Saturday, 31 July 2010

WHERE HAVE I SEEN THAT BEFORE? - PART TWO

Irish cinema is full of interesting scenes and storylines that stand out and make the film memorable. What's even more interesting is that they have already been done in older Irish movies!

Friday, 30 July 2010

Dead bodies

This is just rubbish. Let's copy British stuff like Shallow Grave and pretend it's a 'new dawn' for Irish cinema! Badly filmed on video and loosely plotted it's about a guy who accidentally kills his former girlfriend. Then he tries to bury her up the mountains only to discover another dead body there. It's silly stuff full of ordinary characters and daft plot twists. The script tuns out of steam and you won't care what happens. Celtic Tiger cinema at its worst!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

In Bruges

Best of the recent 'pair of mismatched Irish lads in a strange location' movies. This one is set in Belgium and has two assassins hiding out for a few days. Farrell hates the place and ends up annoying a gay skinhead, American and Canadian tourists, a dwarf actor, and most of all Gleeson. Then Fiennes arrives to kill Farrell and you'll have to watch the movie to find out what happens. Thought it was good but not great, well paced, unusual, and made the most of the cast. Liked the way some of the smaller roles stood out and were important to the story. Most people don't consider this to be an Irish movie but if the director considers himself to be Irish and uses Dublin characters then that's good enough for this blog!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

IMPORTANCE NOTICE!

Due to a computer soundcard dying there will be no more Irish movie reviews until further notice!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

MacKintosh man

If the Film Board ever edit a new trailer to promote Ireland as a film location they could do well to use the scene from this movie where a car drives off the Cliffs of Moher! That will never happen as The MacKintosh Man is a rare film from director Huston. Newman works for MacKintosh (Andrews) and gets sent to jail for a diamond robbery (Kilmainham of course!). There he escapes and gets drugged. He wakes up in a mansion and then he gets beaten up, sets fire to the house, kicks a woman in the groin(!), drowns a dog(!), visits a pub full of famous Irish character actors, and gets chased. Then it's off to Malta to finish the story. The West of Ireland scenes are impressive and extremely visual (in a non-tourist way!). Well worth a look but like most spy thrillers this one has dated.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Last bus home

Another super-rare Irish movie from the '90s. This one is a punk version of The Commitments with a gay subplot! Starts off with a walk through an empty estate (the Pope is visiting) and then tells the story of The Dead Patriots. Lots of scenes set on a Dublin bus (hence the title) and various gigs. Like many Irish movies it's set in 1979 but it's not that good. Towards the end they look back on their band years in Dublin from the Celtic Tiger era. Way too ambitious for these filmmakers. To paraphrase Godard: 'make films punk and not punk films'!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Abduction club

Set in Waterford in the 18th century this is a comedy-drama about a group of men who must find wives. They have no titles or land so end up capturing woman and marrying them. It's Seven Brides for Seven Brothers done as a costume drama! The problem is that it's not that good. Some of the cast look like Jonathan Myers and Julia Roberts! Fast paced, contrived, and forgettable.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

LANCE DALY - JUST ANOTHER JOBBING DIRECTOR?

Big article in today's Evening Herald about director Lance Daly heading off to Hollywood to make The Good Doctor. So fair play to him working with Orlando Bloom and all that! However, this shows the problem in Irish cinema when the latest moderately-successful Irish director flies off to La La Land. Following in the footsteps of Jim Sheridan and Neil Jordan who are both less successful now than in any other time in their careers. Even Kirsten Sheridan went there and the less said about August Rush the better! Is Irish cinema just a 'launching pad' for a career as a 'Hollywood heavyweight'? What we really need are Irish directors like Mike Leigh or Peter Greenaway. The kind of filmmakers who couldn't make a Hollywood movie - ever! The kind of filmmakers who can become part of a European cinema instead of a Hollywood one. That's when Irish cinema will really take off. Right now all we have is a collection of film directors for hire!

