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- The Black Panthers: Vanguard Of The Revolution
Brooklyn 4 stars
Eilis Lacey is a shrinking violet in Enniscorthy. Thanks to her older sister Rose, she secures a one-way ticket to a brighter future in New York. Eilis' homesickness gradually fades and she excels as a salesgirl at a department store under stylish floor manager Miss Fortini. She also sparks a tender romance with a handsome plumber called Tony. The lovebirds marry in secret, but when Eilis returns home to Enniscorthy, local boy Jim Farrell unexpectedly turns her head.
- GenreAdaptation, Drama, Historical/Period, Romance
- CastSaoirse Ronan, Julie Walters, Michael Zegen, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, Emory Cohen.
- DirectorJohn Crowley.
- WriterNick Hornby.
- Duration112 mins
- Official sitewww.foxsearchlight.com/brooklyn/
Young hearts run free on opposite sides of the Atlantic in John Crowley's handsome romance, adapted for the screen by Nick Hornby from Colm Toibin's novel of the same name. Set in the early 1950s, Brooklyn harks back to a bygone era of restrictive social mores and is anchored by a tour-de-force performance from Saoirse Ronan as an innocent abroad, whose journey from County Wexford to the towering skyscrapers of New York coincides with her awkward transition to womanhood. The 21-year-old Irish-American actress doesn't hit a false emotional note, contrasting the naivete of her heroine's early days away from home with the self-assurance of an immigrant, who finally realises that she belongs. Sweeping production and costume design evoke the era with aplomb, accentuated by Michael Brook's gorgeous orchestral score. Equally appealing are Emory Cohen and Domhnall Gleeson as rival suitors for the heroine's affections. Both actors kindle smouldering on-screen chemistry with Ronan, so we're undecided, like her, which of them she should choose as her sanctuary. Eilis Lacey (Ronan) is a shrinking violet in Enniscorthy. She lives with her mother (Jane Brennan) and older sister Rose (Fiona Glascott), and earns a meagre crust - and withering rebukes - at the local shop run by the imperious Miss Kelly (Brid Brennan). Thanks to Rose, Eilis secures a one-way ticket to a brighter future in New York. Holy man Father Flood (Jim Broadbent) places Eilis at a boarding house for single girls run by Mrs Kehoe (Julie Walters), who clucks over the lodgers including Patty (Emily Bett Rickards), Diana (Eve Macklin), Miss McAdam (Mary O'Driscoll) and Sheila (Nora-Jane Noone). Eilis' homesickness gradually fades and she excels as a salesgirl at a department store under stylish floor manager Miss Fortini (Jessica Pare). She also sparks a tender romance with a handsome plumber called Tony (Cohen). Painfully innocent to courtship rituals, Eilis turns to the other girls at the boarding house and they advise her to carefully choose her bathing costume for an impending trip to Coney Island beach. "It's the most Tony will have seen of you and you don't want to put him off!" they cackle. The lovebirds marry in secret, but when Eilis returns home to Enniscorthy, local boy Jim Farrell (Gleeson) unexpectedly turns her head and makes her hanker for small-town life. Brooklyn is a classic, old-fashioned love triangle, which combines elegant storytelling, strong performances and swoonsome visuals. Gentle comedy, courtesy of Walters in fine lip-pursing form, underpins the anguished vacillations of the heart and stokes dramatic tension as Eilis dithers between her two paramours. Toibin's lyrical dialogue trips off the tongue in Hornby's script, succinctly capturing the ebb and flow of life for young dreamers, who come to realise that home isn't necessarily where you were born.
Sicario 4 stars
Kate Macer is part of the FBI's Special Weapons and Tactics team, which is at the forefront of the war against drugs on American soil. Flanked by her partner Reggie Wayne, Kate storms a safe house on the Mexican border and uncovers dozens of rotting corpses of various informants and witnesses. Soon after, a government agent named Matt asks Kate to join his top secret task force, which intends to cripple the cartels from the top down.
