Tuesday, 30 November 2010


In a country where Amy Huberman is considered a talented actress it's a shame that one of (Northern) Ireland's best screen actresses from recent years quit? Hush-a-bye baby, Riff-raff, Boston kickout, and Sunset heights all featured McCourt in fine roles that were memorable and gritty. Certainly had a lot of promise and always stood out.

Monday, 29 November 2010


Back in the pre-Film Board (Version 2.0) days one director was going to be the next big thing. He was even interviewed on RTE television as just that. A string of interesting films including Fragments of Isabella and culminating in Driftwood back in the '90s and then nothing? Shame as he was a better talent than most of today's crop.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Wind that shakes the barley

Set in the twenties this movie is set in two parts. The first one is about the fight against the British in Cork while the last half hour is about the fight between themselves. The best bits were the attacks on the British army. The rest involved lots of talk about why they were fighting. Some scenes had the actors stumbling with their dialogue but it works. Another good scene was when the Brit said 'those men were at the Somme'. Most outdoor scenes seem to be done with a telephoto lens?

Saturday, 27 November 2010


What's going on here? The world's best blog on Irish cinema is querying the lack of really bad Irish films when it has already slated most of our titles? Well what's a 'really bad' film? Well, they're not stuff like most Hollywood big-budget sequels where a fortune was wasted on effects and bad acting. Rather, they are films that are truly stunning in a sense of 'how did that get made?'. They are the kind of films that require a certain bravery to get produced as most people would be afraid to tackle the subject matter. Stuff like The baby (a man wears nothing but a nappy!), Irina Palm (a respectable, middle-aged woman gives hand jobs to collect money for her young grandson's operation), and Boxing Helena a woman ends up as a torso. Films that have a certain arthouse leaning but leave the audience stunned for all the wrong reasons! Where are the Irish films like this? Where are the filmmakers here with the nerve, imagination, and balls to make a truly shocking movie that misfires completely but still stands out for its sheer daring?

Dementia 13

Easily one of the better Irish horror movies. This one is from the '60s and is available everywhere on DVD! Strange it doesn't get much recognition in this country? One of many low-budget Corman productions it's set in a castle and has a great axe-murder scene! Coppola's first feature too.

Friday, 26 November 2010


Good to see a bit of humour with the soon-to-be extinct UK Film Council donating one million sterling to a Margaret Thatcher film (starring Meryl Streep who probably really needs another Oscar!). Over here, what will our own Film Board be finally funding before they get abolished? Whatever they decide to do before their demise they certainly won't be funding a biopic of one of our recent beloved leaders!
* Today's Guardian

Thursday, 25 November 2010


In the most tumultous week for Ireland since well Thierry Henry last year(!) one question needs to be asked that no-one else will. How will this current economic crisis affect Irish cinema? Not talking here about job losses and Hollywood productions moving elsewhere. Rather, how will 'home-grown' Irish cinema change as a result? Will most of our directors now emigrate? Many have already. Will different stories emerge? Will our films become angrier? Or will we continue to have directors with absolutely nothing to say about this economic crisis? It's about time we had a 'New Wave' in Irish cinema. If they're rebuilding our country then why not rebuild our cinema? Will there be a new subgenre of Irish cinema - Social-Collapse Realism? Or will nothing change except the Film Board's annual budget getting reduced? Whatever happens, it will be an interesting few years ahead.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010


What few others will say is that the best recent Irish films were from the interregnum years. This was the late '80s and early '90s when we had no Film Board. Not sure why so many 'decent' and commercial movies were made back then? Here's a list of titles and no, High spirits is not on the list!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


Wtf? The post from a few days back said that Irish movies are too complicated. Now they're not 'complex enough'? Easy! There's a difference. 'Complicated' has already been explained. But 'complex' is a different matter! Complex means using characters that are not one-dimensional. It means giving 'substance' to the story. It means avoiding 'clich├ęs'. It means avoiding stereotypes and blueprint genres. It means actually saying something that makes the audience take note. It means giving the audience something to ponder instead of trying to entertain them for ninety minutes. It means impressing the audience even if they don't actually like the film!

Sunday, 21 November 2010


The world best web log for Irish cinema now has three hundred posts. For the most honest reviews of our movies, the most interesting opinions on our 'industry', and saying what needs to get said when other sites won't - read Shoot the Cabbage!


A major flaw with Irish features films is so apparent that it's easy to miss! The fact is that most of our movies are just too complicated. By 'complicated' Shoot the Cabbage means they use too much plot, have too many minor-stories, with too many twists, in too short scenes, and too many characters. This wears out the audience out and makes them lose interest. Pick any recent Irish movie from Intermission to 8.5 hours, from W.C. to Situations vacant and the general feeling is that the filmmakers were trying too hard! While amibition must be applauded it's the wrong kind! These films are trying to show off and hammer the audience resulting in a forgettable experience. They are closer to TV drama than cinema. These titles are better suited to the small screen.

