Sunday, 31 October 2010

Irish eyes

For fans of The Departed. Two Irish-American brothers grow up to become a lawyer and a gangster. Their lives cross and tragedy ensues. One of many Irish mafia movies this one is above average but routinely directed. Like most of these films not even one scene stands out! Thought the IRA psycho bomber was the best character. Worth a look but strictly straight-to-DVD material. Thought it funny how so many actors here resembled famous Hollywood actors. One guy even looked like Clark Gable!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

My left foot

Probably the most famous of Irish-made films this movie is responsible for lots of dire '50s dramas made here over the years. A disabled man becomes a writer and meets a woman. Still holds up and certainly stands out from most of the dross made here since. Lots and lots of familiar Irish acting faces in this movie. Essential viewing for anyone interested in Irish cinema. Little known fact: a British film magazine once selected this movie as turkey of the year!

Friday, 29 October 2010


Another sad day: one of Ireland's largest DVD library chains has closed. Always had good bargains on sale - picked up the rare Irish movie Night train there a while back. Another sad loss to the Irish film fan.

Thursday, 28 October 2010


Right, it's been another average year for Irish movies. This can't go on as this decade has to change! There's no point in waiting for someone else to do this so Shoot the cabbage brings you 10 New Rules for Irish Cinema!


Lame drama set on an island featuring Brosnan. McCann hams it up big time: "aaahhh Aislin!". It's about coming home after many years and putting up with the local prejudices (particularly when you're black!). Slight, tame, and not too good. Really aimed at American audiences.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


One of the great Irish movies this one is from the '30s. Better than other similar titles (Odd man out) it's about a man who can't keep his mouth shut (and money to himself) after ratting on the IRA. The best parts were the locations: foggy nights and quiet scenes outside noisy bars. Of course it's a bit theatrical and stagey but enjoyable nonetheless.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


Great news! One of our most respectable directors is shooting a new movie at her dad's house.* Not a sequel to Waterworld but a psychological thriller called Dollhouse. Hopefully with some of the funding she received from the Film Board while serving as a board member? Too early to judge the movie yet but it can't be as bad as the last psychological Irish thriller Alarm? How the fu*k does she manage to get publicity for her new movie after Disco Pigs and August Rush? She should call her new movie The Untouchables! Only in Ireland would the female director of the impressive Foxes get ignored while a jobbing hack like Kirsten Sheridan receive so much media hype. As Bruce Hornsby once sang: 'That's just the way it is!'
*Today's Evening Herald

Monday, 25 October 2010


Now that we're deep in recession and there's no light at the end of the economic tunnel one question needs to get asked: where is the Irish recession movie?

Sunday, 24 October 2010


Someone said recently that our short films are world class. Maybe they are? Shoot the Cabbage does not watch many shorts. However one thing that's apparent is that Irish features seem to be influenced by short films - in a bad way!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

P.S. I love you

One of those movies that gets hyped before release and then everyone would rather forget. Irish chick flick that does what's expected and that's not good. Her man dies and leaves her letters to read and do things with her life. This is what most people mean when they say 'Irish film industry'. PS poor!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Broken harvest

I'll say this: Irish cinema had more of an identity back in the mid-'90s than it has now. Yet another rural family drama where tensions are still around from the Civil War. One of those big budget movies but looks cheaper! This one took years to make and it shows. Best scene: the attack from a horse.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Felicia's Journey

Strange movie that's well made but not great! An Irish girl travels to England to find the father of her future child and meets the son of a former TV chef. He's a timid serial murderer! Use some good Irish music effectively and the movie is impressed with the British midland cityscapes. Lots of camera moves and fancy shots. In one scene Cassidy walks under a bridge while the camera pans across the landscape until she appears again. You don't see this kind of filmmaking in too many Irish titles! Then there's McSorley as the girl's nasty father who hates the Brits! Strange but recommended.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010


The films may not be great but there is no shortage of interesting books on Irish cinema.


