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Director: Melina Matsoukas Starring: Jodie Turner-Smith, Daniel Kaluyaa, Bokeem Woodbine, Chloë Sevigny Running Time: 132 minutes

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The first thing I noticed about Queen and Slim was the theatrical poster. I was coming out of a cinema and was taken aback by the aesthetics of the gritty garage backdrop, contrasted with the glossy greyscale shine. While Daniel Kaluuya played a crime boss in Steve McQueen’s Widows, it was the first time he came off as a true “tough guy” to me. While intrigued as to the plot, I decided to keep prior research to a minimum and walk into Queen and Slim with a blind eye.

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The arrival of the first trailer for Cats back in July 2019 was one of those landmark occasions in social media history. In a time where quick and constant access to conversation is paired with a media machine designed to pile misery on all sides to leave us more divided than ever, the 2 minute trailer -its first glimpses of the uncanny combination of human faces and cat bodies, its clearly rushed special effects, the enduring brown note that blarps through the voice of James Corden – it all served as a brief and perfect moment of unity. Everyone was confused, everyone was upset. Everyone was transfixed. The sight of “miniature yet huge cats with human celebrity faces and sexy breasts performing a demented dream ballet for kids” was an Event Horizon for the terminally online, something that could only begin to be processed by the immediate and fervent application of memes. Yet the majority of those who had been cursed to watch the trailer were also united in another way: they were absolutely going to watch the film no matter what.

Cats is out in cinemas now, but it appears that the only ones going to see it are those who became unnervingly compelled t0 do so back on that wild summer day. And fans of the Broadway show maybe. Also furries. Still, opening during the busy Christmas period at the same time as a Star Wars (even a terrible one) is turning out to be a bad decision by Universal, with the film flopping at the box office so far. The reviews may be even worse, with critics lining up to skewer the film as if the writer with the most venomous take will be chosen by Old Deuteronomy to die blissfully and be reborn as a person blessed to have never seen Cats. It is “an abomination“. It is “what death feels like“, but also “surprisingly boring“, a film that “will haunt viewers for generations“. And yet, could this terrible nightmare film also serve as a landmark moment in cinematic history? Is Cats in fact a trailblazer in its unifying awfulness, the first Cursed Blockbuster?

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Happenings love of sharing cinema in the great outdoors has brought some great evenings to Dublin film fans in the past, including Sing Street and other Irish favourites around the county for this year’s St. Patrick’s Festival and last year’s Centenary Cinema events for the 1916 anniversary. The most recent edition of Happenings’ Open Air Cinema will offer a unique experience for cinephiles, as they’ll be showing a silent horror classic in Mount Merrion this Saturday.

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