The latest movies reviewed by Paul Byrne including The Lion King 3D, Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark & more..
MOVIES.IE’S ONE TO WATCH!
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (Spain/USA/12A/94mins)
Directed by Woody Allen. Starring Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Tom Hiddleston, Adrean Brody, Michael Sheen, Alison Pill, Corey Stollm Marcial Di Fonzo Bo.
THE PLOT: Wilson plays disenchanted Hollywood writer Gil, on a break in Paris with his fiancé, Inez (McAdams) and her disapproving parents, unable to convince any of them that Paris in the 1920s might just be heaven. When Gil finds himself transported back to the world of Hemingway (Stoll), Picasso (Bo), Fitzgerald (Hiddleston), Dali (Brody) and Gertrude Stein (Bates), he’s like a fat kid at a moveable feast. “You’re in love with a fantasy,” barks the disbelieving Inez, and when Gil meets Picasso’s melancholy mistress, Adriana (Cotillard), indeed he is.
THE VERDICT: Already Woody Allen’s most successful movie ever (pipping the likes of even Hannah And Her Sister, Manhattan and Annie Hall in the US), Midnight In Paris is a delight. And almost as sweet and dandy as Bullets Over Broadway (1994). Wilson makes for a perfect Woody substitute, wary of the modern world, and the bulk of its population, and Allen himself here has a huge amount of fun recreating, celebrating and, of course, mildly mocking the sizzling Paris of the 1920s. Not quite Temple Bar in the 1990s, but you can certainly see the attraction here. RATING: 4/5
MOVIES.IE’S ONE TO WATCH!
THE LION KING 3D (USA/G/89mins)
Directed by Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff. Starring the voices of Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Rowan Atkinson, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Whoopi Goldberg.
THE PLOT: After his scheming uncle Scar (Irons) orchestrates the death of his father (Jones) and makes the young lion cub believe it was his fault, Simba (Broderick) flees into exile, and the helpful arms of warthog Pumbaa (Sabella) and meerkat Timon (Lane). Years later, with his pride somewhat restored, and his father’s pride on the verge of starvation, thanks to the greedy Scar and his alliance with hyenas, Simba decides it’s time for a little redemption. And revenge…
THE VERDICT: A movie that would work even if it was drawn with crayon, The Lion King’s re-release in 3D was largely meant to be a springboard for its upcoming DVD and Blu-Ray arrival in late October. That the 1994 Disney comeback jewel took the US box-office by storm last month 17 years after its initial release has taken Hollywood by surprise, but then, who doesn’t like watching a classic on the big screen? Especially when it’s a good old-fashioned yarn with plenty of smart gags, singalong tunes and some glorious animation? RATING: 5/5
PERFECT SENSE (UK/15A/92mins)
Directed by David MacKenzie. Starring Eva Green, Ewan McGregor, Connie Nielsen, Stephen Dillane, Ewen Bremner.
THE PLOT: Once again, it’s the end of the world as we know, and, thankfully, chef Michael (McGregor) and epidemiologist Susan (Green) feel fine. Then again, they live in Glasgow, where it’s notoriously hard to tell whether or not the apocalypse has happened yet. The kink this time is the loss of two senses, of smell, and of taste, a worldwide epidemic signaled in the individual by a sudden huge wave of grief followed by your olfactory nerves shutting down. Plainly, it’s an epidemic that came a little too late for the investors in this stinker.
THE VERDICT: Another week, another low-budget McGregor outing that, in principal, should work. But then, oops, Troy McGregor swaggers on and delivers his Jim Fixed It For Me smirk. It’s the second collaboration between the actor and director MacKenzie, the two having made the rather respectable Young Adam bacl in 2003. In amongst the tear-stained rumpy-pumpy and the flashes of Third World mayhem, Katy Engels’ voice interrupts occasionally, to, eh, tell us all about the power of love.
As with MacKenzie’s very recent You Instead (two rockers get handcuffed together at Glasgow’s T In The Park festival), there’s an intriguing idea here that never delivers on its promise. At all. Trite, verging on shite. RATING: 2/5
Directed by Paddy Considine. Starring Olivia Coleman, Peter Mullan, Eddie Marsan, Paul Popplewell, Ned Dennehy, Samuel Bottomley.
