30 November 2013

Movies - November 2013 (13 movies watched)

1. Captain Phillips **** new
2. Gravity **** new
3. John Carter ****
4. Saving Mr Banks **** new
5. You've Got Mail ****
6. The Hunger Games ****
7. Catching Fire ***** new
8. Cloud Atlas ****
9. Catching Fire *****
10. Shakespeare in Love ****
11. The Shining *****
12. Catching Fire *****
13. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy *****

Movies - October 2013 - (17 movies watched)

1. The Way Way Back **** new
2. Blue Jasmine **** new
3. How I Live Now **** new
4. Sunshine on Leith **** new
5. Romeo and Juliet ** new
6. The Others ****
7. Carlito's Way **** new
8. Thor ***
9. Avengers Assemble *****
10. Thor: The Dark World ***** new
11. Ender's Game *** new
12. Les Misérables ****
13. Jane Eyre (2012) ****
14. Thor ***
15. Avengers Assemble *****
16. Thor: The Dark World ****
17. The Cabin in the Woods ****

Movies - September 2013 (13 movies watched)

1. The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones ***
2. A Streetcar Named Desire *****
3. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones ***
4. Ain't Them Bodies Saints **** new
5. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones ***
6. The Prestige ****
7. Charlotte Gray *** new
8. Pitch Black ****
9. Rush **** new
10. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones ***
11. White House Down *** new
12. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones ***
13. Austenland *** new

01 September 2013

August 2013 (25 movies watched)

1. The Wolverine *** new
2. Valkyrie **** new
3. Captain America: The First Avenger ***
4. Haywire ****
5. Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa **** new
6. The Lone Ranger *** new
7. Only God Forgives ** new
8. Kick-Ass 2 ** new
9. Catch and Release ***
10. Fish Tank **** new
11. X-Men: First Class ****
12. About Time **** new
13. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones *** new
14. A Perfect Getaway ****
15. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones ***
16. The End of the Affair ****
17. The Young Victoria ****
18. Jurassic Park (IMAX re-release) *****
19. Elysium *** new
20. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones ***
21. Twilight ***
22. The Shipping News ****
23. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones ***
24. Commando **** new
25. (500) Days of Summer ****

18 August 2013

Movies July 2013 (total of 9 movies watched)

1. A Royal Affair ***** new
2. London ** new
3. Chasing Mavericks *** new
4. The Hurt Locker *****
5. Man of Steel ****
6. Pacific Rim *** new
7. The World's End **** new
8. Witness *****
9. The Internship ** new

30 July 2013

Movies June 2013 (total of 25 movies watched)

1. The Terminator ****
2. One Day ****
3. Byzantium ***** new
4. Before Sunrise **** new
5. Endgame **** new
6. Constantine ****
7. Behind the Candelabra **** new
8. Before Sunset ***** new
9. Runaway Jury ****
10. The Iceman **** new
11. The Great White Silence **** new (IFI Open Day)
12. The Last of the High Kings **** (IFI Open Day)
13. Killer of Sheep ***** new (IFI Open Day)
14. Rashomon ***** new (IFI Open Day)
15. Man of Steel **** new
16. Now You See Me **** new (Cineworld special unlimited screening)
17. Man of Steel ****
18. World War Z *** new
19. I Capture the Castle ****
20. Snitch *** new
21. Man of Steel ****
22. The Princess Bride *****
23. Stardust ***
24. Cloud Atlas ****
25. This Is The End *** new

01 June 2013

Movies May 2013 (total of 23 movies watched)

1. Warrior *****
2. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang ****
3. Iron Man 3 *****
4. American Psycho ****
5. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan *****
6. The Dark Knight Rises *****
7. Star Trek Into Darkness ***** new
8. Get Him To The Greek **** new
9. Plunkett and Macleane ***
10. Complicity *** new
11. Mindhunters ** new
12. Working Girl ****
13. The Great Gatsby *** new
14. Dark Shadows ** new
15. Fast Five **** new
16. The Saint ****
17. America's Sweethearts ***
18. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy *****
19. Troy ***
20. The Bourne Legacy ****
21. The Other Guys ****
22. Chasing Ice **** new
23. Fast & Furious 6 **** new

