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What's on at Silverbird Cinema

Time Out's verdict of the current crop of films

Read Time Out's reviews of the films currently at the Silverbird Cinema, Accra Mall, Ghana

Currently showing

Victor Frankenstein

Oh, the horror! What in hell were the makers of this monstrosity thinking? They’ve looked at Mary Shelley’s science fiction masterpiece (written when she was 19 in 1818) and thought: Hmm, something’s missing here. Oh yes, it’s the big-action, hyperactive, over-the-topness-ness of Robert Downey Jr’s ‘Sherlock Holmes’ movies. The film is told from the point of view of Frankenstein’s assistant Igor (Daniel Radcliffe), a hunchback raised in the circus. The most interesting thing about the character is his hair, which goes from fingers-in-the-socket fright-wig to Anna Wintour bob after he’s busted out of the carnival by cocky medical student Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy). Making Igor his righthand man, Victor’s playing-God project starts badly when he brings to life a psychotic rampaging monkey-monster stitched together from pieces filched from zoos. Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy mostly keep ‘Victor Frankenstein’ watchable, but the dialogue is a horror show. (Radders is lumbered with a ‘little did I know I was about to meet the man who would change my life’ narration). And you might need a thunderclap to keep you awake in the yawn-iest bits.

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The Good Dinosaur

Even with this summer’s staggering ‘Inside Out’ still visible in the rearview mirror, the vistas of Pixar’s ‘The Good Dinosaur’ take your breath away. Sun-dappled streams, swaying trees and an almost palpable sense of changeable weather shock you with their photorealism – and strain against the movie’s slightly tired story of an anthropomorphised boy dinosaur who, separated from his prehistoric family, must go on a journey of self-discovery. His companion is a grunting human child and together they wander into scenes that play, charmingly, like grungy moments from a Sam Peckinpah western, complete with savage hillbilly velociraptors, chatty campfires and herds of cattle. Elsewhere, the film falls into weird lulls and sentimentality. It all feels like a lot of heavy lifting to get to the same old lessons about kinship and finding your clan.

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Hotel Transylvania 2

A sugar-crazed animated monster comedy targeted at kids, the sequel to 2012’s ‘Hotel Transylvania’ isn’t going to get anyone scared. Instead, the filmmakers pay so much attention to crafting a relentless string of in-jokes meant for horror fans that the storyline limps along. Struggling hotelier Drac is back (once again voiced by Adam Sandler, infinitely more bearable off-camera). He’s suffering mightily: his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez), has gone and married mere mortal Jonathan (Andy Samberg), a shaggy-haired dude from California – it’s a real stake in the heart. But the sight of his baby grandson Dennis makes the Count’s undead spirit soar, as does the possibility that the boy might one day sprout fangs. The movie follows Drac’s bad grandparenting, which is intended to trigger a fear response in Dennis allowing his true inhuman self to emerge. Between its huggable mummies, affably shambling spooks and decent human beings, there’s little difference between the bunch, rendering the movie’s anti-discrimination message hazy. Sparks of wit range from the inspired – an Igor-voiced GPS program that hectors its driver– to the silly, such as a morose ‘Phantom of the Opera’ crooning commentary from the organ.

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Bridge of Spies

Acts of politeness small and large mark Steven Spielberg's latest film, a deeply satisfying Cold War spy thriller that feels more subdued than usual for the director – even more so than 2012's thoughtful 'Lincoln' – but one that shapes up expertly into a John Le Carré-style nail-biter. In a knockout and near-wordless intro, a long-faced canvas painter (Mark Rylance, magnetic) finishes an oil in his 1957 Brooklyn apartment, makes his way to the park, picks up a secret coin under a bench containing a tiny folded document, and eventually gets picked up by the Feds on his tail. He's Rudolf Abel, the real-life Soviet spy who is then charged with espionage. But the decent, often feisty man at the film's centre is James Donovan (Tom Hanks), the lawyer who, at great risk to his family, defended Abel's life as a matter of due process and integrity. One could be forgiven for finding this early stretch a little like a Kevin Costner movie: apart from cinematographer Janusz Kaminski's blooming windows, it doesn't quite feel like a Spielberg film until a burning American spy plane plunges past its parachuting pilot, Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell). He's about to become a Russian prisoner and a pawn in a secret trade that the government hopes Donovan will broker in a wintry Berlin split by the Wall: the plan is to swap Abel for Powers. The verbal gamesmanship brings on a new, energised movie, beginning with Hanks's charming Donovan, slightly amused in his Irish crankiness, even as hi

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2

So here it is, the triumphant finale to ‘The Hunger Games’ franchise, and time for plucky heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) to march proudly into the Capitol, aim her trusty arrow and loose it straight into the heart of that dastardly villain President Snow (Donald Sutherland). A rousing cheer, and we all go home satisfied. Except that ‘Mockingjay – Part 2’ isn’t that movie. This might be the most downbeat blockbuster in memory, a film that starts out pitiless and goes downhill from there, save for a fleeting glimmer of hope in the final moments. It’s a bold statement about the unforgiving nature of war, unashamedly political in its motives and quietly devastating in its emotional effect. The action picks up right after the end of ‘Part 1’, with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) suffering hallucinations brought on by Snow’s torturers and Katniss kicking against the restrictions placed on her by rebel leader Coin (Julianne Moore). The first half runs along fairly predictable tramlines, as Katniss slips her captors and joins the fray, bent on taking Snow down. There’s a truly nightmarish tussle in a sewer tunnel – the series’ most effective action sequence, hands down – and then it's on to Snow’s mansion for the climactic showdown. But just as the end is in sight, everything shifts. We won’t spoil things, except to say that the choices made are truly striking, simultaneously reaffirming the series' commitment to timely political point-making while providing an off-key but oddl