Matchmaker

No, not a movie about a factory owner who makes cigarette matches. That would be too interesting. This one is about an American politician's aide who travels to the West of Ireland to trace her employer's Irish ancestors. Except he's Hungarian. Oops, spoiler alert. You weren't supposed to know this until you saw the movie. Except I'm saving you the effort as it's rubbish. It's a small movie without the smallness, it's a whimsical movie without the whimsey, it's a romantic movie without the romance, it's an Ealing movie without the class, it's a rural village movie but people have Dublin accents, it's a political intrigue movie without the intrigue, and it's just not that good. Watch various Irish character actors turn up for their latest paycheque and not giving a sh*t about how stereotypical their characters are. We really do need someone to regulate films made in Ireland to filter out this Oirish crap.

Friday, 23 July 2010

WHERE'S THE 'PERVASIVE NEGATIVITY' IN IRISH CINEMA?

Twenty years ago the phrase that captured that era was 'mature recollection'. Now there's a new phrase to sum up our current era: 'pervasive negativity'. This was coined by An Taoiseach earlier this month and is a great one to apply to other areas. Such as our cinema. Where is it? Where's the 'pervasive negativity' in Irish film? Where are the films about people caught up in negative equity, emigration, overqualifications, redundancies, racial tensions, hopelessness, depression, and family breakups? I don't mean documentaries either! We have a speading gloom throughout the land but why isn't Irish cinema profiling this? What will critics think a decade from now when they look back on our current cinema and watch stuff like Zonad? Was the Irish film industry really that out of touch with reality? Were Irish filmmakers too afraid to tackle what was happening around them? Or were they all just directors-for-hire with absolutely nothing to say about the world around them?

Spin the bottle

This is just rubbish. After getting out of prison an inner city guy called Rats tries to start up his band again. Except they're crap. Then they enter a TV talent show to win money to send the ma to Lourdes. It sounds like a village community video film but it's a state-funded feature. It sounds like it was based on a television series and it was! It was even given away free on DVD with a newspaper so you just can't avoid it. Somewhere there is a person responsible for greenlighting this movie. They should be ashamed.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Mad about mambo

Yes, there really is an Irish movie about Latin dancing! This one is set in Belfast though some of it looks like Dublin (Olympic ballroom?). It's the usual story of the two religions but there's also the clash of football and dance! One or two good scenes: the Brazilian player slating his new team and the embarrassing scene at the indoor swimming pool. Other than that it's as bland as Snow Patrol - inspid stuff indeed. Why would any want to watch this kind of movie when Hollywood do it so much better? Really strange that this got made?

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Gold in the streets

Yet another piece of sh*t from our Film Board. The title gives the story away as it's an emigration movie. This time the location is New York. A group of Irish twenty-somethings try to find work. The problem is that they're dull, boring, and have no interesting traits. The only notable character was Hart's. He can't find good work and goes mad. Lots of crap Irish bands on the soundtrack too (Kila, Emotional fish, Frames). This movie is hard to find on DVD - thankfully!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Black Irish

Here's another interesting Irish-American movie. This one is similar to titles like The Yards where it's all washed-out colours, powerful but good music on the soundtrack, respect for religion, closed community, plain women (!), wooden homes, and a blue-collar outlook. Gleeson plays the father and the story revolves around a communion and baseball. The title comes from the term applied to Irish people who have dark complexions. Sad that these films get ignored in Ireland as they are superior to many of the better known Irish titles.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Prayer for the dying

Terrible movie about Rourke as an IRA man who's had enough. He flees to England and gets caught up with a criminal funeral-home gang! The priest Hoskins witnesses the murder and his blind niece gets involved with Rourke. It's crap, really bad stuff from the director of Get Carter. Davis gives the worst performance ever of a blind girl. Heavy symbolism, a spaghetti-Western music score, miscasting, and bland English villains - this movie is just woeful.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Patriots

Fifteen years before Anton this movie also has an outsider getting involved with the Northern toubles. A Boston woman is used as a suicide bomber, survives, and then goes on the run. That's about it - no subplots or incidental characters. It's really aimed at an American audience and some of the story is very basic. One of the IRA is a British agent and it's easy enough to spot who it is. Short enough feature that is nothing special. Got a bit silly towards the end when the gang all want to kill each other.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

IS IRISH CINEMA LIKE OUR ARCHITECTURAL INDUSTRY?

