Jamie Lee Curtis and big screen boogeyman Michael Myers are back in the acclaimed Halloween; Goosebumps 2 has some fun for younger viewers, and there's a fascinating portrait of a determined son of the land in Irish documentary The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid
2018's Halloween is the perfect companion piece to John Carpenter's 1978 classic, with a boundary-pushing script offering fans something truly cutting.
From the recognisable opening title, to subtle scene-setting nostalgia, it is clear director David Gordon Green, as well as his co-writers Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley, appreciate what made the original a masterpiece.
Returning to the role that launched her career at 19, Jamie Lee Curtis is far from playing the naïve Laurie Strode that we remember. Now suffering from PTSD, Laurie has spent every waking moment booby-trapping her house and using mannequins for target practice in the hopes of one day confronting her masked attacker, Michael Myers. Read our full review here.
The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid ****
The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid is the story of one man who simply wants to stay on his land.
His Kildare farm is deemed an appropriate site for development. There will be, it is comfortably predicted by one voice on the radio, "thousands of jobs" involved, many of those jobs in the construction of a new facility to manufacture next-generation computer chips. No Compulsory Purchase Order or no amount of financial compensation will alter Thomas' decision.
Feargal Ward and Tadhg O'Sullivan's film conjures a vivid picture of the life of a lone individual who is neither camera-shy nor basking in the attention of the camera. Indeed, he seems at times to be participating in the film almost for the sake of courtesy, even for company. Clearly, there is more to it than that. Read our full review here.
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween ***1/2
Goosebumps 2 is a spooktacular sequel to the 2015 hit, carrying over its charisma and delicious scares to new audiences, while bringing fans of the perennially popular '90s monster book series on a nostalgia ride. Unfortunately, it never manages to create the magic we keep hoping will materialise.
Based on R.L. Stine's 400-million-selling series of children's books, the story centres on two likeable leads - Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) and Sam (Caleel Harris) - who accidentally awaken a creepy and evil ventriloquist dummy called Slappy (voiced by Jack Black).
There is nothing new or innovative about the formulaic tale. It's not nearly as memorable as its source material, but there are a lot of technical tricks in store. Read our full review here.
First Man ****1/2
In terms of cinema history - and most other forms of history, it must be said - we tend to paint people who accomplish great things as some kind of superheroes. Special people. Great men. Great women. Celebrities. The kind of person who doesn't have to endure the ordinary things the rest of experience in our normal lives, whatever 'normal' is supposed to be.
But Neil Armstrong wasn't that special, though what he achieved was truly remarkable. He was just another flawed human being trying to cope with all that life throws at us. He was also the First Man on the Moon, and therein lies this story. Read our full review here.
Mandy sure is something.
It took me a while to gather my thoughts after seeing Mandy; the only thing I knew straight away was that I had definitely not been bored. I can't remember the last time a film has had that effect on me - I had no words.
I was hooked from the opening titles, which show the expansive landscape of the world of the film, and through the intentionally dated and grainy introduction to Red (Nicolas Cage) as he finishes up his working day as a lumberjack. Read our full review here.
The profoundly moving, painfully topical drama Rosie shines a light on Dublin's homelessness crisis and how the system is failing families.
Roddy Doyle's pared back, effective script follows the titular Rosie (Sarah Greene), her partner John Paul (Moe Dunford) and their four young children, over the course of a chaotic day and a half.
They find themselves without a home when the landlord of the rented house they've lived in for seven years decides to sell the property. It's a situation that's sure to resonate with many people around the country. Read our full review here.
Bad Times at the El Royale ***
Welcome to the El Royale - where there are good times to be hand amongst the cinematic clichés.
It's the late 1960s and seven strangers converge on a storied, declining hotel on the border of California and Nevada. The ghosts of political dealings, illegal activity and scandal are in the air, and each guest brings their own trunk-load of secrets to check-in.
The guests all fill certain stereotypes - both in public and in private - and the all-star cast plays up to these conventions, largely to great effect.
Jeff Bridges brings steadfast excellence, with Jon Hamm countering this with a brash arrogance that is dynamic on screen. Read our full review here.
With laugh-out-loud moments and cracking songs, Smallfoot is great fun.
The film is a perspective-bending story of a Yeti named Migo (Channing Tatum) who comes across a human - or Smallfoot as they're known - that crashes their plane into the mountain on which the Yetis have their home.
When Migo tells his fellow Yetis about his run-in he is shunned as nobody will believe that he could've met such a creature as it goes against the stones on which they base their knowledge and beliefs. Migo isn't quite as alone as he first thinks, however, with a small group of outsiders who also believe in the Smallfoot taking him in and joining forces with him to try to prove that the Smallfoot does exist.
The concept is excellent and the execution equally so. Read our full review here.
The past comes to haunt in Hungary in August 1945 when the inhabitants of a claustrophobic village are made to feel the disturbing after-effect of recent crimes.
August 12, 1945 and an elderly Orthodox Jewish man and a younger man who might be his son (played by Iván Angelusz and Marcell Nagy respectively) arrive at the railway station of a small village. They see to the transport into the village of their two large trunks which are duly loaded on to a horse-drawn carriage. The men have the option of travelling on board, but they opt to walk into the village. They are told that the walk takes an hour.
So the visitors have all the time in the world. What explains their desire to walk rather than be carried? The walking may be bound up with respect for the dead, or it may even be an element of a burial ritual. Read our full review here...