What’s on

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

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


Di­rected by Adil El Arbi, Bi­lall Fal­lah. Star­ring Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hud­gens, Joe Pan­to­liano, Alexan­der Lud­wig, Charles Mel­ton, Paola Núñez, Kate del Castillo. 16 cert, gen re­lease, 123 min “All our lives we’ve been bad boys. Now it’s time to be good men,” Mar­cus (Lawrence) tells his part­ner Mike (Smith). Mike’s dis­dain­ful snort will be echoed by au­di­ences ev­ery­where as they pro­ceed to make colan­ders and cheese graters of ev­ery chap in their path (that’s to say, full of holes). The third film in the Mi­ami shoot-’em-up is bet­ter than it has any right to be: pacey, funny, light on its feet. It’s also dumb, but you’d ex­pect that. DC


Di­rected by Jay Roach. Star­ring Charlize Theron, Ni­cole Kidman, Margot Rob­bie, John Lith­gow, Con­nie Brit­ton, Rob De­laney, Mark Du­plass, Mal­colm McDow­ell. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 108 min En­ter­tain­ing if light­weight ex­am­i­na­tion of the sex­ual ha­rass­ment scan­dal at Fox News. Bombshell stands up for the likes of Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carl­son who, as played by Theron and Kidman, come across as in­tel­li­gent pro­fes­sion­als hemmed in by in­sti­tu­tional prej­u­dice. The film it­self is not so smart. It would be over­stat­ing the case to ar­gue that Bombshell doesn’t have an idea in its pretty lit­tle head, but we can cer­tainly ar­gue for one more irony in that ti­tle. DC

FROZEN 2 ★★★

Di­rected by Chris Buck, Jen­nifer Lee. Voices of Kris­ten Bell, Id­ina Men­zel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, Ster­ling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Al­fred Molina, Martha Plimp­ton, Ja­son Rit­ter, Rachel Matthews. PG cert, gen re­lease, 103 min Dis­ney risks a se­quel to its de­servedly enor­mous Snow Queen vari­a­tion. The thin­ness of the story – some­thing about an en­chanted forest – in­vites us to pon­der in­ad­e­qua­cies that were easy to ig­nore amid the de­li­cious clock­work of the first film. Olaf the snow­man is more like the mas­cot for a Slo­vakian fast-food chain than one would pre­fer. Kristoff works bet­ter as a comic turn than as a ro­man­tic lead. Anne is kind of . . . bor­ing? But Frozen 2 just about gets by on slick pro­fes­sion­al­ism. DC


Di­rected by Nico­las Pesce. Star­ring An­drea Rise­bor­ough, Demián Bichir, John Cho, Betty Gilpin, Lin Shaye, Jacki Weaver. 18 cert, gen re­lease, 94 min This is a re­boot of a re­make of Ju-On: The Grudge – it­self a 2002 puree of two ear­lier films whizzed up to cash in on the post-Ringu J-hor­ror rush. Pesce, who won rave re­views with his the­atri­cal de­but, The Eyes of My Mother, has as­sem­bled a crack en­sem­ble, only to squan­der every­one’s best ef­forts on

1986 mur­der of a white wo­man and sen­tenced to death. A grip­ping, daz­zlingly acted and – yes – im­por­tant drama un­folds. TB


Di­rected by Rian John­son. Star­ring Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Ar­mas, Jamie Lee Cur­tis, Toni Col­lette, Michael Shan­non, Don John­son, Christophe­r Plum­mer. 12A cert, gen re­lease, 130 min John­son brings a starry cast to­gether for a de­light­ful pas­tiche of the big- house who­dun­nit. The di­rec­tor knows the trick here is to pile the rev­e­la­tions on so rapidly that au­di­ences have no time to no­tice the thin­ness of the struc­ture. Re­veal­ing gen­uine af­fec­tion for genre, dec­o­rat­ing the ac­tion with brown wood, he makes no con­ces­sions to safety in his vig­or­ous ham­mer­ing of the ac­cel­er­a­tor. It’s over be­fore you have time to ques­tion the logic. Great fun. DC


Di­rected by Greta Ger­wig. Star­ring Saoirse Ro­nan, Em­maWat­son, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Ti­mothée Cha­la­met, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Bob Odenkirk. PG cert, gen re­lease, 135 min Tak­ing this glossy, flighty film on its own over-styled, over-wigged terms, it’s a fun, frol­ic­some af­fair. As Amy, the youngest and brat­ti­est March, Pugh makes her char­ac­ter lov­able and steals ev­ery scene she’s in, even go­ing toe-to-toe with Streep (who brings a riff on her Florence Fos­ter Jenk­ins). Ro­nan is a ter­rific, peren­ni­ally breath­less Jo. Cha­la­met’s Lau­rie bounces well off Ro­nan and Pugh (a blaz­ing break-up row with the for­mer is a high­light) but he fiz­zles with lesser screen part­ners. Dern is bet­ter than saintly Marmie de­serves. Ger­wig’s lightly meta­tex­tual script clev­erly plays with chronol­ogy and Louisa

May Al­cott’s bi­og­ra­phy in ways that will re­quire close at­ten­tion from those un­fa­mil­iar with the lit­er­ary source. This is a pleas­ing fairy­tale. But we’ve been prouder of our Lit­tle Women. TB