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Spectre

Well, this certainly feels like a full stop. Daniel Craig has been slippery and circumspect when asked if ‘Spectre’ will be his final outing as James Bond. From both the tone and content of ‘Spectre’, we’d guess this could be his swansong: this is a film that gathers all the great – and some of the not-so-great – things about the three previous films in the Craig-as-Bond cycle into one rousing, spectacular, scattershot and somewhat overextended victory lap. It works – until it doesn’t. We find Bond in Mexico City – it’s the Day of the Dead, the perfect excuse for rampaging masked crowds, unexpected explosions and a swooping, supercharged helicopter sequence that’ll have you choking on your popcorn. Then it's back to London for some very bad news: MI6’s Double-0 program is under threat thanks to the machinations of creepy surveillance agent C (Andrew Scott), leaving old warhorses like M (Ralph Fiennes), Q (Ben Whishaw) and Bond himself facing the scrapheap. Which, of course, doesn’t stop our James from speeding off to Rome, Austria and north Africa on the trail of the titular band of assassins, terrorists and all-round global troublemakers run by the literally shadowy Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz). So far, so sleek and spellbinding: director Sam Mendes exercises complete control over his material, Craig’s bruised bulldog charm is in full effect and the visuals by crack cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema are rich and ravishing. But somewhere between the introduction of Léa

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Sicario

Clawing his way up the power ranks of Directors Least Likely To Make A Romantic Comedy, Denis Villeneuve takes on the Mexican drug trade in this stern, robust, abandon-hope-all-ye-who-enter thriller. And during its throat-grabbingly effective opening, it seems he may have the final word on this oft-visited genre. As an FBI team, headed by Emily Blunt's stoic agent Kate, literally crashes an Arizona drug-cartel hideout, a gruesome cache of human corpses is uncovered behind the drywall – and the filmmaking practically gives off its own vivid, indignant stench. Cinematographer Roger Deakins's dynamic camera forces us to look where we'd rather not; Johann Johannsson's score swarms with malevolent foreboding. Even as he borrows from other movies' hellish visions – some of the most arresting imagery here feels lifted from Amat Escalante's 2013 Cannes winner ‘Heli’ – Villeneuve knows how to overwhelm his audience. That panicked pitch, however, is tough to sustain across two hours of beautifully wrought moral turpitude that nonetheless doesn't contain many stunning revelations. Kate is drafted into a mysterious, agency-merging task force established to bait and bring down a key cartel leader, though her requests for information are blocked at nearly every turn: she's not even sure if her rule-bending team leader (Josh Brolin, on strong, non-stick form) belongs to the CIA or not. Still, he's a positive chatterbox compared to Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro, superb), a quietly lethal ex-p

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The Martian

Showing a signature flair missing since 'Gladiator' (2000), Ridley Scott returns to mainstream mastery with 'The Martian', a space misadventure turned survivor’s tale. Similarities to 'Apollo 13' and the more recent 'Gravity' will be obvious to anyone who’s ever rocketed into zero-g thrills, but that’s not to say that Scott - who does well by Andy Weir’s science-heavy 2011 novel (smartly streamlined by screenwriter Drew Goddard) - doesn't bring his own spin. A scary storm on Mars swarms the Ares 3 crew in a blizzard of frozen dust reminiscent of the inhospitable planet from 'Alien' (1979). After an emergency evacuation strands Matt Damon's presumed-dead astronaut Mark Watney on his own, his initial wandering of the vacant 'hab' outpost plays like any number of Scott's moody sci-fi classics, from 'Blade Runner' to 'Prometheus'. But differently, 'The Martian' has spunk in store: 'I’m not going to die,' Watney says in his video diary, and we actually hear a heavy-metal power chord as this chatterbox of a botanist gets to work manufacturing water from hydrogen, creating a greenhouse-enclosed potato farm (fertilised by the disappeared crew’s waste packets) and putting his noodle to contacting Mission Control. Bringing optimism, nerdiness and a touch of crazy to his character's solo ordeal - at one point, scraggly Watney calls himself a 'space pirate' - Damon is the key to the movie’s exuberance. This is his 'Cast Away' and it’s hard to imagine another star commanding the role wit

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The Intern

Director Nancy Meyers makes entertaining comfort-comedies (‘It’s Complicated’, ‘Something’s Gotta Give’). Her films are like humongous bowls of macaroni cheese, and the latest, ‘The Intern’, may see you sink you into a feelgood coma. Robert De Niro plays twinkly retired New Yorker Ben, who signs up to a seniors intern programme. After a borderline patronising interview (‘Where do you see yourself in ten years?’ ‘When I’m 80?’), he lands a placement with an online fashion store. His boss is kooky Jules (Anne Hathaway, relentlessly wholesome), who cycles around the office and is under pressure from her big-money investors to sell her soul and hire a CEO to run her booming start-up. The world of ‘The Intern’ is shamelessly fake. This is the fashion industry, but forget about any bitching; everyone is psychotically pleasant. Are the straight-out-of college kids awkward with the old dude with a briefcase? No, because he’s retro cool – like a brick-sized vintage Nokia bought off eBay. Truthfully, the ideas run out quickly, but De Niro is easygoing, and this is indulgent good fun.

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