Friday, 28 April 2017

Handsome devil

Boarding-school movie about two mismatched lads. We've seen this film over and over from Hollywood, but far better. Everything here is boring: characters, dialogue, music, scenes, and story. It's the kind of film made by nice people with zero of interest to say. The songs on the soundtrack are awful and this movie isn't clever enough make these sound interesting. That gay exposure scene was done 20 years ago in Irish cinema (Last bus home). Even the rugby scenes aren't particularly exciting (how come Hollywood movies make college American football appear interesting even though most audiences over here don't understand the game?). Not clear what era it's set in, thought the 1980s until that Suede poster on the wall. All that was missing was Deirdre O'Kane as a concerned mother! Really dull stuff that makes a big fuss over every second scene but the audience won't be bothered. Scott plays a gay teacher but the film is too timid to make a statement.

Title: Handsome devil
Genre: Drama
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema

Tuesday, 25 April 2017


Dull movie about a man in Kerry who can't cope without his dead wife. Lots of flashbacks and conversations with the deceased. Similar in tone and style to Parked or The pier: lots of establishing shots, depressing feeling, characters you won't like, scenes that make sense later in the movie, bad cinematography, and lots of awful music on the soundtrack. Every fifteen minutes the lead guy attempts suicide but you won't care. He looked miserable before his wife died. The main actress has a strange nose yet he ignores the younger, sexy waitress for her. Shallow filmmaking at its dullest and totally lifeless! Best scene involved Brendan Grace as a priest. Strangely, none of these characters make reference to Ireland (which is unusual). There's one part with the headmaster walking towards the lead and the camera operator stumbles. Could they not have reshot that scene and made it better?

Title: The gift
Genre: Drama
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Free fire

Average shoot-out movie set in a warehouse. It's the late 1970s and a group of Irish terrorists (presumably IRA, not loyalists) attempt to purchase arms. Except the goods have been swapped as Libya are the preferred customer. You won't care what happens because the characters are unlikeable and stupid. Most people who get shot are only grazed to extend the story. If they all got killed after the first ten minutes it would have been OK. Everybody wears brown (of course) and there's strange acoustic guitar music on the soundtrack (and John Denver). Some of the dialogue seems too modern: "sex pest" and "chill pill". Straight-to-DVD material that isn't as good as it thinks.

Title: Free fire
Genre: IRA
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema

Monday, 27 March 2017

Secret scripture

Another title that's flat and unoriginal with scenes and themes taken from several movies already reviewed on this blog (Love and savagery, This is my father, Daughter of Darkness). The story is quite moving (and upsetting) but director Sheridan with his usual movie-of-the-week-for-TV style ruins it. An old woman in a closing institution looks back on her life where she moves to the West (from the North), met a soldier, had his baby, yet everyone think it was the local priest's! There's a secret with her doctor to get uncovered and the film handles this part badly. Why didn't the vicar who wed the couple get contacted to prove the marriage was valid? Why did the local IRA kill the pilot? Compared to what was going on in other parts of Europe at the same time this isn't a serious tragedy. Like a lot of these films I've no doubt the book it was based on is far superior. Add in the usual miscast faces, a terrible piano soundtrack, and one short scene after another, this is the usual tripe which soaks up funding yet leaves the viewer (me) unhappy. It could have been made back in 1995 and wouldn't look out of place.

Title: Secret scripture
Genre: Romance
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema

Wednesday, 1 February 2017


Good to hear one of this blog's followers get a brief mention on RTÉ radio's Liveline! Sadly, it's for not producing the video goods to several newlyweds.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

The good, the average, and the rubbish of 2016

Another year gone, and another forgettable one for Irish cinema. Less than ten Irish releases reviewed, probably missed a few titles (which made zero impact) and there were several non-Irish themed movies made here which automatically got ignored by this blog. So, here's a rundown of what this site watched/endured:

Siege of Jadotville - another title for the top ten list of the decade
Date for Mad Mary - Amy Huberman wasn't in this one because its female cast would show how average her acting skills are!