Saturday, 20 November 2010


Never seen this done before but to prove how bad most Irish cinema is let's use the Dogma 95 rules to understand Irish movies' poor quality!


With dozens of Dogma 95 films produced so far it's no surprise that not even one has been made in this country. Because this Dogma 'nonsense' is all about following a list of rules that results in interesting work. It's not about creating jobs, enticing tourists here, showing off technical ability, pulling out the stops, and applying lots of post-production work. Whoever came up with our flawed Irish filmmaking model back in the early '90s should be ashamed of themselves.

Friday, 19 November 2010


Video feature that's meant to be! It tells part of the Ulysses story but is not as good as the '60s version. More raunchy and degenerate than the earlier movie(!) it's a good effort that seems to get a cinema release most Bloom's day. Ball is well cast but the movie is too experimental for a mainstream audience. There's a genuine alternative title for this film but it's too difficult to type!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Barry Lyndon

Famous '70s movie partly filmed and set in Ireland. It's about a guy who works his way upwards in society a few hundred years ago. Gearshift film, the first half is much better. Rossiter is well cast and the movie is technically impressive. The overlong second half of the movie is a let down though.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

I could read the sky

Miserable movie about an emigrant who looks back over his wasted life working on building sites in England. Similar to Kings but more experimental and cinematic. Sad that there are probably thousands of older Irish living in Britain similar to the man in this movie. Too arty for a mainstream audience this one is worth a look.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Captain Blood

Another Errol Flynn movie with an Irish theme. This time it's in back and white and he plays a pirate. The Irish angle comes from the fact that Flynn and his men decide to fight alongside King Billy even though he's from the other side! Famous movie that doesn't get mentioned too often when Irish cinema gets discussed (for obvious reasons!).

Monday, 15 November 2010

Private lives of Elizabeth and Essex

Famous colour movie from the '30s featuring Bette Davis as the queen and Errol Flynn as one of her soldiers. The Irish sequence involves an invasion where Flynn's army gets defeated in Ulster by Alan Hale. Lots of fog, bog, and trees! Flynn truly was a great screen actor.

Sunday, 14 November 2010


No joke! The new DVD of the average but interesting 8.5 hours has a guaranteed Irish logo on its cover. What does this mean? It's guaranteed to be sh*te? We already have a warning logo for Irish movies - the Film Board's one. Couldn't make this up.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Boston kickout

Before Trainspotting there was Boston kickout. A group of young men cause trouble in a concrete English town. One of them follows his female cousin to Ireland where he visits Alphonsus Road in Waterford City and goes to a dance. The title comes from running through people's gardens! Quite a good movie.

Friday, 12 November 2010


To recap, 'films with a low budget' are ones that don't need much of budget! They don't use famous actors, special effects, expensive locations, costumes, car chases, hit songs on the soundtrack, hundreds of extras, computer generated imagery, or are based on best-selling novels. So what kind of films can be made with a low budget?

Thursday, 11 November 2010


What? The previous post said low-budget films are killing Irish cinema while this post states that the solution is to make Irish films with a low budget? Surely a contradiction? Surely some mistake? Nope. There's a difference: low budget films are just that - usually mainstream films copied from Hollywood/British productions but done cheaper. Most Irish cinema consists of this. Films with a low budget are ones that don't need much of a budget at all. These films use non-professional actors, are dialogue driven, use real locations, are set in the present era, don't use chart songs on the soundtrack, use a small number of locations, don't require much post-production work, are filmed using small cameras, and most importantly - their low-budget is exploited. This is the way forward! If Irish cinema started producing more of these films then we would have more of an identity and perhaps more interesting filmmaking? Almost everything else has been done and failed. Sure maybe these films won't make much money but how much did Perrier's Bounty make in the States again? That wasn't even a low-budget film!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010


Some people may think that the future for Irish cinema is in low-budget filmmaking. There have been lots of recent titles made on a low-budget. Others may object to this but for the 'wrong' reasons. Their reasons might include: lower wages and smaller production costs. After viewing dozens of low-budget Irish titles Shoot the Cabbage reckons that low-budget filmmaking does more harm than good! Why is this? Various reasons but the main one is that the filmmakers completely miss the point! What they try to do is use the low budget to make their production look as expensive as possible. It's as if there's a Hollywood producer out there saying: 'Wow, these Irish guys can make a splendid looking feature for a few hundred grand. Imagine what they could do if they were given $50 million for their next movie?' Trying to make a low-budget movie look as expensive as possible usually results in a cheap version of a Hollywood movie. Or even worse a TV movie. It's a waste of time. Countless Irish feature films made with video cameras end up looking like bad telefilms This illustrates the silly obsession in this country with technical ability. Blame it on the film schools! A good film is not good because of the impressive camerawork or orchestra music on the soundtrack. It's not good because it's trying to compete with a similar British production made with ten times the budget. Irish cinema will always be second rate when filmmakers (and producers) try to make expensive-looking and mainstream movies while cutting costs.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

48 angels

Based no doubt on Whistle down the wind (the '60 British movie not the Nick Heyward song!) this is about three male strangers who meet up at a deserted location along the coast after an incident from the Troubles. There's a boy who tries to communicate with the other two but it's a badly made and contrived film. Like most Irish movies it probabaly sounded good on paper. Recent Irish movie that's already forgotten.

