Tuesday, 31 August 2010


One of the the better known Irish screen actors Lally has been appearing in films since the late '70s. An interesting filmography full of quirky roles. He appeared in one of the first homegrown features (Poitin). One of his best roles was in a little seen film called The Outcasts. Used to see him cycling along the South Circular Road. All the best Mick.

Monday, 30 August 2010


In a country where the kids in Mickybo and me and Pete's Meteor represent quality acting it's a shame that THE greatest Hollywood child actor ever has been completely ignored here. Frederick Llewellyn was born in Dublin in 1924 and moved to England and then on to Hollywood. He became known as Freddie Bartholomew and appeared in several classic movies: David Copperfield, Anna Karenina, Little Lord Fauntleroy, Captains Courageous (his best role), and Tom Brown's School Days. These titles from the 1930s are the best movie versions and will stand the test of time long after the latest TV adaptation gets screened. Like other Dublin-born actors (Richard Todd, Michael Gambon) he got mistaken for being British because of his posh accent. Also, how many other Irish actors had a cocktail drink named after them?

Patriot games

Yet another IRA movie this one has a breakaway group trying to kill a CIA man who foiled a terrorist attack in London. It's far fetched though no doubt could have happened. A big deal made about some hi-tech equipment used that now looks like Google Earth. There's Harris as the Noraid leader and Bean is the terrorist who wants revenge for his younger brother's death. These political thrillers date badly. Some famous American faces appear in early roles.

Sunday, 29 August 2010


Interesting but flawed horror movie involving cows. The first half is good but then it turns rubbish. Like a lot of Irish movies it's well made and competently directed. However, as usual it's rather unoriginal, derived, and dumbed down. Not one bit scary or unsettling either. The great Irish horror movie has yet to be made and stuff like this will make people tire of the wait.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Closing the ring

Romance movie between Belfast and America, the '90s and WW2. It's about a ring found by a local boy who traces it to MacLaine. He visits her and she him until they get caught up in an explosive finale. It's trite and contrived and Attenborough should have portrayed the 1940s better considering he was alive back then. It's a romantic war movie but it fails. Nothing of interest unless you fancy watching the usual Irish character actors turning out for their latest paycheque?

Friday, 27 August 2010

I was happy here

Another bleak Irish movie from the '60s. This one is about a woman who moves to England, marries a doctor, and returns home as she doesn't fit in. She then chats to the locals and looks back on her youth. Like other Irish films from this era (e.g. Quare fellow) there are lots of quiet sequences. Don't know why these films had so little background sounds but it give the movie a stagey feel. It also makes the movie very downbeat and studio based. Interesting movie about unhappy Irish emigrants to England - even the wealthy ones.

Thursday, 26 August 2010


Says how bad Irish cinema really is when a movie like this received such acclaim on release. One of those multiple storylines with lots of characters entering and leaving each others' lives. Contrived, smug, unoriginal, and already dated. Then there's Colin Farrell's singing of I fought the law on the soundtrack. The director quite rightly switched to television after this.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Molly Maguires

Set among a mining community Harris infiltrates a secret Irish society called the Molly Maguires. Connery is the leader who allows Harris in as they bomb and attack mines. One of many films about the Irish in America but this one portrays them as ruthless and secretive. It's a great movie from the '60s and is out on DVD.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Van

Roddy Doyle movie set in pre-Celtic Tiger Ireland. A pair of unemployed men start a mobile chipper and try to make a go of it. They get pelted by batteries and give a customer a nappy! They also watch the famous World Cup penalty shootout. The weakest of the film trilogy but still worth a look. Shows the good community spirit that was present back then.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Waking Ned

Probably the most famous recent Irish movie that's not. Filmed on the Isle of Man, it's about a winning lottery ticket for a dead man. This is the kind of commercial movie that the Irish Film industry should be making but can't because it's too Oirish and enjoyable. Scot Ian Bannen was a great actor. David Kelly appears naked on a motorbike! There are lots of pointless visual shots and the bloated funeral for the dead guy who never actually appeared in the film was silly. This movie should be blueprinted and used to make commercial Irish stuff here instead of that Zonad sh*te.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Blown away

If ever a movie had the wrong title it's this one. You certainly won't be 'blown away' from watching this rubbish. Two bombers from Northern Ireland move to Boston. One is a cop while the other a terrorist. There are lots of helicopter shots of the city and motorbikes speeding along the roads but it gets boring. The story is badly told. One of those movies where it's all about film technique and never mind the audience. Really silly stuff and the only good parts were the unusual bombs used e.g. inside headphones.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Boy eats girl

Complete rubbish made by people with zero interest in zombie movies. It's one of those Irish films that tries not to be. Lots of strange accents and stranger names. Set in a Northside Dublin estate (Howth?) it's about a group of bland teenagers who end up eaten by the undead. Played for laughs, badly directed, and too Americanised to make it interesting. Really sad stuff.

