MOVIES & BOOZE: Heading to the flicks this weekend?

Esther McCarthy reviews Ghost in the Shell and Free Fire on Moncireff

Free Fire (15A) ***

Cillian Murphy and Michael Smiley are Chris and Frank, two Irishmen in Boston to finalise a massive guns deal which has been brokered by Justine (Brie Larson).

The groups of buyers and sellers don't know each other and harbour natural suspicions, and when the consignment turns out to be not what the purchasing party expected, tensions quickly build.

It’s not long before all involved have added to witty and menacing put downs with some real firepower, and the fighting gets particularly ugly as it approaches its finale.

Free Fire is a stylish-looking film, with director Ben Wheatley and his up-for-it cast not just embracing, but revelling in, the flamboyant 1970s setting.

It’s all set up to unfold in apparent real time in the one setting of a massive warehouse, which means that the movie runs perilously close to running out of steam even within its neat 90-minute time frame.

Ghost in the Shell (15A) **

In the near future, Ghost in the Shell introduces us to Major (Scarlett Johansson), who is an unprecedented creation - part human, part robot.

Saved from a terrible crash by a team of scientists, her mind and soul remain intact but her body, including her features, have been cyber-enhanced and changed utterly.

When terrorism reaches frightening new levels, Major becomes an invaluable force to prevent them.

The company she works for, Hanka Robotics, is being targeted by a killer, and Major’s job is to find those who are threatening the company.

But while tracking down the suspects involved, including Kuze (Michael Pitt) Major starts experiencing technical glitches, and begins to wonder whether the people she works for are all that they claim to be

While it looks impressive, Ghost in the Shell’s visuals overwhelm the weak storytelling, which is not helped by a convoluted script which falls short in moving things along.