Boyhood

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DIR/WRI: Richard Linklater  PRO: Richard Linklater, Jonathan Sehring, John Sloss, Cathleen Sutherland   DOP: Lee Daniel, Shane F. Kelly  ED: Sandra Adair   DES: Rodney Becker, Gay Studebaker  CAST: Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater

Filmed over a period of twelve years with the same cast, Richard Linklater’s innovative Boyhoood is the first of its kind.  The film traces the story of Mason (Ellar Coltrane), from the age of six years old in 2002 to the verge of young adulthood and maturity.  Following the film’s striking first shot of the young, daydreaming Mason, Linklater portrays his handling of key life experiences such as the aftermath of his parents’ divorce and his mother’s ensuing relationships, undergoing puberty, falling in love and eventually leaving the family nest for college.

There is no doubt in arguing that Linkater’s pioneering filmmaking idea is a success.  This is because the use of the same actor to play Mason over a twelve-year period gives the film a sense of realism that makes it impossible not to become emotionally involved with his character.  It is as if we are watching a documentary that allows us to grow up with him and to share his experiences.  Therefore, the film is able to secure an emotional connection without the use of emotive music, opting instead for pop music released during the period of 2002 and 2014.  However, it can be argued that towards the end of the film, the emotional attachment to Mason begins to wane.  This is because his melancholic, teenage angst makes it more difficult to connect with him.  Nevertheless, his quirky personality ensures that he is not completely deprived of his likeability.

It is also impressive that that despite the long filming period, the film still maintains a sense of aesthetic continuity.  Clearly, the film was shot and edited with great focus and discipline in order to give the impression that it was filmed in a few weeks, rather than a period of over a decade.  Moreover, the visual continuity also affirms Linklater’s status as one of the noteworthy auteurs of this generation.

However, the film also reveals Linklater’s development as a filmmaker.  For example, instead of typically relying just on loaded, philosophical dialogue, he allows the characters and the long filming period to imply his philosophical ideas for much of the film.  This is clear from the film’s sense of timelessness.  In other words, it is implied that no matter how much music, trends or political frenzies change over a period of twelve years, what it means to be human and to grow up will always remain the same.  Also, the character of Mason‘s mother Olvia (Patricia Arquette) is used to infer, without any heavy dialogue, that adulthood is only an illusion; no matter how many experiences and important life events one lives through, there is always that permanent feeling of being lost, or of not having reached the point where it all comes together.

Overall, Boyhood is a significant piece of filmmaking and a worthwhile experimentation on the part of Linklater.  There are few out there who could make a simple documentation of growing up into something artistic and absorbing; it proves to show that with the right director, even the simple things can make sagas.

Aisling Daly

15A (See IFCO for details)
165 mins

Boyhood is released on 11th July 2014

Boyhood – Official Website

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Begin Again

begin again

DIR/WRI: John Carney  PRO: Tobin Armbrust, Anthony Bregman  DOP: Yaron Orbach  ED: Andrew Marcus   DES: Chad Keith  MUS: Gregg Alexander  CAST: Keira Knightley, Adam Levine, James Corden, Mark Ruffalo

“A true New York story about the magical opportunities that can be found under this great city’s bright lights,” is how John Carney describes his latest film Begin Again.  Featuring musical contributions from names such as Danielle Brisbois, Gregg Alexander and Glen Hansard, Begin Again is a musical comedy-drama that upholds Carney’s belief in the power of musical collaboration to bring lost souls together, as previously seen in his 2006 film Once.

The film stars Keira Knightley and Adam Levine as Gretta and Dave, a long-term couple and songwriting partnership who move to New York where Dave lands a deal with a major label. When Gretta finds herself alone following a betrayal, she meets disgraced record label executive Dan (Mark Ruffalo) at an East Village open mic.  Captivated by her raw talent, Dan insists on a musical collaboration with Gretta in order to harbour the musical authenticity they both value.

While the film could have potentially fallen into the trap of simply ‘Americanising’ the Once scenario, it nonetheless holds its own.  Moreover, the film evokes a sense of universality, as both English and American humour and mannerisms are successfully combined together in a well-written screenplay that can be equally appreciated by audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.  However, Carney relies on more than just words for his storytelling power, as he aptly incorporates music into the film in order to expose what happens beyond the dialogue; throughout the film, music is shown to reveal the true nature of relationships and personalities, while at the same time bringing the simple urban surroundings of New York to life.

