Almost every film in cinemas this week, reviewed and rated

The Irish Times what-to-see guide to the movies now in cinemas across Ireland

New this week: Marine Vacth and Jérémie Renier in 'L’Amante Double'

New this week: Marine Vacth and Jérémie Renier in 'L’Amante Double'

 

L’AMANT DOUBLE ★★★
Directed by François Ozon. Starring Marine Vacth, Jérémie Renier, Jacqueline Bisset. Club, lim release, 110 min
Classic Parisian gamine Chloe (Vacth) is suffering from stomach cramps that are believed to be psychosomatic in nature. She starts to see Paul (Renier), a psychoanalyst. Before you can say “code of ethics”, they’ve moved in together. And that’s when Chloe discovers that Paul has a secret identical twin: a meaner psychoanalyst for whom “no” means “yes!” Dodgy erotic encounters and sheet-clutching ensues. Is this a commentary on unreconstructed and overheated psychosexual thrillers? Or is it just an unreconstructed and overheated psychosexual thriller? Ozon’s DePalma impression doesn’t entirely work. TB

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR ★★★
Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo. Starring Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Olsen, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie, Tom Holland, Zoe Saldana, Sebastian Stan, Benecio del Toro, Paul Bettany, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Gwyneth Paltrow, Peter Dinklage. 12A cert, gen release, 149 min
If Thanos (Brolin) will allow us to say so, the latest superhero chaos kicks off when that alien tyrant arrives on Earth in search of magic jewels that will allow him to dominate or destroy or redecorate the universe. Before long, everybody in Stan Lee’s phone book has rallied in resistance. Even Marvel sceptics might, if the film didn’t take its guff so seriously, accept the gang-show aesthetic and offer two cautious thumbs up. But it’s as up-itself as ever. DC

BOOK CLUB
Directed by Bill Holderman. Starring Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T Nelson, Richard Dreyfuss, Alicia Silverstone, Ed Begley Jr, Andy Garcia, Don Johnson, Wallace Shawn. 15A cert, gen release, 104 min

New this week: Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, Jane Fonda and Mary Steenburgen in 'Book Club'

Four women re-evalute their lives after reading Fifty Shades of Grey in their book club. Yes, yes, it’s great to see these older actresses above the title. But this really is a profoundly dreadful film. Keaton does the best job of maintaining dignified enthusiasm while enduring gags that Mrs Brown would think too roughly hewn. In contrast, a haughty Fonda delivers her dialogue as if tonguing pieces of rancid fish onto the back of her fork. DC

THE BREADWINNER ★★★★
Directed by Norah Twomey. Voices of Saara Chaudry, Soma Chhaya, Laara Sadiq, Shaista Latif, Ali Badshah, Kawa Ada. 12A cert, gen release, 93 min
The latest from Kilkenny’s Cartoon Saloon concerns a girl in Taliban-controlled Kabul who is forced to dress as a boy to support her family. If the previous Cartoon Saloon features, Song of the Sea and The Secret of Kells, had a flaw, it was a lack of discipline in their narrative structure. Despite its frequent diversions into high fantasy, The Breadwinner has greater momentum and a more secure story arc. As ever, the visuals are gorgeous. DC

BREAKING IN ★★★
Directed by James McTeigue. Starring Gabrielle Union, Seth Carr, Ajiona Alexus, Christa Miller, Jason George, Billy Burke, Richard Cabral, Levi Meaden. 15A cert, gen release, 88 min
In Miguel Ángel Vivas’s 2010 thriller Kidnapped, the intruders are listed simply as Head Thief, Young Thief and Strong Thief. Breaking In’s triumvirate could easily be billed as Head Thief, Wimp Thief, and Rapey Mexican Thief. Their target is an African-American mom (Union), who must pitch her wits and various improvised weapons in order to save her two children from murderous marauders. Does Gabrielle get to announce: “You broke into the wrong house”? You bet she does. TB

