If you love Pixar, you’ve got a friend in the Light House.
If you love Pixar, you’ve got a friend in the Light House.
Director: Ron Howard Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, Paul Bettany, Thandie Newron, Jon Favreau, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo Running Time: 135 minutes
As we settle into the reality of Star Wars as a tentpole Disney franchise, with a new film every single year and a television series in the works, it’s understandable that Kathleen Kennedy and co. would want to solidify the appeal of the spinoff films by featuring one of the property’s most popular characters. Once Solo: A Stars Wars Story finishes cleaning up at the box-office, they can start to plot a whole line of films to put the spotlight on your favourite characters from across the Galaxy. Lando Calrissean? Why not, says Kathleen Kennedy, that Donald Glover is so hot right now. Boba Fett? Maybe, if it will finally shut you fans up about him. That one lad in A New Hope that looks like the devil? Okay, maybe not him. Han Solo though, ‘everyone’s favourite’ from the original trilogy, was supposed to be the safe bet, and the exec’s adamant desire to keep it that way was partly what led them to axe original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, apparently too madcap and wacky in their ambitions for the film. They were replaced with the experienced, steady hand of Ron Howard, who reshot almost everything and presented a friendly face behind a marketing campaign nervously encouraging the somewhat sceptical viewing public that yes, they do need to know Han Solo’s origins. What Howard, veteran screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and the rest deliver is indeed the safe bet, in a film that’s far too middle of the road to be essential viewing. What we have here is one square unit of Star Wars movie, mostly milquetoast with a few rough edges born from the inelegant ‘creative differences’ and perhaps a meeting too many in the boardroom. If you’re looking for any noteworthy insights into Han Solo as a character, you’re not likely to get them here. If you’re looking to know where he got his apparently iconic blaster though, this is the film for you (somebody hands it to him).
Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo Starring: Everybody. Running Time: 149 minutes
Ten years ago now, there was an idea. To bring together a group of remarkable characters and see if they could become something more. There was a time, unbelievable as it is now, that having a ‘shared universe’ of various franchises seemed like a massive risk rather than the movie studio holy grail. A time when people wondered how the first Avengers film was possibly going to manage a story with six superheroes. Infinity War has twenty. Plus sidekicks and supporting cast members, absentee Avengers, love interests, a few surprise appearances, the army of an entire country, and a new mass of villains. And Stan Lee. The Universe has grown and grown, developing an enormous, enamoured audience along with it. Marvel know they have most every blockbuster-loving film fan in the palm of their hands at this point, so to keep them captivated, what’s the best thing they can do at this point? Make a fist. Or snap their fingers.
Once a year, Dublin’s Cineworld showcases its centrepiece: its IMAX theater, with the ‘IMAX Film Festival‘. The selection of blockbusters, well suited to the biggest of big screens, is coming back this March, offering films fans the chance to see some popular blockbusters of the past year once again.
Director: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina Starring: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, Renée Victor, Ana Ofelia Murguía Running Time: 109 minutes
Though they have been drawn some criticism in the last few years for their reliance on sequels, Pixar can still be relied on to create imaginative worlds filled with fun characters, as the beloved Inside Out proved not so long ago. They also, crucially, never talk down to the kids that there films are aimed at (okay, apart from the Cars series, mostly), imparting lessons without moralising, giving something to take away from viewings beyond bright colours and catchy tunes. Their latest feature Coco is as colourful as they come, and even leans slightly more in the Disney direction with the number of songs it features, but rest assured, this is a Pixar movie with both a brain and a heart. Even if it doesn’t always look like it, considering how many skeletons are around.
Director: Rian Johnson Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Benicio Del Toro Running Time: 152 minutes
One thing that should probably be acknowledged about Star Wars before launching into a review of the latest entry to the series is that its cultural footprint is simply too big for anything approaching a consensus to form. Every Star Wars film since the original faced heavy backlash after their initial release. Some were also widely acclaimed at the same time. Some grew their reputation over the years. And some were the prequels. A film that aims to be seen by so many simply cannot please everyone all of the time, even if it tried, but despite the pressure of having to deliver to such a dedicated fanbase and such keenly invested taskmasters at Disney, director Rian Johnson boldly declares never to tell him the odds and instead has made The Last Jedi into the kind of film he knows will entertain one person for certain: himself. Make something for yourself and others usually follow, and those of a like-mind with Johnson will see in The Last Jedi an ambitious, electrifying and reflective blockbuster.
Beauty and the Beast was a smash-hit when it came out earlier this year, with our own site’s review saying the live-action remake smashed the bar. It’s certainly the kind of movie that plays well to a crowd, with an array of songs, old and new to enjoy. Next year, you’ll have the chance to see Beauty and the Beast live at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, with the film shown on the big screen with a full orchestra in attendance to play the film’s music. A similar experience is taking place next week at the theatre as they show La La Land, but if the music of Disney is more your thing, tickets are going on sale this Friday for screenings of the film that’ll be taking place next year.
Frozen fans in Ireland will be in for a treat this November. The Disney hit that your kids have enjoyed over and over (and over) again will be returning to cinemas in the winter, with a new short shown in front of the film, putting the spotlight on Olaf, the snowman.
Director: Brian Fee Starring: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Armie Hammer, Nathan Fillion Running Time: 109 minutes
The Cars franchise has always been an easy punching-bag, even among Pixar enthusiasts. It’s less grown-up friendly than other Disney/Pixar films, it’s more commercial, it’s character designs aren’t great, it gives a prominent role to “Larry the Cable Guy”, etc. But as the Fast & Furious sequels have shown, it’s never too late for audiences to turn around on a series, even if it’s a shallow series about cars that go fast. Cars has always been a hit with the kids, but can it entertain the adults as well? The latest entry doesn’t offer anything too deep or emotional or original, but it’s simple fun that provides a nice message, a few laughs and not too much Larry the Cable Guy.
This past weekend saw the Light House Cinema kick off their third edition of the popular film season, ‘Films You’d Love Your Kids To See’, with the first of three showings of ET: The Extra Terrestrial. Now in it’s third year, the lengthily titled season is a selection of favourites from the past that are perfectly suited to being shown to and loved by a whole new generation of film fans. From beloved standards like The Goonies and the Back to the Future trilogy, to all-time classics like The Wizard of Oz to 90’s Kids picks like Aladdin and Jurassic Park, there’s a wide selection of films showing all summer long that are bound to delight kids and adults alike and get the nostalgia flowing again. You can find the Light House’s full selection of films here, but Film In Dublin has picked out some of the must-sees for your calendar over the next few months.