LEGO BATMAN – Opened 30/3

CAST: featuring the voices ofWill Arnett (Arrested Development), Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Zach Galafinakis, Conan O’Brien, Billy Dee Williams, Seth Green, Jermaine Clements, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Eddie Izzard…need we continue? Even Siri makes an appearance, making it a star-spangled panoply of celebrity voices. 

STORY: Batman (Arnett) has been fighting crime for a long time…a very long time. He’s been doing it alone and the loneliness he masks with his opulent lifestyle, expensive toys, crime fighting and the longing for the family that was violently torn from him one dark, long ago night has not gone unnoticed by Alfred, his faithful butler(Fiennes). But Batman doesn’t need sympathy. He a little too-vehemently doesn’t need anyone – even brushing off The Joker’s (Galafinakis) demand that he acknowledge him as his most hated foe, scorning him by saying, “you’re nothing to me.” The plot first twists with the retirement of Commissioner Gordon and appointment of his uber-competent daughter, Barbara, who wants to end Batman’s brand of vigilante justice and put police in charge of fighting crime in Gotham City.

REVIEW: If you don’t have a kid of your own- borrow or assemble one. This animated feature will not get the wider audience it so richly deserves. With more twists to come, that takes the story from the Batcave, to Arkham Asylum and all the way to the Phantom Zone and back while introducing dozens of heroes and villains from such unrelated franchises as Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter, this is both a pretty good super hero flick and a really well-paced comedy- there were so many excellently executed laugh-out-loud moments…oh, and did I mention that the movie was created entirely out of animated Lego bricks…? In fact, the fact that it is constructed of Lego is almost secondary to the film itself, which stands independently of that aspect – yet is even funnier because it is nonetheless rendered entirely of Lego – and still manages to draw the viewer into the story and its protagonist’s plight. Add to that the intensely human character of Will Arnett’s Batman and the normalisation of a set of somewhat delicate social themes (by which other recent films seem to have been challenged), and this finely tuned work is ready to entertain the hell out of almost anybody.

RATING: What could be more frivolous than children’s building blocks? Yet, for so fully entertaining the audience and magnificently exceeding my expectations, I give it a very solid 4out of 5.

FACTOID: Ralph Fiennes, who does the voice of Alfred the butler in Lego Batman, played Voldemort in the HarryPotter series. But the voice of the Lego Voldemort is that of comedian Eddie Izzard.

TRAILER: Lego Batman Trailers(YouTube)


GHOST IN THE SHELL (3D)- Opened 30/3

CAST: Scarlett Johannson, Kitano “Beat” Takeshi, Juliet Binoche, Pilou Azbaek, Michael Pitt

STORY: Major (Johansson) a cybernetic organism- a human brain, rescued from a terrible accident, ensconced safely within a biomechanical body and re-engineered by HankaCorporation as a weapon against terrorism, in a nameless and slightly futuristic Japanese megalopolis. But she’s been troubled by hallucinations her handler, Dr. Ouelet (Binoche) assures her are side-effects of the anti-rejection drugs that stop her brain from rejecting her body…but as this fascinating story progresses, it becomes clearer that things aren’t at what they seem.

REVIEW: I have to confess that, while I did live for 16 years both in Japan and in her cultural orbit, I think now that I never availed myself enough of their famous anime or manga traditions. This dark study of the meaning of self was pulled off by the Chinese Hua-Hua Studios, meaning to me also that they cannot be accused of “whitewashing” this work- by which I mean using caucasians to fill fundamentally Asian characters.

But I don’t think potential viewers are interested in any of that. “Is it a film worthy of my hard-earned cinema dollar?” I hear you ask and the answer is an assertive and enthusiastic, “…maybe”.

If you’re into dystopian Sci-Fi, hip to great special effects, are a sucker for a good, dark story and like to see Scarlett strut her stuff on the big screen, then you’re in for a real treat and I’m giving it my personal, gritty 4 out of 5.

TRAILER: Ghost in The Shell trailer (IMDB.com)


NOW SHOWING:

LEGO BATMAN GHOST IN THE SHELL BEAUTY & THE BEAST
LAND OF MINE MISS SLOANE T2 TRAINSPOTTING
ALONE IN BERLIN THE BOSS BABY HIDDEN FIGURES
LOVING MOONLIGHTING

YOU CAN STILL CATCH:

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA THE EAGLE HUNTRESS LA LA LAND
JASPER JONES LION* PERFECT STRANGERS 

 

Special / Coming Events:

SPANISH FILM FESTIVAL IS COMING – April 27- May 17 – Luna Cinema Paradiso

Returns next month to celebrate the festival’s 20th edition, kicking with a sexy and daring box office hit KIKI, LOVE TO LOVE (KIKI, EL AMOR SE HACE) that will be kicking on after the first showing with an equally colourful fiesta at Connections Nightclub in James Street and some tasty Spanish-style tapas from Pinchos.

This week at the 28th Annual Alliance Francaise Festival – Started Mar15 and continuing to Apr5 at Luna Palace Cinemas

IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD– The story of a young man returning home after a long absence, waiting for the right moment to break the news that he is terminally ill.

STANDING TALL – called “an absorbing insight into the French juvenile justice system”

THE UNKNOWNGIRL – A compelling, Palm D’Ornominated murder mystery, called a “shining example of social realism,” from the celebrated art house auteurs the Dardenne brothers.

THE MIDWIFE –Two of French cinema’s most well-known figures, Catherine Deneuve and Catherine Frot, in a story about two women reuniting after many years.

*LION – EXTENDED DIRECTOR’S EDITION – From April 10, Luna Leederville and Windsor