Monday, 31 May 2010

Fifty dead men walking

Another troubles movie this one is based on a true story about a tout who saved the lives of fifty men (hence the title). It starts off abroad where he gets shot (and survives) and then it's back to the late '80s in the North. It's never explained why he turned informer but the movie is stylish and there are lots of titles to explain who everyone is in the movie. More of an international picture than an Irish one (if that makes sense?) it's still worth a look as the story is interesting.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

DENNIS HOPPER R.I.P.

Another sad death with Dennis Hopper passing away. His contribution to Irish cinema included filming Space Truckers here back in the '90s. He also played an Irish outlaw in the movie Mad Dog Morgan.

Night train

Middle-aged romance story set what looks like Ranelagh? Blethyn is the lonely unmarried woman living with mother. Then Hurt arrives as a lodger. He's on the run from Fair City criminals. There's a neighbour who dresses as a woman but he's a man. Then Hurt has a surprise set up in his bedroom! Another rare Irish movie from the '90s this one has good acting from the leads but the support cast are terrible. The story is slight and there's a silly subplot involving gangsters.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

H3

Hunger-strike movie set in 1981. No way as good as Hunger but it's still a fine film. The prisoners decide to call off their protest but after being refused proper clothes they go on full hunger strike. The guards are all out of shape and stupid (as expected!) while the prisoners are mostly intelligent and good looking. There's a lot of Irish dialogue subtitled in English and the ending is powerful. Even the music on the soundtrack is not too obvious for a change in an Irish movie. Well worth a look though there's little tension or disagreement between the prisoners which makes for a few dull spots.

Friday, 28 May 2010

IRISH FILMS THAT NEEDED TWO DIRECTORS!

There have been a number of Irish feature films over the years that for some reason needed two credited directors. Don't know why and the quality didn't turn out twice as good as using just one!

Sugar

Probably the strangest feature film funded by the IFB. This is a Lynchian tale in black and white (of course!) about a woman in a suitcase. Naturally it's more than that but nothing else happens. It's set in one room and a new tenant tries to settle in. Yet another film made here by two directors. Other claustrophobic resident titles include Ailsa and Alarm but Sugar is a strange and unique Irish film that not many people have seen.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Trafficked

Shame that this gets a belated release as it's similar to several other later Irish titles (W.C., Kisses, Foxes). W.C. especially owes a lot to this film! A black woman moves to Ireland and ends up working as a hooker. Various shady Dublin characters exploit her. The handheld (and underlit) video camerawork is energetic and the city centre location is exploited fully. But the story doesn't add up to much and there are too many repeating scenes and establishing shots. Did we really need to see that Celtic Tiger mural several times? The main problem is that the film never gets out of first gear and it runs out of steam far too early.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

YOU REALLY KNOW YOU'RE WATCHING AN IRISH MOVIE WHEN ...

May have seen a few newspaper articles about the clichés in Irish cinema. Here is Shoot the Cabbage's definitive(!) guide on how to spot an Irish movie.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Freeze frame

Strange one this. Partly funded by our own IFB and RTE this was made in Northern Ireland and post-produced here. Yet it seems to be more of a British movie? Kind of like 1984 it has a character under suspician and his every move gets recorded. Except he is doing all the recording. After being accused of murdering a family Evans becomes paranoid. There's a cop, a woman, and a writer after him. Like several other Irish movies the male character gets raped by a woman! Saw this in the cinema and it looked sh*t but on DVD it's actually quite impressive. A lot of what Evans believes is possible and though he goes through hell it's not that bad because he's funny! One scene looked like it was filmed yet again in Kilmainham jail?

Monday, 24 May 2010

SHOOT THE CABBAGE CELEBRATES 100 POSTS!

