Paul Byrne gives his verdict on the latest movie releases, including Predators and Leaving…

PREDATORS (USA/15A/107mins)

Directed by Nimrod Antal. Starring Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Laurence Fishburne, Alice Braga, Danny Trejo.


THE PLOT: The twist here is that Brody’s one-man killing machine Royce finds himself being abducted, along with some fellow mercenaries (including Topher Grace’s geeky serial killer Edwin and Danny Trejo’s Uzi-toting Cuchilio), and brought to the aliens’ planet as a little roadtest fodder for a new breed of Predator. Once there, the not-quite-magnificent seven bump into Noland (Fishburne), a soldier who has survived on Predator Planet for the last ten years by living in a cave. Let the fluorescent bloodbath begin.

THE VERDICT: A franchise that has long languished in Hollywood’s out tray comes back to life, Adrien Brody effectively taking on the role of the mercenary soldier battling alien killers played in the 1987 original by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

This is all from a script Robert Rodriguez first presented to 20th Century Fox after he scored his first major hit with 1995’s Desperado. Back then, Fox thought his budget was too big. This time, they let Rodriguez take the whole production home to his own Texan studio.

Fans of horror and sci-fi cross-casting will be happy to know that Derek Mears – best known as Jason in the Friday The 13th franchise – pops up as The Big Cheese Predator. Cameo appearances written into the script for Arnie and Predator 2’s Danny Glover didn’t charm the Hollywood heavyweights enough to actually head down to Austin though. RATING: **


LEAVING (France/16/85mins)


Directed by Catherine Corsini. Starring Kristen Scott Thomas, Sergei Lopez, Yvan Attal, Bernard Blancan, Aladin Reibel.


THE PLOT: Thomas plays unhappily married fortysomething mother-of-two Suzanne, her physician husband, Samuel (Attal), taking a similar approach to life as he does his work – cold and clinical. So it’s hardly surprising that, once Suzanne meets ex-con-turned-handyman Ivan (Lopez), before you can say Lady Chatterly, the two are having a mad, passionate affair.

It’s only when Suzanne announces that she’s going to leave her husband for this dark and brooding immigrant that her wide-eyed escape starts to turn nasty. And spiteful. And even a little life-threatening.

THE VERDICT: After 2008’s powerful I’ve Loved You So Long, France’s most famous adopted daughter Kristen Scott Thomas proves once again that classic storytelling is alive and well in this taut and tantalising take on the auld love triangle. Both Thomas and Lopez are wonderful, helped in no small part by the fine work of director and co-writer Catherine Corsini (La Repetition, Les ambitieux), Leaving breathing new life and lust into a well-worn story. RATING: ***




Directed by David Slade. Starring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Dakota Fanning, Bryce Dallas Howard, Peter Facinelli.

THE PLOT: The teenage wildlife is getting that little bit wilder, as torn-between-two-mythical-freaks Bella (Stewart) finally has to decide whether she wants shy, pale kids or hairy little critters who cock their right leg when they pee. The hardcore fans – the many, many millions of them – will already know whether Bella decides to walk down the aisle with neck-biter Edward (Pattinson) or moon-howler Jake (Lautner), but director David Slade (who already dealt with some difficult teenage lust in 2005’s Hard Candy and made one of the better recent vampire flicks in 2007’s 30 Days Of Night) manages to conjure up enough heat and bloodlust to make you actually care about this mixed-up little goth and her two goofball suitors.

THE VERDICT: Having already broken a few opening weekend records in the US last week, the Twilight saga is a phenomenon that nonetheless suffers greatly from the fact that Meyer is no literary genius. She’s not even Rowling. She’s Dan Brown in a dress, and her thinly-veiled stab at making life as a Mormon seem cool (they don’t believe in sex before marriage, hence the dilemma for Edward and Bella consummating their lust) touches on the universal longing in all young would-be lovers. There’s no fruit quite as sweet as forbidden fruit.

This may be the best of the three films so far, but new and improved doesn’t mean that the Twilight juggernaut is yet a franchise that deserves anything like the success it’s had. It’s The Da Vinci Code for impressionable, depressed tweenies, and will ultimately prove to be far more Monkees than Beatles when its time has passed. RATING: ***



Don’t forget, the IFI Family Festival is on this weekend, with the great Lee Unkrich flying in from Pixar HQ this afternoon for a little Q&A after the 1.30pm screening of Toy Story 3 (out here on July 16th) There are workshops, screenings, shorts, and all sorts of goodies for the young ‘uns to enjoy over the weekend, and all events are free. So, get yourself along post-haste to to find out the full details, or phone (01) 6795744… Also running at the IFI is Faraway, So Close: Film From Africa, a mini-festival setting out to show another aspect or two of the World Cup hosts. Taking pride of place is the 1990 Cannes winner Tilai, alongside three more recent offerings – post-apartheid Cape Town documentary Sea Point Days; Kenyan tribal drama in Soul Boy (which will be introduced by Nollywood star Deji Adenuga); and the music bio Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love. Full details, once again, are on



Running from July 23rd to the 25th, this year’s Festival Of World Cultures in Dun Laoghaire will be playing host to some interestinginternational films to go along with all those crazy rhythms and odd-shaped instruments.

On the main Newtownsmith stage, there will be a series of shorts, including Moore Street Masala, the animated Lullabies, and Synth Eastwood’s live visual montage of the festival, Gif Shoot. Journeys Through Europe & Beyond is a mini-festival within the festival, with the Cinemobile setting up shop in the garden of the Royal Marine Hotel, screening films from Sheffield to Slovakia. Leading the pack is Marcela, winner of Best European Documentary at the Seville Film Festival.

For full details, log on to




Those clever, nostalgic clogs at the Screen Cinema on D’Olier Street continue their blasts from the past with a special screening of Breakfast At Tiffany’s next Saturday, July 17th, at 8.30pm. And just to prove how elegant this 1961 classic is, they’re making it a red carpet gala screening.

Anyone carrying a red carpet gets in for free.

Not really, but you may need it for the 1960s after-party in Shebeen Chic after the screening. Just in case you stay out late, and need something to sleep on.

The film is actually running at the Screen from the 16th to the 22nd of July, but if you really want to get that Audrey Hepburn – or George Peppard – groove on, the gala screening next Saturday is where it’s at. Daddy-o. Full details on or by ringing the Screen box-office on 01-6714034