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Director: James Franco, Starring: James Franco, Dave Franco Running Time: 105 minutes


To know exactly how The Disaster Artist approaches its subject, know this. The film opens with a slew of Hollywood celebrities earnestly describing their love of The Room, the titular disaster, and closes with praise for the phenomenon that the film and its artist, Tommy Wiseau have become. Captions and real footage show Wiseau in attendance at some of the many midnight screenings that have transformed his terrible film from being an LA inside joke to the central story of a genuine Oscar contender, a feel-good wrap-up of an unlikely success story. It’s hard not to see a bit of self-back-patting at the heart of this endeavour. King of the so-bad-its-good films, the appeal of The Room is that it’s a genuine attempt at creating art and exploring human emotions from a man who seemingly understands neither art nor human emotions, nor human anything for that matter. A film that is just off in every way imaginable, provoking equal parts hilarity, revulsion and perverse curiosity. The appeal of The Disaster Artist is The Room. James Franco’s love of the cult film comes through and is sure to get laughs from fellow fans, inspiring a few more along the way, as he takes on the Tommy persona impressively and recreates the best-worst scenes. However, there are depths to this bottom-of-the-barrel that he is not so interested in delving into, preferring a level of insight that never reaches much higher than sketch comedy.

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It’s a little bit chilly out there as we step into December, isn’t it? For those dreaming of sand and surf rather than snow and…sludge, the Irish Film Institute will be hosting a trio of documentaries this weekend about surfing, in Ireland and abroad. They’ll be looking at the Mavericks who live among the waves in these interesting docs, including previous successes screened at the IFI this year as well as a new Irish premiere.

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Director: George Clooney Starring: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac, Noah Jupe Runtime: 105 minutes

Amongst the white picket fences and pristinely mowed lawns of 1950’s American suburbia, director George Clooney sets the scene for his new comedy noir, Suburbicon. Originally penned (and subsequently shelved) by the Coen Brothers in 1986, the movie found new life in the hands of Clooney and long-time writing partner Grant Heslov. After years on the shelf, the film has finally reached our screens with the same wicked sense of humour we have come to expect from the Coen Brothers throughout the years. Just like the titular town itself, there are a few cracks in the foundation of Suburbicon but not nearly enough to sink what is a watchable, surreal and funny film.

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Director: Sean Baker  Starring: Brooklyn Prince, Bria Vinaite, Willem Dafoe, Christopher Rivera, Caleb Landry Jones  Runtime: 115 Minutes

For decades, Disney World Florida has served as a cornerstone of childhoods and imaginations across the globe. Every year millions of visitors flood its ticket booths in search of the infamous “magic” that Disney has to offer. Within the park’s walls, guests are welcomed to a world unlike their own: castles stretch to dizzying heights, magnificent firework displays light up the night sky, and fairytales come to life before your very eyes.

Beyond its boundaries, however, the same magic and wonder is harder to find. In the theme park’s shadows, strip malls, run-down hotels and sun-drenched swampland stretch for miles. The families in the encompassing areas struggle to hold onto what little they have. It is in this economic wasteland that the modern face of homelessness shows itself. Families move desperately from hotel to hotel in search of permanent accommodation. Rising rents determine what little luxuries they can afford. Jobs are hard to come by.

It is this world, however, that 6-year old Moonee and her friends embrace as their own private wonderland. On the margins of Disneyland and, indeed, of life, the young children search for magic around every corner, oblivious to the harsh reality of their circumstances.

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Dublin’s Kinopolis Polish Film Festival, which first launched back in 2006, has spent years promoting and celebrating Polish cinema in Ireland. The festival aims to spotlight the lives and culture of one of the largest minorities living on the island – through their films. The festival will be returning to the Irish Film Institute from December 7th – 10th, and the full programme for the festival has been announced now.

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Director: Paul King Starring: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Boneville, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Grant, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Walters Running Time: 103 minutes


Perhaps one of the reasons that critics respond so heartily to the Paddington films is because of what they’re not as much as what they are. Seeing the trailers for children’s films before the feature begins, it’s a breath of fresh air to see just how earnest Paddington Bear is, how little he dances to the latest pop hits, how not-voiced-by-James-Corden he is. An actual effort to celebrate the charming work of Michael Bond, to whom this sequel is dedicated after he passed away this June, shines through in this film; without delving too far into cliche it presents a world of wonder, one that looks increasingly appealing where most kid’s film follow ups double down into a cynical cash-grab.

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With the lights up in the city and holiday films on our cinema screens, Christmas season has well and truly arrived this year to the fair city of film, and in December an all-time family favourite will be playing at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre with live music to accompany some timeless animation.

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Director: Dawn Porter Running Time: 81 minutes


The theme of the 2017 Dublin Feminist Film Festival is ‘FeministFutures’, films that ask questions about future generations of women, not just related to science and technology, but also on the challenges facing women moving forward and subjects worth considering as things change for women in Ireland and elsewhere. The 2016 documentary Trapped makes for an excellent choice for an opener to the festival in this regard, depicting an urgent reality for women in the United States that has only continued in importance in the face of the considerable political changes in that country since the film’s release. For viewers in Ireland, the film makes for vital viewing as well, delivering the important message that no matter what happens next year with regards to repealing the 8th Amendment, the job of fighting for reproductive rights for women won’t be finished. Those who look to control and restrict the bodily rights of women will not go away.

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Director: Zack Synder  Starring: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Erza Miller, Ray Fisher, J.K. Simmons, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Ciarán Hinds  Runtime: 121 Minutes


It’s fair to say that efforts to launch the DC Extended Universe have not worked out as planned. Man Of Steel, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice Suicide Squad, while all performing well at the box office, met their true foes in the form of film critics and DC fans across the globe. In an effort to keep up with Marvel’s ever-expanding superhero franchise, a litany of errors were made on DC and Warner Brothers’ parts including rushed production schedules, casting mistakes and extensively edited final products.

Despite the turbulence, we have finally reached our destination as the world prepares for Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, The Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman to come together for the first time on the big screen. However, while fans may rejoice at the prospect, Justice League is yet another weak addition to the DCEU, one that can neither improve on the cinematic universe that was built around it nor go as far as to justify its existence. We may have reached our destination, but was it all worth it?

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