There may only be four followers but Shoot the Cabbage has now got one hundred posts. The world's leading web log on Irish cinema has continued despite the small interest. Seeking out obscure Irish movies to comment on; finding long-lost IFB titles that they should never have funded; passing comment on the offical version of Irish cinema; bringing note to lesser known Irish titles; pointing out how bad some celebrated Irish films really are; and stating the well-known fact that Kirsten Sheridan has little talent despite how respected she is in our 'industry'. Shoot the Cabbage is here to stay because someone has to give a realist's view on Irish cinema. Amen!

Film with me in it

This is another rubbish comedy from the IFB. A pair of mismatched guys slack it out in Dublin and accidentally kill people! As unfunny as it sounds it's even worse. Then there's a spoof of the Irish film industry at the end. This is the kind of rubbish that gives Irish cinema a bad name, unoriginal stuff that will appeal to people who've never seen Withnail and I. The kind of movie that sounds good but never is. It's just sh*te plain and simple. Grrrr.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

LIST OF IRISH FILMS FROM THE PROTESTANT SIDE!

Irish cinema is not just about priests, village idiots, horses, and cute traveller kids. There is also a small group of films made here told from the Protestant side. Rarely getting much of a mention in Irish film books or even an IFTA nomination!

Dorothy Mills

One of those movies that appeared in cinemas and left after a week with little notice. Not sure if it was because it's not that good or it's told from a Protestant viewpoint? There's an island off the North full of a closed-religious community. One girl called Dorothy attacks a baby (!) and seems to have the spirit of three young people who were killed in a car accident. Then there's an older woman who tries to investigate Dorothy. It's the kind of film that tries to be scary but it's not. It's the kind of movie that is supposed to have a scary lead role but the background characters are more unsettling. Still, better than the similar Daisy Chain which came out the following month. The cinematography is very good for an Irish movie. The DVD title is just Dorothy.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Anton

The next one wil be bigger! One of the more infamous recent Irish movies this one caused a lot of controversy for all the wrong reasons. Made by people with too much technical training and nothing to say. It's set in the 1970s in Cavan and a local man gets caught up in the Troubles. Has the usual flaw in Irish cinema of making a low-budget movie look as expensive as possible. Complete rubbish that somehow got a theatrical release due to the usual hype bullsh*t in Irish cinema.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Angel

Probably Neil Jordan's best film this is based on the '60s movie Point Blank. A saxaphone player witnesses the murder of a mute girl and tracks down the killers. It's a great film because it's poetic and the story is interesting. There's an unusual low opera voice running through the soundtrack that gives the film a unique quality. The scene where McSorley is followed home by Rea and then shot is superb (beside the Czech Inn!). Loved the bleak '80s setting. Another good scene was in the mental hospital where the patients increase in numbers.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Mighty Celt

Clichéd movie about a greyhound. Set in the North, Carlyle is a former IRA man who returns to try and make up with his former girlfriend Anderson. Her kid trains a greyhound but he doesn't get on with its owner. Then the greyhound starts improving. Yet another Irish movie that's really aimed for children but they won't like it. Like a lot of these pictures it should have been made decades earlier.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Mickybo & me

This is the kind of film that gets made too often in Ireland. Set in the past, featuring children, and aimed at people who don't go to the cinema regularly. It's the 1970s and two kids from the opposite 'side' team up playing out scenes from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It's contrived crap that sounded good on paper but is badly handled. The only good scene was the argument between the two kids at the end. It's really aimed at an older age group who could recall that era.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

With or without you

Another rare Irish movie - this one is told from the middle-class Loyalist side in the North. It's a 'comedy' about a childless married couple. One day a pen pal arrives from the continent. Nothing happens! Yes, they do get to sing that U2 song - badly. It's a terrible, terrible movie full of obnoxious people. The only interesting part was when the pen pal wanted to go to a ceili only for Eccleston to reply that it's really for the Catholics! A predictable and badly handled ending on a beach. This gets my vote for one of the worst Irish movies of the '90s - that's quite an achievement!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Studs

Great, an Irish football movie! No, that's not right. A non-GAA Irish football movie. Made for over €1 million. That's some amount of money to film a group of lads running round a field? They need a new coach and Gleeson turns up. The whole team are a bunch of useless fools but Gleeson gets them into shape. They all argue among themselves like it's before the Celtic Tiger. Then they start winning matches. This movie is terrible - like Disco Pigs it was based on an acclaimed play so it had to be good? That's the way of thinking in this country. Put images to lame novels and plays. No wonder our films are so mediocre?