Good article in the current Hot Press* magazine about Irish architects. It states that those who trained abroad are not allowed to practise in this country! It also states that one of the best living Irish architects has no formal qualifications in his profession. It also states that many successful Irish architects never went to college but learned on the job. Does any of this sound familiar in relation to Irish cinema? How many successful Irish film directors working abroad get little recognition in this country? A lot! How much emphasis is there on formal film training instead of learning on the job? Too much! The article also notes that learning on the job gives you a 'feel' for architecture which formal training cannot. How many Irish directors have a natural 'feel' or instinct for good filmmaking. Very, very few!
* 28-7-2010 (they publish the magazine earlier than the date on the cover!)

Luck of Ginger Coffey

Yet another Irish movie from the early '60s this one is set in Canada. A middle-aged Irish man tries to find an office job while his attractive wife wants to go back to Ireland. Like Hitchcock's I Confess it's filmed at real locations and is impressively done. Very well made by the future director of the Star Wars sequel. The story follows Shaw as he drifts from job to job trying to hold on to his marriage. Sad story but has some humour. This is the kind of movie that makes most stuff funded by the Irish Film Board look sh*t.

Friday, 16 July 2010

WHY ARE IRISH FILMS SO HYPED?

With the release and success of the feature documentary His & Hers one aspect of Irish cinema gets repeated yet again. Even Michael Moore has been interviewed for his opinion on this film where he says it's a 'breath of fresh air'* This is the hype with every moderately successful film made here. Not only is this unfair on the filmmakers but it often makes us a laughing stock on the international circuit. People are smart enough these days to decide for themselves how good Irish cinema is. There is too much hype about successful Irish films in the media. Then the director has to follow up with another success and fails. There are dozens of Irish directors from the '90s who will never make another feature. They were overhyped and then under performed. Some of their films will never get a DVD release! This acclaim for every new director who makes one feature and becomes a household name is a bad idea. Directors need to prove themselves! They should be allowed to make a number of features and be allowed find their own style before they get articles written about them in the Evening Herald. The only contemporary Irish director who's smart enough to do this is Ivan Kavanagh. He keeps a low profile, makes his own personal features, doesn't shove his work down your throat, and unlike most of this year's debut directors will still be making films a decade from now.
*Evening Herald 01-7-2010

Quare fellow

Currently on the Dublin stage this is the movie version from the early '60s. American-born Irish actor McGoohan plays a man from the islands who gets a job as a prison warder. There a man is due to be hanged (the quare fellow) and his wife tries to stop the hanging. Like a lot of black and white movies from this era it's quite depressing and silent in parts. The penultimate scene was at the Harold's Cross bridge. Two men come over from England to do the hanging and visit eighteen pubs! Not as powerful as the famous old Hollywood prison movies.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

CONTACT DETAILS

The contact email address for this blog is tiernansheridan@yahoo.ie. Don't include the last full stop! All comments (good, bad, rude, informational, correctional) are welcome. Cheers!

WHERE'S THE RIVERDANCE MOVIE?

No, this is not a joke. If there's one international success story in the Irish arts it's Riverdance. Every summer it returns (despite last year being the farewell performance!) and it's as popular as ever. Lots of foreign tourists queuing up outside the Gaiety to see the show. So when will there be a movie verison? We're making films out of crap plays (Disco pigs, Studs), books (P.S. I love you, Frankie Starlight), TV shows (Spin the bottle), literature (Bloom) yet after fifteen years there's still no Riverdance movie? Laugh all you want - a movie version of the show would be a box-office smash and would definitely pick a few awards at the IFTAs. So what's the problem? Lack of ambition? Afraid of ridicule? Or are we just too busy funding Sean Penn movies that are persuaded to be made here? Ouch!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Middletown

