Back in 1993 there were great celebrations when the Irish Film Board got re-established. Everyone expected another Neil Jordan to appear, Oscars getting flung at us, school leavers wanted to study filmmaking, and new Irish films were to rival Ulysses! However it soon dawned that things like this were not going to happen. Instead we got loads and loads of sh*te. Stuff so bad that some titles will never be seen again!
Friday, 30 April 2010
If there's one recent Irish movie that everyone agreed was complete sh*te it was Zonad. However it's been reported* that the film is getting rave reviews at the Tribeca Film Festival. What's going on? Is Zonad better than we thought? Do the foreign cineastes see something in this low-budget (€800,000) movie that the average Irish person has missed? They want the film to be a sleeper hit - one that builds by word of mouth. Will this happen? Is Zonad destined for future cult status. Can the director of Once do no wrong? Do they find the sight of a guy urinating on another man who's tied to a tree hilarious? Or is it just all the usual festival hype? Only time will tell but I for one will never change my opinion on this atrocious movie.
*Evening Herald, 30-4-2010
*Evening Herald, 30-4-2010
It's a sad day that one of Ireland's more controversial personalities passed away. On an Irish movie site Gerry Ryan should be mentioned as he appeared (as himself) in Spin the Bottle. He played his role for laughs, poked fun at himself, and sent up his RTE image. Whatever your opinion of the man is, his early death is shocking.
Another video feature this one is about three guys who look for work and love! Yes, it's as bad as it sounds though it has a certain bland innocence that makes it likeable. The usual scenes of guys sitting at bars and meeting women. Almost like a young filmmakers co-op effort? Full of a young cast (with hairgel!) the movie plods along without anything remotely interesting nor controversial. Still, an interesting, privately-funded effort that got a cinema release.
Thursday, 29 April 2010
Never seen this mentioned anywhere else? There's a hotel in Camden Street in Dublin where they have old movie posters and stills of Irish films on the walls in the reception. Very impressive. It's in the Camden Deluxe across from the Fresh supermarket. Worth a look if you're ever passing as it's just inside the front door. Don't go up the steps though - it's through the door to the right of that!
Say that word again! H.E.A.D.R.U.S.H! That sounds like a great movie! Headrush, it'll rush your head! Wow. I'm excited to see this so! Full of exciting stuff that will alter your perceptions? Afraid not. It's rubbish actually. A '90s drugs movie made a decade too late. Out of date and out of time. It tries to be hip and 'with it man'! It fails. Say it again! H-e-a-d-r-u-s-h! There's an exciting title for a dull movie. There's this guy see who can't get a job. Neither can 438,000 other people! Except this was made in the Celtic Tiger era where everyone had ambitions to succeed. So this fella organises a lottery and the winner gets to bring drugs back from Holland. Inside a souvenir windmill! It's that contrived. Back in the '90s this script felt like a breath of fresh air in the midst of IRA movies and telefilms set in the '50s. Except now it's just embarrassing. Actually I get it now - make a contrived, stupid, unoriginal drugs movie and the audience will get a headrush from shaking their head when they watch this crap. That's actually funny!
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
This is one of the Catalyst projects. In other words it was made under a low-budget filmmaking scheme of €¼ million. That's a lot of money for such a minimalistic film. Sure it could have cost even less? Set on a beach in Wexford the movie is about a little brat who causes tension between his two parents. Except we don't know if they really are married. After about an hour the movie gets really silly and contrived. There are some good parts to it though: the slow pace; the poverty; the strange scene of the mother floating out to sea; the local girl who never moved away from the area. But the impression is that a lot of the scenes are not done well. I tried to like this movie as it attempts to be different but it got really bad in the last ½ hour.
