Tuesday, 30 April 2013


This is like those dated 'rave movies' from the 1990s: fast-paced, jump cuts, times changes, techno music, violence, drugs, pretentious direction, nightclubs, fireworks, and lots of characters you won't care about. If this movie had come out in 1995 it could have been our Trainspotting? Instead, it's a well-made but unoriginal movie that has its moments but is forgettable. All the new faces (and Lalor Roddy!) from Irish cinema are present while the title refers to a suicide attempt/the changes in time of the story/and a move to Australia. It tells of a group of people on new year's eve in Derry who get involved in missing money/car thefts/shootings and other Nordie stuff. The comic scenes aren't funny, the women aren't sexy, the violence isn't shocking, and the storyline is not believable. Nothing special though it's worth a look. Strange the way its director disappeared into television for a decade after his last feature?

Title: Jump
Genre: Rave
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema

Monday, 29 April 2013


If Withnail and I is the most influential international movie on Irish cinema then what about its homegrown equal? There's an unseen film from the dawn of the Board called Broken harvest. Nothing special, it looks like an Italian TV movie, yet it contains uncanny similarities with later Film Board titles. The first of the dreary 1950s rural squabble movies (Country, Korea). The bust up with the church goers (A love divided). The flashback from America structure (This is my father). The ugly scenes with the black and tans (Wind that shakes the barley). The farmers who don't get along (How Harry became a tree). The two kids playing with toy guns (Mikeybo and me). The parish dance (Stella days). The famer losing his cattle (Pilgrim Hill). There's even a guy in this movie who resembles Pat Shortt! What's strange about this picture is that it contains most clichés in Irish cinema yet for the following two decades the Film Board funded titles that were similar to many ideas found here. It's bizarre and too much of a coincidence?

Sunday, 28 April 2013


Only in Ireland would the national Film Board appoint a man with no experience of film production as its new chairperson. Even better, he recently lost €3,000,000 of his life savings! As reported to the Irish independent newspaper 'I got very careless. It was my own fault as well'. Brilliant! What the fkuc is this guy doing running our Film Board? No experience, and no investment skills? Anyone who watches him on TV can see that the man is a nincompoop! We're in recession and this guy will do his best to waste millions of taxpayers' money on loss-making Irish movies.

Saturday, 27 April 2013


A big problem in this country is that most Irish directors don't make many features or TV movies. They're too busy making stupid shorts, documentaries, and episodes of Raw. Even better, our most prolific directors are also the least recognised. So who are they? Well Shoot the Cabbage has done extensive research to see how these people's output compare with the overrated Neil 'just missed the bus' Jordan and Jim 'we have stories to tell but not well' Sheridan!

Herbert Brenon (directed 72 feature films)
William Desmond Taylor (45)
Montgomery Tully (39)
Rex Ingram (28)
Brian Desmond Hurst (23)
Michael O'Herlihy (21)
Kenneth Branagh (14)
Norman Cohen (9)
Steve Barron (9)

Monday, 22 April 2013


One thing what's wrong with the Irish media establishment is the way they jump on anyone new with talent! The latest victim is the director of Pilgrim Hill. He's only made one feature and has already appeared on the Late late show. Give the lad space to made more good films instead of showing him off to the whole country! Ten years ago we had new directors making impressive debut features. Where are they now? Working in TV on crap like Savage eye that's where! We need directors who can build up impressive filmographies without having to meet tools like Tubridy. There is so much hype in Irish film that anyone new who arrives with talent immediately gets put in the spotlight. This is because anything different will stand out from rubbish like Hardy Bucks and Earthbound. Irish Film is so hyped that it can cause more harm than good. No-one knows what Barrett will be doing in a few years. He might never make another Pilgrim Hill or he could become our greatest director. All of this media exposure and acclaim can only cause harm and give people too much expectations.

Saturday, 20 April 2013


And the award for the daftest IRA movie goes to! It's Xmas eve and an American city is having a riot. The British ambassador's daughter gets held hostage by a gang of blacks. An SAS man is sent into the war zone to find her. Turns out the IRA are behind the crime and they give pursuit. Routine action movie that has its moments: a bazooka takes down a helicopter; a motorcyclist on fire. But the Irish accents are dire, the IRA look like ninjas and are too large in numbers, and most of the film has you looking at explosions/violence without caring. There's one scene where the two leads are fleeing yet they don't appear too worried! Available everywhere on DVD but never gets a mention in books on Irish cinema. That's why this blog exists!