Monday, 8 November 2010


There have been a few reports in the newspapers* both today and yesterday about a new film school to be established in Cork. Call Shoot the Cabbage a cynic(!) but the idea of a €8.6 million film school 'down the country' when we're in recession is a big, bad idea. We already have Irish films schools and the feature-filmmaking 'talent' they churn out leaves a lot to be desired. It's also noted that this new film school will be along the Hollywood lines. Sorry, but this idea that Irish filmmakers must follow the Hollywood filmmaking model has resulted in the most unwatchable crap over the years. Will we ever learn? It's also noted that screen legend Maureen O'Hara will have an active role in the running of the school. For fu*k sake, the woman is ninety!
*Irish Examiner

Night boat to Dublin

Confusing spy thriller from the '40s and not that good either! The movie starts off in Dublin where a break in occurs in a hotel and then a guy gets murdered on the ferry. Then the story moves to England where there's lots of talking and little action! More of a routine quoto quickie than a quality piece of cinema. What was needed were a few good scenes. The inspiration for the Madness hit Night boat to Cairo?

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Lilac bus

Another Maeve Binchy movie this one was made for television. A group of people travel to Dublin each week from the country on a purple-pink bus. Then their dull lives are explored. Routine direction, uneven performances, bad lighting, and confusing scenes. One interesting part were the clips from Irish television. Little-known movie but it's out on DVD.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Words upon the window pane

Over-serious, studio-based drama based on a Yeats work. Jim Sheridan plays one of the roles. The story is based around a seance! The best scene was the face at the window but this movie is best forgotten!

Friday, 5 November 2010


Famous musical from the early '90s in pre-Celtic Ireland. A North Dublin soul band form and fall out. Full of funny Dubalin (sic) humour and characters. Optimistic grimness! The movies made when we had no Film Board really were the best ones. Future director Lance Daly is one of the kids in a brief scene. Apart from Once the only Irish movie where the soundtrack CD is worth buying. Lots of famous faces appear in this movie. One of the most enjoyable Irish films though some DVD copies have a 'Best of British' sticker!

Thursday, 4 November 2010


For anyone thinking of making another IRA movie it's all been done! Here's a list of famous and lesser known military-Republican features.

Flight of the doves

Famous Irish movie about two kids on the run. They attend a singing parade in Dublin and meet Dana (who plays a traveller). Some interesting footage of Dublin City from forty years ago. You don't have to be Irish to be Irish indeed! Bet another movie like this would be a commercial success?

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


Everyone will agree that we're more of a literary nation than a film one. So why are so many Irish movies getting made from books and plays? They will hardly ever be as good as the source novel. Same for true stories - the films of these true stories are never fully accurate? In a country where we have dozens of famous writers and playwrights it's only natural that the number of quality Irish filmmakers is so small. Filmmakers will always be overshadowed by the writer of the original book. Even worse are adaptations of recent successful British movies. So what can be done to make Irish cinema as good as our best books? One idea would be to move away from putting pictures to novels and newspaper articles and instead develop original scripts. Even better, use actors' improvisation to develop the story natually from the characters. This could help make Irish films a step above the usual dross that are basically telefilm adaptations of successful novels? It could also give Irish cinema more of an identity?

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

You, me and Marley

Very impressive TV movie from the early '90s. Similar to the later Accelerator but far better. A group of joyriders create havoc in the North and run into trouble with the IRA, neighbours, and the British army. The only letdown is that like most TV movies it's routinely directed and the low-key acting doesn't suit the foul language spoken by the actors. Lots of shots with actors stepping into view to say their lines. Still, one of the best Irish movies from the '90s. Compare this violent, vulgar movie with the recent Standby to see how politically correct and polite our current young generation are!

Title: You, me and Marley
Genre: IRA
New/old: Old
Cinema/DVD: DVD

Monday, 1 November 2010

Devil's own

After an impressive shoot out (in Dublin 8!) an IRA man escapes to America where he stays with Harrison Ford. There Pitt buys arms for the cause and gets entangled with Williams and his gang. Disappointing movie that doesn't have enough 'action' and ends up a routine Hollywood thriller. The family scenes in Ford's house were badly handled. Strange sidestory involving the shooting of an unarmed robber than doesn't fit in with the rest of the movie?


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