There was a big hullabaloo about this movie a few year back because it was unavailable for a long time. Then it appeared on DVD in XtraVision for under a tenner. I actually like this film to an extent. Sure it's quite bad with awful acting and miscasting but that Fiona O'Shaughnessy is the sexiest actress in Irish cinema. It's the era of the early '90s where everyone acted the eejit. The cast work in a Dorset Street chipper. There's a girl who photographs everything, a nutcase courier, several gangsters,and a few homeless. Then there's a Super 8 sequence and a game of snap. What's impressive is the collection of after-hours people and the surreal setting of a late night chipper where anything can happen. Best scene had the dwarf falling out of a window.
A few years back the director of About Adam was proclaiming himself to be the Irish Woody Allen! Well The Brothers McMullen is closer to Allen's style than any other Irish-related film. There are lots of chat, egotistical characters, funny cuts in the middle of dialogue, and voiceovers. It's a very low-budget movie ($28,000) about three Irish-Americans who all use their full first names. They have women problems, don't seem to do much work, drink a lot, and walk everywhere. It's an interesting film in that most other male movie characters have little to say. Best scene was with the banana - so true. Strange that the director has made several other features but with little success?
Tuesday, 27 April 2010
My, oh my, does anyone remember this movie? It was Neil Jordan's effort to crack the Hollywood market but was ruined by bad editing. The movie is so badly put together that a lot of it makes no sense. Before we get to know the characters the action starts. You just don't care. Reckon there must has been lots of American tourists who wanted to stay in that castle er movie set. Interesting how the stars have all faded over the last two decades. Back then they were major box office attractions. There are ghosts and scary bits - it's more of a silly kids' movie but aimed at adults. Many scene contradict each other e.g. the ghosts can be passed through but later they can be danced with. Thought the music score was really good but it belonged in a better movie.
Monday, 26 April 2010
It's too easy to dismiss this movie as Dad's Army meets Father Ted. It's a great idea - telling the story of an Irish POW camp in the Second World War. There are some unbelievable but apparently true parts: the prisoners going to the races; the prisoners being sent back to the camp by their country if they escape; and the Irish army using blanks! It's one of those films that could have been much better but what's there is fine. The highlight was Jean Butler's fast dance. Filmed in the Isle of Man so the weather was a bit too good for an Irish setting. Also, the scene where they ride a horse from Kildare to the coast looked a bit silly.
Sunday, 25 April 2010
Not a recommendation but this is the best of the Celtic Tiger films. There's this guy who shags three sisters and almost does the brother. Except we really want to see him with their mother. But that would be too interesting. It's set in a vanished Ireland - the Celtic Tiger era. Cafés, restaurants, cabarets, galleries, rooftops, and bookshops. Posh people who are so bland that you know nothing interesting will happen. There is no tension between them because they're middle-class. Four stories with the brother's one being rushed. They all fall for Adam but he's up to something. We don't know what that is and the movie doesn't reveal. He says he misses his father to one sister but tells another sister he didn't like the man. Would love to see a sequel to this movie a decade on. I'd do the middle sister though.
It's nice to be nice. Especially in the Irish film industry. Why? Because then you can do whatever you want and get respect. Take one of our 'top' female directors Kirsten Sheridan. Not only does she get to make rubbish features, sit on our Film Board, and attend festivals as a jury member but now she even gets an article written about her in the Sunday Tribune* newspaper!
Saturday, 24 April 2010
A note to distributors. If you want your Irish movie reviewed on Shoot the Cabbage then release it in a Dublin CITY CENTRE cinema. Not in some place like Santry because it's too much effort to travel and view another Film Board effort which will more than likely be sh*te anyway. Thank you. However, as Shoot the Cabbage is a dedicated Irish film blog no expense was spared to visit Santy (OK, I walked!) to view this movie. What a movie! Yet another Nordie picture funded by the Irish Film Board this teenage drama is all style and zero substance. The kind of movie that thinks it's cool to show teenagers smoking - in slow motion. The kind of movie that is about nothing much except a threesome of young people who don't get on with their dads. The kind of movie that tries to be sexy, violent, controversial, and angry - except it's not. The kind of movie that uses New Order copycats on the soundtrack. Very tame stuff indeed. Has a questionable sex scene with James Nesbitt and a 16-year old girl. Really aimed at teenagers but it didn't work as I was the only person in the audience. The kind of movie that has a character texting and the words appear on screen - very impressive that. Not!
