Monday, 22 October 2018


That's how much Irish 'blockbuster' Black 47 has made at the USA box office! As expected our illiterate media describes it as Ireland's first famine movie but anyone who reads this blog will have heard of Under the hawthorn tree. The problem with Irish film is it will always be considered art house abroad; there's a tiny market for this. Roll on the IFTAS!

Monday, 16 July 2018

Lost and found

Set at Portarlington train station this is a multi-storied film about various characters there. A man proposes at an airport; a woman visits a funeral; a man begs for money; a pub tries out different themes; a woman decides to marry on a date; and a man digs a hole abroad. Watchable and enjoyable with a good cast. It's filmed over several years so some actors have aged! Unlike most Irish films it's not trying to win awards, promote tourism, or criticise the Church! Well-paced, well written, and middle-class! Best scene was the Australian sing-song at the pub. The main actor (WC, Book that wrote itself) also directs. Worth a look.

Title: Lost and found
Genre: Anthology
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Michael inside

Yet another prison movie from the Film Board this one is about a young guy who gets sucked into the system. He fails to hide a bag of drugs and gets sentenced. The dealers come after his granddad who has to pay them money. The prisoner gets attacked and has to learn to stand up for himself. Then he gets out and has to face up to the dealer. Shot like a documentary it's slow in pace which only works in the prison scenes. The usual weak music on the soundtrack that you'll hear in every second Irish movie. The ending didn't make much sense; surely the dealers would have gone after him rather than get the police involved? The best thing about this movie is it's well cast. Other that that it's routine and no match on similar films like Scum and Penitentiary. The violent scenes are too brief and not effective. This picture is too restrained and has nothing to say. The young man is too passive and seems to be responsible for his own misfortunes.

Title: Michael inside
Genre: Crime
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema

Sunday, 22 April 2018


Another Irish horror movie this one is about the survivors of a virus that turns people into zombies. A few are still infected and they get locked up. Fast-paced and confusing it's based on older Romero movies like Day of the Dead and The crazies. This plague seems to have wiped out our non-nationals because the only survivors are indigenous Irish mostly in their 30s! They're all based around Croke Park in Dublin! Lots of brief scares and tension with loud effects but you won't care what happens as the characters are not likable. Completely unoriginal yet well made; that's Irish cinema in a nutshell. Compared with Dead meat and Boy eats girl this a is minor masterpiece!

Title: The cured
Genre: Horror
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema

Monday, 26 March 2018


With our media ridiculing the proposed Dublin Metrolink no-one wants to discuss this new film studio for Meath. Work spaces, offices, make-up rooms, CGI facilities, and dining areas are proposed. Have we learned nothing over the last 20 years? The kind of movies that require studios don't work here. They don't get good reviews, make money, or create a sustainable industry. Top American director Soderbergh makes his new movie with a camera phone but here in lil' old Ireland we still need to think big. Because film making isn't about talent, passion, ideas, or saying anything new. Instead, it's about awards, training courses, jobs, and producing small-screen movies for the multiplexes. To paraphrase Truffaut: put good writers, directors, designers, actors, editors, and composers together and you get TV dramas set in the 1950s.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Damo and Ivor the movie

Enjoyable and funny road movie about three brothers, two trying to locate the third. Based on a TV show it's better than expected though has lots of holes in the story e.g. Ivor's marriage troubles. The romance between the Granny and the Garda gets tedious but the movie is fast-paced so you won't get bored. Some of it is hilarious e.g. the dog not allowed into the hospital and the traveller brother offering thousands of Euro for it. Tina Kellegher looks older than the Granny! Instantly forgettable but worth a look and you won't need to have seen the TV show to follow it.

Title: Damo and Ivor the movie
Genre: Comedy
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema

Tuesday, 13 March 2018


Another movie set in the 1920s in a Big House. This one adds horror elements but it's not up to much. Most of the cast are the same age and it's difficult to tell who's who. There's a lake nearby that goes under the house and dead people are living there. The ending is good though no-one could hold their breath that long. Add in the usual bad acting, dire piano music, confusing story, brief scenes, clean costumes, and a general sense of seen it all before so another average effort. One good scene shows petty locals mistreating a WW1 veteran who's lost part of his leg. Good to Deirdre O'Kane here arguing with her Anglo-Irish neighbours but in last year's Halal Daddy she got on great with our new Muslim arrivals! Another movie where a character carries a suitcase that is obviously empty as it swings about too much!