Resurrection man

If there's one movie that won't get mentioned whenever an article is written about Irish cinema it's Resurrection Man. One of the few troubles movies told from the Loyalist side this is a violent and true story based on the Shankill butchers of 1975. Townsend is too good looking to mix with such a shoddy cast and Fricker is miscast as his mother. Then some songs that the characters dance to weren't actually released back then e.g. Shame by Evelyn King! It's set around a pub where the regulars head off to brutally kill locals from the 'other side'. Some scenes are shocking but the movie eventually runs out of steam. Still, more impressive than some of the better known titles that represent so-called 'Irish cinema'.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

THE UNIONS ARE FU*KING UP IRISH CINEMA

If there is one thing which will NEVER happen in Ireland it's a sustainable film industry. However for some reason people buy into the idea that eventually Irish films will become profitable at the box office. Sure, we will always have something like Once every few years but these titles happen more by accident. You can't replicate these movies on a regular basis.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Blind flight

Another Irish prison movie that looks bad now because of Hunger. Based on the Brian Keenan story this one follows familiar ground. The cinematography is predictably too good to suit such a bleak tale and the sound effects are like something from a horror movie. What should have been a good story of two different men placed together ends up as tedious. Like The General it's the kind of film that gets respect because it's based on a true story even though it's not that good.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Cry of the innocent

One of the best-known Irish TV movies this one has Steiger trying to find out who killed his family! Cusack is on his case and they spend several days chatting in the Shelbourne Hotel. It's a thriller with lousy acting and bad editing. A plane crashes into a house and this sets up the movie. Except the rest is all talk and little action! Cusack is by far the best actor in the movie. There are lots of famous Dublin locations used and then the story moves abroad. The director was the actor Dan O'Herlihy's brother.

Quackser Fortune has a cousin in the Bronx

Little-seen Irish movie that stars Wilder and Kidder before they were famous. Set around Dublin it tells the story of a horse manure collector (!) who meets an American TCD student. But the horse trade is dying out and Wilder is being forced to work in a factory. Has an interesting counter-culture slant which is completely missing from most other Irish movies. It's also charming without feeling contrived. Filmed in tourist Dublin this is a classic picture that's buried away in the vaults and will never reach a wide audience because it will make most other Irish movies look sh*t.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Divorcing Jack

Fast-paced and hip political comedy that's dated badly. Thewlis is a journalist who gets caught up in a recording of a politician. That's where the title comes from as it's on a Dvorak cassette! Everyone is after Thewlis and he has to rely on his wits to survive. It's terribly contrived and silly but still watchable. Set in Northern Ireland it's a dark and violent comedy that is memorable but nothing special.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Silent grace

Before Hunger there were a few other IRA-prisoner films. One was Silent Grace, told from the female perspective. A young girl arrives into the prison and gets put with the political prisoners. Some members object but the leader of the group accepts the girl. The male warden seems to have a 'thing' for the leader. Average movie that is alright in one sense but goes nowhere. The tensions and arguements between the women get tedious. Impressive in the sense that it's not as melodramatic as expected. Yet another prison movie filmed at Kilmainham.

Book that wrote itself


Early Irish feature done on video this one is a road movie around the country. They visit Rathmines, the Wexford Opera festival, a Cork football club, Ennis, and the Galway Film Fleadh. The director plays the lead and he's a crazy character! Caught up in making his film he fails to realise that the girl filming him has a crush. Then he meets a producer and other spoofers in Galway and leaves this girl. The ending is set at a European film festival where several famous people (Clooney, Griffith, Singer) appear! It's like a home movie made by a guy with a massive ego. The acting is terrible but it's very funny in places.

