Cinema Roundup February 20th

Cinema roundup February 20th

It’s been argued that 3D will never be anything more than a gimmick, one applied only to light entertainment rather than “serious” films, whatever that phrase actually means. Someone obviously didn’t tell this to the Russian film industry, as they’ve taken the infamous World War II battle of Stalingrad as the basis for a 3D spectacular that has broken box office records in its native Russia.

This week Irish audiences can feast their eyes on Stalingrad, a film which doesn’t do a whole lot with its third dimension (looking particularly flat post-Gravity), but is quite the visual treat regardless. It’s a film that feels closer in tone to the classic war movies of old Hollywood than contemporary military dramas, and while it tends toward the melodramatic, it’s an engaging spectacle.

Not so engaging is Only Lovers Left Alive, the latest mood piece from cult director Jim Jarmusch; yet another drama about brooding vampires that adds nothing to this well worn sub-genre. Jarmusch is an acquired taste, though one I personally haven’t acquired and probably never will, but he has his fans and they’ll no doubt embrace his latest work. The rest of us can rewatch Neil Jordan’s superior vampire drama from last year, Byzantium.

Stranger by the Lake is a French thriller that’s received a lot of attention for its unique setting, a cruising beach. Though it’s very well acted, I found its plot a little hard to swallow thanks to the implausible choices made by the film’s lead character.

Not quite as implausible, though, as A New York Winter’s Tale, the first genuine turkey of 2014. Colin Farrell stars as an angel, Russel Crowe his demon nemesis. The latter adopts the worst Irish accent since Tom Cruise’s cringe-worthy brogue in Far & Away and the film is an absolute mess, so awful it’s often unintentionally hilarious.

By Eric Hillis