Title: Riot
Genre: Gangs
New/old: Old
Cinema/DVD: DVD

Friday, 19 April 2013

King of the travellers

Two traveller families are having a feud. The wealthy owners of a nearby field are also at war with one of these families. Impressive first half but later scenes get contrived with the Garda arriving straight after a death and people bumping into each to keep the story moving. Some good dialogue and fight scenes so it's enjoyable enough. One of the better Irish releases this year but the characters are one-dimemsional and lots of scenes are supposed to be serious but are too funny to work. The best scenes were the stabbing and the insulting video. The feud gets tiresome, the ending was silly, and you end up not caring who dies. The kind of movie that should do well on DVD?

Title: King of the travellers
Genre: Family feud
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema


Why, oh why, oh why, did it take so bleedin' long for this movie to get made in Ireland? This stuff should have got done here back in the 1990s. The story was nothing new, it just took decades to finally get made. The whole filmmaking system in this country is designed to PREVENT films like Pilgrim Hill from getting produced. Lots of technical sh-te, adaptations, the 'right people' involved, creating jobs that don't last, interfering unions, prepublicity in the Evening Herald/Sunday World, one eye aimed badly at the box office, and actors named Gleeson. Irish cinema could have a much better reputation if we had been making several Pilgrim Hills each year over the last decade. When you see overconfident and misguided tools like Graham Cantwell thinking they have a 'voice' there is something flawed with our filmmaking and training systems.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Pilgrim Hill

It's a sign of how sh*te most Irish movies are that this badly photographed, poorly lit, cheap feature is so impressive. Slow moving and at times touching it's a study of a farmer who allows bad things to happen to himself. No wife, middle-aged, a dying father, and his cattle have TB. All that was missing was a postman arriving with the Local Property Tax letter! The lead character is not likeable so at times you won't feel sorry for him. Still, the first Irish social realist film since Pavee lackeen. What's impressive is that the tiny budget actually IMPROVES this film. Why or why wasn't our Film Board funding stuff like this a decade back? This is miles better than recent shouty and overhyped titles like Charlie Casanova and Between the canals. Hope its director ignores TV and Hollywood and keeps making stuff like this.

Title: Pilgrim Hill
Genre: Social realism
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema

Wednesday, 17 April 2013


Current issue has an interesting article on how Irish filmmakers have failed to use the Kickstart funding process. Great idea but then they go on to say that audiences could now choose which films can get made. The only problem is these films (according to the magazine) should be more horror, comedy, and romance! Hot Press are having a laugh if the think this is what Irish cinema needs right now! Does anyone in Ireland really want to see more stuff like Stitches/Wide open spaces/Trouble with sex? If the answer is yes then get off this blog!

Monday, 15 April 2013


On the RTÉ website about his life and connections here (Haughey made him an Irish citizen). Reckon I've seen more movies from this director than most people have so I'm going to say something terrible: he was overrated! Made lots of good stuff (a few in Ireland) but not many great ones. Some of his films were dire: Barbarian and the geisha (John Wayne's worst picture), List of Adrian Messenger (stupid movie with everyone disguised in bad makeup), and Kremlin letter - all badly dated before they even got released. Even his famous ones from the 1940s are not as impressive as other similar titles from that era. Better directors made similar but darker films. Still, he kept going and has an impressive filmography mainly from the 1970s. The two Huston films I really like are the little-seen: A walk with love and death and the famous Red badge of courage.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


Been emailing a few followers about this rare Irish-Russian movie made back in the 1990s. Couldn't think of its title for ages. However, the last ever Film Ireland magazine gave it a mention and its English title is Micha. Directed by Irish man Gerard MacCarthy it will probably never get screened here again - unless the IFI organise an Irish-Russian film festival!


Never seen this book on sale in the shops but it's in my local library. An Amercian publication it's not too academic and is quite interesting to read. What's best about it is that each film gets discussed separately so it's like a reference book. It came out last year and is aimed at IRA films released in the USA. So recent obscure stuff like Boxed get written about whereas the over-hyped Anton gets ignored. Presumably the former got a release over there whereas the latter didn't? There is an interesting selection of films included - some of which never get a mention in other books on Irish cinema. The one interesting thing I read is that the Big House trilogy of Irish films were all based on an Italian film called Garden of the Finzi-Continis.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Good vibrations

Finally an Irish movie with an apt title! Enjoyable, interesting, and memorable fim about a flawed, sociable loser who opens a record shop and discovers some famous punk bands. Of course it's similar to other stuff like Killing Bono but this one is better. Some good scenes including the first time he hears the song Teenage kicks, the beating from the younger Nazi punks, and the tensions with his wife. Surrounded by the Troubles, trying to impress a dubious bank manager, getting nowhere in London, disappointing his business partner, and failing the famous band Rudi the movie makes a huge effort to get the audience to like this man. The story stops in the early 1980s so appears to be another routine nostalgia picture about rock bands. Still, anyone with an interest in Irish punk (and the Nordie bands were the best ones) should see this movie!

Title: Good vibrations
Genre: Music biography
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema


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