Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Best of the new films

District 9 (15)
'Forget Transformers, Terminator and the other expensive tosh disfiguring our cinema screens this summer. District 9 is a South African sci-fi B-movie that punches well above its weight even as it falls back on inspiration from major-league precedents. If David Cronenberg had been handed the script of Starship Troopers and told to keep the budget tight, it might have looked a bit like this...'
District 9 (15)
'Forget Transformers, Terminator and the other expensive tosh disfiguring our cinema screens this summer. District 9 is a South African sci-fi B-movie that punches well above its weight even as it falls back on inspiration from major-league precedents. If David Cronenberg had been handed the script of Starship Troopers and told to keep the budget tight, it might have looked a bit like this...'
Tricks (12A)
'The pace of the story imitates the pace of provincial life, sometimes so faithfully that it drags a little. But the relationship between brother and sister is touchingly done, and Tomasz Gassowski's music flips gaily between jauntiness and melancholia...'
Funny People (15)
'Humour - cinema so often reminds us - is no laughing matter. When comedy is itself the subject of a film, it's invariably associated with depression and moral vacancy. Take The King of Comedy, in which Jerry Lewis seemingly played himself, the clown as jaded curmudgeon; or Billy Crystal's Mr Saturday Night, about a comic who brings grief to those around him; or Funny Bones, an intensely strange British film in which humour is depicted as a congenital curse. Now comes Funny People, Judd Apatow's follow-up to his charming hit Knocked Up...'
DVD: The Damned United
'An affectionate homage to 1970s football, it's an upbeat alternative to the humourless Hollywood model of an inspirational sports biopic, but it doesn't leave the viewer with any insight into what made Clough unique...'
The Hurt Locker
'There will be other challengers in time, but so far The Hurt Locker is easily the best film to come out of the Iraq war.
That's not necessarily the same thing as a film 'about' the Iraq war. Kathryn Bigelow's intense, jittery drama doesn't deeply consider the whys and hows of the conflict, and good job, too, if the ones that do are anything like Lions for Lambs. This is less about the War on Terror than the terror of war, a ground-level investigation of the way three different soldiers respond to the everyday peril of keeping the peace in occupied Baghdad. What's more, the soldiers of Bravo Company are engaged in the scariest arena - bomb disposal.'
Mesrine: Public Enemy No 1 (15)
'The second and concluding part of this biopic finds outlaw Jacques Mesrine revelling in his notoriety as France's public enemy 'numero un', having graduated from the housebreaker and jailbird of Killer Instinct...'
Broken Embraces (15)
'After a run of world-class films that began 10 years ago with All about My Mother, Pedro Almodóvar has slightly taken his foot off the pedal here...'
Shorts (PG)
'Robert Rodriguez's new children's film, Shorts, shows what happens when a rainbow-coloured wish-granting rock falls from space and lands in sunny suburbia. It's the perfect excuse for Rodriguez to fill the screen with everything that youngsters might want to see: flying saucers, crocodiles, and a monster made out of snot, to name a few. There's also some inspired wit. Even Roald Dahl would have been pleased with a villainous girl named Helvetica Black...'
I Love You Beth Cooper (15)
'A jolly take on high-school outsiderdom, I Love You Beth Cooper gets its title from its opening scene, when the nerdy hero, Denis (Paul Rust), uses his graduation speech to declare his love for a girl (Heroes's Hayden Panettiere) he's never even spoken to. She responds to this public humiliation not by taking out a restraining order, but by turning up at Denis's house that evening with two of her friends, and taking him and his sidekick out for the night...'
Inglourious Basterds (18)
'Quentin Tarantino returns to public notice with a Second World War movie, though be warned, it bears about as much relation to historical realism as did To Be or Not To Be or Where Eagles Dare, both of which it passingly recalls. Inglourious Basterds is more like a fantasia of a war movie, a gleefully unstable compound of violence and comedy and talk, backed up with quotations from all the movies Tarantino used to watch when he might have been having a life instead. It serves as an enjoyable reminder of why we sat up and noticed him in the first place...'

Whether you want to take a trip to the cinema or save those pennies and stay at home with a DVD, here's a selection of the best films for you to watch this weekend.

>> Click on the image to the right to launch our guide

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