CITIZEN LANE ★★★★
Directed by Thaddeus O’Sullivan. Starring Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Gemma-Leah Devereux, Michael Gambon, Marty Rae, Derbhle Crotty, Barry McGovern, Ned Dennehy. G cert, lim release, 81 min
By any reasoning, O’Sullivan’s hybrid portrait of the art collector and gallery founder Hugh Lane simply shouldn’t work. The film’s marriage – or rather menage – of talking heads, artistic flâneurism and historical recreation ought to make for a screaming match, or at the very least uneasy transitions. But working from Mark O’Halloran’s fiendishly clever script, the December Bride director and dexterous editor Mick Mahon have fashioned a project as elegant as its subject. TB

DEADPOOL 2 ★★★
Directed by David Leitch. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Zazie Beetz, Leslie Uggams, Morena Baccarin, Brianna Hildebrand, Julian Dennison, Stefan Kapicic, TJ Miller, Terry Crews. 16 cert, gen release, 120 min
Deadpool is rescued by the X-Men after falling into suicidal despair. He blows his chance (obviously) during an encounter with a young mutant. Depending on your appetites, the constant self-reference is either a shameful cheat or a release from the superhero sameness. It’s probably a bit of both and Reynolds’s relish is, for the most part, passed on to the audience. This time round they’ve toned down the recreational sexism. Maybe that’s why it feels less grating. DC

EDIE ★★★
Directed by Simon Hunter. Starring Sheila Hancock, Kevin Guthrie, Paul Brannigan, Amy Manson, Wendy Morgan, Rachael Keiller.12A cert, gen release, 102 min
The titular heroine, played with plenty of sass by Hancock, has been a long-term carer to her ill husband. Their marriage, we learn, was not a happy one and his death is a cause for her to lament many “wasted years”. She packs a bag and heads to Scottish Highlands in an attempt the reach the summit of Suilven Mountain. There she reluctantly befriends unfailingly helpful local guide (Guthrie). But even with assistance, will the climb prove too much for the octogenarian? A grittier take on the grey pound movie. TB

FILMWORKER ★★★
Directed by Tony Zierra. Directed by Tony Zierra. With Leon Vitali, Ryan O’Neal, Matthew Modine, R Lee Ermey, Danny Lloyd, Stellan Skarsgard. 15A cert, Light House, Dublin (Sun/Tues only), 94 min
Interesting documentary on Leon Vitali, the man who acted as Stanley Kubrick’s factotum for the last two decades of his career. There is much here for the Kubrick fan, but it’s also a frustrating film. No attempt is made to pull apart the inadequacies of Kubrick’s last two films (Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut). There is also a puzzling silence from the wives of both Vitali and Kubrick. If there was some sort of breach with Christiane Kubrick, then we needed to be told. DC

I FEEL PRETTY ★★
Directed by Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein. Starring Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, Rory Scovel, Emily Ratajkowski, Naomi Campbell, Lauren Hutton, Tom Hopper. 12A cert, gen release, 110 min
Schumer, online drone at a beauty firm, biffs her head and becomes convinced that she is more “conventionally attractive” (stay with me as I entertain the film’s own logic) than she has hitherto believed. Ham-fisted satire about attitudes to female sexuality follow in a fitful comedy that can’t quite decide what it thinks about the issues. Perennial gloom-bot Williams – hilarious as a wispy fashion maven – comes closest to saving an indifferent project. DC

ISMAEL’S GHOSTS/LES FANTÔMES D’ISMAËL ★★
Directed by Arnaud Desplechin. Starring Mathieu Amalric, Marion Cotillard, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Louis Garrel, Alba Rohrwacher, László Szabó, Hippolyte Girardot. 15A cert, lim release, 135 min

New this week; Marion Cotillard in 'Ismael's Ghosts'