Title: The book that wrote itself
Genre: Road
New/old: Old
Cinema/DVD: DVD

WHERE'S THE GREAT IRISH HORROR FILM?

If there's one genre everyone loves it's horror. Maybe not everyone but there's certainly a market for it. So, it's been a mystery for a long time now why there is no great Irish horror film?

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The dead

Yet another good Irish movie made in the years between the two Film Boards. This one is about a group of people who assemble in the house along the Liffey (across the river from Spar!) to engage in dining, singing, dancing, and chat. It's set in three rooms and everyone gets on. There's a funny remark about celery in Mount Melleray!
Then Huston and McCann go home and have a chat. Best scene was Patterson's singing. This movie has class - somthing that's absent in most Irish films.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Perrier's bounty

What is this shi*e? It's 1998 all over again and filmmakers are scrambling to make another Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Of course in Ireland we have to wait a decade until this happens. When it's old hat overseas we think it's cutting edge here. No doubt the script appeared great and fresh (just like Headrush!) and they all thought they were on to something good. Shame on the Irish Film Board for funding this crap. Maybe they got slack for not funding In Bruges? The absolute worst scene here was when they walk away from the car and you know it's going to explode. Look at the blank faces on the cast in this scene. Says it all. What's the point? We can make these kind of movie ten years on? It's the kind of movie that receives acclaim from people who think they're film buffs because they own a Scorcese or Tarantino box set! So what? How the fu*k does the director get to make this crap (his other stuff is just as bad)?

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Happy ever afters

Reckon I've seen more screwball comedies than most so my antenna was out for this Irish version! Yet another genre movie made by people with little passion nor understanding. Two weddings are in the same hotel. Sounds good but it fails. This film goes nowhere, has dull cinematography, is unfunny, badly acted, uneven, and just bad. Like a lot of Irish 'comedies' there is too much storytelling and not enough focusing on situation or character. The best screwball comedies have class. Happy ever afters has none of this. Also, you should want the original couple to get back together. Not here though. It's rubbish stuff made by 'respectable' filmmakers with little talent. Really pathetic.

The snapper

Long out of circulation movie (because it was made for TV) this is one of the most famous Irish movies. Except it's actually a BBC production! The whole housing estate is talking: who is the father of Sharon's baby? Could it be neighbour Burgess or a Spanish sailor. Filmed exactly like a low-budget telefilm it's got great dialogue and observations. Sadly writer Doyle has fallen out of favour because of his pre-Celtic Tiger working class characters. Yet another good movie made between the two Film Boards. Now that we're back in recession how about a few more of these films?

The boxer

Even Jim Sheridan's worst movie is better than most other Irish efforts. The boxer is another Troubles picture this time Day-Lewis leaves prison and reenters his commmunity. Except most don't want him back. He ruffles feathers by accepting gear from the police (boxing not drugs!) and gets intimate with a prisoner's wife. Tragedy ensues but not as expected. The problem with this movie is that we don't care what happens. It's another style-over-substance picture. Lots of scenes with something moving in the background (ships, cranes, helicopters) which distract the viewer. Lots of confusing scenes too (why does Day-Lewis and Watson visit the Loyalist side?) with washed-out cinematography. Bet the makers of Anton have seen this picture?

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Inside I'm dancing

The title refers to the two leads stuck in wheelchairs but their spirit is still alive. One guy follows all the rules while the other guy listens to Raging Speedhorn! They get on well until a young woman gets in the way! Moving away from their home they settle into their own lives. This movie has a bit of everything taken from other Irish movies: wheelchairs; suppressed sexuality; stern motherly types; criminality; embarrassing scenes; and a rebel trapped in a conservative cluture. It's the kind of movie that everyone is impressed with but it's not that good. Lots of pop songs on the soundtrack too - it's that kind of movie. The final shot was in Dame Street though it's made to look like New York!

WHY DO SO MANY IRISH FEATURE FILMS RESEMBLE TV MOVIES?