Furthermore, while Knightley and Ruffalo have a charming on-screen relationship as Gretta and Dan, the most likeable pairing is actually Gretta and her busking friend Steve (James Corden).  This is largely due to the fresh source of comic relief provided by Corden, which works well with the sharp comments of the unassuming yet opinionated Gretta. This is emphasised by the documentary, ‘fly on the wall’ style of the film, which make the character interactions seem genuine.

However, despite the film’s claims of promoting musical authenticity, it nevertheless falls victim to the commercialism that it tries to overthrow.  Knightley’s supposedly ‘live’ vocals are clearly processed by Auto-Tune, therefore depriving Gretta’s music of its rawness and transforming it into a commodity.  It is also difficult to ignore the fact that Gretta never really achieves independence over her own music as Dan, like a true big-label producer, seems to have total control over the production of the album they set out to record.  This would be forgivable if the film included one stand-out song such as that of ‘Falling Slowly’ in Once.  Unfortunately, the soundtrack lacks such a song, which may come as a disappointment to fans of Carney’s previous musical offering.  Moreover, Carney tends to overestimate the power of music to change one’s life for the better, as the outcome of one particular character’s individual story seems too good to be true.  Therefore, like the film’s music, the plot ultimately becomes subject to formulaic mass-production, rather than achieving a sense of authenticity.

While Begin Again does have its obvious contradictions, its fresh wit, likeable cast and musical plot progression gives it the potential to be the ‘feel good’ film of the summer months once it has its Irish premiere at Galway Film Fleadh.

Aisling Daly

15A (See IFCO for details)
103 mins

Begin Again is released on 11th July 2014

Begin Again – Official Website

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwLuDO_Cxfc&feature=kp

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On the Reel at the Transformers Red Carpet

Transformers premiere

This week sees the release of the latest in Michael Bay’s explosive big budget franchise, and this time Ireland’s own Jack Reynor is along for the ride. On the Reel caught up with Jack at the Dublin Premiere of Transformers: Age of Extinction where he talked about Michael Bay, visual FX and slagging Mark Wahlberg.

There was also an appearance from a very special guest who spilt the beans about working with Jack, Michael and his plans for world domination. Check out the video below, and don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe.

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It Came From Connemara!!: Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh

it came from connemara

The 26th Galway Film Fleadh (8 – 13 July, 2014)

It Came From Connemara!!

Wed 9th July

Town Hall Theatre

15.00

It Came From Connemara!!, the feature documentary about Roger Corman’s film factory in Connemara, will have its world premiere at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh. The festival will be a fitting location for a film that documents an exciting but controversial time in Irish cinema history. In the mid 1990’s the legendary Hollywood B-movie producer Roger Corman created the studio that would go on to produce nearly 20 feature films with Irish locations and crews.The film is directed by Brian Reddin, and he spoke to Film Ireland about it screening at the Fleadh.”Galway is central to the story of Corman in Ireland. Galway and Connemara supplied the locations for the studio and the backdrop to all of the movies – regardless of whether they were set in space or Maine – and many of the cast and crew were Galway based. In fact, a great number of people who worked with Corman in Connemara are still working in the business today in Galway, so there is a huge connection with Galway.

“The Fleadh itself played a significant role in the story of Corman in Connemara. It was a screening of Criminal Affairs at the Fleadh in 1997 which lead to negative reports about ‘porn’ being made in the West of Ireland with Údarás grants and a minor controversy about the merits of Corman’s output. Screening the documentary at the Fleadh brings the story of Corman in Connemara full circle and we couldn’t be happier to premiere it there”.

The documentary tells how Corman brought his brand of low-budget, cult, B-movie cinema to Ireland. Responsible for launching the careers of Coppola, Scorsese and Jonathan Demme, Corman came to Ireland and, in a five-year period that was marked with controversies, created films that included Swamp Women, Attack Of The Crab Monsters and The Little Shop Of Horrors.

The documentary features exclusive interviews with Roger Corman, Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson, James Brolin and Corbin Bernsen as well as interviews with the Irish cast and crew, John Brady, Celine Curtin, Maeve Joyce and Evelyn O’Rourke. The documentary was produced and directed by Brian Reddin. The DOP was Gerry MacArthur and it was edited by Ultan Murphy in Windmill Lane. The documentary was funded by TG4 and the BAI.