My name is Emily - no-one liked this one much but I did. Enjoyable enough road movie.
Sing Street - overrated movie but still watchable. Why didn't it feature Anastasia screamed (1980's rock band) and then the whole country could hear where the director's old band got its 'original' sound from!

Wild Goose Lodge - no other site will mention this movie when reviewing the year because no-one else has seen it!
Young offenders - essential viewing for 15-year olds, and Cork people
Mammal - can't remember much about this one, except it was sh-te!
Traders - it's doesn't matter how impressive the directing/acting/camera work is. If its characters are unlikeable then so will be the movie.
Truth commissioner - another piece of crap I can't remember! Some kind of Nordie political thriller which ends up as neither.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Wild Goose Lodge

Another Tops of the Town movie directed by committee. Every scene has the exact same performance from the actors, local as extras (including a former rugby international), there's a big deal made about the confusing story, powerful music, goes on too long, confusing, and overall dull to watch. It's about a group of outsiders who get warned to leave the area for Dundalk. Of course they refuse resulting in a conflagration. Set in the past, it's on par with other similar productions like Under the hawthorn tree. The kind of picture that should get screened in a parish hall and kept away from our cinemas. There's one good scene of the build up to the fire but at over two hours it's a long wait.

Title: Wild Goose Lodge
Genre: Drama
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema

Monday, 26 September 2016

Siege of Jadotville

Impressive war film set in Africa. It's the 1960s and the Irish defence forces has been sent as part of a United Nations peacekeepers to intervene in the Congo. There are uranium deposits (for nuclear weapons) there and the existing mining companies want to keep control by using ex-French Legion soldiers and locals. It's well made, fast paced, and very watchable. Doran gets the stilted walk from the Irish midlands right. Like most war films it's one cliché after another but that doesn't ruin a good story told well. Ammunition running out, a concerned wife waiting at home, the rescue helicopter shot down, uncaring communications, political interference, and the opposing forces suddenly quitting their attack. This is another good Irish (themed) film this year and it's the only one I'm paying to see again!

Title: The siege of Jadotville
Genre: Cold war
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema

Monday, 19 September 2016

Young offenders

Hardy bucks meets Grandmaster Cash! Set in Cork it's about two male teenagers who cycle to the coast to find floatsam of cocaine. On the way out the police are in pursuit while on the way back a disabled criminal follows. Lots of fast cuts at the start and then like the two leads it slows down on the road before running out of steam just before the end. The supporting cast are bizarre: a mother who sells fish, a local thug in prison, a drunk father, and an old man who mistakes the pair for relatives. Some stunning, rural locations and some blink and miss gags. Not as good as it thinks it is but has potential for a better sequel (or a Damo and Ivor feature). Everyone here seems to be in a different movie! Strange, they didn't use a song from successful Cork band Young offenders.

Title: The young offenders
Genre: Road
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema

Saturday, 3 September 2016

A date for mad Mary

Impressive debut feature from director Darren Thornton. Set in Drogheda it's about a violent woman who has to find a man to bring along to her friend's wedding. Despite the slight story the performances and casting are impressive (particularly the actress who played the bride-to-be). The music is all house music and it's interesting how it gets used in different scenes. What's really good about the movie is that you won't care for the characters at the beginning but eventually they become likeable. The film explores the tense relationships between different women; one good scene was the wedding speech written by Mary but spoken by another girl. Another was with the grandmother saying even a sniper wouldn't take Mary out! Another was the argument with the bride who claims everyone except Mary has moved on (the bride lives in some built-up Celtic Tiger estate!). There are lots of these working-class Irish dramas getting made recently but this is easily the best. It avoids the pointless clichés of recent Irish cinema (pianos, establishing shots, pained faces, drugs, hand-held camerawork, uneven performances). Compare this deep and moving wedding film with similar but awful Irish titles like Happy ever afters.

Title: A date for mad Mary
Genre: Drama
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema


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