If there's one thing almost certain when a new Irish movie gets released it's that it will probably resemble a telefilm. Is this a bad thing?

The general

It's a brave man who will criticise this movie! Easily the best of the films based on Cahill's story it's filmed in black and white and stars Gleeson. Sadly these are only two good parts of the film. The rest is like a TV movie with all the good scenes removed. Everything interesting in the story happens off screen. Then the next scene cuts to a new location or character. This happens over and over. Most scenes are kept to the minimum and after a while it gets tiresome. Yet another 'classic' Irish movie that's not up to much. Give me Buster Keaton's film anyday!

Friday, 7 May 2010

The boys and girl from County Clare

Your reputation is on the line if you admit to seeing this! Yet another movie set in the '60s that should have been made back then (it would have been much better). There's an Irish music competition and a group travel over from England. Old rivalries surface and a touch of romance develops. The girl is that Corr and she didn't win an IFTA for the role! A big deal is made out of her - one scene has Andrea appear soaked from the rain so that you can admire her. The only good part was the grim era it was set it and the travel involved. Diddly aye indeed!

IS IRISH CINEMA LIKE OUR OLYMPICS?

It's a bit early to be thinking about the 2012 Olympics but does anyone really expect us to do well? We consistently underperform, get disqualified, do well in sports such as boxing which is not actively encouraged in schools (!), and generally expect too much of our athletes. Irish cinema is a lot like this. Good films happen more by accident than by design (Once, Pavee Lackeen) and are underfunded by the IFB. The films that receive all the support (and hype) do badly at the box office (or get poor reviews), we rely too much on international talent to make our stuff, we claim British films as our own, and we fail to reach our potential. Am I reading too much into this or is the set-up for the Olympics here similar to the filmmaking setup? Other countries our population size (New Zealand, Georgia, Finland) do much better in the Olympics than we do. Other countries with our population size produce more impressive films than we do. Is the Irish film industry obsessed with making certain kinds of films that are done much better in other countries. Should we be concentrating on other kinds of films that would stand out? Look at the British Olympics setup. They saw a gap in certain kinds of sports (where competition was not intense) and focused on these. Then they win big time in China. Should Irish cinema be focusing on a new kind of filmmaking that's not done too much elsewhere. Or should we keep on making stuff like Perrier's Bounty?

Thursday, 6 May 2010

TEN GREAT INTERNATIONAL DIRECTORS WHO HAVE MADE FILMS IN IRELAND

Several world-class international directors have made films in Ireland.

The field

Based on a play this is the kind of movie that's not made anymore in Ireland. Considered old-fashioned now the film is still impressive. Harris wars with everyone over a field he's cared for. Surrounded by bumpkins and an American who's after the same field he goes mad. Tragedy happens. Made in the years between the two Film Boards this is one of the best Irish movies from the '90s. John Hurt seems to have based his role on the similar one from Ryan's Daughter. Anyone who has seen the 1960's movie Far From the Madding Crowd will recognise the finale.

Helen

Rare Irish arthouse film. This one tells the story of a girl who disappears and the impact this has on her friends. Another girl is used in a reenactment and slowly becomes the first girl. You don't need to be a film buff to realise that this is Antonioni territory. Parks, long takes, stilted dialogue, trees, architecture, and a cold observational style. Still, impressive filmmaking but the acting is really bad. Also, too much editing too for all those fancy camera moves! Yet another Irish movie that needed two directors.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Leap year

Stupid romantic comedy set in Ireland. There's a leap year and tradition states that a woman can propose to a man! Why can't she do this on any other day I don't know. He heads to Dublin she ends up in Wales. Then she gets a boat to the West of Ireland and meets another guy and you'll never guess what happens? It's a road movie where lots of 'hilarious' events happen. Lots of bad CGI too which will probably look better on the DVD. This is the kind of rubbish most people want made in Ireland. Why? Because it involves a Hollywood production coming here and providing jobs. It's the kind of big movie people talk about for months saying stuff like 'Leap Year is shooting here' without realising it'll be complete rubbish!

