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: Whitney

New this week: Whitney

 

ADRIFT ★★★
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur. Starring Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin, Grace Palmer, Jeffrey Thomas, Elizabeth Hawthorne, Tami Ashcroft, Kael Damiamian. 12A cert, gen release, 96 min
We begin with Woodley coming to in the wrecked remains of her sailboat somewhere a long way from land. She is not the sort to give up and welcome death’s embrace. Having located her badly injured boyfriend, she sets to her sextant and plots a course for distant Hawaii. Based on a true story, Kormákur’s picture is better in its perilous “present” rather than its bland, too-cute flashbacks to the couple’s cute meeting. Woodley has enough charisma to make it work. 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
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 BOOKSHOP ★★★
Directed by Isabel Coixet. Starring Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Bill Nighy, Honor Kneafsey, James Lance. Narrated by Julie Christie. PG cert, lim release, 113 min
In 1959, free-spirited widow Florence (Mortimer) arrives in a whispering community on the Suffolk coast having purchased a long-abandoned house with the intention of turning it into a bookshop. She is summoned to a ghastly party thrown by a snob (Clarkson) with plans for Florence’s premises. But a local recluse (Nighy) becomes an unlikely ally. Coixet’s adaptation of Penelope Fitzgerald’s novel falters in places, but Clarkson is genuinely terrifying. 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, Light House, Dublin (Sat/Sun only), 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

THE DEER HUNTER ★★★★
Directed by Michael Cimino. Starring Robert De Niro, John Cazale, John Savage, Meryl Streep, Christopher Walken. 18 cert, lim release, 183 min

New this week: Robert De Niro in a rerelease of The Deer Hunter (1978)

Jane Fonda, in her post-Hanoi Jane heyday, denounced the picture as racist, even though she admitted to not having seen it. Izvestia, the paper of record in the Soviet Union, denounced the film as “an attempt at arousing compassion for the invaders” in which “the aggressors and the victims changed places”. LA Weekly called the film “a criminal violation of the truth” in which “all non-Americans are sweaty, crazy, vicious and debauched”. A handsome, powerful piece of propaganda, nonetheless. TB

DUBLIN OLDSCHOOL ★★★
Directed by Dave Tynan. Starring Emmet Kirwan, Ian Lloyd Anderson, Seána Kerslake, Sarah Greene, Ciaran Grace, Mark O’Halloran, Liam Heslin, Stephen Jones. 16 cert, gen release, 95 min
Tynan’s well-made adaptation of director Kirwan’s two-handed play hangs around encounters between Jason (Kirwan), an aspiring DJ, and Daniel (Lloyd Anderson), his heroin-addicted brother. Those sequences offer a convincing advertisement for the play, but the surrounding opened-out action feels chaotic and plotless. The language is steeped in a quasi-poetic romanticism that too often curdles on screen. For all that, Dublin Oldschool constructs a vivid portrait of the “sesh” life that many generations will savour. DC

THE FIRST PURGE ★★★
Directed by Gerard McMurray. Starring Y’lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Mugga, Marisa Tomei. 18 cert, gen release, 97 min

New this week: Marisa Tomei (right) in The First Purge

If you weren’t aware that this new Purge prequel is a commentary on Trumpian politics, don’t worry: DeMonaco’s screenplay will remind you every five minutes. Look here: Klansmen have the run of the place. Look there: it’s the Stars and Stripes on a baseball pitch. Squint and the anti-Purge demonstrators – led by Lex Scott Davis’s noble Nya – look awfully like Black Lives Matter. Later, as Nya fights off one of the Purge’s many marauders, she yells “Pussy-grabbing motherfucker!” And so on. Will do well enough. TB

THE HAPPY PRINCE ★★★
Directed by Rupert Everett. Starring Rupert Everett, Colin Morgan, Edwin Thomas, Colin Firth, Emily Watson, Anna Chancellor, Benjamin Voisin, Tom Wilkinson. 15A cert, gen release, 104 min
Effective, nicely acted study of Oscar Wilde’s decline featuring a bloated, puffed-out Everett in the lead role. There is no great revisionism at work. Bosie (Morgan) remains a selfish oik. Robbie Ross (Thomas) is again celebrated as the most loyal of supporters. The film-making, packed with too many close-ups, allows only a few mad flourishes. The Happy Prince does, nonetheless, mark out new territory in its willingness to probe Wilde’s final weakness and fragility. You can smell the decay. DC

HEREDITARY ★★★★★
Directed by Ari Aster. Starring Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Ann Dowd, Milly Shapiro. 16 cert, gen release, 127 min
How freaky is Hereditary, the “scariest film since The Exorcist”? Imagine if Rosemary’s baby had a child 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

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM ★★★
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

