Reviews New Movies Opening June 23rd 2011

This weeks movies reviewed by Paul Byrne – Including Bridesmaids and Incendies

BRIDESMAIDS (USA/16/124mins)

Directed by Paul Feig. Starring Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne, Chris O’Dowd, Maya Rudolph, Matt Lucas.

THE PLOT: Annie (Wiig) suddenly realises that she may be losing her best friend, Lillian (Rudolph), when the latter announces that she’s getting married. The main source of Annie’s growing neurosis is mother-in-law to-be Helen (Rose Byrne), a trophy bride who seems to be perfect in just about every way. Especially when it comes to organizes spectacular hen parties and top-of-the-range Showers. Jobs that Annie quickly turns into major disasters.

THE VERDICT: Doing for hen parties what The Hangover did for stag nights, the raunchy, rude and very, very funny Bridesmaids is, most importantly, Kristen Wiig’s coming out party. Finally. Yep, there’s quite a bit of pratfalling in Bridesmaids. And there’s more than a smattering of vomit. And sharting. And pretty much everything else gross you can think of that would normally be found in a fine bromance. But it’s also ferociously funny. This is the movie that The Hangover 2 should have been. RATING: 4/5


INCENDIES (Canada/France/IFI/130mins)

Directed by Denis Villeneuve. Starring Lubna Azabal, Melissa Desomeaux-Poulin, Remy Gerard, Abdelghafour Elaaziz.

THE PLOT: After their mother (Azabal) dies, twins Jeanne Desormeaux-Poulin) and Simon (Gaudette) are handed an envelope containing strange instructions from their late mater, and strict instructions to deliver sealed envelopes to the father they thought was dead, and the brother they never knew they had. And so brother and sister leave Quebec and head to the Middle East. Where a shocking truth awaits…

THE VERDICT: Adapted from a three-and-a-half hour play – with encouragement by its author, Wajdi Mouawad, for director Villeneuve to do whatever he wanted – Incendies is, ultimately, an examination of violence against women. And it’s all the more powerful for never allowing rage to take centrestage. The compelling central family drama allows the bigger picture space to be told without the viewer ever feeling like they’re watching a hard-hitting war movie. Brace yourself for that ending too. RATING: 4/5


Directed by Lucy Walker. Starring Valerie Plame Wilson, Graham Allison, Rolf Mowat-Larssen, Matthew Bunn, Lawrence Scott.

THE PLOT: The argument for nuclear disarmament is presented with a series of interviews, archival footage and good old facts and figures, structured around John F. Kennedy’s 1961 address to the United Nations General Assembly, warning that nuclear disaster could be initiated by ‘accident’, ‘miscalculation’ or ‘madness’. Starting with the invention of the atomic bomb.

THE VERDICT: The most haunting clip is that of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the ‘father of the atomic bomb’, quoting from the Bhagavad Gita; “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds”. A documentary that leaves you in little doubt as to where the filmmakers stand, Countdown To Zero will, of course, be watched almost exclusively by those who already feel exactly the same way. Another inconvenient truth. RATING: 3/5


VIVA RIVA! (Congo/France/Belgium/IFI/98mins)

Directed by Djo Tunda Wa Munga. Starring Patsha Bay, Manie Malone, Joji Fortuna, Diplome Amekindra, Marlene Longage, Alex Herabo.

THE PLOT: In Kinshasa, as with the rest of the Democratic Republic of Congo, petrol is scarce. And that means smooth operator Riva (Bay) is keen to get his hands on a secret cache – even it belongs to sharp-dressed conman Cesar (Fortuna). Celebrating, Riva eyes another prize – the girlfriend (Malone) of his main rival, Azor (Amekindra).

THE VERDICT: A major winner at the 7th African Movie Academy Awards earlier this year (winning six of its 12nominations, including Best Picture), this taut, taunting crime thriller has the speed, grace and street smarts of City Of Men mixed with the lowlife, lowlit violent charge of Old Boy. No one is safe, or sacred here, from the gun-toting gangstas to the church. And it makes Viva Riva! all the more potent. And thrilling. RATING: 4/5


This summer, the IFI National will be touring Journey To Aran – a special programme of films from the Irish Film Archive that includes the Irish premiere of Aran Of The Saints, almost eighty years after it was filmed.

Starting at the Town Hall Theatre in Galways (on June 29th and 30th), the tour then heads to Inis Oirr (July 1st) and Inis Mor (July 3rd) before returning to the IFI in Dublin on July 5th.

The silent Aran Of The Saints will be accompanied by a new musical score, performed by some of the finest traditional musicians from the Aran Islands, including renowned vocalist MacDara O’Chonaola. For full details, visit