04 May 2013

Movies April 2013

1. Trance *** new
2. Dark Skies *** new
3. Heat *****
4. Oblivion *** new
5. Side Effects **** new
6. The Kids Are All Right **** new
7. Spring Breakers ** new
8. The Girl Who Played With Fire *** new
9. Olympus Has Fallen **** new
10. The Place Beyond The Pines **** new
11. MacGruber ***
12. Iron Man 3 ***** new

03 April 2013

March 2013: Total of 13 movies watched

1. Stoker ***** new
2. Don't Look Now *****
3. Oz The Great And Powerful **** new
4. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters **
5. Robot & Frank **** new
6. Limitless **** new
7. The Debt **** new
8. A Good Day To Die Hard ** new
9. Silver Linings Playbook ****
10. Jeff, who lives at home **** new
11. Cloud Atlas *****
12. Stoker *****
13. 28 Weeks Later ***

03 March 2013

February 2013 - Total of 22 movies watched

1. Ingenious/Lightbulb *** new
2. The Town ****
3. Zero Dark Thirty *****
4. Flight **** new
5. Drive ****
6. Wreck-It Ralph *** new
7. I give it a year **** new
8. Warm Bodies **** new
9. Jennifer's Body *** new
10. Animal Kingdom **** new
11. Beautiful Creatures *** new
12. Moulin Rouge ***** (cinema re-release)
13. SWAT ***
14. Green Zone ****
15. The Bourne Legacy ****
16. The Insider ****
17. Jane Eyre (2012) ****
18. Much Ado About Nothing (2012) **** new
19. Amour ***** new
20. We Need To Talk About Kevin **** new
21. Cloud Atlas ***** new
22. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters *** newv

13 February 2013

Oscars 2013: Predictions and Hopes

Here's the list of nominees I actually have an opinion about, with the one I think will actually win and the one I'd give the Oscar to. Full disclosure: between the jigs and the reels, I haven't seen all the nominees. I missed out on Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild and The Sessions. So I'm obviously not in a position to comment on those films. This makes the Best Actress category kind of difficult for me. If I manage to see any of them before the big night, I will update accordingly.

Best film

Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Life Of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Prediction: I think it will probably be either Argo or Lincoln. Given that Argo has a lot of stuff about movie-folks in it, it might just pip Lincoln at the post. So I'm going with Argo

Hope: I'd really like to see Zero Dark Thirty win. I've seen it three times and it's great.

Best actress

    Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty
    Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook
    Emmanuelle Riva - Amour
    Quvenzhane Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild
    Naomi Watts - The Impossible 

Prediction: Riva, Lawrence or Chastain. It will probably be Lawrence.

Hope: I'd be delighted to see Lawrence win because I loved Silver Linings Playbook so much. But I'd be very happy to see Jessica Chastain get the Oscar because that was a fantastic, complex role for a woman - not an adjunct to a man but a real person in her her own right - and she was perfect in it.
Best actor

    Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln
    Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook
    Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables
    Joaquin Phoenix - The Master
    Denzel Washington - Flight

Prediction: It'll be Wicklow's most famous resident, Daniel Day-Lewis.

Hope: I think Day-Lewis was wonderful but Phoenix was better. Jackman was amazing, Washington was excellent but it's Bradley Cooper for me. It's a wonderful role that asks a huge amount of him and he is brilliant.

Best director

Michael Haneke - Amour
Ang Lee - Life of Pi
David O Russell - Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg - Lincoln
Benh Zeitlin - Beasts of the Southern Wild

Prediction: Probably Spielberg or Lee. I'm going to say Spielberg.

Hope: Life of Pi was an incredible directorial achievement. Just breathtaking. I'd like Ang Lee to get the Oscar.