Amalric, a troubled film-maker, is surprised when his wife (Cotillard) reappears after vanishing 20 years earlier. His girlfriend (Gainsbourg) is more surprised still. Some of the mysteries here are intended. It seems unlikely, however, that Desplechin wants us to ask why the film is such an impenetrable mess. Decked out in the classy colours of the high-end French art film, Ismael’s Ghosts is probably easier to enjoy if you make no attempt to fit its disjointed units together. DC

JEUNE FEMME ★★★★★
Directed by Léonor Serraille. Starring Laetitia Dosch, Grégoire Monsaingeon, Souleymane Seye Ndiaye, Léonie Simaga, Nathalie Richard, Erika Sainte, Lilas-Rose Gilberti-Poisot, Audrey Bonnet. Club, IFI, Dublin, 97 min
Paula (the remarkable Dosch), the rudderless, ridiculous, rapturous 31-year-old heroine of this wonderful, kinetic film, has no money and no place to stay. She does, however, have her former lover’s cat. Think the same, messy axis as Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielmann or Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag. A white-knuckle sense of emotional freefall powers every fraught scene. Clemence Carre’s fluid editing and Emilie Noblet’s naturalistic cinematography provide perfect complement to Dosch’s soaring, free-spirited turn. TB

MY FRIEND DAHMER ★★★★
Directed by Marc Meyers. Starring Ross Lynch, Alex Wolff, Anne Heche, Dallas Roberts, Miles Robbins, Vincent Kartheiser. 15A cert, lim release, 107 min

New this week: Ross Lynch in 'My Friend Dahmer'

Moving study of Jeffrey Dahmer, future serial killer, as he grows up awkwardly in 1970s Ohio. Those unaware of Dahmer’s fate could see the film as an angular take on 1970s loserdom played to melodies from the Lars Von Trier songbook (stark, liquid camerawork; awkward riffs on learning disability). Most of the audience will experience something else: a variation on Carrie that ends with the actual death of 17 men. DC

ON CHESIL BEACH ★★★
Directed by Dominic Cooke. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Billy Howle, Emily Watson, Anne-Marie Duff, Bebe Cave, Adrian Scarborough, Samuel West, Jonjo O’Neill. 15A cert, gen release, 110 min
Fitful adaptation of Ian McEwan’s novel concerning a disastrous honeymoon in the early 1960s. Ronan is great as the sexually inhibited musician and Howle strong as her insensitive husband. Unfortunately, McEwan’s own script cannot find a cinematic substitute for the sharp prose that helped us understand how sexually bewildered adults could then be. We have, in the decades since 1962, been so bombarded with sexual imagery that the film’s central premise proves too hard a sell. DC

PANDORA’S BOX/DIE BÜCHSE DER PANDORA ★★★★★
Directed by GW Pabst. Starring Louise Brooks, Francis Lederer, Carl Goetz, Alice Roberts. PG cert, lim release, 135 min

New this week: Louise Brooks (centre) in 'Pandora's Box'

Compellingly lurid melodrama from 1929 about a woman who refuses to conform to the expectations of society. Lulu (Brooks) is both kept and curtailed by a series of men. The sight of “first patron” is frightful, but Lulu’s luck truly runs out after she marries a wealthy doctor and newspaper editor, snatching him away from another, more “respectable” fiancee. His sexual possessiveness leads to murder and a series of sensational plot twists, wherein Lulu attempts to evade sexual slavery and Jack the Ripper with a little help from some friends, including an acrobat, a lesbian, and a boozy dwarf. Brooks retired from movies in 1938, two decades before French critics realised that Pabst’s film was a masterpiece. TB

PETER RABBIT ★★★
Directed by Will Gluck. Starring Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, Sam Neill, Daisy Ridley, Elizabeth Debicki, Margot Robbie, James Corden, Sia. G cert, gen release, 94 min
Having seen off the mean-spirited elder Mr McGregor (Neill), Peter and his woodland chums fall out with a younger, high-strung McGregor (Gleeson). Cordon’s Peter doesn’t bear much resemblance to Beatrix Potter’s naughty creation. Still, though there are shades of the dreaded Alvin and the Chipmunks, director Will Gluck (Easy A) has a flair for slapstick and comic sadism. Yes, it’s a travesty of the original material, but it’s a passably amusing travesty. TB

