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Cinema
Noble ****
Director Stephen Bradley's Noble is a sensitive and well-executed take on Irish humanitarian worker Christina Noble's life and is sure to resonate with audiences around the world.
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It's an inspirational story - charting Christina's underprivileged upbringing in 1950s tenements in Dublin, to her journey in realising her dream of helping the street children of Vietnam. Christina's battle to succeed against the odds is wonderfully captured, with her strong-will, perseverance and sense of humour taking centre stage.
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Noble hinges on Deirdre O'Kane's subtle but affecting performance, and she has the comic timing to do Christina's wit and charm justice. Sarah McIntyre
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A Walk Among The Tombstones ****
t’s 1991 and alcoholic NY cop, Matthew Scudder (Liam Neeson) is losing control under the influence of strong drink and makes a fatal mistake with his gun. Cut to 1997, Scudder has given up the drink, and is now an unlicenced cop. A drug trafficker hires him to track down his wife's killers, and Neeson as the maverick cop embarks on another tense and intricate Taken-type scenario. Compelling and mesmeric. Paddy Kehoe.
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Magic in the Moonlight **
Woody Allen's Magic in the Moonlight is purportedly a romantic comedy but lacks the most essential element for the genre - chemistry between the two leads, Colin Firth and Emma Stone.
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Firth plays a master magician who is brought to the south of France to expose Stone's clairvoyant as a fake. In the process he becomes increasingly dumbfounded by her mystic skills. The wonderful setting, sumptuous costumes and jaunty jazz soundtrack make this pleasant viewing, but it's ultimately a feat in style over substance. Sarah McIntyre
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A Most Wanted Man (15a ) ***
Mohammed Atta hatched his September 11 attack plan here, so post 9/11 Hamburg is in a state of alertness, as this John Le Carre adaptation begins. Issy Karpov (Grigory Dobrygin), a young, bearded Muslim man of Russian-Chechen parentage, arrives in the port city. Enter Philip Seymour Hoffman as Günther Bachmann, whose autonomous anti-terroriost unit is in competition with the German police to monitor suspects. Difference is Hoffman's unit is more humane. Thus the scene is set for a taut race to the finish. PK
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A Nightingale Falling **
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Pride ****
With and a dash of The Full Monty and a splash of Billy Elliot, Pride is another British comedy with a big heart and both subtle and broad humour.
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It tells the remarkable true story of how a ragbag of gay and lesbian agitators in London began to support striking miners in the dark days of the mid-eighties. Pride is a welcome reminder of an era of direct action and DIY social spirit. It’s a bit hackneyed in places but this tale of opposites attracting is a real tonic. Alan Corr
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The Boxtrolls (PG) ****1/2
The Boxtrolls are an underground community of quirky and lovable oddballs who collect anything mechanical and wear recycled cardboard boxes like protective shells. They've raised a human boy as one of their own and when the Boxtrolls are targeted by a nasty, social-climbing exterminator, the adventure really kicks off.
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This is the kind of film that almost defines the 'for all ages' category. I defy anyone not to enjoy this beautifully-crafted film. It's as joyous as predecessor Coraline was scary. And both are minor masterpieces. Hats off to all involved.
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Before I go to Sleep (15A) ***1/2
Nicole Kidman stars as Christine Lucas, a 40-year-old woman who suffers from amnesia, and wakes up every day without a memory of the last 10 years of her life.
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Her husband Ben (Colin Firth) seems to be a devoted spouse who spends each morning reminding his wife of who she is and of her life – but a call from a psychologist points to a more sinister reason for her memory loss.
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A very enjoyable thriller, with Kidman in fine form while Firth plays with his stereotypical nice guy image to great effect. John Byrne
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The Guest (15A) ****
Dan Stevens leaves the high-ceiling drama vacuum of Downton Abbey far behind in this delicious psychological action flick meets black comedy.
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He plays a kind of anti-Jason Bourne special ops soldier who arrives unannounced at the door of the grieving Peterson family, whose oldest son, Caleb, has been killed in action in Afghanistan.
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But David is not all that he seems and director Adam Wingard lets the truth emerge with a series of hugely enjoyable action sequences. The best slice of merry mayhem you'll see at the cinema this year. Alan Corr
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The Grand Seduction (12A) ****
Brendan Gleeson is great as Murray, a man obsessed with saving the small community of Tickle Head. He charms a doctor (Taylor Kitsch) to come and stay, so that a fishing plant can be located there and provide employment.
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Like a classic Ealing comedy, The Grand Seduction gently reels you in, just as Murray does with the doctor, and paints a quite tender picture of life in the harsh environment of Newfoundland. In these cynical, selfish times it's refreshing and life-affirming to experience a film with such a warm and generous heart.
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Go see. Enjoy! John Byrne
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