Johnny was

This one sounded bad on paper! An IRA drama wih Vinnie Jones, Samantha Mumba, Roger Daltry, Patrick Bergin and a famous boxer? Surely it wouldn't work? Wrong! It's a fine movie (in a straight-to-DVD sense!) where two IRA men escape from prison and shack up with Jones (who's the nicest character here!). There's a strange mix of Irish and black characters in this movie. Has a good soundtrack collection of songs too. Daltry is the bomber, Mumba is the neighbour, Bergin is the IRA escapee, and they all cross lines in this interesting story. Don't expect too much, unfold your arms, and you just might like this film!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Ash Wednesday

One neglected aspect of Irish cinema is the recent American contribution. Little notice is given to a small number of similar titles (Ash Wednesday, Turning green, Black Irish): respect for religion and tradition; characters use their full first names (Patrick, Francis); washed out colours; different age groups interacting; violent criminals; and impressive soundtrack music. Anyone who has seen The Yards will understand what I mean. Ash Wednesday is about a guy thought dead except he's hiding out from criminals. His brother (director Burns) has to defend him. Some famous faces appear in small roles, it's set mainly in a bar, there's a strange interaction between American-Irish and native Irish people, and the music is impressive (loved the way it stopped for the dialogue and then started again). Really considered a straight-to-DVD film Ash Wednesday is the kind of film the Irish Film Board should be funding!

Monday, 3 May 2010

Far and away

Chances are if you visit a DVD retail shop and check the 'Irish' section this movie will definitely be on the shelf. It's got everything most people expect when they think of 'Irish cinema': girls with long hair; emigration; fights; poverty; scenery; evictions; horses; and romance. Great seeing this film on the Irish Film Board trailer even though it was made at a time when the Board didn't exist! Cruise travels to America to claim free land in a race. Filmed in Temple Bar and at the Guinness factory (for Boston). Chocolate-box cinema at its best!

Taffin

It's a known fact that some of the best Irish movies were made in the era between the two Film Boards (late '80s/early '90s). Though Taffin is no great movie it stands out in a way because it's so entertaining. Brosnan is a local outcast because he's too smart and good looking! Doody is the sexy conquest - no other Irish movie has such attractive leads! Then there's the sight of Twink on a motorbike! A power plant is due to get made in Wicklow and only Taffin can stop this. It's like the Glenroe cast getting hassle from the Fair City cast! If only more Irish movies could be this entertaining and commercial?

Winter's end

Little-seen Kilkenny movie filmed on video and funded privately (the Film Board helped with the post production). It's about a deranged farmer who has no family so he kidnaps a posh guy to impregnate a woman! Sounds more interesting than it is due to the conservative and routine filmmaking used. Lots of powerful music on the soundtrack that just distracts the audience. Then there are flashbacks that confuse and the kidnapped guy is too useless to escape! Shame, because the script is good and the acting is too. It's like something you'd expect to see at an amateur videomakers' film festival! Still, an influential title because some later Irish movies (W.C. , 8.5 hours, Situations vacant) copied this style where a low-budget digital feature is made to look like an expensive telefilm.

THE TEN BEST IRISH FILMS OF THE 2000S

It wasn't all Celtic Tiger movies in the noughties. In between that crap a small number of good films got made here. Yes, even better than Summer of the Flying Saucer! Here is Shoot the Cabbage's list of the ten best Irish movies from the last decade (2000 to '09).

Strength and honour

Diddley eye, diddley dee. What could this movie be? Is it a gritty boxing film or a load of old twee? I tell you now and save you the expense, don't rent this rubbish as it makes no sense! There's a Mr Blond but alas with boxing he's not fond! But his little boy is ill so to pay the bill he gets to fu*k with the King of the Puc. That's all it is with a big, big fight. Just forget this crap - it's a crock of sh*te!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

THE TEN BEST IRISH FILMS OF THE 1980S

Ah, maybe not the best decade for cinema but there were some decent Irish movies made back then. Some are forgotten, others didn't make much of an impact on release, and a few more are famous (though not popular enough to get a DVD release!). Here is Shoot the Cabbage's selection of the ten best Irish movies of the 1980s.