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at www.tht.ie.

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A City Dreaming: Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh

a city dreaming

The 26th Galway Film Fleadh (8 – 13 July, 2014)

A City Dreaming

Sat 12th July

Cinemobile

16.00

This is a story that weaves its way through half a century of history during a time which saw the city of Derry rise from poverty and neglect, to hitting the headlines across the world. Even though the people lacked material wealth, they certainly were rich in spirit. As the winds of change blew across the globe in the 1960s, so too they swept through the streets of this city. Using unseen archive and home movie footage, this is an homage to the ordinary people,a personal memoir, told through the eyes of a young boy (Gerry Anderson ), born in the 1940s, who witnesses firstly the warmth of his family and street and then the tumultuous events that saw the city and its people almost destroyed.
Could the spirit of the people survive ?

Director Mark McCauley told Film Ireland, “The film started as a collaboration between myself and the broadcaster/writer Gerry Anderson ( BBC ). Northern Ireland Screen immediately came on board when they saw a short trailer we put together. Andrew Eaton came on board as our Executive Producer and that gave us the confidence to believe that we were on the right track as Andrew was working with Ron Howard at the time on Rush. Andrew recommended Chris Martin who became our producer fresh from Good Vibrations and steered us through to the finish line.

 

I wanted to make a film that somehow captured the spirit of the people of the city where we both were born ( Derry ). My background is as a documentary camera who’s spent 25 years covering the trouble spots in the world from the siege of Sarajevo through to the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. ( info at www.markmccauley.tv ) My personal experience and lasting memories of all those places is that behind all the headline grabbing violence and power politics lies a real generosity and decency amongst ordinary people. It often gets overwhelmed by the violence and hence we’re often not aware that it ever existed.I thought about how we might make a story about our own city that tried to build up the picture of those ordinary people.

 

Gerry and I worked on different themes and stories and very quickly it seemed that an authentic way to tell the story was through his eyes. Firstly, growing up in the 1940’s as  World War Two ended, witnessing the social and physical changes in the city, the gradual influence of the outside world on the city, culminating in the beginning of the civil rights campaign and the quick descent into violence. All told from an eyes on the street perspective.

 

A large percentage of the film is shot on home movie Super 8 film. I worked with the edit team of Justine Scoltock and Michael Barwise sifting through hours of film. The reactions of people to the camera is really natural as most of the material was shot by their own family and friends. In their homes and on the streets. Extraordinary pictures and faces hard to believe that they are from almost sixty years ago . They are so real it sometimes feel that you could reach in to the screen and touch them.

 

Gerry himself left the city for a period in the early 1970’s as I did in the mid 1980’s, so although we were from the city we were able to look at it from an outside perspective also.

 

 Music and poetry have been important to both of us and so we were keen try to create augment the atmospheric footage. I enlisted the help of composer Michael Keeney who recorded a beautiful orchestral score for the film, as well as using Debussy and Ennio Morricone ( watch the film to see how that  works ! ).

 

Marie Heaney kindly gave us permission to use a section  of film which I’d shot with Seamus only a few years ago and it was very emotional for us to use that near the end of the film as we witnessed a people so deeply marked by violence.

 

It’s a great honour to be selected for the Galway Film Fleadh and a privilege to let the audience see a people’s history unfold before their eyes. Many thanks to all the people, too numerous to name, who generously gave us the footage. It has been been quite a journey full of emotion for Gerry and I putting this film together and we really hope the audience get a chance to feel some of that emotion also .

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at www.tht.ie.

Director: Mark McCauley

Script: Gerry Anderson

Producer: Chris Martin, Andrew Eaton

Mark Mc Cauley
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Stay: Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh

stay

Stay

Fri 11th July

IMC 7

14.00

Stay, the lastest film from director Wiebke von Carolsfeld, has been selected to screen at the 26th Galway Film Fleadh. Co-produced by Samson Films, it stars Orange is the New Black‘s Taylor Schilling as a young Canadian woman who decides to leave her life in Conemara when she discovers the father of her unborn child has no interest in raising the child.

