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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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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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Director: Tomas Alfredson Starring: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, J.K. Simmons, Toby Jones, Val Kilmer Running time: 119 mins


Nordic noir is something that Hollywood has been trying to crack for many years. Although movies, novels and TV shows on this side of the pond have slashed their way to nordic noir notoriety, Hollywood’s attempts to produce this type of dark, urban-based crime fiction hasn’t produced many results.

Expectations were high, however, when news broke of The Snowman; a Jo Nesbø novel adaptation directed by Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy director Tomas Alfredson, starring Michael Fassbender and produced by none other than Martin Scorsese. On paper The Snowman should be a masterpiece. In reality, it couldn’t be further from one.

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Director: David Lowry Starring: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara Runtime: 87 minutes


A Ghost Story plunges the depths of themes that most filmmakers have devoted their careers to exploring. The ambition and quiet confidence with which it delves into issues such as life, death, memory and time is, quite simply, something to be marvelled at and revered. While it may challenge some movie-goers, director David Lowry (Ain’t Them Bodies SaintsPete’s Dragon) has created a film that rewards those who are willing to listen and understand what it endeavours to explore: the enduring and resolute spirit of love in the face of significant loss. Make no mistake, A Ghost Story is 2017’s greatest film. Read more…

Director: Michael Showalter Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Ray Romano, Holly Hunter, Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant Producer: Judd Apatow Runtime: 124 minutes


The whole ‘Boy meets Girl’ shtick seems to have become a staple of Judd Apatow’s career. Usually concerning themselves with a funny American layabout and his/her sudden brush with romance, these films mix situational comedy with some dramatic elements in order to offer a modern spin on the ‘Rom-Com’ experience. However, while Apatow’s name is attached, this is very much Kumail Nanjiani’s film. As such, The Big Sick doesn’t just follow this formula, it improves on it as it demonstrates a high-standard of comedy mixed with some impressive writing to boot, making this Rom-Com one of the funniest and best films of the year.

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Starring: Jay Baruchel, Eoin O’Callaghan Director: Michael McNamara Runtime: 83 minutes


Celtic Soul is a documentary feature which follows Canadian comedian Jay Baruchel (Tropic Thunder, Man Seeking Woman, This Is The End) and Irish football journalist Eoin O’Callaghan on their journey to visit ‘Paradise’ – the home of Celtic Football Club. On their travels, they stop along the way to unearth Baruchel’s Irish roots, marvel at the scenery and soak up Scottish and Irish culture, all before taking in a game at Celtic Park.

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Director: Aisling Walsh Starring: Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke, Kari Matchett Runtime: 116 minutes


What you notice straight away about Maudie isn’t it’s main character, but its setting. Based and shot in Nova Scotia, Canada, our story enfolds amidst the crashing of waves, the howling of winds and the bitter cold breezes that role off of the Atlantic. “There’s a kind of bleakness in that landscape”, says director Aisling Walsh, “it’s very much like the west of Ireland”. However, just like our stunning western shores, there is a haunting and harsh beauty to be found amongst it all, full of colours that can range from sullen to vibrant and vistas that survey both normal, everyday life and the various marvels of the landscape. It is, in many ways, the perfect setting for a story like Maudie, about a couple’s turbulent journey to finding happiness.

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Director: Bong Joon-ho Starring: Ahn Seo-hyun, Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Jake Gyllenhall, Steven Yeun Running Time: 120 minutes


As the medium of film is explored further and further, filmmakers are discovering new and innovative ways to tell the stories that they want to tell. As a result, larger and more complex themes can be explored in 90-120 minute segments at a level that was never thought possible. Over the past few years, science fiction and animation have been able to tell us more about our humanity and morality than most other genres: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Pixar’s Up explored what it meant to be lonely, Wall-E offered a glimpse into the trajectory and repercussions of modern western lifestyles, District 9 explored social stratification under the facade of an action movie, and 2001: A Space Odyssey explored mankind itself… period! Taking all of this into account, it shouldn’t really surprise you to know that Bong Joon-Ho’s (The Host, Snowpiercer) newest movie Okja revolves around a giant, mutant, grey pig, yet tackles such themes as consumerism, capitalism and greed. What will surprise you, however, is just how spectacularly beautiful the movie is.

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Director: John Madden Starring: Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw Running Time: 132 minutes


 

In John Madden’s Miss Sloane, the determined and ruthless D.C. lobbyist Madeline Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is treated with a blend of fear and respect by all those around her. After being asked to support a pro-gun group in their fierce opposition of a new bipartisan bill which would see stricter gun control laws imposed on those purchasing firearms, Sloane decides to leave her prestigious lobbying firm behind to join the much smaller and significantly less powerful firm run by Rodolfo Schmidt (Mark Strong) and pass the new bill through the Senate. However, Sloane soon realises the depths to which both her and her opponents must sink in order to get what they want.

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