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: Summer 1993, on limited release

New this week: Summer 1993, on limited release


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

Directed by Xavier Giannoli. Starring Vincent Lindon, Galatéa Bellugi, Patrick d’Assumçao, Anatole Taubman, Elina Lowensohn. Club, IFI, Dublin, 137 min

New this week: The Apparition, exclusively at the IFI in Dublin
New this week: The Apparition, exclusively at the IFI in Dublin

Working from a premise that Dan Brown might have thrown in the bin, this sleek potbioler casts the gifted Lindon as a tough frontline journalist who hired by the Vatican to investigate an 18-year-old novice (Bellugi) who claims to have seen an “apparition” of the Virgin Mary outside her village in southern France. Is she telling the truth? The nonsensical answer will make you want to pelt the screen with rotten fruit long after the closing credits. TB

Directed by Sara Driver. Featuring Luc Sante, Lee Quiñones, James Nares, Jim Jarmusch, Patricia Field, Fab 5 Freddy, Sur Rodney, Alexis Adler, Michael Holman, Jennifer Jazz, Glenn O’Brien. Club, Triskel, Cork, 79 min

New this week; Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat, exclusively at the Triskel in Cork
New this week: Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat, exclusively at the Triskel in Cork

In the three decades since he died at 27 from a heroin overdose, Jean-Michel Basquiat has inspired many documentaries and films, including Julian Schnabel’s 1996 biopic. None have been nearly as fond of the late American artist as the kind-hearted Boom for Real. Driver’s film, her first in 23 years, is lovingly assembled from old home movies, scribbled notes, murals, photographs and extraordinary archive footage. 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, Light House, Dublin (Sun/Tues 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

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

Directed by Gerard McMurray. Starring Y’lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Mugga, Marisa Tomei. 18 cert, gen release, 97 min
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 “P*ssy-grabbing motherf*cker!” And so on. Will do well enough. TB

Directed by Paul Schrader. Starring Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric Kyles. 15A cert, lim release, 113 min
Schrader examined the work of Yasujir Ozu, Robert Bresson and Carl Theodore Dreyer in a 1972 book under the heading Transcendental Style. The meditative First Reformed, Schrader’s 21st film as a director, is as transcendental as anything he has ever made. Reworking the malady of Bresson’s Diary of a Country Priest and the plot of Ingmar Bergman’s Winter Light, First Reformed concerns the Rev Toller (a mournful Hawke) and the widow of an environmental activist (Seyfried). TB

Directed by Lauren Greenfield. 18 cert, lim release, 106 min

New this week: Generation Wealth
New this week: Generation Wealth, on limited release

For a quarter of a century, photographer and documentarian Lauren Greenfield has carved out a compelling niche as the David Attenborough of the super-rich. Generation Wealth is a multimedia project intended to be a summation of Greenfield’s entertaining oeuvre. At its best, the film revels in the ridiculous antics of the moneyed elite, but the project is hampered by the director’s attempts to incorporate her own family background. TB

Directed by Rupert Everett. Starring Rupert Everett, Colin Morgan, Edwin Thomas, Colin Firth, Emily Watson, Anna Chancellor, Benjamin Voisin, Tom Wilkinson. 15A cert, IFI, Dublin, 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

Directed by Ari Aster. StarringToni 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

Directed by Brad Bird. Voices of Craig T Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Samuel L Jackson, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Brad Bird, Bill Wise. PG cert, gen release, 125 min
Terrific sequel to Pixar’s superhero saga finds Bob Parr, the sometime Mr Incredible, left at home with young Violet (who turns invisible), younger Dash (who moves speedily) and baby Jack-Jack (who does a lot of things). Meanwhile, Helen Parr is drawn into a scheme to rehabilitate the superhero reputation. The animation is glossier than ever. The design is so gorgeous you yearn to wear it home. It is, however, the jokes that really stand out. Excellent family entertainment. DC

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 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

Directed by Liam O Mochain. Starring Norma Sheahan, Liam Carney, Aoibhin Garrihy, Anthony Morris, Seamus Hughes, Liam O Mochain. 12A cert, lim release, 92 min
An older man begs for train fare to Dublin. Daniel’s cranky employer Paudge keeps refurbishing his unpopular pub. A marriage proposal at an airport goes hideously wrong. On her deathbed, Daniel’s grandmother recalls the kindertransport, sending him off to Poland for an unlikely treasure hunt. Bridezilla Sile is determined to keep her booking at a wedding venue, even though she no longer has a willing groom. Writer-director O Mochain maintains a whimsical tone throughout. TB

Directed by Ol Parker. Starring Amanda Seyfried, Lily James, Christine Baranski, Pierce Brosnan, Dominic Cooper, Cher, Colin Firth, Andy García, Stellan Skarsgård, Julie Walters, Meryl Streep. PG cert, gen release, 114 min

New this week: Alexa Davies, Jessica Keenan Wynn and Lily James in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
New this week: Alexa Davies, Jessica Keenan Wynn and Lily James in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

The follow-up to the Abba smash alternates between the aftermath of the first film and flashbacks to the three romances that caused the famous paternal confusion. Here We Go Again is actually superior in almost every way. The new cast members are amusing. The film-makers just about get way with unearthing a few less well-known Abba songs. Crucially, the direction is more than competent. Sunnier than a lifetime of holidays, James is a real standout as the younger version of Streep. 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

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

Directed by Sergio G Sánchez. Starring George MacKay, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Mia Goth, Matthew Stagg, Kyle Soller. 15A cert, gen release, 110 min
Decent ghost story directed by the writer of The Orphanage. MacKay is strong as the oldest of siblings living without parental care in an apparently haunted house. The film is set in 1969 but, focused largely on a creaking pile with few amenities, the events could be taking place at any time in the past century. That otherness helps add to a weird atmosphere that almost makes up for the unsurprising revelations in the closing stages. DC

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 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

Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber. Starring Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Møller, Noah Taylor, Byron Mann. 12A cert, gen release, 102 min
Barely adequate Rock-delivery system featuring Johnson as a security consultant fighting fire and terrorists in the world’s tallest building. The few innovations don’t much work. The hero moves nimbly for most of the film and then, when a plot hook demands it, suddenly remembers that he has a prosthetic lower leg. A running joke about duct tape is baffling. The CGI is so drably artificial that – impossibly for a film with this plot – almost all sense of jeopardy is lost. DC

SUMMER 1993/ESTIU 1993 ★★★★
Directed by Carla Simón. Starring Laia Artigas, Paula Robles, Bruna Cusí, David Verdaguer, Fermí Reixach, Montse Sanz, Isabel Rocatti, Berta Pipó, Etna Campillo. Club, lim release, 98 min
Poignant, beautifully made study of a young girl who, after her mother dies of Aids, moves to the Catalonian countryside with her squabbling relatives. There are hints of idyll in Simón’s autobiographical debut – particularly for those who grew up somewhere less sunny than Catalonia – but Summer 1993 is, at its core, a sad, potentially tragic tale of emotional survival. It meanders. It ends almost randomly. But the truth of its emotions sticks in the mind. 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

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

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