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Cinema
Dad's Army (PG) **
This big screen return for the plucky but bungling Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard certainly earns its stripes with a great cast including Toby Jones as bumptious Captain Mainwaring and Bill Nighy as Sgt Wilson but a shambolic script, tacked on catchphrases, and liberties taken render it a wasted exercise.
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Catherine Zeta-Jones sets the sleepy seaside town a-sizzle as a journalist who arrives to do a story on the war at home just as intelligence about a German spy lurking in the area surface. This leads to a comedy of errors mainly involving old duffers being sent into tailspins of lust over the new arrival and an ending involving a poorly CGI-ed U-Boat and a strange Waking the Auxiliaries ploy. More Dunkirk than D-Day. Alan Corr
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Point Break (12A) **
The film kicks off with an adrenaline pumping motorcycle ride that instantly makes you sit up and think you're in for something special, and in terms of visual effects and stunts, you are. Sadly the prowess of the cinematography and stunt coordination isn't matched in terms of scripting and storytelling.
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The fatal flaw of Point Break is that it's trying to be smarter than it is and the plot becomes convoluted. Had they kept to a simpler idea and really developed that, it could've been so much stronger because they really nailed the action and excitement, and the cast do well with what they have to work with. Sinead Brennan 2.5/5
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Goosebumps (PG) ***
With more attempts to get things off the ground than the Wright brothers and a danger of movie nut whiplash from all the yo-yo-ing release dates, the Jack Black-starring Goosebumps looked like it could live up to its title for all the wrong reasons. How wide of the mark can you be?
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February has a fun and (very) fast adaptation of author RL Stine's best-selling children's horror stories. For many a kid this will be a gateway film to new worlds, while for seen-it-all-twice adults it's a reminder not to be jaded. Harry Guerin
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Strangerland (15A) ***1/2
Joseph Fienes and Nicole Kidman play the married couple who have moved to a remote settlement for murky reasons which become clear as the story proceeds. Fiennes runs a pharmacy and Kidman keeps house. However, their sexually precocious 15-year old daughter Lily (Maddison Brown) is having difficulty settling into the town. Lily and her kid brother Tom suddenly disappear one night. Disturbing, clever, taut. PK
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Spotlight (15A) ***1/2
Spotlight is essentially All the President's Men rebooted, with the quarry being the real-life Cardinal Law and his errant Boston clergy rather than Richard Nixon and his associates.
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Instead of the Washington Post, it’s the Boston Globe doing the hunting down. So you get the long strip-lit office, the serious news story simmering away while the mostly male hacks rib each other about poker and golf and attend baseball games.
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Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Stanley Tucci and John Slattery acquit themselves very well in a solid film. Paddy Kehoe
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Youth **** (15A)
For all the current Academy Awards controversy there's an argument that Michael Caine should have also been in the shake-up for his work in Youth.
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He plays Fred Ballinger, a composer who's put down his baton and sees nothing left in the world to excite him.
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Having won many new fans with his Oscar-winning The Great Beauty, director Paolo Sorrentino will once again increase his posse with Youth. Gorgeous visuals, great music and excellent performances. Harry Guerin
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13 Hours (15A) **
Director Michael Bay has invested his considerable energies on this rather mediocre action film based on the September 11, 2012 attack on a US diplomatic compound in which the American ambassador to Libya lost his life.
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That attack is essentially the matter of the first half of the movie, give or take. The militants mounted a further assault on the nearby CIA compound, in effect the second segment of this two-hour, 24-minute exercise. Too opaque about American motive, and too equivocal, despite pretending to be otherwise, about the American top brass. Paddy Kehoe
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The 33 (12A) ***1/2
In 2010 the world was gripped by the events at the San José Mine in Chile, where a group of 33 miners were trapped several hundred feet underground, but managed to survive for more than two months until they were eventually saved.
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This is a great story and the film captures the events, both above and below ground, as they develop.
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Even though the result is never in doubt, it's a credit to director Patricia Riggen, a tight script and a great cast that the film's two hours whizz along. John Byrne
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The Big Short (15A) ****1/2
Based on the non-fiction bestseller by Michael Lewis (Moneyball, The Blind Side), The Big Short chronicles a handful of diverse players and intuitive fund managers, who foresaw the looming catastrophe of 2008's global meltdown.
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Director Adam McKay and co-screenwriter Charles Randolph push the (brown) envelopes in every direction with their tongue-in-cheek humour and piercingly sharp script. You're left both entertained and angry by the absurdity of the financial farce that left millions worldwide jobless and without homes. Laura Delaney
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Our Brand is Crisis (15A) *1/2
Billy Bob Thornton and Sandra Bullock play election strategists.
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On the face of it, they are hardened and cynical campaigners out to score points off each other in the Bolivian Presidential election.
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But their humanity also intrudes - could have been smart, could have been shrewd, sadly it is not. Don't bother. Paddy Kehoe
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