Director: Jake Kasdan Runtime: 119 mins Starring: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnston, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas
Don’t adjust your screens, that is not a typo. Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle is a disappointment. But it’s not for the reasons you might expect. We’re used to sequels coming years after their originals these days, and in this respect the film actually has a lot going for it. In a similar vein to Jurassic World’s comment that ‘Kids aren’t impressed by dinosaurs anymore’, young Colin Hanks asks ‘Who even plays boardgames anymore?’ as a teen in 1996. Jumanji decides to update itself, becoming a wooden video game console overnight and next thing we know Hanks’ disappearance is still a local legend 20 years on.
Director: Rian Johnson Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac, Kelly Marie Tran, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson Running Time: 152 minutes
Hope, hope, hope, hope, hope….that’s the buzzword in Disney’s latest blockbusting checkbox. A word that too often crops up in The Last Jedi evoking the enduring legacy of the first Star Wars, later retitled A New Hope. As creative choices go it struck me as shallow and lazy but for this new chapter in Disney’s ongoing mission to monopolise blockbuster cinema for the next century it’s understandable. Read more…
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.
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.
IMAX’s second screen in Ireland is opening in Blanchardstown this evening, with some big blockbuster films just over the horizon.
It’s a little bit chilly out there as we step into December, isn’t it? For those dreaming of sand and surf rather than snow and…sludge, the Irish Film Institute will be hosting a trio of documentaries this weekend about surfing, in Ireland and abroad. They’ll be looking at the Mavericks who live among the waves in these interesting docs, including previous successes screened at the IFI this year as well as a new Irish premiere.