Wiebke Von Carolsfeld told Film Ireland, “I am absolutely thrilled to bring Stay home to Ireland. It was a blast to shoot the Irish part of the film in Connemara. The crew was an absolute delight, working with true dedication under sometimes less than ideal conditions – we managed to shoot the film in the rainiest June on record. The actors were uniformly inspiring”.

Shot across Co. Galway and Montreal, the film is an Irish-Canadian co-production between Dublin’s Samson Films and Canadian-based production companies Amerique Films and Submission Films.

Schilling plays Abby, the woman who’s life is rocked when the man she loves Dermot, played by Aidan Quinn, want nothing to do with their unborn child. Stay is an exploration of how our past defines our present and our need to engage with others defines our future.

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at www.tht.ie

 

Producer Martin Paul-Hus will attend the screening.

Director: Wiebke von Carolsfeld

Cast: Aidan Quinn, Taylor Schilling, Michael Ironside

Script: Wiebke von Carolsfeld

Producers: David Collins, Martin Paul-Hus, Andrew Boutilier

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Living In A Coded Land: Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh

living in a coded land

The 26th Galway Film Fleadh (8 – 13 July, 2014)

Living In A Coded Land

Sun 13th July

IMC 7

17.00

According to director Pat Collins, “Living in a Coded Land is a poetic and imaginative film essay that makes unexpected links between events and locations, history and contemporary life. The film revolves around the notion of a sense of place and stories associated with place, reflecting on the subterranean traces of the past in the present and probing themes such as the impact of colonialism, emigration, the famine, land, housing and the place of art in society. Making extensive use of archive from RTÉ and the IFI, the film seeks to explore the more elusive layers of meaning that make up this country.”

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at www.tht.ie

Director: Pat Collins

Producers: Pat Collins, Sharon Whooley

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkzyLp5K4Dw

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Noble: Preview of Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh

noble2

The 26th Galway Film Fleadh (8 – 13 July, 2014)

Noble

Sat 12th July

Town Hall Theatre

20.00

Noble, a film about the inspiring tale of one Irish woman in post-war Vietnam, will screen at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh. Written and directed by Stephen Bradley, it stars Deirdre O’Kane as Christina Noble, an Irish woman whose strength and character allow her to pursue her dream and change the lives of children living in Vietnam. The Irish film has already scooped awards at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Boston Irish Film Festival.

Co-starring with Deirdre O’Kane are Brendan Coyle (The Raven, Downton Abbey), Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones, Safe House), Ruth Negga (Marvel’s Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., World War Z), Nhu Quynh Nguyen (Pearls of the Far East, Indochine) and Tony nominated Sarah Greene (The Cripple of Inish Maan, The Guard).

Noble tells the true story of a funny, feisty and courageous Irishwoman, Christina Noble, who overcomes a harsh childhood to find her destiny on the streets of Saigon, fourteen years after the end of the war. The film captures the drama of a life that has culminated in Christina Noble helping almost a million street-children and their families in Vietnam and Mongolia.

Written and Directed by Stephen Bradley (Sweety Barrett), the award-winning NOBLE will open in cinemas across Ireland on 19 September 2014.

Vietnam. 1989. Fourteen years after the end of the war.
When the funny, feisty and courageous Irish-woman, Christina Noble, flies into Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) she leaves behind an extraordinary life story. But the best is yet to come.
Christina lands in a country “that she wouldn’t be able to show you on a map”. With a few dollars, a dream and her own hard-won abilities, she is about to change everything, for hundreds of thousands of people. 
Shifting between past and present, the film concentrates on Christina’s strength of character, as she uses music and humour to pursue a seemingly impossible dream, always following her motto that “a little insane goes a long way.”

Noble is the inspirational true story of a woman who believes that it only takes one person to make a difference. And of how she is proved right.

Co-starring with Deirdre O’Kane are Brendan Coyle (The Raven, Downton Abbey), Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones, Safe House), Ruth Negga (Marvel’s Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., World War Z), Nhu Quynh Nguyen (Pearls of the Far East, Indochine) and Tony nominated Sarah Greene (The Cripple of Inish Maan, The Guard).

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at www.tht.ie

Director Stephen Bradley and cast will attend.

 

Director: Stephen Bradley

Cast: Deirdre O’Kane, Brendan Coyle, Sarah Greene, Liam Cunningham, Ruth Negga

Script: Stephen Bradley

Producer: Melanie Gore-Grimes, Stephen Bradley

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