Monthly Archives: August 2011

Alain Resnais Season continues in the IFI

The IFI presents part two of its season celebrating the cinema of French master Alain Resnais

“When I make a film,” said Resnais, “I never know how it will turn out. I want it to develop like nature, emerge the way a plant grows.” The unruly brilliance of his recent masterwork Wild Grass, one of the highlights of the second part of the Alain Resnais season, could hardly be better defined. Despite a career that spans nearly sixty years, his films can still surprise us. He is the most distinctive of directors yet no two films of his are alike.

Part two of the season shows Resnais’ later work has been marked by his love of music. He has deployed an astonishing array of avant-garde and popular musicians (from Hans Werner Henze to X-Files composer Mark Snow) to create an original sound-world that, in his words, offers “a second level of perception”. Not on the Lips, adapted from a 1925 comic operetta is an exuberant high society that showcases Resnais’ ability to bring musical numbers to life with visual flair.

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Movies & Music

SDGI and IFI bring directors and composers together in a conversation about the melody of film.

The Screen Directors Guild of Ireland (SDGI) in association with the Irish Film Institute (IFI) will present The Melody of Film, an event exploring the creative collaboration between director and composer on September 7th at 19:30 in the IFI.

The event will consist of a conversation with leading composer Stephen Rennicks and award-winning director Paddy Breathnach (I Went Down) who will be studying a selection of scenes focusing on the collaborative process between director and composer in filmamking.

Birch Hamilton, SDGI’s Executive Director says: “The collaboration between director and composer is a fascinating topic which should inspire not only the audiovisual community but anyone interested in film and music. By hosting this event in the IFI we give members of the public the opportunity to join the conversation.”

The Melody of Film takes place on September 7th at 19.30 in the Irish Film Institute, Eustace Street, Dublin 2. This event is free but ticketed. Please contact IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477 to book.

THE SKIN I LIVE IN: BRILLIANTLY MAD

THE SKIN I LIVE IN
Directed by Pedro Almodóvar. Starring Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya. 118 mins.
In cinemas August 26
Rating: Five /Five
ALMODOVAR’S OUTRAGEOUS, SHOCKING AND STUNNING ARTHOUSE HORROR IS THE WORK OF A MAD GENIUS

There is a very thin line between the undeniably genius and the certifiably insane. Pythagoras believed beans were evil. Dr.Kellog believed Corn Flakes would prevent children from masturbating. Nikolas Tesla was terrified of anything round. And as we all know from the portrayal of the brilliant but troubled mathematician John Nash in A Beautiful Mind… the Academy was batshit crazy for awarding that film Best Picture.

But when it comes to combining the inspired with the insane, Pedro Almodóvar’s arthouse horror The Skin I Live In not only takes the biscuit, but turns the biscuit into a nightmare-infused flying-saucer of sheer crazy and brains you with it.

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ONE DAY: 108 minutes too long

ONE DAY
Directed by Lone Scherfig. Starring Jim Sturgess, Anne Hathaway. 108 mins.
Rating: Half a star/Five
In cinemas August 25
IREDEEMABLE ADAPTATION LOSES ALL THE CHARM, HUMOUR AND ROMANCE OF DAVID NICHOL’S BESTSELLING NOVEL

Whether or not you have read David Nichol’s novel One Day, do not see this movie. Losing all the charm, humour and – most importantly – romance of the novel, watching Emma’s (Anne Hathaway) infatuation with narcissist dandy Dexter (Jim Sturgess) is akin to observing a friend’s twenty year toxic relationship. First you’re sympathetic, then frustrated, before the endless drama and self-destruction forces you down a steep decline where you rapidly lose respect for her, faith in love and finally, the will to live.

When they first meet on July 15, 1988, Dexter comes home with Emma only to reject her while lying in her bed. Instead of kicking him repeatedly in the shins, Emma feigns apathy and becomes friends with this insufferable, alcoholic, womanizing fame-seeker who, when not standing up his dying mother to attend movie premieres, responds to Emma’s declarations of affection by offering to grace her with some meaningless sex. This co-dependent and borderline emotionally abusive relationship continues for twenty years and 108 excruciating minutes, in which time Hathaway’s accent slaughters every line she utters by taking an epic journey through Ireland, Britain and New York to sound like a bizarre love child of Ray Winstone, Dame Judy Dench and Julia Roberts in Michael Collins. It was also just enough time for me to pull out several clumps of my hair in frustration.

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FRIGHT NIGHT: Thrills & jokes & vampires, oh my!

FRIGHT NIGHT
Directed by Craig Gillespie. Starring Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, Toni Colette, David Tennant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Imogen Poots. 101 mins
Rating: Four/Five
In cinemas: September 2
FUN HORROR COMEDY VAMPIRE FLICK BARES ITS FANGS WHILE KEEPING ITS TONGUE FIRMLY IN CHEEK

A modern update of Tom Holland’s classic 1985 horror film, Craig Gillespie’s Fright Night recalls a simpler time, a better time. A time when vampires slaughtered, not sparkled; when horror films could be filled with thrills not torture porn; and when roles involving bombastic British men with a penchant for leather trousers didn’t automatically mean the female cast members were in danger of being impregnated by Russell Brand.

This fun and slick popcorn horror follows Charley (The Beaver’s Anton Yelchin), as he deals with the normal trials and tribulations of teenage life. He has a beautiful girlfriend he fears is out of his league, his nerdy best friend Christopher Mintz-Plasse is annoyed that he has been abandoned for the cool crowd, and his new neighbour Jerry (Colin Farrell) is a blood-sucking vampire picking off everyone in Charley’s sleepy Las Vegas suburb. The usual.

