Monthly Archives: February 2011

And the Oscar went to….

So I stayed up all last night watching the Oscars… & Jesus, it was like staying up all night watching paint dry. James Franco & Anne Hathaway have definitively proved themselves to be the most boring, bland hosts in the history of the awards ceremony, with the highlight of their wit being when Franco remarked that the titles of the nominated films offended him – Winter’s BONE? Rabbit HOLE? How to Train Your Dragon??? Sorry James, I’m sure we would have found that hilarious, but we were momentarily distracted by that big tumbleweed rolling across the stage…. Though winners Colin Firth & Natalie Portman gave nice, genuine speeches, they were also really really dull. The only highlight of the ceremony was Kirk Douglas teasing the Supporting Actress nominees by opening the envelope then rambling a bit, & Melissa Leo making a show of herself by swearing – classy bird, wha?? When Inside Job won the Best Documentary I was really looking forward to a Michael Moore-style rant, but Charles Ferguson was very (overly) restrained & merely stated rather timidly that it was shocking that no major financiers had been sent to jail since the economic crash, before thanking his wife. Eh, power to the people? Continue reading

Between the Canals

I missed this at last year’s JDIFF, but Between the Canals is going to in the IFI from March 18. Written & directed by Mark O’Connor, Between the Canals follows three small time criminals from Dublin’s North Inner City as they each aspire to be somebody in a fast changing society: Liam (Liam Hyland) a small time dealer who wants to quit his life of crime to become an electrician and provide for his girlfriend and son; Dots (Peter Coonan), a crazy, irresponsible thug with ambitions to become a big time dealer and Scratchcard (Stephen Jones), a drug user with no ambitions but to stay on social welfare and watch the world go by. Liam is torn between life in the flats and his responsibility to be a good father to his son. He has to just get through this one day and maybe things will look brighter on the other side. But it’s St. Patrick’s Day and, in Dublin City, this means trouble everywhere.

I’ll be checking it out this week, & I hope people come out in force to support it, because let’s face it – there’s a lot of crap out there, & surely it’s better to support homegrown talent than Hollywood drivel?
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I AM NUMBER FOUR: One, Two, Three…Stop.

Directed by D.J. Caruso. Starring Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Dianna Agron, Teresa Palmer, Kevin Durand, Callan McAuliffe. 104 mins
Rating: Two/Five
In cinemas February 23

You have to give Disney some credit: for a blatant attempt to make a more guy-friendly Twilight franchise, I Am Number Four nails the central character: forget about sparkly emo vampires who play classical piano, John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) is a buff, surf-loving alien who hangs around with Timothy Olyphant. Now that’s cool.
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NO STRINGS ATTACHED: They’re Some Damn Conservative Strings, Pinnochio

Directed by Ivan Reitman. Starring Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Kline, Cary Elwes. 110 mins.
Rating: Two and a half/Five
In cinemas February 25.

In 1989, When Harry Met Sally asked “Can men and women ever really just be friends?” The answer was a witty and heartwarming “Hell no!” But hey, that was two decades ago, man. Nowadays we’re far more progressive, and so need a modern update. Enter Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher, now asking “Can men and women ever really just be sex friends?” Ooh, can’t you feel the transgressive edginess? Pity director Ivan Reitman doesn’t have the courage of his title’s convictions.
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AS IF I AM NOT THERE: Wish You Weren’t Here

Directed by Juanita Wilson. Starring Natasa Petrovic, Feda Stukan, Mira Grbic. 109 mins.
Rating: Three and a half/Five
In cinemas March 4

Samira (Natasa Petrovic) has just moved from Sarajevo to Bosnia to teach in a rural school, but is almost immediately captured by Serbian soldiers who have overtaken the village. The women are dragged away to a labour camp. The men are killed. On the pastoral prison, Samira’s haunting beauty makes her the target of the inhumane soldiers and along with four other women and a child, she is kept in a house where she is systematically humiliated, beaten and raped.
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HOWL: The Best Mind of Our Generation

Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. Starring James Franco, Aaron Tveit, Jon Hamm, David Strathairn, Jeff Daniels, Alessandro Nivola. 85 mins.
Rating: Four and a half/Five
In cinemas February 25

A man sits on a couch, hidden behind Woody Allen style glasses and a haze of cigarette smoke, and in a drawn-out growl asserts “Poetry is a rhythmic articulation of feeling.” A quote has never lent itself so easily to a film’s description. In Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Freidman’s Howl, the iconic work of poet Allen Ginsburg is explored and evoked through four disparate, nonlinear and uniquely styled strands that captivatingly weave themselves together into something a little bit beautiful.

