so he tells Co­lette to write a novel. She writes a bu­colic tale re­call­ing her ru­ral child­hood. He trashes it and de­mands a re­write with a closer fo­cus on the school­girls. The sec­ond draft is an overnight sen­sa­tion, pub­lished un­der Gau­thier-Vil­lars’s name. It takes a while for Co­lette to emerge from his shadow, but she does so with gusto in this good look­ing cra­dle-to-grave biopic. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 112 min TB


Di­rected by Steven Caple Jr. Star­ring Michael B Jor­dan, Sylvester Stal­lone, Tessa Thomp­son, Dolph

Lund­gren 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

THE FAVOURITE ★★★★★ Direct­ed­byYor­gosLan­thi­mos. Star­ring Olivia Col­man, Rachel Weisz,Em­maS­tone,Ni­cholas

Hoult,MarkGatiss It is 1708. As the War of the Span­ish Suc­ces­sion takes a breather, cyn­i­cal Sarah Churchill (Weisz), Duchess of Marl­bor­ough, and sly Abi­gail Hill (Stone), later Baroness Masham, squab­ble for the at­ten­tions of dotty Queen Anne (Col­man). Lan­thi­mos trans­forms what could have been a straight-up pe­riod drama into a sav­age, weird, twisty com­edy of ap­palling man­ners. The di­a­logue sparkles. The pho­tog­ra­phy is weirdly bril­liant. The per­for­mances are flaw­less. A near mas­ter­piece. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 119 min DC

FREESOLO ★★★★★ Direct­ed­byEl­iz­a­bethChai

Vasarhe­lyi,Jim­myChin Some way into the year’s most white knuckle film, rock clim­ber Alex Hon­nold re­calls that more than one ex-girl­friend has told him he has a per­son­al­ity dis­or­der. By then we’re deep into his two-year prep to climb the sheer wall of El Cap­i­tan, a 1km-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. Per­son­al­ity dis­or­der? The man is bonkers. Ter­ri­fy­ing but magical. PG cert, QFT, Belfast (Sat only); IFI (Sat/Sun only); Light House, Dublin, 99 min TB


Direct­ed­byJa­sonReit­man.Star­ring Hugh Jack­man, JK Sim­mons, Vera

Farmiga,Al­fredMolina, Com­posed of long, snaking takes and Alt­manesque over­lap­ping di­a­logue, The Front

Run­ner para­chutes the viewer into the cut and thrust of the 1984 race for the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, just as Colorado se­na­tor Gary Hart is con­ced­ing to Wal­ter Mon­dale. Hart has so much charisma, smarts and fabulous hair that they had to draught in the Great­est Show­man him­self to play the role. Fast for­ward to 1987: Hart is the pre­sumed front-run­ner in the Demo­cratic race un­til he is caught en­ter­tain­ing a pretty blonde named Donna Rice (Pax­ton), whom he met on a yacht named Mon­key Busi­ness. The his­tor­i­cal de­tails are im­pec­ca­ble but the events have been point­edly re­pur­posed as a cau­tion­ary tale that leads all the way to Trump. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 113 min TB

NEW RE­LEASE GLASS ★★ Di­rected by M Night Shya­malan. Star­ringBruceW­il­lis,James McAvoy,Sa­muelLJack­son,Sarah Paul­son, Anya Tay­lor-Joy, Spencer Treat Clark, Char­layne Woodard Messy, largely bor­ing se­quel to Shya­malan’s Un­break­able and Split. Tough Wil­lis, mad McAvoy and evil Jack­son find them­selves un­der the care of psy­chi­a­trist Paul­son. The nice vi­su­als and com­mit­ted per­for­mances do not com­pen­sate for a story that re­joices in go­ing nowhere in­ter­est­ing. The much-promised grand fi­nale never ar­rives. The last re­ver­sal feels like a par­ody of the high Shya­malan style, and the the­o­ris­ing about comic-book lore is ex­haust­ing for those not wholly on board. Night’s gone off again. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 129 min DC


Di­rected by Scott Mosier and Yar­row Cheney.Voic­e­sofBene­dic­tCum­ber­batch, Angela Lans­bury, Phar­rell

Wil­liams The lat­est adap­ta­tion of the 1957 Dr Seuss book 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. G cert, gen re­lease, 86 min TB

KEEP­ERS OF THE FLAME ★★★ Direct­ed­byNualaO’Con­nor. Fea­tur­ingDiar­maid­Fer­riter,Mary Black,Ai­denGillen,Joseph

O’Con­nor,OliviaO’Leary The un­promis­ing start­ing point is a dive into the Ir­ish Mil­i­tary Ser­vice Pen­sions archive and a con­sid­er­a­tion of how pay­ments were made, who gained and who lost out. Around that ful­crum, the doc­u­men­tary bends a com­pre­hen­sive ex­am­i­na­tion of the chal­lenges that ac­com­pany com­mem­o­ra­tion. The rea­son­able, hu­mane ar­gu­ments are struc­tured with the clar­ity you would ex­pect from a pro­fes­sional his­to­rian such as Fer­riter. It is, in the age of on­line fury, re­fresh­ing to hear con­tentious is­sues pon­dered in such mea­sures tones. G cert, Triskel, Cork (Fri-Mon), 89 min DC

LIFE IT­SELF ★★ Di­rected by Dan Fo­gel­man. Star­ring Os­carIsaac,Olivi­aWilde,Mandy Patinkin, Olivia Cooke, Annette


Ti­mothée Cha­la­met in Beau­ti­ful Boy.

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