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TREACLE JR: Sweet & sour

TREACLE JR.
Directed by Jamie Thraves. Starring Aidan Gillen, Tom Fisher. 85 mins.
Rating: Three and a half/Five
In cinemas August 26
UPLIFTING, LOW-BUDGET INDIE FLICK IS AN IRRESISTIBLE COMBINATION OF SWEET AND SOUR

Made on a shoe-string budget acquired when director Jamie Thraves remortgaged his house, Treacle Jr. was made with a lot of heart, and it shows. A moving, funny and endearing odd couple story set in South London (“the dodgy end”, according to ‘Geography by Richard Curtis’), it charts the unlikely friendship of Tom (Fisher), a depressive soft-spoken giant who left his family in middle-class suburbia to wander the streets; and Aidan (Gillen), a carefree, chattering Irish odd-jobs-man who’s a few pence short of the punt.

Fast becoming an expert in portraying the entire spectrum of eccentricity, Gillen’s turn in this performance-driven film is both hilarious and heart-breaking. Underneath Aidan’s incessant bellowing and his played-for-laughs lisp – the only cheap moment of the film comes when Tom mistakes Aidan’s desire for a hot beach for a “hot bitch” – radiates a warmth and kindness that far surpasses his irritating qualities. The fact that he seems somewhat mentally deficient becomes less of an issue as the film progresses, as he appears to be the only one who realizes that kindness comes from actions, not words –an ironic but meaningful attitude for someone whose only available currency is his ability to talk.

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Soul Surfer trailer

Soul Surfer is the upcoming flick from Disney, that tells the inspiring true story of teen surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack and courageously overcame all odds to become a champion again, through her sheer determination and will to succeed. The film features an all-star cast, including AnnaSophia Robb and Helen Hunt, with Carrie Underwood in her film debut, and Dennis Quaid.

I’m posting this half to give you guys a look at the trailer & half because this film is nostalgia-central for me, it reminds me so much of that time I was bitten by a shark…no, wait, that’s not right…Oh yeah, it was because Bethany Hamilton was literally trotted out for an interview every three weeks in Sugar and Bliss and Seventeen & all those other teen magazines I read when I was 12 (because I was so damn precocious & desperately wanted to know what kind of meerkat I was or whatever the quiz of the fortnight was.)

The trailer basically gives away the entire film, unless there’s a surprise at the end & Jaws comes back for the main course, but it should be nice one for younger girls. Soul Surfer is released on September 23.

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The Inbetweeners on the Couch.

Entertainment, the studio behind The Inbetweeners Movie are somewhat notorious for never having press screenings in Ireland, or doing interviews for that matter, so I was lucky to be able to catch up with the stars if the film in London for a quick chat for Spin 103.8’s We Love Movies. Though the lads weren’t exactly chipper – meeting them the day of the première, it had just hit Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, James Buckley and Blake Harrison that it was all over, so the interview turned into a very star-studded therapy session. The podcast will be up soon so tune in to hear about bringing the show to the big screen, ending on a high and, eh, getting critique on their masturbation faces…

THE INBETWEENERS: Somewhere between unsurprising & uproarious

THE INBETWEENERS MOVIE
Directed by Starring Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, James Buckley, Blake Harrison. 75 mins.
Rating: Three and a half/Five
In cinemas now
THE INBETWEENERS ARE BACK – BIGGER, BRASHER AND AS BLOODY FUNNY AS EVER

Boners and vomit and scat jokes, oh my! A hilarious, extended exercise in teen humiliation, The Inbetweeners Movie sees the characters of the hit E4 show head to Malia for a lads holiday, expecting “sun, sea, booze, minge, fanny and sex” – in short, the time of their lives. But though the scenery may be different, they are sadly the same as ever – Will (Simon Bird) is the same patronizing virgin, Simon (Joe Thomas) is still stalking his now ex-girlfriend Carly, Jay (James Buckley) continues to hunt down the ever-elusive “clunge” and Neil (Blake Harrison) – well, he’s just happy to be there.

Though the lad’s holiday conceit is an overused one, it works brilliantly for these characters as following their sixth-form fumblings during the series, it marks the genuine, natural progression of the characters, while also working as a stand-alone film for novices. It also allows the writers to do what they do best: combine gross out humour with believable bawdy banter and a lot of dick jokes for an immature and intensely watchable glimpse into the life of teenage boys.

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THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE: Kaiser Soze isn’t worried.

THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE
Directed by Lee Tamahori. Starring Dominic Cooper, Raad Rawi, Ludivine Sagnier, Philip Quast. 108 mins.
Rating: Two/Five
In cinemas August 12

DOMINIC COOPER’S DUAL ROLE IS THE ONLY THING THAT IMPRESSES IN STAGNANT, SLEAZY TALE OF UDAY HUSSEIN

Apparently the greatest trick the Devil ever played was convincing the world split-screens don’t exist. In a commendable dual performance, Dominic Cooper harnesses his innate ability to be both charming and creepy to play Latif Yahia, an Iraqi soldier of Kurdish background who is handpicked to be the official doppelganger and decoy to Uday Hussein.

Cooper impressively creates two unique characters, who, even when side-by-side and identical, emote completely distinctive energies. His bratty, gap-toothed, hyena-cackling, AK-47-waving Uday is a masterful performance of the cavalier circus of cruelty; a veritable clown prince of evil. By contrast, the long-suffering Latif is never once tempted by the wealth and women his new lifestyle has to offer. Disgusted by Uday’s childish but lethal temper tantrums and his frequent molestation and murder of underage girls, he remains noble, though powerless.

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