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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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Director: Seth Gordon Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach Running Time: 119 minutes


After a near-totally negative reaction from critics to his latest film, Baywatch lead Dwayne Johnson took to Twitter to insist that “the fans’ love the movie” and that it was made for them anyway, not the critics. It is entirely possible that Baywatch fans wouldn’t set the bar too high. They did after all keep the television series on the air for 11(!) years, ogling heaving chests as inane plots about diamond smuggling surfers or other such sub-airport novel cheese sailed by mostly unnoticed. A few laughs, some beautiful people and a heavy dose of cheese would probably be enough, but Baywatch‘s biggest problem is how often it loses sight of its own stupidity, somehow buying into itself as though its stories about teamwork, overcoming selfishness and thwarting corrupt beachside property developers are actually compelling. Just like Dwayne Johnson tackles bad reviews with all the emojis, exclamation marks and critic-bashing of someone who unconvincingly insists that they aren’t mad at all, Baywatch isn’t as in on the joke as it wants you to believe it is.

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Director: Dax Shepard Starring: Dax Shepard, Michael Peña, Kristen Bell, Vincent D’Onofrio Running Time: 101 minutes


Dax Shepard, the star of such old Xtra-vision dust-gatherers as Without a PaddleEmployee of the Month and Let’s Go to Prison does not appear to be a fan of the television show CHiPs on which his new movie is based. Shepard is the writer, director and lead of CHiPs, but he’s no auteur working on a passion project, nor is he a bankable star in need of a vehicle. Actual fans of the cheesy late 70s/early 80s show appear to be less than enthused with this broad remake. It isn’t a guaranteed box office property. Look the executives who gave the greenlight to this sub-par comedy and ask them why they thought this film needed to exist at all, and what possible answer could they give, apart from a half hearted shrug of the shoulders and a “I dunno, 21 Jump Street?”

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Director: Anna Biller  Starring: Samantha Robinson, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Laura Waddell  Running Time: 120 minutes


Anna Biller’s much anticipated dreamy technicolour feature came to Dublin as part of ADIFF 2017. The Love Witch is a true love letter to the pulp novels and films of the 1960s, full of beautiful women led astray to do bad things. Our witch, Elaine, is just a lovesick lady looking for a man to please. Sometimes to death.

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Director: Chris McKay Starring: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Zach Galifianakis, Ralph Fiennes Running Time: 104 minutes


If there’s one thing the last decade of films by Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder have made abundantly clear, it’s that Batman can be rather a miserable fellow. You might not have heard, but his parents were murdered by a criminal and he processed this tragedy via a lot of punching, gutteral yelling and, with the deftness that only Visionary Director Zack Snyder could muster, by branding deviant criminals with a bat-branding iron so that they can actually be murdered in prison. One of the brightest spots in the surprise hit The Lego Movie in 2014 was its willingness to lighten up the Dark Knight a bit, playing up his serious streak into something over the top, egotistical and adolescent for big laughs. Lego Batman was such a treat that he’s been given a spin-off movie of his very own, a fun kid-pleaser that also shows a pretty good understanding of how Lego Batman’s Lego mind works.

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Directors: Josh Gordon and Will Speck Starring: TJ Miller, Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, Jennifer Anniston Running Time: 105 minutes


It is hard to muster much enthusiasm for the latest festive themed comedy, Office Christmas Party. With the stench of Bad Santa 2 still lingering, another trip to the dark side of Christmas does not seem so appealing. There is of course hope, with the film’s cast stacked to the rafters with reliable faces (Jason Bateman, Jenifer Aniston) and padded out with a seemingly endless list of recognizable comedy actors, Office Christmas Party, from the creative team behind Blades of Glory and The Hangover could at the very least deliver on the raunchy, rambunctious and wild antics promised in the trailer.  All the boxes are ticked in the 90 min run-time: drug use, profanity, alcohol, Christmas tree jousting…yet despite a game supporting cast and some enthusiastic direction, it all feels a bit aimless, safe and not particularly exceptional.

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“Have you got Soul Brother”? It has been 25 years since Alan Parker’s The Commitments appeared on our cinema screens and charmed its way into our hearts. Comprised of unknown performers and set in working class Ireland, this adaptation of one of Roddy Doyle’s most famous works captured the brutal economic hardships of a post-recession Dublin but also the zest and exuberance of what it was like to be young and have a dream.

In 1991, Ireland had the youngest population in Europe and some of the highest unemployment. The Commitments depicted a gritty working class Dublin that up until this time was absent in Irish cinema. A lot has changed in the 25 years since the film’s initial release.  Now a hugely successful West End Musical, the show has recently enjoyed several sell out shows here in Dublin. What better time for Film in Dublin to break down this Irish classic and see if it still has soul after all these years?

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Directed by: Mark Waters Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates, Tony Cox, Christina Hendricks Running Time: 92mins


Bad Santa 2 opens with our lead character sticking his head in an oven, attempting to kill himself by way of ‘inert gas asphyxiation’. Set thirteen years after the original film Bad Santa, Willie Soke (played by the ever-watchable Billy Bob Thornton) is no longer enjoying the happy ending he seemingly achieved at the conclusion of the previous installment. His life has become a living nightmare of alcoholism, loneliness, despair and banal repetition. He sees fit to end it all lest he be subjected to any more of life’s countless tortures.

Unfortunately the oven is electric.Read more…

Starring: Luke Treadway, Ruta Gedmintas, Joanne Froggatt, Anthony Head Director: Roger Spottiswoode Running Time: 103 mins


While the history of cinema has a reasonably successful track record with feel-good movies of the canine variety; the same can’t really be said for our feline friends. A Street Cat Named Bob aims to change all that. Despite what the trailers would have you believe, the film is not just an unbearable chocolate-box of banal sentiment and uplifting fluff. It is, in all fairness, a mildly engaging human/feline interest story; One that just so happens to include a healthy dose of that banal fluffy sentiment we all know and love.Read more…

Director: Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone Starring: Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone Runtime: 87 minutes

Its almost impossible for Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping to avoid comparisons with This Is Spinal Tap, the benchmark of musical mockumentary. When Spinal Tap was shown to the kind of rock stars it was lampooning, they sat stone-faced, with the likes of Steven Tyler saying “everything that happened in that movie happened to me.” Its hard to say whether the vacuous pop stars sent up by Lonely Island crew Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone would have the same reaction, either because the events of Popstar are so cartoony or because the real life antics of Bieber and co are even cartoonier. Still, Popstar comes closer to Spinal Tap’s level (eleven of course) than most.

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