Tuesday 17 July 2018

Film of the week: Dublin Oldschool

Cert: 16; Now showing

Emmet Kirwan, Sarah Greene and Stephen Jones in Dublin OldSchool
Emmet Kirwan, Sarah Greene and Stephen Jones in Dublin OldSchool
Sam Claflin has to battle the elements on the high seas

Emmet Kirwan is something of a "man of the moment", what with his penetrating spoken word videos (see the excellent Heartbreak) and Taoiseach-bashing Late Late speeches. He also penned Dublin Oldschool, an award-winning play that behaves like a bravado saunter through our capital and mixes true-blue hedonism with deeply personal themes and serious issues.

This screen crossover from director Dave Tynan seeks to bring that ambitious stage emulsion to the confines of the screen and carry its fizzy energies to a wider audience. Plays and films, however, are very different beasts, and while the poetic swagger has been transferred faithfully, not all of this incarnation feels comfortable lifted out of its natural stage habitat.

Kirwan is Jason, rambling around Dublin over a weekend, session by session. There's lots on his mind - where to score drugs, his status with soon-departing ex-girlfriend Gemma (Seana Kerslake) etc, all pondered via enigmatic rhyming voiceover. The biggest existential shake-up comes when he happens upon his estranged addict brother Daniel (a show-stealing Ian Lloyd Anderson) sleeping rough.

The obvious inference is that Jason's life in pursuit of weekend highs is somewhere on the same evolutionary lineage as Daniel's ruinous heroin addiction, but this central theme feels diluted. Those scenes between Jason and Daniel make for superb cinema, but just as they begin to bite, we are whisked off to a cheery rave with lovely pals Sarah Greene and Mark O'Halloran.

The endeavour is undeniable. The Trainspotting/Human Traffic moxie, admirable. You do wonder, though, if Dublin Oldschool bit off more than it could chew. ★★★ Hilary A White

Sicario 2: Soldado

Cert: 15A; Now showing

Long before Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 brought something approaching household name status, Denis Villeneuve was merely an exceptional action director, a position solidified by 2015's Sicario. A cartel thriller with a slippery skin from writer Taylor Sheridan and shot with searing dread by the great Roger Deakins, it was one of the best films that year and now warrants classic status.

This sequel seeks to turn a brilliant standalone into a franchise, a pointless task perhaps, and one not helped by the absence of Villeneuve himself. Sheridan -along with leads Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro - does return, meaning just enough of the original's essence remains to grant it validity.

That said, it feels like a very different film. Villeneuve's seductions are gone and replaced here by a blunter, more graphic approach from Gomorrah director Stefano Sollima. Surprisingly, it works.

Agent Graver (Brolin) is assigned to shake up the Mexican cartels who now make more cash smuggling people into the US than smuggling narcotics. The route is being used by Islamist terrorists, meaning Graver is given carte blanche to do as he sees fit.

He sets about re-hiring Alejandro (del Toro), the Sicario or "hitman" of the title, to help unleash chaos on the cartels by kidnapping the daughter of the don who killed his family.

Dark sophistication pervades, and while lighter on subtlety, it does hit its targets. ★★★★ Hilary A White

Patrick

Cert: PG; Now showing

Dog films have a certain built-in audience, like kitten videos on YouTube. Patrick, the latest one to grace our eyeballs, doubles down on the canine guarantee by deploying a pug, the ugly but cute breed that has graced a million cards and memes.

This Disney dog film is set in England and duly uses all of the light comedy tourism-friendly cliches about the country. Lots of familiar British acting faces appear, including Jennifer Saunders supporting her real-life daughter who plays the lead. But director and co-writer Mandie Fletcher's film is weak.

The Patrick of the title is a nine-year-old pug who has had one very careful and indulgent owner. When this owner dies, she leaves Patrick to her granddaughter, Sarah (Beattie Edmondson, whose gurning gets wearing) who, wouldn't you know it, doesn't like dogs.

Sarah is ridiculously condescended to by her well-to-do family and is prone to mishaps. So, when on the eve of starting a new job, and having just moved into a flat with a no pets policy, she becomes the reluctant owner of a recalcitrant dog, you can predict what will go wrong. And therein lies the main problem, you can predict it almost scene by scene, not just the main story, but the sub plots with love interests and snooty colleagues. It's a lazy film with simplistic problems and pat solutions. Though the 5k scene was so ridiculous, I did wonder if it was all an edgy satire and I'd missed it.

The dog film/pug people will certainly get more out of it and it would be good fun with kids. ★★ Aine O'Connor

Adrift

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Sam Claflin has to battle the elements on the high seas
 

Cert: 12A; Now showing

Be careful what you wish for, they say. In the case of Tami (Shailene Woodley), a young adventure-seeking American, she gets more than she bargains for when she meets handsome British sailor Richard (Sam Claflin), falls in love, and sets sail from Tahiti with him to deliver a yacht to its rich owners in San Diego.

En route, they are churned up in a monster hurricane that very nearly leaves them for dead. The pair have to dig deep as they roll the dice and try to aim what is left of the vessel to the safety of Hawaii.

Baltasar Kormakur (he of 2 Guns and Everest) takes this true 1983 story and gives us a slightly cheesy millennial version of All Is Lost.

While it doesn't sanitise the threats and stakes, it does give its pretty leads a tad too much in the way of clunky lines, needless exposition and cloying sentimentality. ★★★ Hilary A White

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