Best supporting actor

    Alan Arkin - Argo
    Robert De Niro - Silver Linings Playbook
    Tommy Lee Jones - Lincoln
    Christoph Waltz - Django Unchained
    Philip Seymour Hoffman - The Master

Prediction: Tommy Lee Jones is very likely but after the BAFTAs, I'm going for Christoph Waltz.

Hope: I really enjoyed Arkin, Hoffman was brilliant and de Niro actually bothered to act and be completely wonderful again in Silver Linings Playbook. But I'd like it to be Christoph Waltz. He was hands-down the best thing about Django.

Best supporting actress

    Amy Adams - The Master
    Sally Field - Lincoln
    Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables
    Helen Hunt - The Sessions
    Jacki Weaver - Silver Linings Playbook

Prediction: Anne Hathaway. Virtually no question.

Hope: I have a lot more respect for Weaver's lovely, warm performance in SLP since she terrified the crap out of me as the grandmother of an Aussie crime family in Animal Kingdom. Fields was great in Lincoln, Adams was excellent as the cold, calculating wife in The Master but I'm going for Hathaway.

Adapted screenplay

    Argo - Chris Terrio
    Beasts Of The Southern Wild - Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin
    Life Of Pi - David Magee
    Lincoln - Tony Kushner
    Silver Linings Playbook - David O Russell

Prediction: Lincoln or Silver Linings Playbook. I think. Honestly, I'm not sure. Here's a chance to give a sop to a film that's not getting anything else so it could be any of them. After the BAFTAs, I hope it will be Silver Linings Playbook. 

Hope: Silver Linings Playbook is the one for me. Loved it. Wonderful balance between pain and joy. I cried the first time I saw the film (when Pat is explaining what it was like not knowing he was bipolar: "white-knuckling it this whole time") and I have yet to see it (four times now...) without coming out with a grin like I've a coat hanger in my mouth. I almost didn't see it because I disliked Bradley Cooper (please note: past tense), was tired of watching de Niro mugging for the camera and in all the rom-com marketing, missed the darker elements of the story. I would have missed something marvellous.

Original screenplay

    Amour - Michael Haneke
    Django Unchained - Quentin Tarantino
    Flight - John Gatins
    Moonrise Kingdom - Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
    Zero Dark Thirty - Mark Boal

Prediction: Zero Dark Thirty. Here is a safe enough place to give some acknowledgment to this film. Also, it is a great screenplay - how to take all that military jargon and spy-speak and interminable, dull tradecraft and make an enthralling, gripping story out of it. And the way that the physical torture itself didn't make me shudder half as much as the way the torturers were clearly breaking a person into pieces. Excellent.

Hope: I'd be happy to see Zero Dark Thirty take it but Moonrise Kingdom was so very very wonderful that I'd love it to get at least something from the Oscars. So it's my hope.

12 February 2013

"I don't believe in it really... love. Do you?"

On Valentine's Day, the Dublin-based short film On Our Way will be streaming on the film's homepage. The film was written and directed by Fergal Rock, whose previous short Henry and Sunny saw him nominated for Best Director at the Feelgood Film Festival in 2010 and whose screenplay Calvin & Skye was a winner of the BlueCat International Fellini Screenwriting Awards. He also directed a very young Jack Gleeson in his short film Tom Waits Made Me Cry so he's partly to blame for the immensely slappable Joffrey in the brilliant Game of Thrones...

Henry and Sunny's cinematographer Orla Russell-Conway (winner of Best Cinematographer at the Underground Film Awards 2010 for her work on that film) and its star Dorothy Cotter (nominated for Best Actress at the Feelgood Film Festival for her role as a soap opera actress who falls for a romantic clown) reunite with Rock for On Our Way, with Matthew Keenan and producer Noni Stapleton rounding out the cast. The trailer can be seen here. The film also features original music, including a song by Billy Fitzgerald, former frontman of the excellent The Dead Flags (RIP).

The film is described as "a hopeful tale of missed connections and second chances". I'm pretty much a sucker for this kind of romance. I'm heading to a screening of the film in The Sugar Club on Sunday and will review it then.

Full disclosure: Dorothy Cotter's my cousin, Fergal Rock, Orla Russell-Conway and Noni Stapleton are friends of mine and Billy Fitzgerald is my brother. I've never met Matthew Keenan but he's cute, right?