TEN USELESS IRISH FILM DIRECTORS!

Here at Shoot the Cabbage what needs to be said gets said! There are too much politeness and niceness in Irish cinema and this is not a good thing! Too much blackslapping and acclaim for people who make feature films that stink! So if you decide to buy or rent an Irish movie read this article first and then look at the DVD cover so you will be forewarned about the film's true quality!

When Brendan met Trudy

Absolutely awful movie that everyone thought was great when it came out! The reason was because it was fast-paced, zany, fun, and anarchic - or at least tried to! It was a modern comedy set in Dublin aimed at a young audience. It featured non-nationals, clubs, bars, cafés, and was one of the first Celtic Tiger movies. The fact that it was unoriginal rubbish was ignored by most people. Brendan is a film buff who only watches mainstream cinema. Trudy was a criminal who falls for Brendan. Various far better movies are parodied (hate seeing this in films). They wave at the internet camera on O'Connell Bridge. Yet another movie I'd love to see a sequel to made a decade on.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

IRISH CINEMA NEEDS A HARRISON BIRTWISTLE!

Who the heck is Harrison Birtwistle? He's an English modern composer who was respected but not well known. No, not another Michael Nyman composing piano ditties for people drinking in Starbucks! Think the opposite. In the mid'90s his new work was performed at the televised Proms. For those who don't know the Proms is the Late Late Show of British classical music! All bland, sing-a-long predictable music - the kind of stuff you hear on TV commercials and performed in public parks by brass bands. Nice music for the family! The only problem was that Birtwistle's new composition was the opposite - loud, angry, out of tune, energetic, and original. A near riot erupted! People were shocked, switchboards were jammed, and pet dogs lying near the family TV started whining! It was the kind of stuff most 'lovers' of classical music had never heard before. It was the best publicity any modern composer could get! So what's my point? Well that's what we need in Irish Cinema. A filmmaker here who can do the visual equivalent of Birtwhistle's 'Panic' composition!

Angela's ashes

If there was an award for the most overrated film director Alan Parker wouldn't win but he might get nominated! There was a big buzz made about him here back in the '90s because of The Commitments. Sadly most of his stuff has been found out as bloated, overdirected, and dated. Though not his worst movie Angela's ashes is one example. It's another movie done like a telefilm - expensive production values used to tell a story of poverty. Nothing is underplayed, nothing is left for the audience to discover. Everything is shown or the audience is told by a voiceover. It's aimed a wide audience - the kind of people who don't like cinema much. Even the young kid who plays the main character looks like he was chosen for his appearance on the poster rather than any acting ability. It's like The Magdalene Sisters - wait until the book comes out and then put predictable moving images to it so the audience will know what to expect! The saddest part is that this is considered good filmmaking in Ireland. Tree of the wooden clogs it's most definitely not!

WILL WE EVER HAVE AN 'IRISH NEW WAVE'?

Critics of Irish cinema have moaned that nothing new is done here. Films we think are great bomb in other countries. We even had to set up our own awards called the IFTAs as our films receive little recognition internationally. The answer to the question 'will we ever have an Irish new wave' is a resounding NO!

Watermelon

This is really a TV movie and a short one at that. It's directed by the English-born Kieran Walsh (When Brendan met Trudy). Anna Friel finishes college and moves to London where she meets a guy who looks like James McEvoy except he's not. She gets pregnant and returns to Dublin. She meets up with her old Irish boyfriend but the English guy follows her. Yes, it's another Irish chick flick. Nothing interesting happens, the characters are all nice, and it's set in the Celtic Tiger era. We don't care about the story and the movie is too bland. Then there's a stupid finale set in a trendy bar that has probably closed down now.

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