One of the most successful Irish movies from the last decade. Filmed around Dublin it's about a busker's relationship with a foreign girl. Filmed on video it uses lots of familiar locations around the city (including HMV in Grafton Street where the security guard didn't seem to know what was going on!). Good movie but lots of scenes seem to be taken from other films. There should be fifteen of these kind of feature films made here each year!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


One of the first Film Board releases this is also one of the best. Directed by one of the old-school filmmakers from the '80s. Strong visuals, good music score, and an interesting story. It's the usual '50s setting with a Korean war back drop and tensions still around from the '20s. Two familes don't get on. It's like a list of clichés from Irish cinema but before they became clichés!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Into the West

Kids' movie about a pair of young travellers on the run with a white horse. A few faces from The Commitments appear in small roles. Lots of famous Irish actors in supporting roles. Reminds me of the later Strength and honour but better. Script by Jim Sheridan.

Sunday, 17 October 2010


Another movie about Bloody Sunday. This one is made-for-TV and is divided into three parts. The first details the carnage, the second shows who got killed, and the final part shows the aftermath and trial. Routine without being too good it's forceful enough. Best scene: the IRA recruitment. Ruined by that awful shaky handheld camerawork that TV directors mistake for good filmmaking.

Saturday, 16 October 2010


There are rare Irish movies and there are even rarer ones like The Eliminator. Set in the future it's about cars, warriors, Asians(!), and lots of violence. Amateurish and badly made it's got loads of energy (which most Irish films lack). Best scene: the hero looks back on his war years in Vietnam! Will tire you long before the end but a rare Irish movie that's both memorable and entertaining.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Agnes Browne

Based on the Brendan O'Carroll book this is about a Dublin woman and her friend who has cancer. There's a Tom Jones cameo and the movie is great fun. The only problem is that it seems to be set in different eras in the capital and gets confusing. Huston plays the role well but the movie is too lightweight to be memorable.

Thursday, 14 October 2010


For such a predominately Catholic country we have yet to make a good religious movie? The ones that have been made are all critical of the church and its scandals - using a TV-drama style to 'expose' the abuse over the decades. These are not religious films but contrived and out-of-date telefilms. Where are Irish films like Diary of a country priest, Under Satan's sun, Ordet, Thérese, and Passion of Joan of Arc? Where are the Irish films about our saints? Where are the Irish films done in a spartan, low-key style telling stories about people's spirituality and outlook on life? Where are the Irish films about the monks in the past living on islands off the West coast? Where are the Irish movies about people questioning the existence of God? Where are the Irish movies about people questioning the materialism of modern life here? Does the Film Board refuse to fund these kind of films? Are Irish filmmakers afraid they would be laughed at if they made a serious religious picture?

Song for a raggy boy

Like a lot of Irish films this one came out too late. It should have been made back in the '80s and caused a sensation. Well made and acted it's a moving story of how the religious educators mistreat the boy pupils in school. Yet another technically competent Irish movie but it should have been better considering its story. Best scene: the burping!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

On the edge

Strange movie about a group of young people in hospital. It starts off well enough involving a crazy funeral and a car accident but then descends into actors sitting and talking to each other. There are some impressive songs on the soundtrack but this movie goes nowhere. There are some great low-key and similar films set in a hospital e.g. Lilith but On the edge is just a bad movie.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


One of the best Irish movies ever! There should have been a public enquiry on why it took the Film Board so long to fund these kind of films! More than a decade of funding rubbish until this came out! The best of the Irish sub-genre titles where rural towns are portrayed as badly as possible. A lonely middle-aged man who can't fit in causes himself a bit of trouble when he tries to get along with a local teenage emo. Slow but not boring. This is how it's done. The director studied philosophy and this sets his work apart from the usual stuff made by Irish film-school educated jobbing directors!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Fools of fortune

Yet another impressive Irish-themed movie made in the years between the two Film Boards. This one is about a posh family living in the days of the Civil War and one man's revenge when their large house gets torched by the British army. Fed up saying this but it's much better than most Film Board titles! The movie is ruined however by a self-indulgent, pretentious ending where director O'Connor thinks he's Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Last of the high kings

Over a decade before 32A this film also captured the youth culture of late '70s Dublin. It's a far better and more entertaining movie too. Set mostly on a beach it's about a young man's relationship with a Protestant girl while he awaits his exam results. Starring the singer of rock band 30 seconds to Mars (!) and lots of famous Hollywood faces. This is the kind of commercial movie that should get made more often here instead of the embarrassing efforts we call Irish cinema.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Spaghetti slow

Another super-rare movie from the Film Board. That's because it's really an Italian production but is set and filmed in Ireland. A clean-cut young man from Italy moves here to learn English. Then he goes missing with the goth daughter of the family he's staying with. Then the Italian's father arrives to find his son and teams up with the goth's father (Gleeson). It's a road movie with lots of faces from '90s Dublin nightclubs. There's a funny contrast between the Italian man and Gleeson's Northside character. Best scene: the fight at the car. Lots of non-Tourist Board shots of run-down housing estates. This is one of the few decent 'lost' Irish movies from the '90s.