Title: The lodgers
Genre: Big house
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema

Monday, 5 March 2018


With current Irish films about as popular as a Lisdoonvarna asylum seekers' centre, STC outlines what's absent from our cinema.

1. Ignore the awards
The best films don't win awards and talented filmmakers don't make films to win silly IFTAs. STC won't even watch that rubbish anymore.

2. No more horror films
Irish horror movies are like Irish indie bands: bland, unoriginal, dull, forgettable, and not that good.

3. Films with low budgets
Not cheaply-made stuff trying to look expensive but films that don't need a lot of money to produce e.g. contemporary dialogue movies.

4. Classical music
Not just orchestral stuff but proper classical music. Plenty of older Irish composers with good music: Stanford, Field, Balfe. Why don't Irish movies use their music? This would raise the film up a notch.

5. Life
Irish films area mostly dull to watch, carefully composed scenes drawing attention to themselves with bad lighting. Lifeless and over-directed. Good films contain energy and movement.

6. Quantity
With some of our most overrated directors averaging about one feature per decade it's daft that the technology is there but there's still such little output. The easier it is to make movies the less get produced here?

7. Realism
Not gritty gangster movies but films that tackle every-day life with real people and their problems.

8. Saying something new
Films that have an interesting perspective to convey; not some character trying to overcome a disability or reach their wedding on time.

9. Taking the piss
What do films by Fellini, Leigh, Greenaway, Russell, Altman, Jarmusch, Antonioni, and Chabrol all have in common? They make fun of the characters and settings.

10. Originality
Has there ever been an Irish film that's not based on another from abroad? Something different that you've never seen before?

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Property of the state

Strange this movie has received little publicity. Set up to the 1990s it's about a young man who has mental health issues. Even worse, he lives in the rural country surrounded by locals who get involved and make him worse. Sent in and out of hospital and institutions he get pumped with valium and ends up killing a priest and a women and her kid in the woods. This could have been a really good movie. Sadly, it's the usual TV-drama style with lots of fast cuts and emphasis on the story. With uneven acting and direction you won't care what happens. A lot of it gets told in reverse sequence so gets confusing. The image is too slick and polished for this kind of movie. A lot of it is unintentionally funny: the overreaction of his family, the way he keeps getting help but ends up worse, the bad news TV clips, and the local Garda. You get the impression that if O'Donnell lived in Dublin he would avoid so much trouble. There are other similar Irish stories waiting to get made into movies (e.g. Abbeylara shooting) but I hope they avoid this bad style of film making.

Title: Property of the state
Genre: Bio
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema

Saturday, 23 September 2017


How many IRA prison movies has our Film Board now funded? This latest one is set in 1983 and details a true escape. The film is well paced and builds up to the break out. The rest is the usual dull lighting (well it is a prison!) and quick edits. It's certainly watchable and better than expected. The prison officers aren't as strict as usual and there's a lot of information given to prisoners without any suspicions. The clothing and haircuts accurately show what the 1980s was like. Enjoyable movie but like most Irish titles it offers nothing new.

Title: Maze
Genre: IRA
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Drummer and the keeper

Another mismatched two-hander this one is set in the music scene and involves mental health issues. The drummer is supposed to be bipolar yet is always miserable throughout the movie. The (goal)keeper has Aspergers yet this syndrome gets disproved in the movie. The rest of the film is dull and has lots of Fat lady sings-piano music. Nothing original and references various similar Irish movies: goths at the table; doctor's meeting, band falling out. Nothing new and runs along at a drab pace. Aimed at undemanding teenagers this is underwhelming and unoriginal. The opening scene sets the tone: a couch gets set on fire on a beach. That's supposed to be the hook that grabs you into this movie but doesn't. Another example in Irish cinema of mediocre, lame, lifeless, bland, derivative, predictable filmmaking. There's no story, it's more character-based but these people are too boring to make you care.

Title: The drummer and the keeper
Genre: Drama
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema


That's how much Irish 'blockbuster' Black 47 has made at the USA box office! As expected our illiterate media describes it as I...