THE PLOT: Leeds, present day, and violent, drunken, widower loner Joseph (Mullan) has once again killed the thing he loves – kicking to death his dog, Bluey, after a raging row in the bookies. “What the hell’s the matter with you?” Joseph asks himself later, his anger having just spilled over once again, beating a youth with a pool table. It was after that attack that Joseph tried to hide in a local charity shop, getting to know assistant Hannah (Coleman) in the process. At home, the smiling, good-natured, middle-class Hannah is being battered and abused by her bible-bashing husband (Marsan) – bible-bashers, of course, often making the best wife-beaters.
THE VERDICT: As a teenage photography student, Paddy Considine was deeply moved by Gary Oldman’s directorial debut, Nil By Mouth, and there’s a very direct line between the two harrowing films. Men reasserting their manhood by beating their women; fierce creatures proving themselves to be frightened animals; life in some working class neighbourhoods offering a low-budget Death Wish around every corner. There’s a darkness here though that verges on parody at times (especially when we’re introduced to Marsan, unzipping and pissing on a napping Coleman). On the plus side, Considine avoids Social Realism 101 with an ending that’s distinctly more gothic than gritty. A headbutt, from the heart.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK (USA/UK/16/97mins)
Directed by Troy Nixey. Starring Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce, Bailee Madison, Jack Thompson, Alan Dale, Julia Blake.
THE PLOT: With her parents a little too busy to truly hear her screams, Sally (Madison) is sent by mum to live with her struggling architect father Alex (earce) and his interior decorator girlfriend Kim (Holmes), the couple having just moved into a rundown Gothic Rhode Island mansion with plans to restore both the building and, hopefully, his flagging career. Convinced someone’s behind those bumps in the night, Sally goes snooping in the bowels of Blackwood Manor…
THE VERDICT: According to Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone), the film that scared him the most growing up was a 1973 TV outing, Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark. So, he’s decided to remake it here, handing the directing duties to comic book artist Troy Nixey (Trout), and introducing a child into the centre of the familial meltdown. As is his wont. Actually, the 9-year old here pretty much represents the 9-year old Guillermo, sitting, petrified, in front of the flickering telly. Only trouble is, you’d have to be 9 years old to be petrified here. The scary monsters and super creeps, once revealed, aren’t all that scary. Or super. This family doesn’t need an exorcist or a ghostbuster – they need a fumigator.
JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN (UK/USA/PG/101mins)
Directed by Oliver Parker. Starring Rowan Atkinson, Dominic West, Gillian Anderson, Rosamund Pike, Ben Miller, Daniel Kaluuya, Richard Schiff, Stephen Campbell Moore.
THE PLOT: Having been “hidden away for five winters now” (actually, it’s been seven years), MI7’s most celebrated spy Sir Johnny English (Atkinson) is ready to save the world again. By doing his best Inspector Clouseau impersonation. Again. Having made a laughing stock of his secret service agency once before, Johnny’s new boss (Anderson) is determined that no such humiliation should happen again on her watch as they set out to foil a plot to kill the prime minister (Moore).
THE VERDICT: Atkinson, of course, gives great deadpan incompetence, and if his highly lucrative Hulot knock-off can casually earn him billions, it’s perhaps understandable that the reclusive rubber-faced funnyman would feel the need to flex his comic muscle a little further every now and then. Atkinson just doesn’t flex it far enough here, adding pretty much nothing new to a well-worn formula. Leslie Nielsen must be spinning in his grave. Knocking his head on the lid every time, of course. Atkinson knows where his bread is buttered though, having opened this film in a string of foreign territories before the UK and Ireland this week and the US on October 28th. The likes of Singapore, Slovenia and India has already pulled in $38m.
Around the world. Taking place from October 20th to the 23rd, the Abara International Film Festival will showcase films by, with and about people with disabilities. And the festival itself will be taking place in cinemas all over the world simultaneously.