Friday, 8 October 2010


Ireland has a lot of bad directors (not just the bank ones!). But while most only make one feature and pi*s off to television Gerry Stembridge keeps going. Guiltrip was his first feature and is about a soldier and his bullied wife in the Midblands (sic). Badly lit, badly acted, and boring this is as bad as it gets. Films like these were responsible for killing off the 'buzz' for Irish cinema back in the '90s. Best scene: where's the book! Yet another Irish movie that makes you want to stay in Dublin.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Breakfast on Pluto

Show-off movie from our top director. Lots of camera moves and fast editing. It's like a TV series edited down to two hours. Good setting and recreation of the late '60s/early '70s but the story isn't up to much and Murphy's character is not likeable. Another problem is that when a good scene arrives we're on to a new one in a different location a minute later! Lots of good songs on the soundtrack but they get played more than once during the movie. The kind of film everyone thinks is great when it's getting made but not worth a second viewing. Jordan seems to be trying to show new Irish filmmakers 'this is how it's done!'. Shame Pluto's not a planet anymore?

Wednesday, 6 October 2010


Probably the best of the many grim rural dramas set in '50s/'60s Ireland. A female relative arrives in Ireland and disrupts the male-only family. Tensions brew and chances are lost. Lots of impressive crane shots and orchestral soundtrack music. The acting isn't the best but the movie is still impressive.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010


There may be only eight followers but the world's leading web log for Irish cinema now has two hundred and fifty posts. Hopefully this blog is doing what it set out to achieve: To give a fuller picture of Irish cinema than you'll get elsewhere, show that our 'respectable' directors are not necessarily the best filmmakers here, and point out that our 'film industry' is not performing as well as made out. It can only get better!


Not that most here are interested but it seems that the IFA has moved to Temple Lane in Dublin. They're now above an Indian restaurant. Always thought there was something wrong in naming a place 'academy' and then hiring the director of Anton as an instructor? But that's just me - I like to see contradictions. Wonder if you can still learn English through filmmaking there?

Monday, 4 October 2010


The Filmmaking for Dummies book is gone from the window sill? There's a 'To Let' sign above the door? There are no lights on in the building? What's going on? Has the recession killed off the Irish Film Academy in Temple Bar? Or has it moved to a bigger premises? Who's going to learn English through filmmaking now? What a sad loss to our film industry.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Fistful of dynamite

In the 19th century an Irish republican escapes to America and gets caught up in the wars there. Spaghetti western that's not as famous as the Clint Eastwood titles but still good. The Irish flashback segment is in Toner's pub on Baggot St, Dublin (still there) where Coburn shoots the police with a gun hidden in a newspaper!

Saturday, 2 October 2010


Worked in B-features back in the '40s and '50s in the British film industry. Rock you sinners (early rock music movie), Night comes too soon (a haunted-house mystery) , Flight from Vienna, Fighting mad, and a few others. Originally from Carlow.

Our wonderful home

This is the kind of Irish movie that we need more of. Not particularly well made but interesting and intelligent. Set in a house and based around a middle-class family detailing the tensions between the parents and their teenage daughter. She wants a car so works as a ... (watch the movie!). Filmed on video with good ensemble acting. Best scene has the parents discovering the daughter in bed with a guy!

Friday, 1 October 2010

A love divided

Very well-made movie about the notorious boycott case back in the '50s. It's about a Catholic/Protestant marriage and the row over which school the kids get sent to. The problem is that it's the kind of movie that should have been made decades earlier and is too melodramatic. Another problem is that it's more suited to television than the big screen. There's a great scene where they're in a horse-drawn cart and the camera pulls back to show us the scenery. That happy scene outside the office was filmed beside a Dublin library. The kind of movie that's impressively directed but lacks any unique qualities.


Rather sad article in today's Irish Independent newspaper about Ireland's most overrated female film director. She's been abroad...