What is this crap? It's got everything wrong and is a Celtic Tiger movie. That's the worst Irish movie sub-genre ever. Even worse than 'The black guy winning an Irish pub' sub-genre (Irish Jam). There's this attractive young lady (until she forgets her makeup in the Luas scene) who has to leave Dublin. Her dad got attacked (sad) and the property is too expensive (not anymore!) so she moves down the country to some kip. Unlike the 'lady' in 8.5 hours she doesn't resort to giving the estate agent head. Instead she uses a more persuasive charm over a man - she cries to get her home! But the neighbours all leave early to go to work (not anymore!) and there are twin brothers who hassle her. Then there's a guy who charms his way into her home. Finally there's an eldery couple who visit all the time. Quite rightly she goes mad in a Repulsion way. That's about it - what a pile of Celtic Tiger crap. Complete rubbish made by a respectable hack with too many 'industry' contacts and zero talent. GIVE ME A KIT KAT!
Yet another movie about the troubles this one is a TV film. That explains why the Irish Film Board gave it funding! How many films from the Republic are funded by Northern Ireland Screen? No cinema release but it's come out on DVD quickly enough. Starts off in the mid-'70s where a Loyalist murders a Catholic. The deceased's younger brother is a witness. Three decades later the killer and the witness meet up for a TV interview. Except they don't. That's the movie. Nothing much to recommend. Thought it interesting that whenever one of the TV crew screwed up the producer apologised to the men. How nice the TV crew were compared to Nesbit's intentions! Neeson and Nesbit are not great actors and their limitations show up here. Then there's a silly scene where they fight and fall out of a window only to get up and start arguing! Good song on the end credits.
Friday, 23 April 2010
Anyone who has a passing interest in Irish cinema would have heard of the IFTAs. The Irish Film (and) Television Awards. They nominate the best Irish films from the previous year and select the premier one. That is in theory what happens but in reality it's a bit diffferent.
Think it's all doom and gloom now that the country has gone bust? Wondering if there are any good news to come out of this recession. Well for Irish cinema it's the best thing to happen since that Anton review on The View.
A long time ago in the '90s, Irish cinema consisted mostly of stuff like The Secret of Roan Inish. Magical, children, sea, islands, fiddles/whistles/pipes on the soundtrack, cottages, seals, and storytellers. We even got a famous director in sometimes to make this stuff. Problem was that while it sounded good on paper often the results were not great. So what was great about Roan Inish? The cinematography that's what. Absolutely amazing images abound in this movie. The sea is blue, the grass is green, the indoor scenes are warm. If only other Irish movies could look as good as this instead of using filtered Tourist Board shots or washed out grays. What's the movie about? It's really a kids' story for adults (!) where a young girl hears various tales about her relatives. It's not great but not bad either. Some of it is boring, some impressive, and some really predictable (you can tell which musical instrument will appear on the soundtrack for the next scene!). Bet the makers of Ondine have see this movie!
Thursday, 22 April 2010
If someone was to write what's wrong with most Irish movies from the '90s they could do well to use Pete's meteor as an example. It's a gritty drugs movie - except it's not. It's a magical children's film - except it's not. It's an inner-city crime movie - except it's not. It's actually a bit of everything and ends up as nothing. Made by a theatre director and it shows. The acting ranges from Fricker (who's the best here) to really bad acting from the kids. The main reason to see this movie is for Myers in a serious role. He's not that good. Another reason is the interesting but pointless sky shots of the capital. Rumour has it that some of the cast tried to hassle a Dublin nightclub DJ during the making of this movie. Really sad. Thankfully we don't make these kind of films in Ireland anymore - should never have happened back in the '90s but that's what the Film Board wanted.
