Irish Independent film guru Paul Whitington joins Entertainment Editor Aoife Kelly to review this week's big releases - The Gunman, Insurgent, and Home.
It's a distinctly average mix of titles releasing this week. First up is action thriller The Gunman, helmed by Taken director Pierre Morell, and starring Sean Penn.
He plays a sniper on a mercenary assassination team who kills the master of mines of the Congo. His successful shot forces him into hiding but he returns years later to work with an NGO but finds himself the target of a hit squad himself.
The film starts out as though it may have something to say about the political situation but soon descends into average thriller fare and is unlikely to launch a Liam Neeson style renaissance for Penn as an action star.
Insurgent, meanwhile, the second instalment in the planned four-film Divergent franchise, is marginally better. Based on a rather improbably premise - the world's population is divided into factions based on individuals' personalities - it transcends the silliness thanks in the main to lead actress Shailene Woodley.
The depiction of a post-apocalyptic world is visually impressive and there are some impressive action sequences although the central romance lacks spark and the first half of the film makes slow, lumbering progress before it hits its stride in the final hour.
Home is the latest offering from DreamWorks, and it's suitably cuddly, amiable family fare with laughs for the very young as well as in-jokes for the adults. Sitting somewhere below How to Train Your Dragon and Shrek but above Shark Tale it's an average offering from the studio.
Check out the full reviews above...
In order to reconstruct France in the aftermath of its wartime trauma, Charles de Gaulle, a brilliant politician, encouraged the creation of a pan-national resistance myth. As the grim reality of conflict receded, the number of those who had apparently fought the Nazi occupation swelled to include practically the entire population, apart from those poor women found guilty of collaboration horizontale - who had their heads shaved and were turned into social pariahs.
If I was cast as a supporting character in anything starring Liam Neeson, I would turn up wearing a crash helmet. So synonymous is the big Ballymena man with violent action at this stage that you know his brooding quietness is simply the calm before the storm, and that sooner or later everyone is going to get their heads kicked in. And though he might look like a harmless old Irish drunk at the start of Run All Night, Liam is only saving himself for the brewing shit-storm that will shortly kick off.
What would Woody Allen make of today's average New York neurotic, you wonder while watching Appropriate Behaviour. Its protagonist, Shirin, is cut from the same charmingly useless cloth as Greta Gerwig's titular protagonist in Frances Ha (2012), sighing away at how hard it is living in happening Brooklyn and floating in and out of hip cafés and Mickey Mouse jobs. At least Allen's Manhattanites had more lofty consuming passions than just wallowing in underachievement.
Drama. Starring Jeremy Renner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Oliver Platt, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Michael Sheen, Michael Kenneth Williams, Andy Garcia, Barry Pepper, Ray Liotta. Directed by Michael Cuesta. Cert 15A