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Director: Marie Monge Starring: Stacy Martin, Tahar Rahim Running Time: 105 minutes


It’s common practice for films in France to have very different titles in their native tongue than in the translated English. Marie Monge’s Treat Me Like Fire goes by the more straightforward Joueurs (“Players”) when shown at home, as it was during last year’s Cannes Film Festival. They seem like very different names at a glance but both ultimately have the same energy; Treat Me Like Fire a Lana Del Rey-ven cigarette exhale on the film’s story of burning, fleeting, dangerous romance, while “Players” is more Stevie Nicks to the ears, an indication not just of the film’s gambling content but of the general circumstances under which players will love you.

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Director: Wanuri Kahiu Starring: Samantha Mugatsia, Sheila Munyiva Running Time: 82 minutes


One of 2018’s more underseen and personable films in a collection of new romantic comedies was Love Simon , a queer teen romance that managed to jog where other films had once walked, allowing itself to focus funly, freely and  matter-of-factly on the romance of its gay lead in a setting where other obstacles where pointedly settled. Wanuri Kahiu’s story of queer African adolescence deserves plenty of props for following in that vein as much as it can, focusing on the falling stage of two young Kenyan girls’ romance in spite of and beyond the very real national contextRafiki is a delicate but vibrant love story, a smile that can’t help breaking out.

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The announcements are starting to roll in for the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2019 and frankly there might not be many more exciting that the news that comedy classic The Muppet Movie is going to be screening all over the fair city of film this February, as part of VMDIFF19’s Fantastic Flix programme.

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Director: Christopher McQuarrie Starring: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Sean Harris, Vanessa Kirby, Angela Bassett, Alec Baldwin Running Time: 147 minutes


A preface: When Tom Cruise found out that a member of the Spielberg family was seeing a psychiatrist, he had faithful Scientologist acolytes, who hate psychiatry, picket the doctor at their home. Scientologists assigned the actress (and member) Nazanin Boniadi to be Cruise’s new girlfriend post Penelope Cruz, pre-Katie Holmes, dumped her for a perceived sleight to Scientology honcho David Miscavige and when Boniadi expressed her disappointment, the church punished her with months of menial labour, digging ditches and cleaning toilets with a toothbrush. He publicly criticised Brooke Shields for using anti-depressants when she had post-partum depression. He had Nicole Kidman’s phone tapped, and after divorcing Kidman (whom Scientology never approved of because her father was a well-known psychologist back in Australia), Cruise turned their two children against her with the help of the church, to the point that they now call her a ‘Suppressive Person’ and Kidman doesn’t count the two when thanking her children in speeches…it’s just worth keeping in mind sometimes that Cruise is a highly-wound maniac in deep with a cult that manipulates and abuses members and neglects children, before launching into effuse praise of his work. It might well be the intense ethic that Scientology has developed in Cruise, or his eagerness to have people forget his off-putting mid-00s energy, that sees him so heavily devoted to making the Mission: Impossible series go from strength-to-stength as one of Hollywood’s most innovative action franchise. The latest installment Fallout, breaks new ground for the series, pushing it to the most berserk heights yet. Really berserk.

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Director: Andrew Haigh Starring: Charlie Plummer, Steve Buscemi, Travis Fimmel, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Zahn Runtime: 121 Minutes

Lean On Pete is one of those rare films that values authenticity over sentimentality. No Hollywood sheen tints the lens. No overstated points on rural America’s current economic climate are made. No faux sense of understanding for the countryside’s cuts and bruises is offered up. Instead, Lean On Pete uses an understated approach, opting for honest storytelling over cheap mawkishness. The characters that occupy this land and the stories they tell are important to the filmmakers, yet nothing is ever overly dramatic or artificial.

It is here that we are introduced to Charley Thompson (Plummer); a young boy who traverses the blistering Oregon deserts to find his last known relative living thousands of miles away. Accompanying Charley on his journey is Lean On Pete, a failing racehorse who Charley forms a great bond with after securing a summer job in a local stables. Although it seems like a simple story on the outside, Lean On Pete is told with wonderful tenderness, compassion and sincerity, making for one of the most devastatingly beautiful movies of 2018.

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Established in 1999 by Tomm Moore, Nora Twomey and Paul Young, Kilkenny-based studio Cartoon Saloon has released exactly 3 feature length films. All 3 have received Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature Film.

If you get the chance to see The Breadwinner, a poignant and uplifting exploration of a young girl’s life growing up under the Taliban in Afghanistan, you’re likely to understand why.

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Director: David Freyne Starring: Ellen Page, Sam Keeley, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor Running Time: 96 minutes

The Cured picks up where most zombie movies end. Society has reintroduced some degree of normality. Hordes of ravenous undead have stopped terrorising the streets. People are beginning to feel safe in their own homes again. However, as communities begin rebuilding themselves, once infected citizens, now cured of their insatiable appetites, are re-introduced back onto the streets, much to the outrage and disdain of the masses. It is in this setting – the aftermath of the bloodshed – that The Cured chooses to tell its story, a story less concerned with jumping out from behind corners to scare you than it is with burrowing deep within your conscious and challenging you.

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Director: Lance Daly Starring: Hugo Weaving, James Frecheville, Stephen Rea, Freddy Fox, Barry Keoghan, Moe Dunford, Jim Broadbent Running Time: 96 minutes


For an event that had such a profound impact on the course of Irish history, the great tragedy and injustice from which Ireland’s entire subsequent history as a nation sprang forth from, it’s surprising that the Famine hasn’t found its story told on cinema screens, particularly Irish ones, more often. Director Lance Daly takes that task on in Black 47, last week’s Opening Gala of the 2018 Dublin International Film Festival. His approach is perhaps unexpected considering the subject matter, the film being a roaring rampage of revenge, internalising the anger and injustice of the Famine into one man’s quest for vengeance. Prestigous? No. But undoubtedly compelling.

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Director: Faith Akin Starring: Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto, Samia Chancrin Running Time: 106 minutes

In The Fade has a lot to offer its audience: a strong central performance from Diane Kruger, a moving story and compelling characters. Yet the film still lacks the power to stay with you once the credits roll. While easy to chew on throughout its reasonable runtime, director Faith Akin’s recent feature leaves you craving something a little more substantial.

The film, which won best foreign language feature at this year’s Golden Globes, tells the story of Katja (Diane Kruger), a German woman confronted with the tragic death of her husband and son following a terrorist attack. When suspects are discovered and brought to court, Katja battles with her need to exact revenge on the people who took her world from her. Should she leave the judicial system to their ways? Or, should she take matters into her own hands?

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