Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For

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DIR: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller • WRI: Elan Mastai • PRO: Sergei Bespalov, Aaron Kaufman, Stephen L’Heureux, Mark C. Manuel, Robert Rodriguez • ED: Robert Rodriguez • DOP: Robert Rodriguez  DES: Caylah Eddleblute Steve Joyner  MUS; Robert Rodriguez, Carl Thiel • Cast: Jessica Alba, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis

Released just under a decade since their first foray into the fully-digital world of Sin City, creator Frank Miller and director Robert Rodriguez continue their buddying up to the realm of neo-noir graphic-filming with a new chapter.  Anticipation was high for this one: with so much time to work on a sequel to such a well-received original, it seemed like the combination of Rodriguez’ dedication to the adaptation and Miller’s stellar source material could do no wrong.

 

Unfortunately for all involved, the length of time between the ground-breaking first and pretty-similar second hasn’t actually helped the cause.  When Sin City burst on the scene in 2005 with all the brilliance of something fresh, it looked and felt like a new era of cinema. Digital filming showed its unique possibilities, and manipulation of colour and bleached setups did the impossible in bringing a graphic novel to full visual realisation onscreen.  Most importantly, the stories, characters and actors were captivating from the get-go.  A Dame to Kill For does suffer somewhat, then, from comparison to the first – a constant challenge for sequels of all types, but perhaps most particularly for movies with a distinctive storytelling technique. All the notes of cheesiness, brutality and hyper-masculinity are in place as before, but somehow it never quite engages.

 

Most of the fault lies with the chosen storylines, but the actors must also take responsibility.  While notables like Jessica Alba (Nancy) and Mickey Rourke (Marv) reprise their roles, it is with visibly less enthusiasm, or perhaps too much awareness of the undercurrent of ‘coolness’ attached to their characters.  Newcomer Joseph Gordon-Levitt promises much, delivers some, but fades into the background far too quickly to really get a grip on him – unfortunate for an actor who generally performs.  Taking over Dwight’s old face is Josh Brolin, whose B-movie credentials should make him a perfect insert for Sin City’s palette.  He gamely attacks the storyline of A Dame to Kill For, battling the raw sexuality of Eva Green’s Ava, but his monotonous narration is probably one of the worst things about the movie.  Surprisingly, this instalment takes the power away from its women and wallows in some pretty boring damsel-in-distress tableaus…Ava is the only female character to really grab the moment and terrorise the screen, which is especially shocking considering Gail (Rosario Dawson) makes an appearance.  One of the finest fighters in Old Town, Gail has always kept the girls safe and police out, but in this story barely touches the significant badassery Sin City originally afforded her.  Even Nancy’s angry transformation comes too little too late, and the intertwining stories do little to alleviate the flat feeling that permeates throughout.

 

Perhaps more thrills might have ensued had the screening been in 3D, as there were certainly scenes that were made specifically to wow the eyes of a 3D viewer, but overall it’s undeniable that A Dame to Kill For repeats the formula of Sin City without recapturing its essence.  Visually conforming to the beauty of the first, it looks great but feels repetitive – despite some brief moments of comedy, and lovingly-portrayed grotesquery, it never quite reclaims the form’s sheer brilliance.  Walk down the right back alley in Sin City and you can find anything…except, it would seem, an original addition to the legacy.

 

Sarah Griffin

16 (See IFCO for details)

102 minutes

Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For is released 25th August

Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For –  Official Website

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Cinema Review: Red 2

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DIR: Dean Parisot  WRI: Katie Dippold  PRO: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Mark Vahradian  DOP: Robert Yeoman  ED: Brent White, Jay Deuby  CAST: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins

Directed by Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest, Fun with Dick and Jane), this is the follow up to 2010’s Red  based on Warren Ellis’ comic of the same name.