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ANIMAL KINGDOM: Strewth to Kill

Directed by David Michôd. Starring James Frecheville, Ben Mendelsohn, Jackie Weaver, Guy Pearce. 113mins.
Rating: Four/Five
In cinemas February 25.

From the opening scene of David Michôd’s Animal Kingdom, it’s clear that his characters inhabit an unnervingly inhumane world. Sitting in a dingy apartment, J (James Frecheville) calmly watches a gameshow as paramedics burst in and fruitlessly attempt to revive his unconscious mother. When J later calls his grandmother Janine, she immediately accepts him into her home but also fails to mourn her late daughter. Apparently when it’s survival of the fittest, there’s no time for tears.

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Interview:David Michôd

David Michôd, director of critically acclaimed Australian crime drama Animal Kingdom, talks about the Melbourne crime scene, Jackie Weaver’s Oscar nominated performance and why not going to therapy has helped his art.

Blame it on Home and Away or Crocodile Dundee, but for me Australian drama always conjures up images of incredibly cheerful blonde people whose daily activities consists of surfing and sunbathing. Unless they’re exceptionally unlucky that is, in which case they’ll have to dodge some sharks, a Wolf Creek-style psychopath or Baz Luhrman’s love of stereotypes. But in David Michôd’s debut feature film Animal Kingdom, the darker underbelly of Australian society is exposed, without a “G’day mate!” to be found.

“Certainly for people back home, Australia has a rich criminal history – Melbourne especially,” says Michôd. “For me I felt that I was contributing to an already well-established genre, and have been pretty surprised to find that Melbourne’s criminal history is relatively unknown to the rest of the world.”
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Essential Viewing

For those seeking out some classic, essential viewing cinema, look no further. The IFI presents Essential Cinema 2011: a five week series of key films from the 1970s including Jaws, The Godfather, and The French Connection

March 1st – 29th

The IFI will present the second installment of its popular Essential Cinema programme that screens classic films that are essential viewing for any film buff. Essential Cinema 2011 focuses on Hollywood in the 1970s and was programmed in conjunction with IADT (Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology). Each film will be preceded by a short introduction by Tom Kennedy of IADT, who will place the film in the broader context of film in the 1970s.

Often copied, never equaled. The magnificent The Godfather continues the season offering a rare opportunity to see one of the most revered films of all time on the big screen. Coppola’s direction and Brando’s towering iconic performance alongside Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Robert Duvall and James Caan will ensure that this magnificent family drama sells out fast. From the opening line to the final showdown, its capacity to thrill, move and entertain never fails.

American Graffiti continues the season with a non sci-fi comedy drama from George Lucas. A very young Richard Dreyfuss is one of a group of high school grads enjoying their last night on the town before going to college. A film that markes the end of innocent times for the characters and America.

Steven Spielberg’s Jaws needs very little introduction for most, but a cinema screen adds a whole new dimension to a film that many have seen on home cinema. The small island community of Amity, is under threat from shark attacks and the Mayor doesn’t want word to get out for fear tourists will be frightened away. Police chief Martin Brody (Robert Shaw), oceanographer Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and shark hunter Quint (Roy Scheider) take on the hunt for this fearsome force of nature.

Bringing the 1970s’ programme to a fine close is Nashville, the late Robert Altman’s portrait of a motley collection of winners and losers gathered in the original home of country music. Altman’s brilliance lies in revealing the foibles of each and every character, with their stories somehow connected and he completes a quintet of directors whose careers all endured in to the 21st century.

Essential Cinema 2011: Hollywood in the 1970s

The French Connection March 1st 18.30

The Godfather March 8th 18.30

American Graffiti March 15th 18.30

Jaws March 22nd 18.30

Nashville March 29th 18.30