Friday, 20 August 2010


There may be only seven followers but the world's leading Irish cinema web log now has two centuries of posts. Discussing all thing relating to Irish feature films; giving more honest reviews than our paid film critics do; seeing through the hype that is our 'industry'; criticisng our 'respectable' filmmakers; and seeking out the little-seen titles that the Film Board would rather forget. To be continued!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Boy from Mercury

It's 1960s Dublin and a young boy is obsessed with science fiction movies. He makes a friend and visits Walkinstown. Lot's of famous British actors and actresses appear. It's one of those movies that recreate the era but nothing else really happens. Best scene had Tom Courtenay on a bike. Another good scene involved Tushingham cleaning the floor and getting embarrassed. Does anyone else notice the familiarities between this movie and the later film Mickybo and Me?

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


Ha, ha! Looks like the unimaginable has happened. The predicted campaign to save the UK Film Council has been criticised by the British government. Apparently the scaremongering included saying that British film production would be threatened when the council goes*. Also, it's been reported that the council were spending their own funds on this campaign. So what's this got to do with Irish cinema! Well, we have a film body who are still in existence even though the country is going bankrupt. Also, there's a perception that if the Board goes then Irish filmmaking will disappear too. Will there be a campaign soon to save the Board? Or will Irish taxpayers realise that over €5 million was spent recently on a film that made a few hundred dollars at the American box office?
*Guardian, 17-08-2010

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

On the nose

If Shoot the Cabbage decided to compile of list of ten movies for a post called 'how the f*ck did that get made?' then On the nose would be high up there. It's a 'comedy' about a head in a jar which predicts racing results. Set in a medical college it's about a group of workers who team up to keep this head. It's the kind of movie you wonder why it got made and who the target audience were? Then there's a silly march along Liffey Street to the bookies at the end of the movie. These kind of films need certain qualities to work: 'class', 'magical', and 'comedy'. All of course missing here. Also, do Irish colleges on the East Coast offer Marine Biology degrees?

Monday, 16 August 2010

Veronica Guerin

If you want to see how biased the Irish film industry is then read the old reviews for this movie! Not one homegrown critic dared criticise it. Why? Because to criticise this movie was to criticise the person herself. It's no coincidence that the more interesting version When the sky falls has disappeared and is not available here on DVD. Because everyone decided that the Veronica Guerin movie was going to win Oscars before it even got made. There's nothing wrong with the movie except it looks more like made-for-TV than an interesting feature. Also, it gives the impression that she was too pushy and crossed the line when investigating the criminals. Also, it gets tedious when they have to explain who every character is - why didn't they just use continuity titles? Glossy, TV-crime drama, mediocre, and tries to be controversial by suggesting that Gilligan had Cahill killed.

Sunday, 15 August 2010


Strange heading for a post that. What's $828 anyway? Well there's a film called Perrier's Bounty and this blog is not a fan. Already, it's been mentioned here how unoriginal, smug, contrived, and crap the film is. But did this stop the Irish media from acclaiming the movie? Of course not. Because the Irish Film industry is all about the backslapping and showing that we can do it as well as the Brits. Sadly we can't. Not only did this pile of crap cost €5 million to make but it also received extra funding from the Film Board to promote! So what's that $828 again? Well that's how much it took at the American box office! It made EIGHT HUNDRED and TWENTY EIGHT dollars*! So once again well done to the Irish Film Board for funding this sh*te. Well done to the no-hopers who made this picture. It's all about who you know, eh? Listen, if this movie was an arthouse film in the Irish language then fair enough. But it was a very commercial and multiplex-aimed movie that no-one liked. Now it's out on DVD. Check the XtraVision bargain bin in a few months folks!
* Today's Irish Mail on Sunday

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Nothing personal

Another Troubles picture this one is told from the Loyalist side. A group of men drive round their area and pick up a Catholic that one of the group went to school with. Then tragedy ensues. That's about it but still an impressive movie. Best scene had a young Catholic girl visiting the Loyalists' pub at night. With few locations used the film emphasises the streets and terraced houses. Certainly an underrated Irish movie. Seems there's a new IFB movie out soon with the same title?