Red 2 takes place a few months after the events of Red. Retired C.I.A. operative Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is living happily ever after with the love of his life Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) and on the surface everything seems perfect. Unfortunately, and unaware to Frank, their relationship is feeling the strain of stagnation. While buying in bulk Frank is confronted by his best friend Marvin (John Malkovich) with a portent of doom. “They” are coming for Marvin, and Frank will certainly be next. After faking his own death Marvin’s suspicions are confirmed. It transpires that someone has leaked a document on to the internet claiming that Frank and Marvin took part in a covert, cold war plot to smuggle a new type of nuclear weapon, designed by Dr Edward Bailey (Anthony Hopkins) into Moscow. Now they are flagged as nuclear terrorists and they are wanted by both the C.I.A. and MI6, among others. Their old friend, Victoria (Helen Mirren) as well as an enemy from Frank’s past, Han Cho Bai (Byung-Hun Lee) have both been hired to kill the pair as well as Sarah. Frank, Sarah and Marvin must embark on a globe-trotting quest for, first information then resolution, all while Frank and Sarah’s relationship suffers the strain of Frank’s ex Katja (Catherine Zeta-Jones) resurfacing and being integral to plot that is afoot.

The immediate problem with this second instalment is that it’s almost instantly forgettable. The story is too complex for the enjoyable brand of action comedy the plot is trying to achieve. The constant flitting from London to America to Russia to Paris and back again make the story feel episodic and the events unrelated. It all ties up almost too neatly in the end but it’s hard not to wonder where any of it is going while the story is unfolding in front of you. It may be that the original comic saw Frank Moses die at the end of the story but the current screenplay lacks the same drive and constant goal for which everyone is striving that lent the original Red  a sense of purpose.

Largely the action feels slow and flat, with the exception of the scenes involving Byung-Hun Lee. His impressive skill and martial arts background make for the most explosive and enjoyable fight scenes of the film. He also does an astounding job of playing a hired assassin with a personal vendetta. He spends most of the film motivated more by the theft of his private jet than by the contract he is trying to fulfil. The older cast members and returning characters know their roles and play them well. Willis is the tough-guy looking out for the girl, Malkovich is paranoid, Hopkins is crazy, Mirren is elegant even in moments of extreme violence and Parker is a fish out of water who desperately wants to be a part of the action. Unfortunately this sort of paint-by-numbers rehashing of the characters makes the few arcs there are in the film seem false.

Technically Red 2 has all the elements to be just as good as the first, great cast, action, humour, story, but somehow they don’t seem to gel as well this time around. It is very easy to enjoy but equally difficult to remember why.

 

 

Paddy Delaney

Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details) 

115 mins
Red 2 is released on 2nd August 2013

Red 2  – Official Website

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Interview: John Moore

Johns Beard Directs CMYK

From Dundalk to Hollywood, John Moore has made quite a name for himself bringing action to the big screen. His feature film career began when he directed Gene Hackman in Behind Enemy Lines; he then remade the classic Flight of the Phoenix, shot a film version of Max Payne – a video game with over 11 million players, remade The Omen, an iconic horror, and has now directed the latest instalment of Die Hard.

Steven Galvin talks to the Irish director who’s making a big bang on the action scene.

You started off at Dublin Institute of Technology and spent time at Filmbase – can you tell us a bit about your memories of that time?

Well, happy, excited. Honestly, if I had stopped to think about it, I would have been terrified, would have thought ‘You better get a real job’. But there WAS this sense of ‘collective’. Remember, no mobile phones, no internet, no social networking so the only thing to do was gather at a coffee shop or at Filmbase (which was a run-down, wonderfully dusty little nook), and chat and feed off the collective belief that we could make stuff, make images, movies, music…so exciting. Honestly? I haven’t really captured that sense of wonderment since then. I think I was very lucky in that I was around a bunch of people, a little older than me and mostly Dubliners who I looked up to, thought were really smart, impressive individuals I could learn from – I felt genuinely grateful to be allowed ‘in’. It was SO damn exciting and we had nothing, really nothing: no money, not a lot of equipment… just this damn excitement that we could actually FILM something and that someone might watch it!!!

You then worked as a news cameraman and moved onto shooting commercials – that must have been a great learning curve.

