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Eli Roth - Watch and learn
Thank God for movies like this. In an era of "horror porn" from the likes of Eli Roth and those wonderful people at Lionsgate, where cinema appears to be descending into a dark pit as a medium of deviation and degradation, along comes this gem from Ireland to dispel the dark clouds and bring light back into the cinema.
I've heard many people refer to this as a "small" film but it isn't at all. Emotions are epic. Spirit is huge. Theme of love and a search for connection in a lonely universe is a universal one. John Carney tapped into something huge here and he deserves all the wonderful things now coming his way.
I'm proud this film is from Ireland. As a nation of only 4 million people we consistently punch way above our weight artistically (music, literature, poetry, dance - now cinema). There's a new breed of film director emerging here - people like Carney, David Gleeson and Lenny Abrahamson. Is it too early to talk about an Irish "nouvelle vague"?
"Once" is a real gift. A film which touches and moves and stays inside you. Harks back to an era when films were uplifting and inspiring. Brings you a little closer to heaven. Wonder what Eli Roth makes of it...
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Best of the bunch
I'm not a huge fan of the Spiderman franchise but I have to say, this is the best of the bunch so far. Story - as always - is complex with not one but 3 villains to contend with but (unlike the last batch of Star Wars) you can actually follow the story. And that's saying something.
Least interesting parts of the movie were the (very obviously) digitial flying/fighting scenes. It's a bit sad that with all the hundreds of millions thrown at the screen that it still looks fake. In its own way original Superman's effects were just as good - Just a different kind of fake. Digital extras stand out like a sore thumb.
Best thing in this movie is Thomas Haden Church's Sandman. Best supervillian performance in a while. Credible, fearsome and very moving. Tobey Maguire also stretches some acting muscle, playing a bad guy and a psychotic '77 John Travolta. There's are some genuinely funny scenes. Didn't even recognise Bryce Dallas Howard. Was surprised to see she played Blondie when end credits rolled.
Multimedia screening I attended garnered a round of applause at the end. Guess that's saying something.
The Front Line (2006)
Who would have thought it possible? A shoot-em-up with serious soul. Writer/director David Gleeson's decision to offer Dublin-based heist-movie THE FRONT LINE as his attempt to build on the promise shown in his debut, COWBOYS & ANGELS, might initially have smacked of the formulaic. But the good news is that the end product bristles with freshness and cinematic sophistication.
There's nothing new about a heist movie with a hard edge, but THE FRONT LINE comes with a hard edge and considerable heart.
Convincing performances and visually strong production values ensure the thriller aspect of the first half will bring you to the edge of the seat. Unlike so many comparable efforts, however, THE FRONT LINE gives you something to think about when you get there.
Just as it seems inevitable that entertainment levels will flag, disturbing revelations about Joe's true identity elevate proceedings to an absorbing consideration of that most fertile of territories for great art the sometimes thin line between the divine and the depraved.
Ebouaney and McSorley are strikingly good in the central roles, and while some of the observances about Dublin-based gangsters seem a tad far-fetched, this is but a minor quibble.
Gleeson has delivered a terrific film that reminds us what big screens were made for.
Avoid....unless you're Canadian
CRAZY seems to have sparked a surge of national pride in Canada, judging by contributors to comments page. Well, I got news for the rest of the world...it sucks. Predictable and lame, it's also confusing and one dimensional - and very, very loooong.
All the characters here are totally one dimensional. There's the "Wonder Years" Dad who's clichéd macho and shocked by everything which doesn't conform to his blinkered view and then there's the brothers - the most unlikeable and ill sketched bunch of stereotypes you'll ever see in a movie theatre. Are we supposed to like them? Feel all cosy when the muscle bound lug farts at the end? And the mother...she's the sensitive long suffering matriarch, with the weight of the world on her shoulders. Enough already!!! They even quote the "Footsteps" story and work it into the screenplay! Purleaaase! And the music. Went to this thinking at least there'll be a good 80's soundtrack. There wasn't. They obviously spent a lot on the Pink Floyd track 'cos they used it over...and over...and over.
Wish I'd gone to "Scary Movie 4" instead.
Basic Instinct 2 (2006)
Male lead a black hole. Sharon Stone a 45 year old transsexual
Oh dear!...Oh dear! dear! dear!
I'm an intermittent ex-smoker struggling to stay off the weed but watching Sharon Stone puff her way through this sad mess is enough to strengthen my resolve to never smoke again. Never has smoking looked so unappealing...or ridiculous.
I thought Felicity Huffman captured the transsexual market this year but Stone goes one better, playing Trammell like she/he's a man pretending to be a woman - all husky voiced, overly toned masculinity and obsessed with own ideal of femininity. Whatever kudos Stone gathered post original BASIC INSTINCT she's blown it now.
And as for David Morrissey...."Wet" is the only word that springs to mind. This guy is so miscast and awful it defies description. There's a black hole where an actor should have been, sucking all on screen life into his own vortex. Hope you had a nice career to date Mr Morrissey 'cos it's over now.
From Michael Douglas to David Morrissey (albeit 14 years later) in the space of one sequel...Says it all really about this disaster.
Michael Caton Jones deserves a listing in the dictionary behind the word "hack".