- GenreAction, Drama, Thriller
- CastEmily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro, Daniel Kaluuya.
- DirectorDenis Villeneuve.
- WriterTaylor Sheridan.
- Duration121 mins
- Official sitewww.sicariofilm.com
French-Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve made an impressive English language debut in 2013 with the nihilistic thriller Prisoners starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. Before he takes charge of the sequel to Blade Runner, the talented director dazzles with this edge-of-seat assault on unbitten nails, glimpsing America's war on drugs through the eyes of a ballsy FBI agent, who is naive about the full extent of her government's covert activities.
Sicario, which translates as hitman in Spanish, is tautly paced and expertly scripted by Taylor Sheridan, who sidesteps glib solutions to a complex global epidemic. Instead, he skilfully weaves together sinewy subplots involving morally flawed characters on both sides of the Mexican border, building up a richly detailed picture of the blurred lines between authorities and the traffickers.
Desperation drips like rivulets of sweat from every expertly crafted frame and Villeneuve heightens our discomfort with thrillingly orchestrated action set pieces including a mesmerising finale that exposes sins under the cover of darkness using night vision and thermal imaging cameras.
At the blackened heart of the film is a tour-de-force performance from British actress Emily Blunt, whose steely-nerved heroine might have to sacrifice more than her idealism in the crucible of machismo and political double-dealing.
She plays Kate Macer, part of the FBI's Special Weapons and Tactics team, who are at the forefront of the war against drugs on American soil. Flanked by her partner Reggie Wayne (Daniel Kaluuya), Kate storms a safe house and uncovers dozens of rotting corpses.
Soon after, a government agent named Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) asks Kate to join his top-secret task force, which intends to cripple the cartel fronted by Rafael (Raoul Trujillo) from the top down.
Haunted by the loss of men under her command, Kate willingly signs up and she heads to El Paso for her briefing, where she learns that she will be venturing onto Mexican soil.
"What's our objective?" asks Kate.
"To dramatically overreact," tartly replies Matt.
A Colombian former prosecutor (Benicio Del Toro) with a personal vendetta joins the task force. Bullets fly and Kate's conscience is spattered in blood as she witnesses first-hand shocking brutality in violation of the laws she vowed to uphold.
Sicario gradually tightens the screws on frayed nerves, reaching a crescendo with the extraction of an informant from Ciudad Juarez. "Keep an eye out for the state police. They're not always the good guys," one of the characters tells Kate, stoking her paranoia and ours.
Blunt is terrific in a physically and emotionally demanding role, clashing with Brolin's cold and pragmatic leader, who believes the means always justify an end that is favourable to US interests. Johann Johannsson's atmospheric soundtrack pants and growls like a caged beast, creating a furious tempo that Villeneuve matches with flourishes of directorial brio.
Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)
- Thursday 26th November 2015
The Black Panthers: Vanguard Of The Revolution 3 stars
Founded in Oakland, California in 1966 by students Bobby Seale and Huey P Newton, the Black Panther Party For Self-Defense became a thorn in the side of the US administration. J Edgar Hoover famously planted informants in the party's rank and file in order to create division and destroy the Black Panthers from the inside. This documentary provides a whistlestop tour of the rise and fall of the Black Panthers, using archive material and interviews.
- GenreDocumentary, Historical/Period
- DirectorStanley Nelson.
- WriterStanley Nelson.
- Duration113 mins
- Official sitewww.theblackpanthers.com
- Release23/10/2015 (selected cinemas)
Founded in Oakland, California in 1966 by students Bobby Seale and Huey P Newton, the Black Panther Party For Self-Defense was originally dedicated to social enrichment and education in Oakland. The burgeoning movement became a thorn in the side of the US administration and J Edgar Hoover famously planted informants in the party's rank and file in order to create division and destroy the Black Panthers from the inside. Stanley Nelson Jr's documentary provides a whistlestop tour of the rise and fall of the Black Panthers, using archive material and interviews to understand the personalities that were the fire in the belly of this vast and powerful machine.
Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)
- Thursday 26th November 2015