Di­rected by Terry Gil­liam. Star­ring Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Stel­lan Skars­gård, Olga Kurylenko, Joana Ribeiro. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 132 min Gil­liam’s oblique take on Cer­vantes casts Driver as a com­pro­mised film di­rec­tor and Pryce as his some­time Quixote. “Twenty-five years in the mak­ing and the un­mak­ing . . .” a leg­end runs be­fore the ti­tles. Is it worth it? Well, the kind­est thing we can say is that, con­sid­er­ing the bad luck that fol­lowed Gil­liam and the film around, it’s a small mir­a­cle that The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is not ir­re­deemably ter­ri­ble. In­deed, a fair amount of it is pretty de­cent. DC

1917 ★★★★

Di­rected by Sam Men­des. Star­ring Ge­orge MacKay, Dean-Charles Chap­man, Mark Strong, An­drew Scott, Richard Mad­den, Claire Duburcq, Colin Firth, Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch. 15A cert, gen re­lease, 119 min Men­des com­poses his tale of the first World War – con­cern­ing a young cor­po­ral de­liv­er­ing a mes­sage through dis­puted ter­ri­tory – in what looks like one sin­gle shot. The re­sult is a slice of pres­tige Bri­tish film-mak­ing that nim­bly avoids ac­cu­sa­tions of her­itage cosi­ness. Dis­tin­guished ac­tors turn up in small­ish parts, but each has a worth­while con­tri­bu­tion to make. The script ad­mits no puff­ing about pa­tri­otic sac­ri­fice. It ends with emo­tional re­lease and a beau­ti­fully neat clos­ing of the cir­cle. DC


Di­rected by Charles E. Bastien. Voices of Anya Cooke, Cathal J Dodd, Isaac Em­ber­son-Heeks. G cert, gen re­lease, 50 min The se­quel to last year’s Paw Pa­trol: Mighty Pups is a repos­i­tory for pos­i­tive in­can­ta­tions to pro­vide un­paid labour and to do so with­out com­plaint or re­course to ac­tion. From a ma­te­ri­al­ist per­spec­tive, this goes fur­ther than late cap­i­tal­ist ex­ploita­tion: Ready, Race, Res­cue is an un­var­nished ode to in­den­tured servi­tude. Mind you, the pro­lif­er­a­tion of film se­quels in late-cap­i­tal­ist con­sumer so­ci­ety are part of the cap­i­tal­ist mode of pro­duc­tion that ex­ploits ex­ist­ing so­cial re­la­tions. So we should ex­pect it to be rub­bish. TB


Di­rected by Ar­mando Ian­nucci. Star­ring Dev Patel, Tilda Swin­ton, Hugh Lau­rie, Peter Ca­paldi, Ben Whishaw, Bron­agh Gal­lagher, Paul White­house, Aneurin Barnard, Daisy May Cooper, Bene­dict Wong, Gwen­do­line Christie, Ros­aleen Line­han. PG cert, gen re­lease, 119 min Ian­nucci man­ages to pack in all cru­cial el­e­ments of Dickens’s novel with­out al­low­ing the slight­est whiff of com­pro­mise. Of course, it feels hur­ried. But Ar­mando’s great trick is to make that hurtling mo­men­tum a vi­tal part of the ex­pe­ri­ence. Only the dullest purist will ob­ject. Few un­fa­mil­iar with the source will be bored. The racially blind cast­ing is very much in har­mony with the au­thor’s gen­eros­ity. Patel is a great David, Swin­ton an even bet­ter Bet­sey Trot­wood. DC


Di­rected by Troy Quane, Nick Bruno. Voices of Will Smith, TomHol­land, Rashida Jones, Ben Men­del­sohn, Karen Gil­lan, Reba McEn­tire, Rachel Bros­na­han. PG cert, gen re­lease, 101 min Smith voices a suave spy who gets trans­planted into the head of a pi­geon in the lat­est ho-hum fam­ily film from Blue Sky An­i­ma­tion. Will as a con­fused bird is much more en­ter­tain­ing than Will as James Bond. For the larger part of the mid­dle act, the film-makers have enor­mous fun with the di­etary, so­cial and scat­o­log­i­cal habits of the fly­ing rat. The look is all sec­ond-hand In­cred­i­bles. The faces are those of the voice tal­ent. But it’s funny enough. DC


Di­rected by JJ Abrams. Star­ring Car­rie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Wil­liams, Adam Driver, Daisy Ri­d­ley, John Boyega, Lupita Ny­ong’o, Os­car Isaac, Domh­nall Glee­son. 12A, gen re­lease, 141 min The clos­ing film in third tril­ogy fails to sat­is­fac­to­rily or­der the var­i­ous strands left hang­ing. We be­gin with a fu­ri­ous col­lec­tion of nar­ra­tive bits that strug­gle to form a co­he­sive pat­tern. It’s as if Abrams opened the door on a room full of squab­bling chick­ens and, rather than mak­ing any ef­fort to calm them down, closed it again and let them sort it out for them­selves. There is some good ac­tion, but “fan ser­vice” trumps nar­ra­tive sense through­out. DC


Jairaj Varsani and Peter Ca­paldi in The Per­sonal His­tory Of David Copperfiel­d.

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