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Best & Worst – Ranking Ireland’s Cinema Releases from February 2015

BestSide

After a stellar February, things really did slow down in February. Nevertheless, we still found a few worthwhile cinematic adventures…

Note: This list is by no means complete, we’re only rankin’ wot we seez. 

Note 2: Where two films get the same rating they’re ranked alphabetically



Citizenfour

Paranoid Android – ★★★★★

So yes, this actually came out on a very brief, limited release last autumn but a re-release in the Light House Cinema and a broadcast on Channel 4 means it sneaks to the top of the pile.  This is the story of Edward Snowden’s ascent to being one of the most famous men in the world as he reveals his hand to film-maker in a Hong Kong hotel room. It’s relatable, intriguing and terrifying. (Nigel)



It Follows

Scary STDs – ★★★★

You have sex with someone “infected” and you, and only you, then see creepy dead folk who are following you and trying to kill you.

REVIEW (Nigel)



Love is Strange

★★★★

Ira Sachs’ film tells the story of two gay New York men approaching retirement who have to move out of their apartment and into separate digs with family and friends.

The film manages that tough balance between touching, funny and dramatic, with a feel that the story could very well be adapted for the stage and retain all its charm. John Lithgow and Alfred Molina play Ben and George, and both bring some of the best work of their career. Molina in particular is superb and reminds you that he’s so much more than “that guy who played Doc Ock a while back”. (Nigel)



Patrick’s Day

Eternal Sunshine – ★★★★

If you have ever had anything to do with the mental health institutions and processes that exist in Ireland then these will make for very tough viewing.

REVIEW (Nigel)



Jupiter Ascending

Flawed Family Fantasy – ★★★

The Wachowskis make films that are unlike anything else being done by someone with $100million to make a film and while there are some serious flaws here, it’s still an honourable, shamelessly enjoyable, fantasy family film.

REVIEW (Nigel)



The Duke of Burgundy

★★★

The most sensual/erotic/sexy film in many a year. Well so a bunch a men would have you believe as at the point of typing I can’t find one review of this film written by a woman. It is always dubious when a man, in this case Peter Strickland, directs what they deem to be a woman’s sexual fantasy.

In The Duke of Burgundy we have an examination of the relationship between Cynthia (Sidse Babett Knudsen) and Eveyln (Chiara D’Anna) and how one maintains the spark in a sado-masochistic lesbian relationship. Eveyln leaves a series of instructions for Cynthia to carry out covering a broad spectrum of humiliation. Much humour comes from the tedium Cynthia feels at carrying out the same rituals and sheer bizarreness of the relationship.

It wouldn’t be a Strickland film without a keen eye for detail and attention to his source influences:1970s European softcore movies and the film most certainly looks the part. One imagines the film is devoid of any men to deflect any cries of exploitation that met Blue is the Warmest Colour a few years ago.

The way lesbians are portrayed in pornography is in the majority of cases a male perceived fantasy. While 50 Shades of Grey took a lot of flack for condoning (or encouraging) violence towards women, I would argue that The Duke of Burgundy merely perpetuates a series of silly stereotypes. (Páraic)



The Interview

★★½

Would as many people have seen The Interview if there wasn’t a hullabaloo about cyber terror threats from North Korea? Certainly not. Does the film warrant a viewing? Sure, if there isn’t anything else showing.

James Franco and Seth Rogen walk once more down their well trodden road of bromance, homosexual innuendo and offending pretty much everyone along the way for good measure. Franco presents a “news” programme which Rogen joylessly produces but they get the chance at redeeming themselves when offered to interview Kim Jong Un. The pair set off to North Korea for the interview tasked with the mission of assassinating Kim Jong Un under the guidance of the C.I.A.

As with all their movies, it’s at least thirty minutes too long and most of the laughs come from the interviews at the beginning, Eminem’s being the highlight. The film and its jokes rely too heavily on the premise that Franco is gay for Rogen. Time to change the record fellas. (Páraic)



Shaun the Sheep The Movie

★★½

The cute Aardman Animations creation has his first big screen outing in the imaginatively titled “Shaun the Sheep the Movie”. Students, young children and parents will all be familiar with the stop motion sheep and his escapades around the farm. For this excursion Shaun and the flock must venture into town in search of the farmer who’s disappeared leaving the farm to go to hell in a handbasket under the lazy eyes of the pigs.

So what follows is 80 or so minutes of non speaking Tomfoolery akin to the humour of “Carry On” films or Norman Wisdom. While perfectly palatable in the small doses Shaun appears on our television screens, here in his woollier form the jokes don’t quite endure or have nearly the intelligence of Aardman’s previous outings. (Páraic)



Blackhat

★★

How sad to say that Michael Mann’s latest is so forgettable. The man who brought us Manhunter, Last of the Mohicans, Heat and Collateral has instead delivered a very formulaic, genre thriller about cybercrime.

The story travels all around the globe from L.A. to Jakarta and also takes times to pay tribute to every hacker film by literally delving into the internet, zipping through ethernet cables and bluetooth signals. Thor aka Kim from Home & Away aka Chris Hemsworth is perfectly fine, but it’s pretty fine to believe him as a convicted coding genius.

Flashes of brilliance in some of the chase sequences show that Mann still has an eye for a great shot but he needs to have higher standards that the script from first-time writer Morgan Davis Foehl. (Nigel)

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