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Best & Worst – Ranking Ireland’s cinema releases from September 2015

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Here’s a rundown of what we saw in the last month with whoever reviews it getting the right to bestow a star rating. (NW or PMcG)

More talk on all these in the latest Podcast – #35

Note: This list is of course by no means complete, we’re only rankin’ wot we seez. Where two films get the same rating they’re ranked alphabetically. NW denotes a Nigel review, PMcG is written by Páraic.

older than ireland

Older Than Ireland

★★★★ (Guest Review, rating endorsed by NW & PMcG)

Older than Ireland is more than an enjoyable trip down memory lane, it is an important historical record as well as an investigation into Irishness itself. It not only immortalises the memories of Ireland’s oldest citizens, it also gives us an insight into their current daily and weekly routines.
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Ricky (Meryl Streep) performs at the Salt Well in TriStar Pictures' RICKI AND THE FLASH.

Ricki and the Flash

It’s a family affair – ★★★★ (NW)

As the old adage says, the light and fluffy story won’t be for everyone but if you see this film in the right mood and setting, it’s hard not to fall under its spell.
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the martian

The Martian

Get busy living – ★★★★ (PMcG)

While there are three settings and a myriad of characters it’s Damon’s film, he must convince us to root for a scientist who it would appear has no children or a wife at home that he’s trying to get back to. He simply wants to live and through science and ingenuity tries his best to stay alive.
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The Visit

★★★½ (PMcG)

M. Night Shyamalan returns to horror and shaky camera horror at that with his new offering The Visit. When two grandchildren go off to see their estranged grandparents, things aren’t what they seem making the children wonder what is wrong with Nana and Pop pops. It has enough jumps and clever delivery with a believable old fashioned twist. Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould are superb as the children with Ed giving the film much of it’s intentional humour. Hopefully this is the start of M. Night’s return to form.

 

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

The AV Club – ★★★½ (PMcG)

While it may not be a classic like The Breakfast Club and falling just short of the not too distant gem The Perks of Being A Wallflower, it’s safe to say this generation of teens are in safe hands.
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Miss You Already

★★★½ (NW)

Director Catherine Hardwicke might be known to you from 2003’s Thirteen or the first Twilight movie. With Miss You Already, you grows up a little bit more and shares a story made by women, for women, about an enduring friendship between two friends as they go from childhood into a middle-age of drama and crisis. The two women in question are Milly (Toni Collette) and Jess (Drew Barrymore), who meet in primary school in England and end up with Kit (Dominic Cooper) and Jago (Paddy Considine) respectively. Milly is a PR executive whose appearance is everything, while Jess is a bit more, eh, “earthy” and lives on a boat. It’s all pretty so-so predictable until Milly gets breast-cancer, it’s then that you feel the soul of the film rear its head as we see how the disease can affect a relationship and family.

The flimsy marketing for the film didn’t do it justice as, while it has some light and silly moments, it’s also a deeply affecting drama unafraid of showing something like a double mastectomy or the stark reality of facing into palliative care. Toni Collette is the star of the show here with one of the finest performances from a female lead you’ll see this year.

 

Everest

★★★ (NW)

Directed by Iceland’s Baltasar Kormákur (2 Guns), Everest tells the story of the real-life expedition up to Mount Everest’s summit in May 1996 as Rob Hall, played by Jason Clarke, and Scott Fischer, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, lead two groups of mountaineers. At the time adventuring was starting to become commercialised, but still relatively unregulated. With too many teams trying to climb the mountain Rob and Scott figure there is strength in numbers and decide to team up. Their combined troop is made up of people like journalists, a mailman who has received donations from the local school, an adrenaline junkie doctor and a Japanese businesswoman who had climbed six of the world’s biggest summits and was out to complete the set.

The sheer amount of people who we’re meant to follow makes the film a little hard to keep on top of. When you add in the intense 3D extreme weather, all the snow googles and giant coats, you end up thinking… wait now, is that Rob? Where’s Scott? There will also be some frustration in the script’s choices of heroes. Josh Brolin’s Beck Weathers is deified and yet he comes across as a big Texan asshole.

An enjoyable, visually grabbing adventure that is let down by a slightly frustrating story.

 

Dope

★★½ (PMcG)

Shameik Moore plays Malcolm a 90s wannabe nerd who is trying to keep his nose clean despite coming from the wrong side of the track. He inadvertently ends up with a lot of drugs that were stashed in his bag and must sell them on or risk loosing his life. The film is told as a college entry essay not unlike this month’s Me Earl and the Dying Girl. It has plenty of laughs but there are too many asides which cause the film to lose momentum. Tony Revolori who fans will recognise from The Grand Budapest Hotel and Kiersey Clemons round out the trio into a believable tight knit bunch of friends. While it deals with tough real life dilemmas it all seems a tad too clean cut coming across as Carlton’s Day Off.

 

Legend

★★ (PMcG)

Tom Hardy can’t act and here he does it twice. That’s unfair he does put in a good performance as the less psychotic of the two brothers but resorts to caricatures for the more insane of the two. We hear it all from Frances’s (Emily Browning) point of view as she regales us with tales of how she was swept off her feet by Reggie and how at heart he was a real softie. The film devolves into the usual British gangster fair and at over two hours feels like it should be seen on ITV over the course of two nights. The aim is to have the film as a love story between Reggie and Frances somehow trying to make us feel some sympathy for a murdering, rapist, thug. Fat chance.

 

Life

Talking Pictures – ★★ (PMcG)

The whole thing feels like two awkward men who happened to have bumped into each other at a party being forced to socialise, with nothing in common.
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No Escape

I’m not a racist but… – ★ (PMcG)

The director John Erick Dowdle’s ridiculous over use of slow motion at all the wrong times in all the wrong places makes you want to scratch your eyeballs with a rusty compass. He puts on display a barrage of gruesome acts to show just what these Asian savages are capable of doing. When you think he may have let one Asian have a redeeming feature a band of mercenaries is just around the corner to cut you head off with a machete and rape your wife and child.
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Nigel

Nigel loves stupid films almost as much as he likes clever films. He'll watch anything but is usually drawn to documentaries, North American independent films, Irish cinema and gung-ho, balls-to-the-walls Hollywood blockbusters. Here's what he's been watching.

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