Wednesday, 21 April 2010
It's no coincidence that the best Irish movies are impossible to find on DVD. Eat the peach is one such movie. It's the '80s and the recession has closed down the local factory in the midlands. An unemployed pair come up with a solution - build a wall of death. Bet none of the present day unemployed Irish would have the initiative to do this? The film is great in the sense that it's far better than most of the junk that gets made in Ireland these days. There's a charming innocence about it. Almost like an Irish western! Great music, great supporting cast, great ambience, great locations - great movie!
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
Right, who's idea was it to get a woman to direct a horror film? Only in Ireland! Yet another scary-child movie this one is set in the West. As expected it's all dull cinematography, fast editing, not one bit scary, silly premise, nothing much happens, and the ending is confusing. Did I expect anything else? Not in this country. The best horror films are usually made by directors who work exclusively in this genre. But in little old Ireland we have jobbing directors switching between genres and producing insipid work. There wasn't even a daisy-chain sex scene! Really sad that this stuff gets made here (there are lots more Irish horror movies on the way). We've a nation of bland imitators - sad but true.
What's this? A martial arts movie made in Ireland? It might be a surprise to some that several martial arts films have been made here. Other examples include Fatal Deviation and Bloodfist 8. The medallion is a Jackie Chan movie and it's as much comedy as action. Lee Evans is in it and for once he's not annoying. Also included is Claire Forlani. Why she wanted to appear in this is a mystery. Maybe it was fun to do? The film begins in Asia and Chan must follow Julian Sands (who resembles Sting) to Dublin. There's a kidnapped child. Some great action scenes including one in Dublin castle. But the movie is rushed, uneven, and not as good as other Chan titles. Why Ireland is used as a location is strange because it could have been filmed anywhere.
Friday, 16 April 2010
If Irish cinema is a bucket of coal then there will be one or two diamonds in that bucket! Kisses might well be a diamond. It's not as good as expected but still impressive. Much better than the director's previous effort The Halo Effect. It's the kind of movie that should have been made here back in the '90s. But back then the kids would have travelled to the city centre on white horses while the camera tried to get a few tourist-enticing footage from the Dublin mountains - with a Hot House Flowers song on the soundtrack! Thankfully that's all gone now. The best parts of the movie were the non-dialogue scenes with the atmospheric music on the soundtrack. It starts off in black and white and moves to colour. Though this was a bit silly. The two kids are not as good actors as made out. They travel into the city to find a missing relative. They stay overnight and sleep rough. It's one of the best Irish movies of the 2000s. But that wouldn't be difficult.
Thursday, 15 April 2010
Have you heard of Ingmar Bergman? Have you seen his chamber films from the early 1960s? Do you like these films? Do you want to see a movie from an Irish director who is influenced by the master? If so then watch The fading light. It's actually quite impressive in a low-budget way: central location; small cast size; minimalist filmmaking; little lighting. The director is way ahead of other filmmakers here in that he actually has something to say. It's just a pity what he says has been done before. A dying woman (fading light?), her disabled son must be told, the house has to be got rid of, there's even an ambiguous suicide. Impressive stuff indeed in the sense that the director has great potential as soon as he moves away from Bergman's ideas. A pity these kind of films were never made here back in the '90s instead of that heritage rubbish. We could be producing great stuff by now?
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
This is not a question! It's a Maeve Binchy movie directed by the guy who did Short Order. How about you is not as good though. It's rather bland, aimed at an older audience, and more suited to television. There is a group of old people staying in a home. They don't get on. The owner leaves for Xmas and her younger sister arrive to take charge. They don't get on either! Some big names appear but their best movies are long behind them. This is a problem with Irish cinema - hiring international actors who did their best stuff back in the '60s! There's a good sing-song featuring Redgrave in a pub. That's about it. The rest is not very good. Actually, Orla Brady is a fine-looking woman. Wonder if she's cougar? I'd be interested!
