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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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2016 was a weird year for cinema goers. With action-packed blockbusters crashing at the box office and long-awaited sequels falling seriously flat with both critics and fans alike, it seemed as if the smaller, more indie and low-key pieces of cinema would finally get the public acknowledgement they deserved. This did, for the most part, come true with critical darlings such as Hunt for the Wilderpeople, The Witch, Manchester by the Sea and Hell or High Water becoming commercial hits as well as serious award contenders. Although positive steps have been made, there seemed to be an uncontrollable level of noise in 2016 (whether it be as a result of buzz or critical backlash!), which resulted in other genuinely brilliant movies going unheard. As such, we here at Film In Dublin have decided to fly the flag and lend a voice to those brilliant films that you may have missed in 2016.

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