Friday, 13 August 2010

Laws of attraction

You don't need to be a film buff to realise that this is an updating of those old Tracy-Hepburn legal comedies. Two family lawyers end up accidentally married. The main problem is that the filmmakers replace fast dialogue and pacing with fast editing. So most scenes are over before you understand what happened. For example when they first visit Ireland I had to rewatch the previous scene (with subtitles!) to find out why. Then there are the stereotypical Irish characters with their drinking competitions, lies, and ugly women! This movie is just too contrived and the characters are too bland to appeal. Also, this is the second Irish-themed movie where Sheen imitates Russell Brand!

Thursday, 12 August 2010


Terrible movie that contains every cliché from recent Irish cinema. Rubbish acting from the kids, nasty nuns, one-dimensional courtroom scenes, singing in pubs, rugby, drinking, fights, based on a true story, 1950s era, lots of reaction shots, maudlin soundtrack music, and of course poverty. Even worse is that Alan Bates is in the movie yet there's another actor who looks exactly like him so you can't tell who's who! After his wife leaves Brosnan the children get taken away so he challenges and changes the constitution. Blame him that we no longer lay claim to Northern Ireland!


Big discussion on Irish website FMN. It stands for 'Film Making Nobodies' and is full of people who try to stop criticism of Irish cinema. One comment stood out: This is a filmmakers website, criticism is not part of filmmaking. This is the main reason most Irish feature films are sh*t. In a country where it's all about keeping quiet, back-slapping, awarding mediocrity, and even not bothering to check out the latest Irish feature it's no wonder so much crap gets made. There are two kinds of great directors: the film buff, critic - Truffaut/Tavernier/Scorcese/De Palma, or the original: Greenaway/Leigh/Ozu/Bresson/Cassavetes. Everything else is mediocre and unoriginal, with a committee mentality - the kind of filmmaker Malcolm McClaren called 'spending their lives trying to authenticate a karaoke style'. Doing what's done already, usually technically better, intellectually dead, making stuff that appeals to people who don't really watch many films. That's what Irish cinema mostly consists of and it will always be like this. So, should Irish filmmakers criticise films? Some have already: John Carney said 'we're not very good at making films'; Martin Duffy wrote an article criticising handheld, shaky camerawork; even FMN pin-up girl Kirsten Sheridan said 'we should stop trying to be the next Tarantino'! So yes, Irish filmmakers should criticise films - their own.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Man about dog

Enjoyable road movie about three lads and their greyhound all travelling to Clonmel. They sell their dog, steal it back, and try to win money to pay back local criminals. Filmed on video some of it is great and the rest is bad. Lots of crude humour and overplayed gags. Lots of actors playing it for laughs which gets tedious. The final coursing scenes are well done. Entertaining, commercial road comedy which stands out from the rest.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


Doubt I'm the only person who bought the Anton movie on DVD but may be the only one to notice this: the infamous scene where they shoot the cabbage (and thus gave name to this blog!) is MISSING from the DVD version! What's going on? Why did they remove that scene? Or did I imagine all this after seeing the film in the cinema? The next one will be bigger indeed? There's a new scene where they say 'the next one will be bigger' after observing a small explosion on a grass mound - but it's not as good. Looks like they filmed this scene AFTER the movie release and all the criticism from RTE's The View? Also the two actors seem to be smirking when they say this line? What's going on? Only the world's leading Irish Film blog would notice this! Or maybe it's a movie memory confusion?

Monday, 9 August 2010

Widows' peak

Impressive but forgotten Irish movie from the '90s. Really good script which tells the story of older single women who try to get rid of a new glamourous arrival. But there's a great secret that gets revealed at the end of the film. The whole movie is really good: dark humour; played for laughs but not obvious, classy characters; witty dialogue; boats on a lake; and beautiful cinematography (but cinematic rather than from a TV commercial!). Watch this movie and see how it should be done!