Tuesday, 13 April 2010
Not the '80s movie with that great theme song 'On the radio'. Not Little Foxes either (which is its foreign title), also a Bette Davis picture. This one is an Irish movie that no-one will bother to see. Why? Because it's subtitled and is a social-realist film*. There are no Irish social-realist films because Irish filmmakers hate this stuff. Unless you're an '80s filmmaker and good luck to finding their titles on DVD! Foxes is about an Eastern European woman who has no home back er home. It's been demolished. She's in Ireland to fight with her successful sister. Because sisters the same age fight (just like in How About You). If you're expecting Fair City actors turning up for their latest cheque, Tourist Board cinematography, long pauses after each scene, theatrical 'acting', Sinead O'Connor songs on the soundtrack, a bit of 'Dubalin humour' - DON'T SEE THIS MOVIE! It's made by a talented new foreign filmmaker who has something to say. To be unfair the movie does get tedious after an hour but is very impressive. For an Irish movie to get a good review on Shoot the Cabbage it needs to be a bit special. Foxes is a bit special!!
*OK, it's only released in ONE cinema so that might be another reason no-one will see it?
*OK, it's only released in ONE cinema so that might be another reason no-one will see it?
Not Butcher Boy, this one came out a few years later. It's set in the 1940s and is a Brendan Behan bio about his life in jail for terrorist activities. He's in the Official IRA and meets gay Dyer. There's a rugby match, a sexy warden's daughter, an escape attempt, a tragic explosion on a beach, and a play by Oscar Wilde. There's lots of Irish identity scenes (yawn!) and the movie is OK. Not geat, not terrible. The way you'd expect most Irish movies to be like. The kind of movie that got made a few decades late. Imagine this movie done in the style of This Sporting Life? That would have been a great movie.
Sunday, 11 April 2010
Fed up hearing about the latest Irish feature film when you know it'll be crap? Fed up reading another three-star review in The Irish Times for the latest Irish Film Board title? Fed up reading the list of Best Film nominations at the IFTAs when they haven't been released yet? Read on and I'll tell you what's 'wrong' with Irish movies.
I don't know. Just sounds nice. What else should I call it? It's a blog on Irish cinema. What do they do in Irish movies? Emigrate, endure poverty, rape men, argue over land, disappear. What else? Shoot a cabbage? Who does that? Anton did it - 'The next one will be bigger'! Except it was done earlier in How Harry Became a Tree! You see all that anger built up from sexual repession, political guilt, not getting on with your father, and lusting after the farm has to be released some way. What better way so than shooting up a defenceless vegetable? If you feel anger after watching another rubbish Irish movie then you too could shoot a cabbage? Or else read this blog!
If ever an Irish movie lived up to its name then it's this one! Originally made in 1995 it's been out of circulation for years. Chances are you've never even heard of it. Strange indeed but for some reason a lot of Irish movies from the '90s are impossible to view. Don't know why? This one is about Finbar who lives in Tallaght. He's too good looking to fit in and disappears off a bridge. The friends lament, record songs about him, and then he's forgotten. Except, one friend travels to Scandinavia and finds Finbar. Except it's a pub called Finn Bar! He meets a young woman who rapes him (it's OK - a woman can rape a man in Irish movies e.g. Crushproof). Then Finbar turns up and guess what happens? It's a road movie without roads, it's a disappearance movie except we don't care if he's found, it's set in Dublin and then in a country with lots of snow. The filmmakers create a big fuss about the guy but we just don't care. It's not out on DVD except it is. Was it worth tracking down? Not really.
Thursday, 8 April 2010
Is that deen or dyne? Who cares? Filmed off the Cork coast it's about a trawler that catches a female illegal immigrant in its net. No, not True North! No-one has seen that movie so it doesn't matter how unoriginal Ondine is. Don't mind that both films were funded by the Irish Film Board. Sure, don't they fund other similar movies too? Complete coincidence of course? Of course it is. So what's Ondine? Who cares again? It's Neil Jordan's new movie so it has to be good. If it's not then keep your mouth shut as you're only a begrudger. Well I'm a begrudger! It's like forgotten stuff from the terrible '90s - Driftwood and Secret of Roan Inish. Anyone seen these titles? The makers of Ondine have!