31 January 2013

#2 The Impossible - Review


The trailer for The Impossible reduced me to tears each and every time I saw it, so I was very much braced for impact when it came to seeing the film itself. And it is heart-rending stuff - the suffering of this one family standing in for all the pain and sorrow suffered by so many people during and after the tsunami. And since this is a true story of triumph over the odds, there is something positive to be taken from their suffering. Despite the severe and long-lasting injuries suffered by Naomi Watts' character and the trauma and distress the children and her husband endure while not knowing if their family are alive or dead, at least this family survived while so many did not. 

In focusing on this one family, it could be argued that the film-makers have ignored the devastation to all the other people whose lives, homes and possessions were destroyed. But unless a film about a natural disaster has some kind of focus, it would fail to make an impact: one person's death is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic. It seemed to me that the epic scale of the destruction was never ignored - the impact of the hospital scenes alone make it clear that the country has been overwhelmed by the disaster and that the Thai people are making extraordinary efforts in terrible circumstances to help the injured, the lost and the dying, whether those people are Thai or tourists. It's extremely affecting to see villagers helping Naomi Watts and her son who would have died without their intervention.

Naomi Watts is very good in her role - and has been duly Oscar-nominated - although there isn't much subtlety required. Ewan McGregor doesn't get the showy role, as the husband searching desperately for his wife and son, but he has one outstanding scene in which he makes a phonecall home and breaks down when trying to explain the situation. The elder of the three boys is played by newcomer Tom Holland, who is simply excellent. He reminded me very much of Jamie Bell in Billy Elliot.

Apart from such good performances and an emotionally engaging script and story, the real reason to see this film is the incredible sequence when the tsunami hits. It is visceral. All around me in the cinema, I could see people wrapping their arms around themselves, tense and frightened by the force of the images and sound. I can't imagine it will have anything like the same impact on the small screen and I am so glad that I got to see it at the cinema, with powerful speakers and a big screen filling up my vision with the horror of nature.

January 2013 - Total of 27 movies watched

1. Moonrise Kingdom ***** new
2. Up ****
3. An American in Paris ****
4. The Bourne Legacy ****
5. Blue Valentine **** new
6. Rosemary's Baby **** new
7. Pitch Perfect **** new
8. The Impossible **** new
9. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2012) ****
10. Les Miserables **** new
11. Fracture ***
12. Gangster Squad *** new
13. Silver Linings Playbook ****
14. Where Eagles Dare ****
15. Django Unchained **** new
16. The Bourne Legacy ****
17. Prometheus ***
18. The Hurt Locker *****
19. Unbreakable ****
20. Dogfight ****
21. Serendipity ***
22. A little trip to heaven *** new
23. Zero Dark Thirty **** new
24. Take *** new
25. Lincoln **** new
26. Zero Dark Thirty *****
27. Avengers Assemble *****

12 January 2013

#1 Pitch Perfect

It's aca-awesome!

Went to the cinema to see The Impossible but it was sold out so I ended up at Pitch Perfect instead, which was pretty much at the opposite end of the emotional spectrum from what I'd planned but howanever! It was FUN.

Loner wannabe music producer Beca (Anna Kendrick) accidentally ends up in the all-female Barden Belles acapella group in her freshman year at Barden College, where the all-male Treblemakers are still lording it over the ladies after an unpleasant vomiting incident ended the Belles' hopes at a victory the previous year. The Belles aim for absolute perfection, making their singing rigid and boring. Beca, who likes to remix music, ends up remixing the Belles' music, falling in love and finding herself. And there's a LOT of singing.

