You think you’ve seen Jaws. But have you heard it? Have you really listened?
You think you’ve seen Jaws. But have you heard it? Have you really listened?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 11, Ocean’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.
Director: Stefano Sollima Starring: Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabel Moner, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Jeffrey Donovan, Catherine Keener Running Time: 122 minutes
It can’t hurt a film to have a little ambiguity from time to time. Three years ago, the uncompromising crime-thriller Sicario took us to the darkest corners of the greyest areas of the US-Mexican border, a place where Mexican cartels and the US government could compete to get up to the shadiest shit. It was an intense film with a considerable combination of talent: Denis Villeneuve combining to great effect with Roger Deakins to put the suffocating effect of the crime scene on screen, a great score by the gone-too-soon Jóhann Jóhannsson and a script by Taylor Sheridan that was seemingly very thoughtfully assembled; like an Apocalypse Now for America’s drug war. On screen, the talents of Emily Blunt dragged viewers down with her own sinking feelings, an FBI agent turned bystander to the morally ambivalent machinations of the Department of Justice, embodied by the casual hoo-ra “consultant” Matt Graver played by Josh Brolin and the mysterious, violent sicario Alejandro Gillick, played by Benicio Del Toro. They were up to something, it was no good, and there was noting Blunt could do about.
Something suspicious happened towards the end of Sicario though. A balance shift, a feeling that the film was becoming a bit too enamoured of its hitman for its own good. If Matt and Alejandro come out on top at the end, does that make it a downer ending or a triumph? Who is the main character of the film again? Emily Blunt’s conspicuous absence from the sequel Soldado might tell its own story. The boys are back in town. Sicario is not sending us it’s best people. In a fraught political environment, this sequel feels even less wanted, depending on which side of the fence you’re on.
Director: J. A. Bayona Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Isabella Sermon Running Time: 128 minutes
The central conflict of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom isn’t about dinosaurs, it’s not even about being pro-dino rights or pro-bioweapons. The central conflict is the friction caused by J. A. Bayona’s directing style bumping against the constraints of this franchise, like a T-rex testing an electric fence who can’t help getting burnt.