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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

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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The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials

This second instalment in another post-apocalyptic YA trilogy makes no concession to those who have not been keeping up, throwing us into the maelstrom with its young stars. Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and friends have escaped the maze in which they were trapped, but outside the world is in chaos. Solar flares have scorched the planet and a somehow related virus has transformed much of humanity into zombie-like monsters. The sinister WCKD organisation (not to be confused with the alcopop brand) needs our hero’s brain fluids to effect a cure. Cue a complicated conspiracy. Like the makers of ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Divergent’, director Wes Ball bolsters his young cast with character actor stalwarts (Patricia Clarkson, Aidan Gillen, Lili Taylor). But as his cast strike picturesque poses on hilltops – surely unwise when on the run? – it becomes clear that his real focus is on striking visuals and nods to Spielberg, in which respect the film delivers far beyond its budget. Still, with virtually no first act and an ‘Empire Strikes Back’-style cliffhanger, it’s a film hamstrung by its own unravel-the-conspiracy premise.

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The Transporter Refuelled

Jason Statham has stepped away but the Transporter drives on in the form of Ed Skrein. The young Londoner plays control-freak ex-soldier Frank Martin, who drives dubious cargo for a living with no questions asked. This time round, his passenger is Anna (Loan Chabanol) and her gang of trafficked prostitutes, out to destroy their gangster pimp. These women are the criminal masterminds, outsourcing the fisticuffs to a frequently befuddled Frank, which, happily, he handles convincingly. The big revelation here is that our hero was not hewn from the living rock as we had always assumed, but has a human father in the shape of Ray Stevenson’s larger-than-life Frank Senior. Their relationship gives a fun ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ tinge to proceedings, and offers an alternative potential hostage to the traditional screaming girl. But the film squanders much of its freshness with clunky dialogue and action scenes that too often fall flat. In this ‘Fast & Furious’ world, we need more than a car driving through an airport to amaze us, or a finale that splutters out in cramped fashion. If the Transporter does return for a fifth outing, he should demand a bigger budget and at least one more draft of the script.

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Hitman: Agent 47

‘Homeland’ actor Rupert Friend, with his penetrating grey eyes and menacingly hollowed-out cheeks, has a way of looking like he’s plotting a puppy massacre. Which comes in handy, since this ridiculous, violent, occasionally fun arse-end-of-summer action flick doesn’t throw much character depth his way. It’s based on the ‘Hitman’ video game series – and the flummoxing plot might have been written by a couple of stoners after a late-night gaming session. Friend is shaven-headed Agent 47, the product of a 1960s experiment to bio-engineer emotion-free killers with heightened intelligence, strength and, judging from the film, shocking taste in estate-agent suits. The whole thing feels cobbled together from bits of other action movies, globetrotting from Berlin to Singapore, with an oligarch baddie who wants to use the technology that created 47 for world domination, naturally. With just 48 hours to eliminate his target, Agent 47 – identifiable by the barcode on the back of his neck – zeroes in on a mysterious young woman (Hannah Ware). She’s meant to be the badass female hero here, but does it count when there’s a naffly gratuitous shower scene? At the end, the door is left open for a sequel, but Agent 47 doesn’t feel like a character who’s got what it takes to be a franchise hero – he, and the film, are lacking in personality.

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Inside Out

It’s all in the mind in Pixar’s latest, a delightful, frenetic, near-experimental animated film from the makers of 'Up' and 'Toy Story'. Pixar fans will be in seventh heaven with the film’s bold thinking—and kids will be straining to listen to imaginary voices in their heads—after diving into the mind of Riley, an 11-year-old girl whose tiny world is turned upside down when she moves from Minnesota to San Francisco with her mom and dad. It’s a simple story, featuring a new school and nervous parents. But the real drama goes on in Riley’s head, where we meet Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith), each of them sharing a physicality to match their temperament. Disgust gives great sneer, while Anger is red, squat and prone to shooting fire out of his head. We watch each of them fight for control over Riley’s life, and when Joy and Sadness go AWOL from their psychological HQ, we take a tour of some crazy mental byways, including the Abstract Thinking Department, where Joy and Sadness briefly become 2D characters and then, momentarily, one-color squiggles. There’s too much to sponge up in one viewing. Blink and you’ll miss a character saying, “These facts and opinions look so similar,” when passing boxes marked FACTS and OPINIONS. We leave the subconscious ('where they take all the troublemakers') too quickly, and then it’s on to the Dream Department, where we see the day’s memories being adapted into drama. At

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