Cinema Roundup: February 13th 2014

Cinema roundup February 13th

There’s a raft of new films opening this week and believe it or not, the pick of the bunch is The Lego Movie.

You might expect a movie based on a popular children’s toy to be nothing more than a cheap cash grab but the writing and directing team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller have crafted a highly engaging story. The Lego Movie has a great message for kids about exploring creativity and thinking outside the box, while adults will appreciate the level of subversive satire and no doubt wallow in the nostalgia factor.

Her, the tale of a socially awkward man who falls in love with his computer’s operating system, has received much critical acclaim, and is nominated for several Oscars, but I found it a dull story that would have worked better as a stage play. The miscasting of Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson (as the never-quite-disembodied OS voice) made it difficult for me to take Her as seriously as the film-makers would have liked.

Cuban Fury is a rom-com set in the world of salsa dancing. It does have a few laughs, thanks mainly to Chris O’Dowd’s great performance as a sleazy office worker, but the romantic aspect is severely under-developed.

The provocatively titled Bastards is a French thriller that’s got style in spades but little in substance. The film revels in bad taste like a teenage boy trying to shock his English teacher but like most French films, it’s technically impressive and very well acted.

Finally we have World War II drama, The Monuments Men. Directed by and starring George Clooney, it’s inspired by the real life allied unit that focused on retrieving art stolen by the Nazis but it’s nowhere near as interesting as that concept suggests, thanks to a listless approach and a script severely lacking in drama.

If you’re in a romantic mood this valentine’s, the film-makers behind new Irish drama The Randomers have made their film available free to view at

By Eric Hillis