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BROOKLYN (12) EILIS Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) is a shrinking violet in 1950s Enniscorthy. She lives with her mother (Jane Brennan) and older sister Rose (Fiona Glascott), and earns a meagre crust at a shop run by the imperious Miss Kelly (Brid Brennan).

Thanks to Rose, Eilis secures a one-way ticket to a brighter future in New York. Holy man Father Flood (Jim Broadbent) places Eilis at a boarding house for single girls run by Mrs Kehoe (Julie Walters), who clucks over the lodgers including Patty (Emily Bett Rickards), Diana (Eve Macklin), Miss McAdam (Mary O'Driscoll) and Sheila (Nora-Jane Noone).

Eilis' homesickness gradually fades and she excels as a salesgirl at a department store under floor manager Miss Fortini (Jessica Pare). She also sparks a tender romance with a handsome plumber called Tony (Emory Cohen). The lovebirds marry in secret, but when Eilis returns home to Enniscorthy, local boy Jim Farrell (Domhnall Gleeson) unexpectedly turns her head.

Adapted for the screen by Nick Hornby from Colm Toibin's novel of the same name, Brooklyn is a classic, old-fashioned love triangle, which combines elegant storytelling, strong performances and swoonsome visuals.

John Crowley's handsome picture harks back to a bygone era of restrictive social mores and is anchored by a tour-de-force performance from Oscar nominee Ronan.


SUFFRAGETTE (12) IN 1912 London, Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) works long hours in a laundry with her husband Sonny (Ben Whishaw), under the glare of manager Norman Taylor (Geoff Bell).

Women earn less than men and are denied the vote, which rankles some of the workforce including the outspoken Violet Miller (Anne-Marie Duff ). She encourages Maud to join the suffragette movement and speak up against this injustice at a parliamentary panel hosted by David Lloyd George (Adrian Schiller). Alas, MPs refuse to honour a voting-rights bill amendment, so Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep) stirs her troops into direct action.

Maud becomes heavily involved in the uprising and risks her relationship with Sonny and young son George (Adam Michael Dodd).

Mulligan bares her soul with a gut-wrenching portrayal of a mother, who loses everything because she refuses to walk in a man's shadow.


GRIMSBY (15) Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong, Isla Fisher, Scott Adkins, Sam Hazeldine, Ian McShane, Penelope Cruz, Rebel Wilson, John Thomson, Ricky Tomlinson, Johnny Vegas Director: Louis Leterrier Duration: 83 mins WHEN he's on sparkling form, Sacha Baron Cohen cuts to the bone with surgical precision in the guise of his faux naive alter egos.

Streetwise voice of "da yoof " Ali G, Kazakh journalist Borat Sagdiyev and flamboyant Austrian fashion reporter Bruno Gehard, were comic creations par excellence, who gleefully held up a mirror to the ugly faces of bigotry and intolerance.

Their outlandish interactions with unsuspecting celebrities and members of the public were pure genius.

Alas, global recognition means Cohen can no longer pull off that kind of devilish hoodwinkery and he has resorted to traditional scripted comedy, which has exposed his limitations as a writer and performer.

He scrapes the bottom of a very deep and grubby barrel in Grimsby, a wilfully offensive crime caper in the mould of James Bond that cocks its leg and urinates wildly over political correctness.

Laughs are in pitifully short supply amidst a tsunami of body fluids and garish class stereotypes, washed down with a sticky trickle of gags about paedophilia, Aids and drug addiction.

| Sacha Cohen and Mark as Cohen plays Nobby Butcher, a football hooligan with monstrous sideburns, who lives in Grimsby with his sex-crazed girlfriend Lindsey (Rebel Wilson) and 11 obscenity-spewing children, whose names include Skeletor and Django Unchained.

"At your age, you should just be vaping," he tells a 10-year-old fruit of his loins.

For 28 years, Nobby has been separated from his younger brother Sebastian (Mark Strong), unaware that his sibling has become a debonair secret agent with the Tiger Tail Unit of MI6.

Their awkward reunion unfolds at a press conference, where a hulking Ukrainian thug called Pavel (Scott Adkins) assassinates the director of the World Health Organisation and Sebastian is framed for the crime.

The brothers go on the run, aided by Sebastian's simpering MI6 handler, Jodie (Isla Fisher).

Baron as nobby, Strong Sebastian Rival agent Chilcott (Sam Hazeldine) is dispatched to terminate the rogue asset and the brothers lie low in the eponymous northern seaport - twin city to Chernobyl - with Nobby's beerswilling pals (John Thomson, Ricky Tomlinson and Johnny Vegas).

Grimsby is lewd, crude and poorly structured, ricocheting between frenetic action sequences and heart-tugging flashbacks to Nobby and Sebastian's childhood.

A jaw-dropping centrepiece sequence involving an engorged elephant member takes Cohen's enduring fascination with genitalia to a new nadir, while the film's depiction of the titular community as a wasteland of council houses crammed with "working class scum", benefit scroungers and pint-sized tearaways, leaves an equally bitter taste in the mouth.

Wilson and Fisher are squandered in thankless supporting roles.

During a pivotal fight, Strong's resourceful agent repels evil henchmen with a blast from a fire hose.

By the end of Leterrier's unsavoury film, we also need a soaking to wash off the stink of Cohen's brand of mean-spirited and stomachchurning humour.


THE FOREST (15) Starring: Natalie Dormer, Taylor Kinney, Eoin Macken, Yukiyoshi Ozawa, Noriko Sakura, Rina Takasaki Director: Jason Zada Duration: 93 mins JASON Zada's formulaic horror is ham-fisted with a plodding script.

The hodgepodge of genre cliches and malnourished, two-dimensional characters fails to make us shift in our seats, let alone jump out of them with genuine fright.

Zada's direction is poor, lazily going through the motions, while lead performances from Natalie Dormer and Taylor Kinney are as wooden as the titular swaying timbers. "People see bad things, do bad things," observes a superstitious forest tour guide, who has the unenviable task of scouring the 14 square miles for lifeless bodies.

We secretly hope he's right because putting the flimsy, selfish characters out of their misery spares us another tiresome minute in their disagreeable company.

Police in Japan contact Sara Price (Dormer) in America to inform her that identical twin Jess (Dormer again) is lost, presumed deceased, in the dense sprawl of Aokigahara a notorious real-life hotspot for Japanese suicides at the northwest base of Mount Fuji.

"Sounds like the kind of place Jess goes hiking for fun," snorts Sara's boyfriend Rob (Eoin Macken), who is powerless to stop her packing a suitcase and flying to Tokyo.

Sara is initially waylaid by a woman called Mayumi (Noriko Sakura), who stores the bodies of the suicides in her eerie basement.

Thankfully, Jess isn't one of the sheeted corpses and Sara makes her way to a roadside hotel, where she befriends a reporter called Aiden (Taylor Kinney). He offers to help search for the missing sibling in the company of guide Michi (Yukiyoshi Ozawa), in exchange for using Sara's turmoil as the basis for an article.

She strays almost immediately from the path to chase a phantomlike schoolgirl called Hoshiko (Rina Takasaki), who may or may not be a product of Sara's febrile imagination.

The Forest is a deathly bore, which quickens our pulse only when it appears Sara might suffer a premature and grisly demise.

Dormer is emotionally frozen throughout and fails to catalyse any screen chemistry with Kinney. Rating.....


| Sacha Baron Cohen as Nobby, and Mark Strong as Sebastian

Natalie Dormer as Sara
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 26, 2016
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