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

The official trailer for horror film, Hereditary.


Directed by Ivo Marloh. Featuring Donal Fahy, Richie Killoran. Club, IFI, Dublin; QFT, Belfast (Tues/Wed), 90 min
Drawing inspiration from an early version of the Pony Express established by Genghis Khan, the Mongol Derby, the world’s longest horserace, sends competitors across 1,000km of gruelling Mongolian terrain. Marloh’s documentary is formally conventional, but the story it tells is unendingly fascinating: heat stroke, bucking semi-wild horses, mad Irishmen, the odd broken neck. This is one of those uncomplicated documentaries on a fascinating subject that could generate a cult. DC

Directed by François Ozon. Starring Marine Vacth, Jérémie Renier, Jacqueline Bisset. Club, Light House, Dublin (Fri/Sun/Tues), 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

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

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
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

Directed by Sophie Brooks. Starring Zosia Mamet, Matthew Shear, Deirdre O’Connell, Diana Irvine, Sarah Ramos, Arliss Howard, Deborah Offner, David Wohl. 12A cert, lim release, 91 min
alumnus Zosia Mamet is all bittersweetness and light in this hugely likable New York rom-com. Returning from three years in London, Diana (Mamet) finds the perfect apartment. Her new brownstone home comes with a fun, free-spirited, widowed owner-occupier (O’Connell) and – whoops – Diana’s ex-boyfriend Ben living in the basement. This post-mumblecore, millennial When Harry Met Sally trades on good-humour and scarlet-making awkward situations. TB

Directed by Norah Twomey. Voices of Saara Chaudry, Soma Chhaya, Laara Sadiq, Shaista Latif, Ali Badshah, Kawa Ada. 12A cert, lim 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

Directed by Jonas Carpignano. Starring Pio Amato, Koudous Seihon, Iolanda Amato, Damiano Amato, Francesco Pio Amato, Patrizia Amato, Rocco Amato, Susanna Amato. 15 cert, QFT, Belfast, 118 min

New this week: Pio Amato (left) in A Ciambra

Carpignano made a splash at Cannes with his debut feature, Mediterranea, a neorealist study that introduced Burkinabe migrant Aviya (Seihon) and a scrappy street-kid named Pio (Amato). Both characters return for this Martin Scorsese-produced semi-sequel, with Pio, a colourful minor character in Mediterranea, taking centre stage. The chain-smoking Pio is the runt of a rambunctious Romani family – all appearing under their own names – in a gypsy community in the Calabrian coastal town of Gioia Tauro. The charismatic teenager becomes the family breadwinner when his father and brother are arrested. TB

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

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

Directed by Ari Aster. StarringToni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Ann Dowd, Milly Shapiro. 16 cert, gen release, 127 min

New this week: Toni Collette in Hereditary

How freaky is Hereditary, the “scariest film since The Exorcist”? Imagine if Rosemary’s Baby had a baby with little Gage from Pet Sematary and it climbed to the top of Jacob’s Ladder and fell down with a grotesque splat. Prepare yourself for a discombobulating study of grief that goes beyond the conventional seven stages to take in another 100,000 or so, ranging between psychiatric meltdown, demonic possession, sporadic pyromania and roaring-crying. A nerve-shredding masterpiece. TB

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

Directed by Arnaud Desplechin. Starring Mathieu Amalric, Marion Cotillard, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Louis Garrel, Alba Rohrwacher, László Szabó, Hippolyte Girardot. 15A cert, QFT, Belfast (Tues/Wed/Thur), 135 min
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

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

Directed by JA Bayona. Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Jeff Goldblum, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, Geraldine Chaplin. 12A cert, gen release, 128 min
Adequate follow-up to the world-crushing Jurassic World. This time round, Howard and Pratt are asked to help the dinosaurs escape from a volcanic eruption. But evil men in suits have ulterior motives. The action is satisfactory, but what sets Fallen Kingdom apart is the decision to allow Bayona, director of the spooky The Orphanage, to turn the last act into a variation on the haunted house movie. The mesh doesn’t really work, but it remains an interesting experiment. DC

Directed by Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui. Featuring Alexander McQueen. 15 cert, lim release, 111 min
On the night that fashion designer Alexander McQueen took his own life in 2010, his long-time collaborator and friend Mira Chai Hyde felt a presence in her room. It sounds unlikely, and yet, watching this well-crafted biographical documentary, one can empathise. The film-makers have properly scoured the archives in search of their subject and yet McQueen remains a ghostly, unknowable presence throughout. There are illuminating contributions from Hyde, from assistant designer Sebastian Pons, and from art dealer Detmar Blow, the widower of McQueen’s former mentor, Isabella Blow, as this elegantly constructed film outlines the biographical details. TB

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

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

Directed by Jane Campion. Starring Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, Anna Paquin, Kerry Walker, Genevieve Lemon. 15 cert, lim release, 117 min

New rerelease this week: Anna Paquin and Holly Hunter in The Piano

Top performances, Michael Nyman’s swelling score and Stuart Dryburgh’s darksome cinematography can’t hide the problematic narrative of this 1993 multi-Oscar winner: Ada (Hunter), an 19th-century bride, is sent to a New Zealand to survive attempted rape, sexual blackmail and extreme domestic violence. Campion’s screenplay leaves the mute Ada to choose between her cold, rapey husband (Neill), and her hot, bothered, rapey suitor (Keitel). There is no sense of sisterhood between the film’s women – indeed, Ada’s own daughter (Paquin) betrays her. There is also the troubling notion that Ada has to choose between sex and art. A feminist classic? TB

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

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

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

Directed by Robert Wise. Starring Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker, Peggy Wood, Charmian Carr, Heather Menzies, Nicholas Hammond. G cert, lim release, 174 min

New rerelease this week: Angela Cartwright, Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer and Charmian Carr in The Sound of Music

From 1965, it’s back in a sumptuous 70mm print. All narrative art is a fake, but the magnificent glaze poured over every moment here has a sheen observable in constellations far beyond the Milky Way. Julie Andrews’s bossy sharpness offers balance to the sweetness of her vocal delivery. The melodies are more eerily and mechanically perfect than anything subsequently produced by Kraftwerk. You know what it’s about. DC

STUDIO 54 ★★★★
Directed by Matt Tyrnauer. Featuring Ian Schrager, Bob Colacello. Club, lim release, 98 min
Engrossing, surprising documentary on the upmarket disco that defined New York nightlife in the dying years of the 1970s. Students of the era’s innovative dance music must look elsewhere for elucidation – Studio 54 didn’t do much to develop the sounds. Its unhappy innovations were in the fields of celebrity veneration and body fascism. Drawing on new testimony from co-founder Schrager, the film confirms that awful bits of our present started there. DC

Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar. Starring Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Rob Lowe, Brian Cox. 16 cert, gen release, 99 min

New this week: Super Troopers 2

Sequel to a not-much-loved comedy from the turn of the century. Oh, yeah. The current film is almost entirely concerned with jokes aboot the cultural distinctions between Canada and the USA. The eponymous former Vermont coppers reunite to police a sliver of the US’s northern neighbour that is about to become part of the Green Mountain State. Cue endless chatter aboot the metric system, the weakness of American beer and the word “about”. Who ordered this? DC

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