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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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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: 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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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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Director: Taika Waititi Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thomson, Jeff Goldblum, Mark Ruffalo, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins, Karl Urban  Running Time: 130 minutes


Thor: Ragnarok is fine. This might seem like a needlessly dismissive hot take on a movie that has been popular with critics and a hit at the Irish box office (the film was responsible for over 46% of the Irish 3-day weekend box office), but given the considerable talent involved in the film, both on screen and in the director’s chair, is it spoiled to come out of Marvel’s latest blockbuster? Let’s not be too much of a curmudgeon about this; Ragnarok is a frequently very funny film, one that meets the expectations of its audience, set firmly from that “he’s a friend from work!” trailer, more or less exactly. It is another Marvel movie, and much like pizza, even when they’re not amazing they’re still pretty good. It is what it is. It just could have been more than that.

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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: Armando Iannucci Starring: Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Jason Isaacs, Michael Palin Running Time: 107 minutes


For years with both The Thick of It and Veep, Armando Iannucci has brilliant and bitterly skewed the nature of politicians in the West, bumbling self-servingly from scandal to scandal, always better equipped at putting down each other than accomplishing anything on their own. Applying that style of satire to Soviet Russia seems like a recipe for great comedy, but the stakes are rather different in a political climate where no one is allowed to admit that scandals ever happened and putting down political rivals meant a few feet underground rather than a few creatively chosen swear words. Staging the aftermath of Josef Stalin’s death similarly to the events of an episode of one of those programmes results in a black comedy that’s frequently very funny, but the satire here has a somber note too. That the people in charge of a superpower could be as arrogant and incompetent as those shuffled off to The Thick of It‘s Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship has some fairly chilling implications. Thank Christ we don’t have to worry about anything like that these days.

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Director: S Craig Zahler Starring: Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Carpenter, Don Johnson, Udo Kier Running time: 132 mins

Vince Vaughn: Skull Cruncher. Liberator of eyeballs, improvised body disposal expert. That isn’t the full extent of Vaughn’s MO in S Craig Zahler’s unflinchingly violent Brawl in Cell Block 99 but it’s a start.

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