Sunday, 8 August 2010


A Dublin man (McDonald) visits America pretending to be a distant cousin of robber Walken. Along with two security guards they team up for a job. That's the slight story and it's not particularly original. Kind of similar to Pope of Greenwich Village but more low-key. Strange that this movie got made as it's not too commercial. Still, it's well directed and paced. Singer Lauper plays a barmaid. The best parts of the film were the ordinary locations used.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Everlasting piece

Comedy drama set in Northern Ireland about wigs. The usual conflict between the two sides told as a dark comedy. There's a great gag where the wrong guy gets brought home asleep and is then undressed! Another good scene takes place in a takeaway. One of Anna Friel's many Irish roles. Based on a true story it's similar to most other Northern films - enjoyable though not great.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Small engine repair

Just South of the border a group of middle-aged men work in forestry and fixing cars. One of them tries to make it as a Country & Western singer but has to put up with hassle from zealous friends and a local enemy. This is different to other Irish films. It's set in the mountains and is a serious drama. However, it's too claustrophobic outdoors with the trees and looks overlit. Also, many indoor scenes look like a movie set rather than real locations? There's too much space here - as if there was a large crew around the actors? Thought it was quite interesting but there are better similar American titles e.g. Tender Mercies.

Thursday, 5 August 2010


It's a fact that most of the interesting films from Irish directors are made outside of Ireland. Many of these directors don't get much recognition here but their films are worth a look. Here's a list of ten good films made in other countries by Irish directors. Sadly Blow Dry is not on the list!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Wild about Harry

Another Nordie comedy this one has TV chef (Gleeson) losing his memory and trying to save his marriage. His teenage son is a brat but his daughter adores him. The wife has had enough and politician Nesbitt wants to kill him! The first twenty minutes were really good but after that it turns into a Hollywood genre movie but not as good. Interesting perspective from a wealthy Northern Irish couple. The usual '18 again' theme and marriage in trouble stuff done so much better in American movies.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010


With all the whinging about the UK Film Council getting abolished* one man has said the opposite to everyone else. The former cult movies TV presenter and film director Alex Cox said that 'It’s very good news for anyone involved in independent film. The Film Council became a means by which lottery money was transferred to the Hollywood studios'. He also claimed that the council tried to make out that Harry Potter and James Bond are British films. Thankfully this doesn't happen in Ireland as lottery money is kept out of film funding. Instead we waste taxpayers' money on mostly uncommercial sh*te. We give this money away to foreign companies who decide to use Ireland as a location. We also try to entice international directors to work here instead of helping to fund more homegrown features. We also try to make out that most films made here are Irish when they're not. The UK Film Council was a quango with a contrived 50:50 Board of Directors sex ratio. They charged €3 million each year in administration costs! The Irish Film Board of course is not a contrived quango and just happens to award funds to actual members of the Board but only costs €2 million each year to administer (including over €1 million in salaries). Sadly, unlike the UK Film Council our esteemeed Film Board would never fund something like Sex Lives of the Potato Men! Even sadder is the fact that there is no Irish Alex Cox who will say what he said about the Film Council.
*Irish Times, 30-7-2010

Monday, 2 August 2010

Dead long enough

This is just sh*t. Really bad! Well done to the Film Board for funding this. Guess it's all about throwing money at 'respectable' (and nice directors) eh? There are two Welsh brothers and they don't get along. One is a Russel Brand-type TV host and the other is just uncertain. They visit Ireland to find an old flame (Ball) and the whole village gets involved in the story in a contrived way. Add in a dated punk band on the soundtrack (Moondogs), stupid postcard-continuity titles that look like they were created on a home PC using software given away free with a magazine, and a big deal made about the most ordinary of characters. Heck, even the director makes an obvious cameo reading a book in the street. This really is just sh*t.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Tara Road (second review!)

There is no Tara Road in Dublin yet this movie is set there? Two women separated by the Atlantic swap houses for a while to get over tragedy in their lives. One woman loses her son in an accident while the other loses her husband to another woman. Yep, it's another Maeve Binchy chick flick (she appears in one scene) and it's complete rubbish. The only good part was the way the movie made fun of the middle-class Dubliners who surround classy McDowell. Good supporting cast but they all seem to appear in scenes together so you don't get to know them? I always wonder why it's men who direct these kind of films. Surely, they would be much better if directed by women?

Master of the world

Dated movie from the 1960s with Vincent Price trying to stop wars around the world. He uses an airship to attack from the sky. A group of ...