What saves Pitch Perfect from being another High School Musical or later-season Glee is that it's actually very funny. The various oddballs in the Belles and Treblemakers are all weirdly funny, from the perky perfectionist Aubrey to the teeny-voiced psycho Lilly to the hyper-confident Fat Amy (standout Rebel Wilson), and Beca is played by Anna Kendrick so she is wonderfully awkward and mocking and adorable. And she also raps, embarrassingly. The boys are less interesting, although equally strange. Skylar Astin as Beca's love interest Jesse hasn't much to do but be funny and sweet to Beca and also is obsessed with movies (which I always appreciate in a man...). There seems to be some dangling plot-thread over a possible love triangle between him, Beca and the fantastically-abbed DJ on the college radio station so maybe he had more to do in the original script. He does sing wonderfully though and his version of It Feels Like The First Time by Foreigner during a riff-off between the various groups is excellent. There's additional comedy from inappropriate competition commentators Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins.

All-in-all, this is a fun movie, if you liked early season Glee and Bridesmaids. The music is really terrific, especially if you like mash-ups (which I do, a lot) and I appreciated the female bonding, which felt genuine and heartfelt and very much Bechdel-test-pass-y! Less vomiting would have been nice but you can't have everything.

02 January 2013

Movies of the Year 2012

I saw 300 movies in total in 2012. About 80 of those were seen in the cinema - several were repeat viewings of new films while some were re-releases of classics. In total I saw 58 separate new films, all of which (bar one or two) were 2012 releases. 

Here are the Ten Best Movies I Saw In 2012 (in alphabetical order):

Avengers Assemble
The Artist
The Cabin In The Woods
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Master
What Richard Did

Honourable mentions: Being Elmo, Chronicle, End of Watch, Killer Joe, Magic Mike, Shadow Dancer, Shame, Silver Linings Playbook, The Grey, The Hunger Games.

And here's my list of Favourite Movies Of 2012 (in alphabetical order):

(I tend to judge this on re-watchability and I've seen most of these films at least two or three times, either in the cinema or on dvd)

21 Jump Street
Avengers Assemble
John Carter
Magic Mike
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Silver Linings Playbook
The Artist
The Bourne Legacy
The Cabin in the Woods
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Hunger Games
The Amazing Spider-Man
The Five Year Engagement
Liberal Arts

December 2012 - Total of 28 movies watched

1. Great Expectations *** new
2. Serenity ****
3. The Vow ****
4. Billy Elliot *****
5. Silver Linings Playbook ****
6. Across the Universe *** new
7. Scrooged ****
8. War of the Worlds ***
9. What's Your Number? **
10. Superman Returns ****
11. The A-Team *** new
12. When Harry Met Sally... *****
13. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ***** new
14. Gremlins ****
15. The Hunger Games ****
16. Young Adult *** new
17. A Perfect Getaway ****
18. It's A Wonderful Life *****
19. Life of Pi ***** new
20. Journey to the Centre of the Earth ***
21. Couples Retreat ** new
22. Smilla's Sense of Snow ****
23. The Bourne Legacy ****
24. Superman ****
25. Silver Linings Playbook ****
26. Miss Potter ****
27. Jack Reacher ****
28. A Star Is Born *****

November 2012 - Total of 16 movies watched

1. Punch-Drunk Love **** new
2. Harper ****
3. North Country *** new
4. All About Eve *****
5. Brave ****
6. An Affair to Remember ****
7. Argo ***** new
8. Skyfall ****
9. The Hunger Games ****
10. When Brendan Met Trudy ****
11. Lockout *** new
12. The Master ***** new
13. Chopper **** new
14. Silver Linings Playbook **** new
15. End of Watch **** new
16. Red Dawn **** new

October 2012 - Total of 24 movies watched

1. One for the Money ** new
2. Hunger **** new
3. Atonement *****
4. A Single Man ****
5. Sunshine ****
6. The Man from Snowy River ****
7. The Artist *****
8. Definitely, Maybe ****
9. Casino Royale ****
10. Australia ****
11. What Richard Did ***** new
12. Vertigo *****
13. The Ugly Truth ***
14. Psycho *****
15. Looper ****
16. You've Got Mail ****
17. Sleepless in Seattle ****
18. What Richard Did *****
19. Pillow Talk ****
20. Notorious *****
21. To Catch A Thief ****
22. Quantum of Solace ***
23. Skyfall ***** new
24. The Shining *****