Well, what happened was a short intro to video camera stuff at RTÉ, then SKY was allowing guys to be around camera, then a rejection from the BBC, and then we formed the ClingFilms collective, consisting of Harry Purdue, Paul Fitzgerald, Damien O’ Donnell and myself. We’d all been at Rathmines together and so we did our thing in music videos for a while, some shorts including the wonderful 35 Aside, which Damien wrote and directed. I started working as an assistant cameraman or clapper loader during that wonderful boom in Irish production in the early- and mid-1990s. I then did some fake commercials to get a showreel going and got picked up to go work in South Africa. They were just emerging from the apartheid regime and their economy and advertising industry really boomed. Exciting times – I didn’t really know what I was doing: 25, in a strange city, alone! But I knuckled through, fake it ‘til you make it. Then I started getting work in Dublin, London and eventually the US and that work led to the movies. I was lucky.

Behind Enemy Lines was your first feature film – there’s an interesting story behind you getting that…

More luck. I did a relatively big commercial for a new games console (which promptly tanked, taking Sega with it!). It aired to some pomp and self-importance at the MTV Music Video Awards – remember this is 1999, music vids were bigger than the Oscars®! So the story goes that an executive at Fox saw the commercial and brought it to their boss, studio head Tom Rothman and he was working on making Behind Enemy Lines happen with producer John Davis (who has made some landmark movies like Predator and Waterworld) and they were looking for a director. They literally called me – I was shooting an Eircom commercial with Riss Russell in Budapest at the time. I jumped on a plane, met them and they hired me!

And was it daunting being in control of such a massive Hollywood production for an Irishman’s first feature?

Again, I didn’t stop to think. It was too exciting to be daunting. And I had gained a bit of experience by then, so I thought, ‘Just go for it’.

What was it like working with Gene Hackman?

Quite surreal but thrilling. He was so damn professional and kind, really all you have to do is point the camera at Gene and he does the rest. And I know how to point – everyone does!

Bruce and John Moores Beard use an ipad CMYK

Coming to Die Hard, what do you think it is about the series that has made it so successful?

Bruce – he’s charming and unique, real and identifiable. Harry Callaghan, Popeye Doyle, John McClane…

You’ve said that you made a conscious decision not to make it ‘overly jokey’.

Well, indeed. There’s no need: Bruce provides the unique John McClane brand of humor, so no need to pile on top of that. In fact, you go the other way: make it super-serious so that McClane’s humour plays in contrast.

What’s it been like working on a film of this scale?

I was lucky to have my first movie be relatively biggish, in terms of production, so this wasn’t anything we hadn’t attempted before. But it’s not easy, there’s a lot that can go wrong when you’re trying ideas for big stunts and action set-pieces, a lot of moving parts.

And working with Bruce Willis?

I started with Gene Hackman, went on through Dennis Quaid, Liev Schreiber and Mark Wahlberg, all tough, opinionated guys, good at what they do. So Bruce was a natural progression. I know what makes these guys tick.

You opened up the set of Die Hard to Dundalk Institute of Technology student Blaine Rennicks for two weeks.

Yep, something I hope more Irish directors, DOPs, etc. will do – pay it forward, pass the break along and help someone move forward in their career. It’s essential for the growth of the business that we do everything we can to ensure guys like Blaine get the help they deserve to develop a career. It’s an obligation, not voluntary.

You used miniatures on Flight of the Phoenix and have spoken about being on ‘dodgy ground’ with CGI. How did that work for you on Die Hard?

CGI improves almost exponentially – we had a good experience on Die Hard but we still did a huge amount of stunts live-action. Always will.

When you’re working on something so massive, do you ever have moments of ‘Jesus, I’m directing Die Hard!’?

Not really. Does the pilot of a 747 ever have moments of ‘Jesus, I’m flying a Jumbo!’? I hope not!

In general can you tell us a bit about directing action sequences?

Well, that’s a whole big, fun conversation, but the rule is: get great stunt guys who’ll really put it out there for you to film. Action is editing, so lots of cameras, please! And forget masters! You always end up cutting them to bits. That’s it, in short. Oh, and invest in some good ear protection.

