Saturday, 30 March 2013


Another decent Irish-themed movie that never gets a mention! This one has comedian Jimeoin escaping the North and he heads to Oz. As an illegal immigrant he goes on a TV dating show and flees officials. He hides out with a pal and both go backpacking. The baddies from home follow. Well-made and enjoyable with some impressive songs on the soundtrack. Some good points get made: how Irish people find it difficult to compete with the over-confident Australians; the hot weather doesn't suit everyone; some Irish don't like Australia but they don't like Ireland anymore; and people mistaking them for Scots! There's impresive editing where different sub-plots collide. This one is recommended and is funnier than any Irish Film Board comedy.

Title: The craic
Genre: Road comedy
New/old: Old
Cinema/DVD: DVD

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


Routine science-fiction movie about a nerd who tries to convince his girlfried that he's an alien. Seems to be aimed at teenagers and has the look of an afternoon TV special. There are lots of scenes that make you wonder what kind of movie it is but thankfully it gets going towards the end. There's good use of the Spire and several surprises but it's nothing special. The main gist is that we don't know if the lead is really an alien or just mad? The composer makes more of an effort than the director to keep the audience awake. The only strange thing about this picture is Carrie Crowley speaking with an English accent! I can't imagine any serious sci-fi fan being interested in this movie. Still, better than Summer of the flying saucer.

Title: Earthbound
Genre: Science fiction
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema

Friday, 15 March 2013


Earthbound is out today so here is a list of other Irish-themed science-fiction (and futuristic) movies:

100 mornings
Boy from Mercury
Leprechaun in space
Summer of the flying saucer
Sunset Heights

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


Almost a ¼ of the way through 2013 and only one new Irish feature released so far! What's out next? Seems King of the travellers is on the way, as is Pilgrim Hill, Jump, and Earthbound. All Galway Film Fleadh material from last year. The kind of movies that will creep into our cinemas and be gone in a fortnight. Twenty years of our Film Board and Irish cinema is still only making ripples! They should use the Therapy? song Going nowhere on their next promotional trailer!

Monday, 11 March 2013


Impressive film about a Catholic family in 1930's Liverpool. It's like Angela's ashes meets Cinema Paradiso! The Irish aspect is with a family who live nearby - they get accused of working on the cheap, are told to go home, and get hassle from fascists. Most scenes are short but memorable. It's about a kid making his Communion and the father out of work. Every cliché from the 1930s is here: poverty, strikes, rows, priests, unions, fights, pubs, terraced houses, politics, class tensions, and nosey neighbours. Best scene: Hart questions the priest about borrowing money from the Jews for the kids' Communion clothes. More of a quality TV movie than a good feature film. Certainly no classic (the similar Distant voices, still lives is much better) but this movie deserves to be better known.

Title: Liam
Genre: Childhood
New/old: Old
Cinema/DVD: DVD

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Another shore

For anyone fed up with the crap Irish versions of the old Ealing movies (Runway, Closer you get) here's the real deal. Set in Dublin it's about a Customs worker who goes off work and sits outside TCD waiting for a traffic accident so he can get a reward and buy a tropical island! Lots of good scenes in St Stephen's Green and along the Liffey. Some good street footage of 1940's Dublin too. The film is no classic (Crichton was no Robert Hamer) and there are too many repetitive shots of statues. But there is a lot of interest for fans of Irish cinema here. For example, there's an old tramp with a small dog. This was 30 years before David Kelly's similar character in Strumpet city. Even these second-rate Ealing films are better than most of our Film Board's stuff!

Title: Another shore
Genre: Ealing comedy
New/old: Old
Cinema/DVD: DVD

Tuesday, 5 March 2013


The main criticism of Irish cinema on this blog is there are almost no directors here with their own style or voice. Lenny Abrahamson, Ivan Kavanagh, Neil Jordan and er that's it! Even worse is the absence of the metteurs-en-scene. What's that? Well back in the 1950s the French critics ignored most French cinema. About 90% of it was not considered good enough for their attention. Some of the other 10% got made by auteurs like Bresson and Becker. The rest of the 10% were from forgotten directors like Delannoy and Autant-Lara. These were the metteur-en-scene guys. Script-based, technical, award-winning, prestige, respectable, studio-made, well-reviewed, popular, and technicallly impressive. Usually in the heritage or mystery genres. This is the kind of cinema the Irish Film Board set out to make back in the 1990s. But it's now mostly gone. Our directors aren't even good enough to be considered a metteur-en-scene! A collapse in budgets, directors now writing their own scripts, smaller crews, failure in the commerical market, and too many bleedin' horror films! Something went wrong a decade back in Irish cinema. Most of our stuff is getting made by directors with no voice or even worse - with no tradition of quality. Stuff done on the cheap that tries to be impressive but looks sh-t!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Tree keeper

Whoever made this must have done Graham Cantwell's course in the Irish Film Academy? Similar though not as ambitious or rushed as his feature. A weirdo lives in a forest and kills a publican, people then investigate. Good but unsuitable camera work, powerful music on the soundtrack, terrible acting with one good performance by Pascal Scott, woodland setting, contrived story, interesting locations, laughable dialogue, and too much technical ability. It's a dire effort that seems to have everyone involved assume they've made something special. Like Anton some tool with a camera, computer, and connections decided to make a 'rural thriller' but forgot to add intelligence and talent! Hate criticising this non-Film Board stuff but these slick Irish films that use style over substance are never good.

Title: Tree keeper
Genre: Thriller
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: DVD

Friday, 1 March 2013

Gingerbread men

Badly-made but at times an impressive and moving film about two students. Both have English backgrounds, got bullied, and are sociable outsiders in Dublin. Some terrible camerawork (where's the ND filter?), an annoying Australian narrator, crap Indie bands on the soundtrack, too many closeups of everyone, and overlong. But some scenes are really good: the dork gives up looking for a woman and hires a hooker; the Bressie lookalike visits London to see an ex-girlfriend, the fact that no-one seems to mind the scars on the dork's face, and the intercutting of their different scenes together. It's strange seeing two straight men care for each other (as in Midnight cowboy). Not as well made as the other non-Film Board stuff (WC, Anton, 8.5 hours) but unlike those the director, Daire McNab, seems to have genuine talent.

Title: Gingerbread men
Genre: Students
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: DVD


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