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

Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in Mission:Impossible –  Fallout

Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in Mission:Impossible – Fallout

 

APOSTASY ★★★★★
Directed by Dan Kokotajlo. Starring Siobhan Finneran, Molly Wright, Robert Emms, Sacha Parkinson, Steve Evets, Bronwyn James 12A cert, lim release, 95 min
The excellent Finneran plays Ivanna, a council employee who has raised two adult daughters within the Jehovah Witnesses. Luisa (Parkinson) is showing signs of deviation from the elders’ strict regulations. Alex (Wright), who has a form of anaemia and feels guilt after inadvertently receiving a transfusion, has learned Urdu to aid her evangelising in that community. What follows is a tense, focused drama that at times takes on the quality of psychological horror. A singular British film. DC

THE APPARITION/L’APPARITION ★★★
Directed by Xavier Giannoli. Starring Vincent Lindon, Galatéa Bellugi, Patrick d’Assumçao, Anatole Taubman, Elina Lowensohn. Club, lim release, 137 min
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

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
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

FIRST REFORMED ★★★★
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

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

HEREDITARY ★★★★★
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

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: A MONSTER VACATION ★★★
Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky. Voices of Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez , Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Mel Brooks. G cert, gen release, 97 min
By the time you read this, this third instalment of this monstrously successful trilogy will be tipping the franchise toward the $1 billion mark; not bad for a film where the best joke is: “He’s the mummy but you’re the one in De Nile.” Vampirologists may quibble about Dracula (Sandler) and his daughter (Gomez), crossing water and sunbathing without a care in the world, but the film is, for better or worse, every bit as good as its predecessors. Darker references – the Bermuda Triangle, the Chupacabra, and a cruise ship that looks like the Titanic – are swiftly brushed aside so that all-age shenanigans can resume. Even watched beside various incarnations of the Addams and the Munsters, this remains the most family-friendly and proudly silly of all the monster dynasties. TB

THE INCREDIBLES 2 ★★★★
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

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

MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN ★★★
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
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

MAURICE ★★★★
Directed by James Ivory. Starring James Whilby, Hugh Grant, Rupert Graves, Denholm Elliott, Simon Callow, Billie Whitelaw, Barry Foster, Judy Parfitt, Ben Kingsley. Club, lim release, 140 min
Welcome reissues of Ivory’s fine take on the long-suppressed “gay novel” by EM Forster. The picture follows its well-off title character (Wilby) as he makes his way from public school to Cambridge, where he is forced to confront his sexuality. Graves plays the main love interest. The long, slow rise of Hugh Grant took another lurch forward with his turn as a more cautious university friend. The story is thin, but the production values compensate. DC

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT ★★★
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie. Starring Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Angela Bassett, Alec Baldwin, Michelle Monaghan, Sean Harris, Wes Bentley. 12A cert, gen release, 147 min
Cruise’s Ethan Hunt tracks down missing plutonium. Fallout fairly froths over with terrific, clattering violence that – staged with as little CGI as possible – makes competing summer flicks such as Skyscraper feel like clouds of generic software. The tile-crunching fight in a Parisian bathroom is better even than the loo bust-up in the opening of Casino Royale. For all that, you couldn’t say it has anything like a plot. And Cruise looks increasingly odd. 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

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

SKYSCRAPER ★★
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

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

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