A QUIET PLACE ★★★★★
Directed by John Krasinski. Starring Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe. 15A cert, gen release, 90 min
A family struggles to noiselessly survive a post-apocalyptic world in which alien invaders hunt by sound. They have something of an edge against the mysterious creatures that have depopulated the planet: the eldest daughter (the remarkable Simmonds) is deaf. While others have perished, sign language has allowed the family to communicate in their remote, survivalist-friendly farm. Nail-biting thrills, family drama, and a perfectly calibrated high concept ensure that this as good a film as you’ll see this year. TB

SHERLOCK GNOMES ★★★
Directed by John Stevenson. Voices of James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mary J Blige, Johnny Depp, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Stephen Merchant, Ashley Jensen, Matt Lucas, Ozzy Osbourne. G cert, gen release, 86 min
The only film this year that can boast that it is “based on Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare and Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle” sees the headliners of the 2011 original relocate to a scruffy London garden. When all of their ornament chums are kidnapped, a bickering Gnomeo (McEvoy) and Juliet (Blunt) team up with Sherlock Gnomes (Depp) and Watson (Ejiofor). Juliet throws herself into her new duties, while Gnomeo goofs off and undermines her efforts. There are not nearly enough jokes and they misuse “wherefore art thou?”. But Kung Fu Panda director Stevenson keeps the plot moving at a jaunty pace. TB

SHOW DOGS ★★
Directed by Raja Gosnell. Starring Will Arnett. Voices of Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Natasha Lyonne, Jordin Sparks, Gabriel Iglesias, Shaquille O’Neal, Omar Chaparro, Stanley Tucci, RuPaul. PG cert, gen release, 90 min
When baby panda Ling Li is kidnapped by animal traffickers, an FBI agent (Arnett) is teamed with a tough-minded NYPD K-9 unit Rottweiler, Max (voiced by Chris “Ludacris” Bridges). Their mission: infiltrate a Las Vegas dog show, where Ling Li is due to be sold. There, Max mingles with a fallen champion Papillon named Philippe (Tucci), affable Australian shepherd Daisy (Sparks), excitable pug Sprinkles (Iglesias), Zen-master Komondor Karma (O’Neal), and Persephone (RuPaul), a . . . gosh, is that even a dog? Play dead, please. TB

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY ★★★
Directed by Ron Howard. Starring Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Paul Bettany, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. 12A cert, gen release, 134 min
The young Han Solo falls in with a bad crowd. The new Star Wars movie isn’t really a Star Wars movie. It’s a car chase movie. It’s a heist movie. It’s a poker movie. During the pretty good opening 20 minutes, it actually promises to be a space version of Howard Hawks’s Only Angels Have Wings. Then it falls off the rails and loses coherence. Ehrenreich, though good, can’t capture the cool of a young Harrison Ford. TB

THAT SUMMER ★★★
Directed by Göran Hugo Olsson. Featuring Edith Ewing Bouvier, Edith Bouvier Beale, Lee Radziwill, Peter Bear. Club, lim release, 80 min

New this week: 'That Summer'

In 1972, photographer Peter Beard and socialite Lee Radziwill (the younger sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis) began filming Radziwill’s eccentric aunt and cousin, Edith Bouvier Beale and Edith “Little Edie” Bouvier Beale, in their Long Island home. The estate was overrun by raccoons and feral cats and had no water of electricity. Radziwill abandoned the project but her cameramen, the Maysles brothers, returned to make Grey Gardens (1975), one of the great American documentaries. This prequel, fashioned from Radziwill and Beard’s footage, is a must for Edie-ologists. TB

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