What’s the draw for you directing action films?

I love the planning – the idea of being meticulous in the ridiculous. It’s a thrill to plan something for months, years even, and see it all come together in 30 seconds of wonderful, loud mayhem.

You’ve talked before about the fact that story and action don’t have to be mutually exclusive – can you say a little more about this?

What I meant by that was ‘integration’. Action should be a natural, ruling part of the story. A movie shouldn’t feel like it stops for a gratuitous action set-piece – though they often do and the film is the poorer for it. I’ve done it myself and regretted it.

Are there specific things you look for in a script?

Pages. And that they be unstoppably turnable.

What is the development process within the studio system like?

You’ve read Dante’s Inferno? It’s tough, horrible, but like Churchill said about democracy: it’s the worst system, apart from all the others.

How involved are you in the post-production process?

Totally and integrally – it’s the best, most creative, least stressful period of a film’s production. Get through shooting, you’ll be fine…

Would you like to take a break from action and take on a different sort of story – perhaps something on a smaller scale?

No– why would I? I love it – but I always am looking for the stories to be better. Zero Dark Thirty is an action movie.

You’ve worked outside of Ireland for most of your career – any plans to return to Ireland to make a film?

I just don’t really know how to answer that. Yes, but what use are plans? I’d love to, but it won’t come out of thin air. I need the right script, the right producer. That’s a hint for anyone reading this.

And finally, what advice would you have for Irish filmmakers working outside of Ireland?

None. Directors don’t take advice – that’s why they’re directors!

 

This article originally appeared in Film Ireland Magazine, Issue 144 in 2013.

 

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Cinema Review: A Good Day to Die Hard

  • DIR: John Moore  WRI Skip Woods   PRO: Alex Young  • DOP: Jonathan Sela • ED: Dan Zimmerman • DES: Daniel T. Dorrance • CAST: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

The decline of the Die Hard series continues unchecked with this empty cacophonous clanger that is so inert story-wise that no amount of explosions can blow the cobwebs away. In fact, let’s face it – the quality has nose dived since Die Hard with a Vengeance. That smart inventive second sequel proved irrefutably that action films can evolve away from the basic concept of a franchise while retaining real character, wit and heart.

The greatest charge levelled against Len Wiseman’s last pallid instalment was that it didn’t feel like a Die Hard film at all.  Any hope that our own John Moore could arrest that creative slide departs within moments of the start. In fairness to him, the incessant action is handled competently enough but the script can’t find any reason to have action. It just insists it takes place.  All the time. For no reason.

Therefore, the lion’s share of the blame falls on Skip Woods’ horrendously superficial screenplay. The credits haven’t even concluded by the time a tight knot of dread forms as the lazy action failsafe of a coveted ‘file’ is trotted out. In that moment, we know we are simply watching a chase film. There was a time when a chase was just a constituent consequence of story and plot that formed part of a film. Right now, chases are movie length and most of the time to paraphrase Morrissey – we are bored before we even begin. It’s definitely the case here So entire rooms, roads, buildings and city districts will be razed in pursuit of this MacGuffin ‘file’.  It serves only as an excuse for action but it’s a sorry excuse that doesn’t remotely justify or explain the carnage that follows.

Woods seems to have literally lost the plot because no plot exists bar John McClane travels to Moscow to visit his incarcerated son Jack.  Once there, Willis attempts to shake off jet lag by absorbing the full impact of not one but two vehicles in his seemingly crush proof chest. To rouse himself further, he spins a lorry over countless cars before emerging unscathed. All of the shattered glass in just this one sequence prompted a memory of the original Die Hard which brilliantly distinguished McClane as a vulnerable and human hero. The first film showed the damage caused by bare feet walking over broken glass. A simple scene that made us wince in empathy and admiration while making the audience feel genuine pain.