Oh dear. This is the kind of film that would get a standing ovation at the Galway Film Fleadh but for all the wrong reasons! Everything Shoot the Cabbage hates about Irish cinema is in this movie! Let's see, where do we start? How about an over-the-top orchestral music score - so overdone that every time it appears you hear this instead of the actors talking? How about a carefully composed lighting scheme - so careful that it's just too obvious? How about impressive cinematography - so impressive that it's distracting to look at? How about a pacing that leaves you out of breath? No doubt some people will find this impressive? But this is the wrong movie for this stuff. It's just too much. Let's show everyone how great we are at the technical filmmaking but instead of making a movie about a hotel getting attacked by terrorists let's make a film about a small Northern religious community from decades ago and hammer the audience with too much film technique? Does anyone in Irish cinema have something real to say or will it always be about making contrived crap?

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

NEW IRISH FILM BOARD CEO?

Word on the street is that the Film Bored will be looking for a new CEO soon. Chances are that some top international talent will be applying for the job. So how can one stand out at the interview? Never fear as Shoot the Cabbage offers all potential candidates some ready-made suggestions when asked 'what would you do differently with the IFB?'.

Monday, 12 July 2010

WHY IS THE IFI SCREENING WOODY ALLEN MOVIES?

There's a cinema in Temple Bar called the Irish Film Institute. It screens various titles such as subtitled and Irish films. However, it is currently screening most of Woody Allen's films. What's that about? Here's one of the most overrated directors getting the full treatment by having his back catalogue shown. In a country where you can rent Woody Allen movies from your local video library it's strange that these films have to get a public screening? It's called the IRISH Film Institute for a reason! Of course every major director has a rare movie which is not easily available on DVD. So is the IFI screening Take the money and run? Of course not. As football manager Brian Clough used to say: good lad!

Crushproof

Skangers on horses! This one has some great intro shots of various Dublin areas but descends into another tale of youths on the run. Yet another Irish movie where a woman rapes a man! There is a good rave scene and the movie has lots of energy. But the acting is bad and some of it has dated. More of a questionable kid's movie than a serious drama. Flight of the doves done Tallaght style!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Fantasist

Ultra-rare Irish movie (OK it's finally out on DVD!) about a serial killer in Dublin. The story is rubbish and so is most of the film but it's an interesting effort that few have seen. Most of the scenes are well done but just don't cut together. Some famous musicians appear (Donal Lunny, Honor Heffernan) and in a nightclub scene Brit funkers Level 42 play live! The rest of the movie bores because you won't care who the killer is. Some strong violence too. The interesting parts are the contrast between the rural areas and Dublin, the wealthy middle-class settings (so much for the '80s recession!), the use of a white horse (a staple image in later Irish films), the use of a fancy car (ditto), the locations used in Dublin from twenty five years ago (a single girl living above a pub on the quays!), and the general tackiness of the era (a girl asks a guy to escort her out to the front door of a nightclub so some sleazeball won't follow her). This is the kind of movie that will never get mentioned in an Irish filmschool but is an interesting effort from the director of The Wicker Man.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

SHOOT THE CABBAGE CELEBRATES 150 POSTS!

There may be only five followers but the world's leading web log on Irish cinema has now 150 posts! Seeking out the rarest Irish movies, the titles the Film Board would rather forget, and commenting on our esteemed 'industry'. Other film sites will politely ignore the poor quality of most Irish films! Other film sites will just review the more famous titles and ignore the rest. Other film sites are just unaware of the huge number of Irish films that no-one knows about. Stay tuned followers - coming up next a proper review of one of the great 'lost' Irish films - The Fantasist.

