Movie Review Round-Up: The New Releases
It's a busy week on the big screen. Conor McGregor: Notorious is the most-hyped film of the week, but if MMA isn't your thing, the superb documentary Condemned to Remember, the Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan-starring The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Murder on the Orient Express are also in cinemas.
Condemned to Remember *****
In Condemned to Remember, whose subtitle is The Remarkable Story of Tomi Reichental, 81-year-old Tomi Reichental shows how racism is once again on the rise in Europe and how we should all be aware of its dreadful scenarios.
Tomi - who lost 35 family members in the Holocaust and is himself a survivor - spends his days visiting schools and colleges throughout Europe telling his story. These days, he is sounding a dire warning note for the immediate future and asking that we all be on our guard. Read our full review here.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer ****
Six months after it was rapturously received at Cannes, Colin Farrell's together-again thriller with The Lobster director Yorgos Lanthimos finally reaches our screens.
Has the wait been worth it? In many ways yes and in some no. The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a film that will divide audiences. All should agree, however, that they felt the chills on more than one occasion. Read our full review here.
Murder on the Orient Express ***1/2
All aboard for lovers of old school mystery and unusual suspects...
Sticking out on the big screen schedules like a dagger between the shoulder blades, Murder on the Orient Express finds Kenneth Branagh double-jobbing - calling the shots behind the lens while looking for clues in front of it. And his journey on the most (in)famous rail line in movie history features the most impressive of passenger manifests. Only a lack of space in the sleeper car prevents the presence of more big names. Read our full review here.
Conor McGregor: Notorious ***
It really is a brutal sight - blood sprays across the canvas, knees and elbows plough into chins, fists and feet fly and pummel torsos and heads, men are hit hard when they're down... Anyone who's seen a mixed martial arts match up close will know just how bloody savage they really are.
Director Gavin Fitzgerald doesn't hold back in this short, fast-moving and very well-made account of how Crumlin lad Conor McGregor rose from his local gym to the glittering lights, hype and vulgarity of major purse bouts in Las Vegas. With its slow motion, close-quarters capture of those viscerally violent fights, Notorious makes Raging Bull look like The Champ. Read our full review here.
Call Me by Your Name *****
It has been a very good year for love stories. First La La Land, then Moonlight, followed by The Big Sick and God's Own Country. Now comes Call Me by Your Name. It is, arguably, the best of the lot of them.
There are few things more satisfying than wanting to make a beeline for a bookshop after leaving a cinema but such is the spell that Call Me by Your Name casts that plenty will have André Aciman's source novel under their arms on the way home. If they don't, then it's the safest of bets that the Christmas list is soon to be reworked. Read our full review here.
Thor: Ragnarok ****
There's life in the old god yet...
Billed by star Chris Hemsworth as Thor's masculinity crisis - single, less hair, loss of lump hammer leading to performance anxiety - Ragnarok is the best of his three solo outings and repositions Mr Odinson closer to Guardians of the Galaxy than The Avengers. Read our full review here.
Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami ****
You'll be transfixed from the opening shot. There is Grace Jones stalking the stage in the unlikely setting of the Olympia Theatre on the more rundown end of Dublin's Dame Street. She is dressed in a gold death's head mask singing her signature song - Slave to The Rhythm - in her strangely masculine and stentorian voice as her incredible live band grind out the structured funk beats.
Shot over five years, we see many sides of Grace Jones here; the hard-nosed businesswoman, the mother, the grandmother, the daughter, the sister and the mercurial, globetrotting priestess of weird pop in what is essentially a tour/recording studio diary crossed with an exploration of her Jamaican roots. Read our full review here.
The directorial debut of Lord of the Rings and Planet of the Apes star Andy Serkis, Breathe tells the true story of how disability campaigner Robin Cavendish lived with polio for decades having been given "a matter of months" by doctors at the time of his diagnosis.
It begins in the 1950s as tea merchant Cavendish (played by Andrew Garfield) woos and then marries Diana (The Crown's Claire Foy) - the woman everyone fancies but who appears too intimidating to approach. Within three minutes the word 'jolly' has been used twice, and Breathe is looking like the nicest film of 2017 this side of Gifted - and catnip for Daily Mail readers and American audiences. Read our full review here.
Property of the State ***
Director Kit Ryan tackles one of the most terrible crimes in recent Irish history in this brave if slightly flawed film. It boasts a very strong cast - including Moone Boy's David Rawle as you've never seen him before - and it is a damning indictment of the failures of our educational, penal, and mental health services.
In 1994, the murders of Imelda Riney, her three-year-old son Liam and Fr Joe Walsh in East Clare shocked the nation. They were committed by Brendan O'Donnell, a severely disturbed young man who had been failed and abused over the course of his life by the very institutions charged to look after him and prevent the terrible acts he was so capable of carrying out. Read our full review here.