LEAVE NO TRACE ★★★★
Directed by Debra Granik. Starring Ben Foster, Thomasin McKenzie, Jeff Kober, Dale Dickey. PG cert, lim release, 109 min
Teenager Tom (McKenzie) and her war veteran father, Will (Foster), live off the grid in a public park in Portland, Oregon. This small survivalist family subsides on foraged mushrooms and the money Will makes from selling his PTSD medication to other tent dwellers. They’re technically homeless, but only so they can stay away from “them”. When social services intervene, father and daughter are transferred to a northwestern logging community where Will finds work at a Christmas tree farm while Tom makes friends with a local rabbit-fancier. But settled life is anything but for Will. Granik’s atmospheric follow-up to Winter’s Bone is as thoughtful and well-observed as its predecessor. TB

MARY SHELLEY ★★★
Directed by Haifaa al-Mansour. Starring Elle Fanning, Douglas Booth, Bel Powley, Tom Sturridge, Stephen Dillane, Maisie Williams, Joanne Froggatt, Ben Hardy. 12A cert, lim release, 120 min

New this week: Elle Fanning in Mary Shelley

Biopic of the woman who conceived Frankenstein. Shooting largely in Ireland, Haifaa al-Mansour, the talented Saudi director of Wadjda, has delivered a sumptuous period drama that teases out important issues about gender imbalances in the arts. Fanning, though a martyr to Californian vowels at times of high emotion, has the charisma to convince us that such a young person really could wield genius for the ages. Sadly, the script lacks a bit of energy. DC

OCEAN’S 8 ★★★
Directed by Gary Ross. Starring Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Richard Armitage, James Corden. 12A cert, gen release, 110 min
Female take on the glamorous sequence featuring all those listed above. Ocean’s 8, like its predecessors, exists solely as a vessel for movie stars and celebrities. A heist at the Met Ball ensures that, in addition to the main cast, there are glimpses of Anna Wintour, Serena Williams and Kim Kardashian. The film rattles along, powered by costume changes, silliness and Bullock and Blanchett’s attempts to out-cool one another. But few of these talented people seem to be trying very hard. TB

PATRICK ★★★
Directed by Mandie Fletcher. Starring Beattie Edmondson, Ed Skrein, Tom Bennett, Emily Atack, Jennifer Saunders, Gemma Jones, Adrian Scarborough, Bernard Cribbins, Meera Syal. PG cert, gen release, 95 min
Sarah Francis (Edmondson, charming) is a recently dumped klutz who has dropped out of law school to become a teacher. As English screen singletons go, she’s not as man hungry (mungry?) as Bridget Jones or as goopy as a Richard Curtis love interest, but she is ditzy enough to make one fearful when, in an unexpected bequest by her late grandmother, she inherits a spoiled-rotten pug named Patrick. Family fun ensues. 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

SICARIO 2: SOLDADO ★★★
Directed by Stefano Sollima. Starring Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Catherine Keener, Christopher Heyerdahl, Matthew Modine, Isabela Moner. 15A cert, gen release, 122 min
Murderous Mexican drug cartels have nothing on marauding US security forces in a film that could be called Team America: World Police. Trumpian images abound in an overture that begins with Isis terrorists mixing with migrants crossing the Texas border in order to blow up a Kansas superstore – helped by Somali pirates! So the black ops whizzes from the original Sicario (Del Toro and Brolin) are brought back into action. Italian director Sollima specialises in sleek, pacey entertainments (Suburra, Gomorrah) in which the bad guys are the good guys. Though politically we’re in murky territory, Soldado is as exciting as expected, if not nearly as heart-pounding as its predecessor. 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

SWIMMING WITH MEN ★★
Directed by Oliver Parker. Starring Rob Brydon, Adeel Akhtar, Daniel Mays, Jim Carter, Rupert Graves, Thomas Turgoose, Charlotte Riley.12A cert, lim release, 97 min

New this week: Swimming with Men

In the latest unremarkable, often quite tolerable addition to a familiar British genre, Rob Brydon – an accountant married awkwardly to a local councillor – navigates a midlife crisis through the medium of synchronised swimming. The film is never very good. It’s never entirely awful. Perpetrator of the recent Dad’s Army, Oliver Parker makes sure the actors are all kicking at the same time, waving in unison and..Oh, you know. Some laboured synchronised swimming reference. DC

TAG ★★
Directed by Jeff Tomsic. Starring Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Jake Johnson, Annabelle Wallis, Hannibal Buress, Isla Fisher, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb. 16 cert, gen release, 100 min
Over the space of 20 years, a group of men from Washington state really did play out an extended game of tag. For one month a year, they would, sometimes under elaborate disguises, do everything possible to pass the taint of being “it” onto their lifelong chums. Director Tomsic could have gone for something odd and slick, but he, alas, opted for something in the Hangover school – crude, broad and not quite funny enough. Hamm is good, though. DC

New this week: Whitney 

WHITNEY ★★★
Directed by Kevin Macdonald. Featuring Whitney Houston. 15A cert, lim release, 120 min
Moving documentary on Whitney Houston by the talented film-maker behind Marley and Touching the Void. The talking heads are all shot in clean, pretty light. The film moves smoothly and chronologically through the life. It ends with a belter from the star. New revelations about sexual abuse add some shock value. For all that, Whitney does feel like a very conventional biographical doc. There is barely a whisper on what made Houston so popular. DC

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.