Monday, 26 September 2016

Siege of Jadotville

Impressive war film set in Africa. It's the 1960s and the Irish defence forces has been sent as part of a United Nations peacekeepers to intervene in the Congo. There are uranium deposits (for nuclear weapons) there and the existing mining companies want to keep control by using ex-French Legion soldiers and locals. It's well made, fast paced, and very watchable. Doran gets the stilted walk from the Irish midlands right. Like most war films it's one cliché after another but that doesn't ruin a good story told well. Ammunition running out, a concerned wife waiting at home, the rescue helicopter shot down, uncaring communications, political interference, and the opposing forces suddenly quitting their attack. This is another good Irish (themed) film this year and it's the only one I'm paying to see again!

Title: The siege of Jadotville
Genre: Cold war
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema

Monday, 19 September 2016

Young offenders

Hardy bucks meets Grandmaster Cash! Set in Cork it's about two male teenagers who cycle to the coast to find floatsam of cocaine. On the way out the police are in pursuit while on the way back a disabled criminal follows. Lots of fast cuts at the start and then like the two leads it slows down on the road before running out of steam just before the end. The supporting cast are bizarre: a mother who sells fish, a local thug in prison, a drunk father, and an old man who mistakes the pair for relatives. Some stunning, rural locations and some blink and miss gags. Not as good as it thinks it is but has potential for a better sequel (or a Damo and Ivor feature). Everyone here seems to be in a different movie! Strange, they didn't use a song from successful Cork band Young offenders.

Title: The young offenders
Genre: Road
New/old: New
Cinema/DVD: Cinema

Saturday, 3 September 2016

A date for mad Mary

Impressive debut feature from director Darren Thornton. Set in Drogheda it's about a violent woman who has to find a man to bring along to her friend's wedding. Despite the slight story the performances and casting are impressive (particularly the actress who played the bride-to-be). The music is all house music and it's interesting how it gets used in different scenes. What's really good about the movie is that you won't care for the characters at the beginning but eventually they become likeable. The film explores the tense relationships between different women; one good scene was the wedding speech written by Mary but spoken by another girl. Another was with the grandmother saying even a sniper wouldn't take Mary out! Another was the argument with the bride who claims everyone except Mary has moved on (the bride lives in some built-up Celtic Tiger estate!). There are lots of these working-class Irish dramas getting made recently but this is easily the best. It avoids the pointless clichés of recent Irish cinema (pianos, establishing shots, pained faces, drugs, hand-held camerawork, uneven performances). Compare this deep and moving wedding film with similar but awful Irish titles like Happy ever afters.

Title: A date for mad Mary
Genre: Drama
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...