Wednesday, 7 April 2010
What 'the Pale'? It's Dublin of course. Except here it goes across the Atlantic to America. An Irish guy emigrates to work in crap jobs because he's an illegal. He lives with a landlady and her permanent older lodger. There's a friend who represents the kind of character who's up for a laugh. The first guy wants to make something of himself. He meets an actress who's also from Dublin. She has an older boyfriend. They end up back where they came from. That's the movie. Any good? Not really.
Tuesday, 6 April 2010
What's this 32A? A bus? Nope. It's a bra size. It's aimed at teenage girls I think. Except they wouldn't be interested in a movie set in 1979? Unless they were shown this movie at school? Or unless they liked other Irish movies set in 1979 such as The Last Bus Home or Turning Green. They won't. It's about a small group of Northside schoolgirls who go to discos at The Grove. They also fall out and discover boys. Their families are nice except the creepy taxi driver who's one of the girl's dads. It's directed by a woman so everything is nice (where's the sexist alert button?). So nice that it strays into bland and that's the problem with this movie. There is no substance at all. It's all carefully composed shots that look like they're caught by accident except they're not. It's all rehearsed beforehand. It's not realist cinema it's direct-to-DVD cinema! Except this movie got screened in our cinemas. It's another nice Irish movie. It's a shame that back in 1979 there were teenage movies like Over the Edge. No not On the Edge, 'OVER'. The Matt Dillon movie about a group of teenagers running riot in their estate. Why a shame? Because it shows how bland modern movies really are. Especially Irish ones like 32A.
A long time ago in the 1990s only certain Irish movies were allowed to get made. They had to be set in the 1950s, rural areas, father-son tensions, girls with long hair, poverty, local pubs, priests, shawls, and wealthy landowners. Or else they had to be magical, mystical, films set near the sea, and preferably aimed at kids. People hated these movies and rightly so. Technically bland and pedestrian they followed the TV-drama template of zero risk, emphasis on script, stage acting, and dull cinematography. Oh, and don't forget to add an over-the-top music score please. That will do nicely. But people got angry. 'We want modern stories featuring good-looking characters in urban settings' they pleaded. The country was changing and Irish cinema had to change too. So the movies we made moved on - no more IRA films, no more rural dramas, and no more 'magical' films featuring dwarves and children. Thank goodness for that so. But what was to follow? What was to replace these wretched movies? Step aside you miserable, grim cinema and make way for a new kind of filmmaking: the CELTIC TIGER* movie!
Fed up with the latest Irish movie that is rubbish but everyone says is great? Fed up hearing about some award-winning short filmmaker who is the next-big-thing when they are yet to direct a feature? Fed up watching those no-hopers nominated at the IFTAs who are better suited to working in television? Well here is a list of ten lesser-known Irish directors who have made plenty of feature films yet never get much of a mention in little old Ireland:
Oh dear? Oh dear, oh dear, ohhhh. What happened here? Oh dear, oh dear. Is this a comedy? How did this getta made? Hmmm? Let's see: the writer from Father Ted. The priest from er Father Ted. That Scottish guy from Trainspotting. What do you mean they were all Scottish? The director who used to work with the one who did Once. A famine themepark. Now that's funny except it's not. This is wrong? It's embarrassing even. There are two lads see. They go to Prosperous in Kildare. Except it's not. It's run down. They have to look after a famine themepark. Laughing yet. Then there's a story to tell. Forget the comedy let's tell a story. Because Irish Cinema is all about telling stories. We're bleeding stories to tell! Except we're not. We're just copying what's been done already - in a bad way. How bad? Well, let's edit the fu*k out of the movie so the audience gets caught up with the story instead of the comedy. Let's use dull cinematography because the setting is supposed to be dull. Let's put two mismatched characters in an unusual setting. Laughing yet? Let's have characters acting as if they're in different movies? It's not funny. Worse. It's not even good. Ah, sure we're still learning. We have a lot of catching up to do. Now that's funny?
