Four new films to see this week

Dune: Part Two, Lisa Frankenstein, Spaceman, Four Daughters

Dune: Part Two ★★★☆☆

Directed by Denis Villeneuve. Starring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Dave Bautista, Christopher Walken, Léa Seydoux, Charlotte Rampling, Javier Bardem. 12A cert, gen release, 166 min

Huge, noisy completion (?) of Villeneuve’s space opera concerning the rise of Paul Atreides (Chalamet) to the role of Messiah for a desert people on a distant planet. Grey walls. Orange skies. Portentous dialogue. Ultimately, we end up with an abundance of craft and a forest of lore wrapped around personal narratives too flimsy to sustain marching feet. Still. There is no doubt that Villeneuve has a singular flair for enormousness, and it would take a weary brain not to revel at the breadth of his achievement here. You emerge battered, bewildered and a little deaf. Full review DC

Lisa Frankenstein ★★★☆☆

Directed by Zelda Williams. Starring Kathryn Newton, Cole Sprouse, Liza Soberano, Henry Eikenberry, Joe Chrest, Carla Gugino, Bryce Romero, Joey Bree Harris. 15A cert, gen release, 101 min

Messy, profane horror comedy starring Newton as a 1980s high school student whose life is upended when a deceased 19th-century romantic reanimates himself into her life. Diablo “Juno” Cody’s script is not at home to structure. The premise is a bit of a mess. Lisa Frankenstein does not really take on the role of Mary Shelley’s eponymous protagonist. But the writer has not lost her gift for memorable zingers. Humorous explorations of 1980s mores and robust variations on the horrors of adolescence abound. Just about fun enough to sustain 101 dimly lit minutes. Full review DC


Spaceman ★★★☆☆

Directed by Johan Renck. Starring Adam Sandler, Carey Mulligan, Kunal Nayyar, Isabella Rossellini, Lena Olin, voice of Paul Dano. Netflix, 107 min

Adapted from Jaroslav Kalfar’s 2017 novel Spaceman of Bohemia, Spaceman concerns pioneering Czech astronaut Jakub (Sandler), who endures more than six months journeying to take samples of a mysterious space cloud. Sandler’s performance, Jan Houllevigue’s post-Soviet production designs, and Max Richter’s soaring score enliven a handsome if dreary drama. We hear a lot about Jakub’s disintegrating marriage to the pregnant Lenka, essayed by veteran longsuffering screen wife Mulligan. The pacing remains painfully slow and every character, save for the spider, is underwritten. Ladies and gentlemen, we are floating in space. If only we had somewhere to go. Full review TB

Four Daughters ★★★★☆

Directed by Kaouther Ben Hania. Starring Hend Sabri, Olfa Hamrouni, Eya Chikhaoui, Tayssir Chikhaoui. Llimited release, 107 min

Fascinating hybrid documentary concerning the disappearance of two of four sisters in contemporary Tunisia. The missing women, Ghofran and Rahm, are here played by actors. The other two sisters play themselves. Dramatic reconstructions of a dark family history allow for free exchanges and uncomfortable truths. There are dark hints of sexual abuse and overt re-enactments of maternal violence. During one unsettling confrontation, the actor who plays all the male roles has to leave the set. The Oscar-nominated documentary is ruthless in its deconstruction of a global news story. Utterly original and properly troubling. Full review TB

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Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke, a contributor to The Irish Times, is Chief Film Correspondent and a regular columnist

Tara Brady

Tara Brady

Tara Brady, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a writer and film critic