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Director: Travis Knight Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr. Running Time: 114 minutes


For over a decade, the Michael Bay-inflicted Transformers movies have been a force for evil in the film world, a miserable exercise in corporate-asset churnery, a film series propelled by millions of dollars but decimal points of inspiration, a world-view that seemingly looked up to the US military and down on absolutely everyone else. First Shia Labeouf, and later Mark Wahlburg, the eejit ids of everything these films stand for (which is to say, nothing), ran and yelled and gawped through a swampy succession of increasingly convoluted and visually overwhelming CGI, and most any of the many watched it got nothing from it at all except for their hearts to be hardened, left for hours to stew in their own cynicism when faced with stupidity and sneers writ large in IMAX 3D; lazy mean-spiritedness blown up to overwhelming size. Merely not being that makes Bumblebee more than a breath of fresh air. It’s more a vital grasp of any air, wonderful oxygen gulped into screaming, scratched lungs that have been poisoned something noxious. On its own merits though, Bumblebee with its spirit, its optimism, and its creative enthusiasm, storms far, far ahead of everything else in the series so far, less a spin-off than a strike-out, a knock-out blow to its inferior predecessors, floating and stinging like, well you know.

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Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, John Mulaney, Nicolas Cage, Liev Schreiber Running Time: 117 minutes


The suggestion that we have hit a saturation point with superhero movies has become an increasingly pointless gesture in film criticism. One might as well say that Hollywood has hit a saturation point with making money, and the idea has always carried a degree of ignorance, or arrogance; a dismissive view of a form of storytelling whose domination of the comic book medium is closer to reaching a century than a saturation. The people are here for superhero movies, and the future for the genre isn’t to die out but to make sure they speak to all the people; growing and changing and embracing the vast potential of the medium to show superheroes, their powers and their capacity for good in exciting new ways. Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse does all this and more, with a confidence, enthusiasm and joy, all of which put it firmly in the conversation for best superhero movie of the year.

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Director: Paul Feig Starring: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding Running Time: 117 minutes


A Simple Favour is being billed as coming “from the darker side of Paul Feig”, the man behind films like Bridesmaids, Spy and Ghostbusters; comedies with a reliance on improv and a focus on women. And while his latest film certainly is further along the Dulux spectrum than those titles, A Simple Favour is still a comfortable step just inside the comfort zone for Feig; a sexy thriller that gets how inherently silly it can be to be sexy, or thrilling. That might sound like a criticism, but it’s key to the film’s charm. It’s a combination of thriller and comedy, but rather than feeling like Feig resting on his laurels it has a refreshing feel, riffing on the genre but never thinking its above it. The result, similarly to Spy, is a pleasant surprise.

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Director: Peter Berg Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Iko Uwais, Lauren Cohan, John Malkovich Running Time: 94 minutes


When revealing his daily routine recently on social media, Mark Wahlberg was very comprehensive. After waking at 2.30 in the morning, after getting some prayer in, Wahlberg spends hours upon hours working out in the gym, stopping only in order to consume a mid-sized lakes worth of protein, the better to enable even more working out. Sometimes he goes to the golf course. Presumably for time management reasons, he has members of his entourage driving turkey meatballs into his mouth while he plays. Wahlberg works tirelessly to turn himself into a flawless  specimen, so it would be understandable if it stuck in the man’s craw just a little that after all that he isn’t as physically impressive as Mile 22 co-star Iko Uwais, the ass-kicking Indonesian of The Raid movies. Wahlberg is front and centre on the many Mile 22 posters around Dublin at the moment, but the storytelling and the physical facts really say that Uwais should be the focus here, and we might well have gotten a better movie if he were.

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Director: Peter Rida Michail, Aaron Horvath Starring: Scott Menville, Greg Cipes, Tara Strong, Khary Payton, Hynden Walch, Will Arnett, Kristen Bell, Nicholas Cage Running Time: 88 minutes


You’re not a real superhero until you get your own movie. In the time since this big screen adaptation of the Cartoon Network series Teen Titans Go! was being written many dozens more superhero TV series and movies have been announced, not least because the DC Universe is getting its own streaming service. We all know the market is flooded, but in the middle of that flood saving the day, or possibly yelling “cannonball!” and jumping right in is Teen Titans! Go to the Movies, a self-aware sugar rush that shows superheroes don’t have to be “mature” to be fun, a lesson DC could learn even about these same characters.

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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: Brad Bird Starring: Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Samuel Jackson, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Jonathan Banks Running Time: 125 minutes


For viewers, things have changed a lot since The Incredibles irised out with the Parr family gearing up to take on the Underminer back in 2004. Already popular, superhero movies have exploded to become the dominant force in big studio’s release slates. Pixar have come back into the Disney fold, have become more sequel friendly and beholden to (or promoted to) the big wheels at the biggest studio. Brad Bird went and proved himself as a director in live-action, stumbled a bit with Tomorrowland and finally got around to a follow-up to to the beloved superhero family. The Incredibles meanwhile, have been waiting in stasis, still waiting to fight the Underminer,  baby Jack-Jack still developing powers unknown to all, Violet still having a date with the cutest boy in school, Bob and Helen still freshly back on track after the derailing effects of Mr. Incredible’s hero withdrawal. Incredibles 2 follows off immediately from the ending of its predecessor, with an enjoyable film that settles back in without missing a beat.

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Director: Dave Tynan Starring: Emmet Kirwan, Ian Lloyd Anderson, Seana Kerslake, Sarah Greene, Mark O’Halloran Running Time: 95 minutes


At the start of Dublin Oldschool, aspiring DJ Jason Kelly has what might be seen as a rough morning. He wakes up on the streets, is beaten with a stick and has money taken off him by some children, he’s hours late for work and has to leg it from the guards after a drug deal carried out with an amazing lack of subtlety, even for the streets of Dublin. And he loses his phone. If this is meant to show a man down on his luck however, Jason himself certainly doesn’t see it that way. He’s got far bigger things on his mind; the bank holiday weekend is about to start and Jason is gasping for the sesh. Both comparisons to Trainspotting and declarations that they should be avoided are well-worn territory for this film, but there’s a difference in perception between Ewan McGregor’s heroin-loving Renton and Emmet Kirwan’s pill-popping Jason. Renton saw himself as choosing not to choose life, consciously picking the numbing effects of heroin to gloss over the realities of rubbish modern life in Edinburgh. Jason is more in denial about just how much drugs are his life, determined to keep the party going no matter what. That determination to keep the party going keeps things fun, but presents problems too, both for Jason and for Dublin Oldschool in general.

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Director: Gary Ross Starring: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter, Awkafina, Rihanna, Anne Hathaway, James Corden Running Time: 110 minutes


Like its older brother Ocean’s 11Ocean’s 8 opens with a parole hearing. Sandra Bullock’s Debbie Ocean, a sibling to Clooney, is asked what she’s planning to do on the outside. Cue the knowing look and the game is afoot. This entry to the breezy Ocean’s series has flown in under the radar of RUINED FOREVER faux-outrage fans, possibly because the trilogy of the late 90s-early 00s never had that kind of devoted nerd following, possibly because the too-cool-for-school affect of Clooney, Pitt and the rest of the eleven were too confident and comfortable in their own skins for a certain kind of viewer to latch onto, internalise and toxify. Freed from the burden of fandom expectations and political sandbags, Ocean’s 11 delivers pretty much the same thing as it’s histaff counterpart: beautiful movie stars hanging out and quipping in a beautiful location, the kind of no-fuss, no muss mid-range movie we could do with more of.

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