Four new films to stream this week

The 8th, Army of the Dead, State Funeral, My New York Year

The 8th

The 8th

 

THE 8TH ★★★★★
Directed by Aideen Kane, Lucy Kennedy, Maeve O’Boyle. Featuring Ailbhe Smyth, Andrea Horan, Ivana Bacik, Wendy Grace, Una Mullally, John McGurk. Video on demand, 94 min
One could be forgiven for believing enough had already been said and written about the repeal of the Eighth Amendment. But the folk behind this moving documentary have done an impressive job of proving otherwise. The famously fierce campaign provides the film with its larger structure. We meet experienced troopers and curious new recruits. We end with the celebrations in Dublin Castle. But The 8th is also invaluable for its treatment of the Irish State’s unhappy engagement (or lack of engagement) with reproductive rights over the past 40 years. Absolutely essential. Full review DC

ARMY OF THE DEAD ★★★☆☆
Directed by Zack Snyder. Starring Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer. Netflix, 148 min

Army of the Dead
Army of the Dead

Entertaining romp concerning a group of crazy guys and gals attempting to rob a Vegas casino during zombie infestation. The actors work hard at making us care about characters whose dialogue plays as if composed from a William S Burroughs cut-up of action movie cliches. They are assisted by an endlessly inventive special-effects sequences that never gouge an eyeball when an entire head can be crushed into porridge. Working with the Netflix charge card, Snyder has a ball proving that trash can triumph on the largest stage. It’s Escape from Oceans 11 of the Dead. Full review DC

STATE FUNERAL ★★★★☆
Directed by Sergey Loznitsa. Featuring Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev, Lavrenti Beria. Mubi, 135 min

State Funeral
State Funeral

In common with the Soviet Union it depicts, State Funeral is simultaneously a Rorschach test and an enormous 11-time zone undertaking: a found footage documentary that captures life in thrilling, painstaking detail in the hours and days after Stalin’s death. Whatever Ukrainian director Loznitsa’s intentions, an extraterrestrial with no prior knowledge might watch and marvel at the rituals of the titular event specifically and death generally. Wreaths are laid. Crowds converge. A fascinating and invaluable document for all of its considerable run time. Full review TB

MY NEW YORK YEAR ★★☆☆☆
Directed by Philippe Falardeau. Starring Margaret Qualley, Sigourney Weaver, Douglas Booth, Seána Kerslake , Brían F O’Byrne, Colm Feore, Théodore Pellerin. Video on demand, 101 min

Sigourney Weaver and Margaret Qualley in My New York Year
Sigourney Weaver and Margaret Qualley in My New York Year

Joanna Rakoff’s 2014 memoir of working for a New York literary agency has been characterised as The Devil Wears Prada of publishing, and as if to prove the point, this lacklustre adaptation drafts in both up-and-coming Qualley and the formidable Weaver to play half-written bookworm versions of Hathaway and Streep. Falardeau, who directed the wonderful Monsieur Lazhar, draws considerable pathos from Weaver’s literary agent and her complicated domestic arrangements, but Qualley’s heroine is so limply drawn that one keeps forgetting that she’s on screen. Full review TB

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