Following the gala opening of the festival at the IFI on October 20th at 6.30pm, films on the night include Aideen Barry and Cathal McCarthy’s 10-min short The Exchange, Roger Ross Williams’ 33-min Music By Prudence. The following day, it’s the Scannan Technology group and Ballina Arts Centre’s 17-min offering Tom And Mary, as well as a School Education Programme.
Full details of screenings, events, workshops and locations are available on http://www.dochas.ie/abara/index.asp.
ANOTHER NIGHT AT THE OPERA
The new Met: Live in HD season begins on Saturday Oct 15th with Donizetti’s Anna Bolena being broadcast live from New York to 12 cinemas around the country, including Dublin’s Screen Cinema.
Lovers of opera will have the chance to see 11 live broadcasts from the Met this coming season, including Handel’s Rodelinda and the final two operas of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Siegfried and Gotterdammerung.
Ticket prices are €25, €11 for children, and €13 for students, with group discounts available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
GIRLS ON FILM
To mark the release of Ali Samadi Ahadi’s The Green Wave on Oct 21st, the IFI will be hosting Women In Iranian Cinema.
With films depicting the Arab Spring just beginning to emerge, the IFI’s new film season is inspired by the Iranian ‘Green Wave’ protests of 2009 that retrospectively seem to foretell the wider unrest across the Muslim world in 20111.
Highlights include the Golden Lion winner The Circle, the Silver Bear winner Offside and Our Times/We Are Half of Iran’s Population, a selection of work from Bakshan Bani-F’temad, regarded by many as Iran’s leading female director.
Running from October 8th to the 26th, all the details are on ifi.ie.
READY FOR YOUR CLOSE-UP?
For those of you who feel that, hey, you really should be running a picture house, the Screen Cinema have set up the Junior Programmer Season, wherein members of the audience have the opportunity to play film programmer for the night.
Set to run for the year, first out of the gate is Jennifer Burke, whose favourite film, American Psycho, set to run at the Screen on October 27th.
To be in with a chance of seeing your favourite film up on the big screen, email email@example.com with your favourite film and the reason why you think it should be played.
IN THE BAG
This Sunday, October 9th, the IFI will be screening a special episode of the Brown Bag animation series The Octonauts, with Oscar-nominated director Darragh O’Connell in attendance.
The post screening discussion will focus on giving kids a glimpse into the animation process, so, this is very much a family affair. It’s a free but ticketed event, so, you’ll have to be quick. The IFI box-office is (01) 6793477.
OH, THE HORROR!
The mighty Horrorthon returns for its 14th years of screams, schemes and blood-splattered dreams with the usual mix of sneak previews, classic cult hits and special guests.
Taking place over the October Halloween bank holiday weekend, special guest of honour is Michael Biehn (Alien, Terminator, The Abyss) – along with his wife, Jennifer Blanc Biehn – presenting his directorial debut, The Victim.
The festival opens with The Awakening, starring Rebecca Hall and Dominic West, whilst highlights include The Wicker Tree (Robin Hardy’s belated sequel to his 1973 classic, The Wicker Man), Snowtown (a portrait of Australian serial killer Robert Bunting) and a evil santa on the rampage in Saint.
Michael Biehn will dominate the festival, with not only his directorial debut but also with Xavier Gans’ apocalypse survival movie The Divide, in which Biehn takes the lead role, and will participate in a Q&A for.
On the classics front, you can choose from De Palma’s Blow Out, Eastwood’s Play Misty For Me and Halloween II.
Check out ifi.ie for full details.
WE CAN BE SUPERHEROES…
As part of the Slamdance On The Road programme, Filmbase will be screening Michael Barnett’s new documentary Superheroes.
Basically Kick-Ass for real, Superheroes talks to those hardy young Americans who have decided that the only way to fight crime is to dress up in a cool costume and pound the streets. And the baddies, of course.
You may not be all that surprised to know that there are over 300 superheroes registered in the United States. Barnett, naturally, gives quite a bit of time over to the New York Initiative, a fantastic foursome based in New York.
The screening takes place on Friday October 14th, with a live Skype Q&A with the filmmakers afterwards. You can get the full lowdown on filmbase.ie.