Fed up going into your local store and seeing Dancing at Lughnasa and Into the West on the shelves? Worried that you've seen everything that needs to be seen? Well here's a list of Irish titles that you should try and see.
Monday, 5 April 2010
I don't know. Don't ask me. Are they that bad? Sure we're making loads of the stuff now. They're queueing up to get a release. Only whingers complain anyway. We're doing great? People are rushing out to see the latest Irish movie, no? Maybe not. But we're doing better than other countries surely? Let's see: what are we doing now compared to a decade ago? We're making more of the stuff indeed. We even have one or two decent filmmakers? What's a 'decent filmmaker'. People who make commercially successful films are decent filmmakers. That Shrooms guy is doing well. Fair play, we need more like him. People who aim high (?) for the local multiplex. That guy who did The Fading Light is also doing well. Fair play, we need more like him too. People who develop a personal filmmaking style with a smaller audience. What about the rest? Come on? Who cares about the rest. They're doing their thing too. Not particulalry well but fair play to them for making films. Is that good enough? Back in 2000 I would have said yes except I was too shy. Now I'll say it - we can do better! Much better in fact. There are too many feature films made here that are not particularly commercial nor personal. They are like that Elastica song: Just an inbetweener. Middle-of-the-road sh*t that appeals to no-one except the crew who get paid. What's the point of these movies? No-one will remember these in a few year's time. The director is faceless with their 'A Film By' crap. Listen, in order to use that tag you need to actually have something to say with your own style. Turning up for a few weeks work while you implement what you've learned on an expensive short is pointless.
Is there such thing as an Irish horror movie? Some have tried before. Coppola made his first feature here in the early '60s and it was called Dementia 13. The first Irish horror movie? Maybe. But for homegrown filmmakers horror was a genre picture that should be ignored. Then a spout of new horrors arrived: Boy Eat Girl, Isolation, Shrooms. Stuff that looked well but appeared to have been made by non-horror fans. Well, Dead Meat was made by horror fans. It shows in a bad way though. Nothing original (even for a zombie movie), fast-paced, confusing, and not particularly scary. The kind of movie you look at rather than watch. Come on! We can do better than this? It's set in Leitrim and there's an outbreak of cow disease. People turn into zombies. There are narrow escapes galore, and gore. Famous locations such as castles are used and guess what? The army arrive to save the day from this horror. Except we've see this in loads of other zombie movies (with better music). So what was the point of Dead Meat? That we can make serious horror? It wasn't serious though. Maybe the point is that we can do what other countries can do? Is that a good thing?
What's this? Four people working in a software office. All different with their own lives. All dull but for some reason a film gets made about them? Set in the era of the Celtic Tiger. What's this again? There's some wan looking for an apartment in Dublin 4. Because that's the 'in' place to live. There are not many shops or cafés there but it looks nice in the brochure. They've got Donnybrook fair in Dublin 4. Very posh. The poor girl doesn't earn enough so she blackmails her boss. Her boss is gay you see and fools around with another employee in a car par. But the estate agent pretends there's another bidder. So she has to swallow the honey to spend the money! Why didn't she just do this with her boss? Because he's gay. Are you not following? Then there's Biddy's mam from Glenroe. She's carrying around a foetus! Because this woman is from 'old' Ireland you see and does not approve of abortion. All people from 'old' Ireland are like this of course. The era before the Celtic Tiger. Which is old now. That what this movie does. It hammers the audience with clichés about how the Celtic Tiger generation has lost their way. No they haven't. They're living in ghost estates in Mullingar with 100% mortages now. Ha, ha!