Hush-a-bye baby

One of the more puzzling aspects about Irish cinema is that the best films were made between the two Film Boards in the late '80s and early '90s? Later films may appear more polished but they were usually less interesting. Hush-a-bye baby has everything required for a distinctive Irish movie: teenage pregnancy; Northern troubles; Irish language; generation gap; and an impressive stripped-down style. It's another TV movie that's done low-key. Thought the ending was a bit over the top but an impressive and famous film. Certainly has been written about in books more than most later films made here. One of singer Sinead O'Connor's rare roles.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Closer you get

This is the kind of film that no-one likes in Ireland. Paddy-whackery stuff about a group of bachelors who advertise for single American girls to visit their village in the hope of marriage. Lots of unfunny humour, out-of-date situations, and familiar faces turning up for the latest pay cheque. Silly sub-plots and a feeling that it's all aimed for the international market. The kind of film that would be made better locally but no-one would risk all the criticism.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Four days in July

Little-seen Mike Leigh TV film set in the North. It explores both sides of the community using a slow pace. There's an hilarious scene in a hospital with an expectant father where he tells a nurse to hurry up as he wants to go home for his tea! This scene is one of Leigh's best. Another good scene involves a Loyalist checking underneath his car for a bomb! The rest does get a bit boring due to the long takes and static shots. Probably the most low-key film made about the Northern troubles?

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Shrooms

As in 'mushrooms'. This dire horror movie represents everything wrong with Irish cinema - unoriginal, technically polished, boring, Americanised, and crap. It's a horror film made by people with no interest in the genre. A group of young people visit Ireland and trip out in the woods on fungi (not the dolphin!). The only enjoyable part was spotting the superior horror films that Shrooms ripped off. Complete crap - bet young Irish directors will have trouble financing their horror films now because Shrooms has made us a laughing stock?

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Honeymooners

Not the Cedric the Entertainer movie (which was also filmed in Ireland). This one is a shoddy romantic comedy filmed Dogma style. It's all shakey camerawork done on video. The story is the usual romcom drivel - after getting dumped on his wedding day the groom travels to Donegal with a young woman. At first they don't get on but guess what happens? Some scenes do work - the local wife's wedding dress is memorable. Also, funny were the suspicious locals. It's also good that this low-budget (€60k) movie got a theatrical release. But what's the point when you can see an identical and better Hollywood movie almost every month in the local cinema?

Monday, 5 July 2010

Claire Dolan

Here's another Irish emigration movie. Don't bother though as it's terrible. A woman works as a 'high-class' call girl to pay off pimp Meaney. Nearly every second scene involves stylised sex. The rest is just as bad. For example for some reason Meaney counts his money sitting in the middle table of an empty pub. Then there's the stilted dialogue, fancy camera angles, and empty streets in New York! Really bad and pretentious stuff. Also, of course there's a silly music score (similar to the later Helen) with a continual eerie tone all the way through the film.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Front line

This is just sh*t. Stupid Celtic Tiger movie where an African arrives in Ireland and gets caught up with local gangsters. Of course the police are all helpful to the Africans. Then there's a chase scene in Henry Street with the shoppers all standing round watching. Add in a dose of powerful music on the soundtrack, an ITV crime-drama filmmaking style, glossy cinematography, and one-dimensional characters to give an awful PC movie. Then there's a bad ending involving schoolkids that tries to be emotional. The kind of movie you look at instead of watching. Thank God these kind of films are not getting made here anymore.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Exposure

Little seen Irish film from the '70s. It's about three men who visit the country. They meet a French woman and one of the men develops a friendship with her. The other two men do their best to get their friend back into the group. It's about male friendship; outsiders in Ireland; photography; and a battle of the sexes. Interesting that the landlady takes the men's side. Low-budget film that is more impressive than most recent efforts made here.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Mystics

Another bad Irish movie. This one has two great actors (O'Shea and Kelly) conning people that they can contact dead relatives. It's the kind of movie that could have been a classic - if made back in the '50s! Contrived, unfunny, and unoriginal. Probably sounded great on paper - aimed at the Waking Ned market? Terrible acting too - lots of familiar faces turning up for the latest pay cheque. Really sad stuff.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Hard shoulder

One of the 'lost' Irish movies from between the two Film Boards. A group of Dubliners travel down the country to sell fire extinguishers. They are not welcomed by the locals. Downbeat roadmovie where half the cast disappear (not sure if this was intentional?) and a silly incest subplot develops. Slow-moving but well observed. Made for television this film captures pre-Celtic Tiger Ireland with its downbeat, gloomy, washed-out surroundings.

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