Reviews New Films Opening June 3rd 2011

This weeks movies reviewed by Paul Byrne including Senna and X-Men First Class



SENNA (UK/12A/105mins)

Directed by Asif Kapadia. Starring Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Frank Williams, Rob Dennis, Viviane Senna, Milton da Silva.

THE PLOT: Compiled from 15,000 hours of material – from newsreels to home movies, from behind-the-scenes videos to car point-of-view footage – director Kapadia charts the astonishing career of the much-loved Brazilian racer – and three-time Formula 1 world champion – Ayrton Senna. There are no talking heads – this is too pedal-to-the-metal for any slow, reverent nods.

THE VERDICT: Kapadia may not be able to include everything about Senna’s remarkable life (his affair with a 15-year old girl; his assault on Eddie Irvine in 1993; risking his life to save crashed French driver Erik Comas mid-race), but he does paint a fascinating picture of the man rated the third most successful driver of all time in terms of race wins. Senna was also a controversial son of a bitch. Which makes this documentary all the more fascinating, of course. RATING: 4/5

 X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (USA/UK/12A/132mins)

Directed by Matthew Vaughn. Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones, Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Bacon.

THE PLOT: Poland, 1944, and the young Erich Lehnsherr (Bill Milner) sees his mother being gunned down because he failed to conjure up his magnetic powers for the concentration camp doctor (Bacon, playing it not so much Footloose as Screwloose). And so, as an adult, Erich (Fassbender) sets out to find the bad doctor, now an international man of misery and destruction. But other young mutants (led by McAvoy’s Professor Charles Xavier) find Erich first, and try to convince him, as they set up a school for mutants, of better ways to use his special powers. And rage.

THE VERDICT: Marvel are calling it a reboot – reboot being Hollywood Latin for “We’re really, really sorry about that last outing”. Having Matthew ‘Kick-Ass’ Vaughn team up with the man behind the first two X-Men outings, Bryan Singer (both men, ironically, having separately walked away from the third), is certainly a step in the right direction, as is the casting of McAvoy and the towering Fassbender, but First Class doesn’t quite reach the parts. Or bend them. The first half-hour is terrific (thanks to Fassbender’s Bond-esque rampage of revenge), and the closing ten minutes work surprising well, but there’s a soft, meandering middle of weak supporting players (the kids being more Jersey Shore than the Fellowship of the Ring, whilst the dapper Bacon and his terror trio look like the Black Eyed Peas, only less scary) that drags this smart film down. RATING: 3/5

MAMMUTH (France/IFI/92mins)

Directed by Gustave de Kervern, Benoit Delepine. Starring Gerard Depardieu, Yolande Moreau, Isabelle Adjani, Benoit Poelvoorde, Miss Ming, Blutch.

THE PLOT: It’s a trip down memory lane for the far-from-shy but now retiring Serge Pilardosse (Depardieu), dusting down his old Mammuth motorbike when he’s informed that his pension won’t be forthcoming until he tracks down some payment slips from his former employers. Serge finds his past is not quite as he remembers it, and time has definitely moved on…

THE VERDICT: There’s something inherently inviting about an old icon of cinema (Depardieu being France’s answer to De Niro; a legendary actor who only occasionally gets a hard-on for his work these days) taking a road trip on a classic old bike. At times, Mammuth feels like a magical mystery tour with an old friend, and Depardieu seems to relish in being the easy, breezy rider. Sweet as. RATING: 3/5

LAST NIGHT (USA/France/12A/91mins)

Directed by Massy Tadjedin. Starring Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Eva Mendes, Guillaume Canet, Anson Mount, Griffin Dunne.

THE PLOT: Shiny, happy, pretty Manhattan couple Joanna (Knightley) and Michael Reed (Worthington) find themselves tempted by the fruit of another when they spend a night far apart. The forbidden fruit being played by Mendes and Canet (Tell No One, Joyeux Noel, The Beach) – so, you know, who can blame them?

THE VERDICT: Writer/director Massy Tadjedin’s debut feature is all done in the best possible taste, and with the best looking cast a young French filmmaker (with some US moolah) can muster. Former movie star Knightley does a fine job, as does the budding Worthington, but you can never quite shake the feeling here that, any moment now, someone’s going to walk in the door with a tray of Ferroro Rocher. RATING: 2/5


A live concert film catching the young London r’n’b quartet on their last tour. Released in Ireland without a press screening.  RATING: N/A


The Film Fatale bi-monthly offerings continue with Casablanca, Michael Curtiz’s 1942 masterpiece acting as the centerpiece for a 1940s night on Saturday 4th of June.

For one night only, The Sugar Club will be transformed into Rick’s Café Americain for this much-loved classic, with the screening itself followed by a Moroccan-themed after-party, complete with As Time Goes By on the piano, and DJs The Andrews Sisters’ Brothers.

For further details, email Tickets are €15, available on

Reviews by Paul Byrne