Irish movies are all style and no substance. Says who? Trouble With Sex is a dull, shallow movie that has all style and no substance. It's a Celtic Tiger movie. We won't have any more of these for a long time. It's not even a good Celtic Tiger movie. Because there are no good Celtic Tigers. There's a guy working in a bar. He's messed up probably from going to school back in the '80s. Then there's a solicitor but she calls herself a lawyer. For some reason she likes this repressed loser. Then there's his dad. He's the only interesting character here because he represents 'old' Ireland. The lawyer jogs past the famine memorial. Why? Because this shows us the clash of modern Ireland with the old one. It's that subtle! Except the Celtic Tiger is now another old Ireland. Then there's a sing song to Crowded House. Why them? Because they're derivative, shallow, unoriginal, and bland. Just like Trouble With Sex. It's all filtered lighting and carefully composed shots. Just like in Eden. It's shallow rubbish with stereotypical characters. It says nothing new and is just an excuse to show how good the technical crew are. Just like a lot of Irish movies do.
What a W.C.? It's a toilet. But it's also an Irish movie about a jazz bar and the various characters which frequent this W.C. There is the director of the movie playing a guy just out of Kilmainham for gambling stolen money. His nasty brother is the manager and gives the director a bad time. Then there's a Russian girl who works in the ladies toilets. She's also got out of a different jail because she was brought here to work as a prostitute. That's why she's hiding out in the jazz club. Why a talented jazz band can attract so many dodgy customers I don't know. But that's the story. No, there's also a subplot about getting 'robbed' and claiming insurance money. There's a tramp in the backyard. He knows the police quite well. Then there's a guy in a helicopter. No wait. It's supposed to be ariel shots to give the movie class. Like the start of Pete's Meteor. Anyone see that movie. Anyone? W.C. is filmed on video and is set in the Celtic Tiger era. Remember that? Remember all the 'great' movies produced by that era. Even one?
New movie from the director of Once. If you're expecting the same film then stay away. In fact stay away completely because this movie is as bad as it gets. It's so bad that they even have the cast singing 'I'm sorry' by the Hothouse Flowers in the final scene. The rest of the movie has a character called Zonad fooling the community on Ballymoran (get it?) that he's an alien. In fact he's an escaped patient from a mental hospital. So is Bonad! The village prefer him and Zonad becomes unpopular. It's that funny. Wait! There's a policeman who urinates over Zonad who is tied to a tree. Still not laughing? How about the overaged-teenage girls lusting after Zonad. Or the jock boyfriend who refuses sex with his girlfriend? Not laughing yet? Well this is funny: Zonad the movie was nominated as Best Film in the IFTAs! Now that's funny because there were better Irish films that should have been nominated. But these films were not directed by the guy who made Once. Sure that movie wasn't nominated as Best Film either at the IFTAs a few years back. Now that's kind of funny?
Every once in a while a new Irish movie arrives that appears a breath of fresh air. Sadly, the movie Eden is not one of these. It's a television film that somehow gets a theatrical screening but should not have. Why? Because it's suited to the small screen only. The story is about a married pair living in a drab midlands town. They have dull friends, visit the pub, exchange nods and winks with the locals, go to late-night parties, fix the electricity, go to slimming clubs, and fall out. If there ever was a reason to stay living in Dublin then this movie is it. Even moreso than Alarm this movie would put any sane person off moving down the country. For some reason the weather is really nice - don't know why as it hasn't stopped raining here in years. Anyway, back to the serious storyline. Wait, there is no serious story. They're married to each other for ten years and they've had enough. The wife you see is a bit of a big mouth and loves telling her 'friends' about her marriage. 'What happened? You were so good together' asks one female friend with her arms folded. Yep, Bergman's reputation is safe, this is no Scenes from a marriage. In fact, it's not much at all unless you consider carefully composed camera angles and character colour-coded scenes as interesting filmmaking. They visit a club and note that it's not as violent as it was in their day. I can see them now bashing each other as teenagers and now they are married. No wonder they've got problems. Oh yeah, that solitary tree in an empty field was used to much better effect in the famous German film Heimat.
Rather sad article in today's Irish Independent newspaper about Ireland's most overrated female film director. She's been abroad...