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Directors: Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence Running Time: 124 minutes

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It isn’t much of an exaggeration to call the Bad Boys series to date some of the most hateful films ever to make it to the multiplex. Bad Boys II was particularly repugnant; a cruel, homophobic, racist, cynical indulgence in all of the worst excesses of director Michael Bay, mindless and reactionary even by 2003 standards. That’s on top of incoherent action and grimly repeated buddy cop tropes, just about jolted into life by the chemistry of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Action movies have moved on, and most big budget blockbusters at least try to hide it when they have fascistic overtones or adolescent sensibilities. So seventeen years later and with its stars both in very different places in their careers, was there any good reason to resurrect these crass cops, besides their sworn oath to be bad boys til’ they die? Improbably, yes. This is very much the post Hot Fuzz vision of Bad Boys, its ludicrous macho bullshit has been exposed so thoroughly but so lovingly since by films like Edgar Wright’s that the only real way to move forward is to acknowledge and embrace the OTT tropes. Like a lot of aging franchises, For Life asks the question if it’s old gunslingers still have any gas left in the tank. Then, to raucous effect, it blows up that tank, doubling down on every excess and wallowing in something wonderfully wild.

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Director: Robert Eggers Starring: Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe Running Time: 109 minutes

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Flying witches, talking goats, mystical seagulls. That’s only a select few of the mad and intriguing things that director Robert Eggers has brought to his first two feature films; 2015’s The Witch and, now, The Lighthouse. There is no doubt that Eggers likes to challenge cinema goers or, more accurately, create stories that demand attention and encourage debate. A straightforward cinema experience is not something you are going to get here, but you are, without a doubt, the better for that. With The Lighthouse, Eggers delivers an atmospheric psychological thriller unlike any other you’ll see all year. This is an intoxicating, feverish, unnerving and often hilarious experience and one that will have fans ruminating on its messages for years.

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Directors: Josh & Bennie Safdie Starring: Adam Sandler, Eric Bogosian, Idina Menzel, Kevin Garnett, Julia Fox, Lakeith Stanfield Running Time: 135 minutes

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With a career littered by the likes of The WaterboyBilly Madison, and Happy Gilmore, it’s fair to say that Adam Sandler isn’t a name that’s been synonymous with the Awards season in film. It’s never been the case that lowbrow slapstick comedies have been the only thing that Sandler could come up with, but such films seem to be his career’s signature. There are parts of this that have always been endearing to me- for example, his loyal tendency to give his close friends consistent work, even through (at times) offensively rubbish pieces like Grown Ups 2. Notwithstanding this likable fidelity, Sandler has far too often had his name attached to horrendous, Golden Raspberry bait, with 2011’s Jack and Jill being a notable lowlight.

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Been working through our picks of international films you should watch and looking to add even more to your list? You’re just in time for the Subtitle Spotlight European Film Festival, taking place at the Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire this weekend, Jan 31st – Feb 2nd. A selection of European subtitled films will invite viewers to see cinema in a whole new way.

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Clare Dunne’s Herself , the Closing Gala at this year’s Dublin International Film Festival  received rave reviews today at Sundance, a possible sign that we may already have the next great Irish film this decade with it only 25 days old. Further to that, the film’s festival success shows how Ireland’s international reputation is continuing to grow; programmers, distributors and viewers alike from all over the world are looking out for Irish talents more and more. The last ten years have seen our profile expand considerably, Hollywood stars like Saoirse Ronan and Colin Farrell are more acclaimed than ever, filmmakers are flocking to our island to make use of our beautiful locations and talented crews, it’s not all sweetness and sunshine but it’s been a good decade. It took a bit of mulling over, so strong was the fear of leaving great work out of a list of only ten, but at last here is Film In Dublin’s celebration of some of the best Irish films of the 2010s, classics that we’ll be going back to again and again.

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There was much discussion about the jokes that Ricky Gervais made at the expense of Hollywood superstars at this year’s Golden Globes. However, what stood out for me was what should have won an award for the “golden quote” of the night. It came from the director of the highly anticipated South Korean film Parasite, Bong Joon-ho. He gave the much needed reminder that:

 

“Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films”.

 

This really spoke to me- and not just in English. If I could add one addendum to this brilliant insight, it would be that viewing international films also exposes you to different cultural fabrics, different challenges and, different experiences. Aside from that, they’re also very entertaining and remain such an underappreciated cinematic art by large chunks of Western audiences. So in order to help you get over the horrific inconvenience of subtitles, and in light of Bong Joon-ho’s golden quote. Here are 20 international films to watch in 2020.

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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 full programme for the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2020 was launched at the Light House Cinema in Smithfield this afternoon. VMDIFF Director Gráinne Humphreys announced details of this year’s programme, a 12 day extravaganza of cinema and an opportunity to see the very best of world cinema and film talent in Dublin.

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The Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival is always a good opportunity to cast eyes over some of the latest talents making a name for themselves in Irish film. The Discovery Award at DIFF identifies, supports and encourages new and emerging talent in the Irish film industry, both in front of and behind the camera. Thirteen exciting emerging talents have been nominated for this year’s Award, sponsored this year by Aer Lingus, with the announcement of the winner taking place at a special event in Café En Seine, Dawson Street on the closing day of the festival on Sunday 8 March, 2020. Aer Lingus have also been announced as the “Official Airline Sponsor” of the Festival. Hey somebody has to fly those international guests in, right?

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