This film is painful too but it’s not the same thing. In this, car windows, chandeliers and glass ceilings exist only to explode or cascade. There is so little at stake that even the characters muse around the midway point that they have nothing at stake in the plot and could easily just leave.  When your ostensible heroes can freely walk away mid-film, something has gone horribly wrong on the screenplay side. Ideally, they should be locked in an inescapable escalating scenario and be compelled to continue.  Woods can’t even equip Willis with any decent quips. Sure, McClane talks away to himself in that established style of the series but now it seems more like the onset of dementia than cool movie patter.  Judging by Woods’ back catalogue which began vacuous with Swordfish and has stayed vacuous through turgid fare like Wolverine and Hitman, he seems chronically incapable of writing a decent line of dialogue. The sloppiness is summed up when Woods misplaces the entire city of Grenoble.

So this film bellows along punctured with predictable outbreaks of inconsequential action. A simple game can offset the boredom – the second Willis walks into any room guess how long it’s going to take before gunfire reduces the set to ribbons. Or predict which surface is going to inexplicably explode first. Throughout, the action is expensive rather than impressive. There is no tension, ingenuity or intelligence to how any fight begins or ends. And just to quench any notion of hope you may have, the middle of each fight is blandly uninspiring too. In fact, those are the worst bits. Where once exposition was skilful in this series, now it amount to characters walking past a swimming pool. Oh, I wonder if that will prove useful. The daftness never gets endearing either but culminates with Willis jumping in one window only to jump back out of it seconds later.

The increasingly convoluted titles are symptomatic of how awkward and forced these sequels have become but I’m honestly a huge fan of the first three films. Die Harder was the runt of the litter when there were only three but with each passing instalment, its’ stock grows. In my favourite sequel Die Hard with a Vengeance,  the action played out across the entire city of New York but still felt tense and important. This film is terse in terms of running time but there’s no tautness at all. Or personality. Wit, charm and heart have left the building and they ain’t coming back at this rate.

 

James Phelan


15A (see IFCO website for details)

97 mins

A Good Day to Die Hard is released on 15th February 2013

A Good Day to Die Hard – Official Website

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61UqRmDjwgc

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Cinema Review: Looper

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DIR/WRI: Rian Johnson  PRO: Ram Bergman, James D. Stern   DOP: Steve Yedlin  ED: Bob Ducsay Cast: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Piper Perabo, Jeff Daniels

We are long overdue a great time travel adventure. Sure, we’ve had dramas such as Midnight in Paris and mind-bending thrillers such as Primer, but there hasn’t been a proper edge-of-your-seat time travel movie since 12 Monkeys, nor a fun one since the Back to the Future trilogy.

Thank goodness for Looper. Clever without being baffling, fun without being silly, Rian Johnson’s film balances its own mythology with a pulp thriller story that feels simultaneously classical and entirely new. Johnson, the writer/director of cult high school noir Brick and the seen-by-few (and liked by fewer) The Brother’s Bloom, is a film fan’s filmmaker, a man who has imbibed the Hollywood genre greats, and who now pours those ideas through the blender of his brain and creates some fascinating, if hitherto not entirely successful chimaeras. Looper’s influences are evident and many, and surprisingly none of them are films about time travel.

Starting off 30 years from now in Kansas City, Looper is set in an America wracked with colossal rates of unemployment and homelessness, but where the well-to-do dress like guest stars on Mad Men. A comment on the trajectory of modern America, sure, but that’s where the social commentary ends. Another 30 years down the road, in 2072, time travel technology has been developed, but only for use by the wealthiest and most duplicitous of people. Rather than risk a Back to the Future-style paradox, the global mob of 2072 uses time travel for the sole purpose of disposing of corpses – easily tracked in the future, easily gotten rid of in the past.

In 2042, mob goons called loopers are assigned the task of gunning down newly materialised mob targets the moment they appear from 2072. It’s good work if you can get it, but it comes at a high price. Looper Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is happy with his lot; splashing his cash on cars, drugs and a prostitute with a heart of gold. But things get thrown for a loop for him (sorry) when his latest target is revealed to be himself, 30-years-older, and now looking like Bruce Willis. Willis knocks his young self out and goes on the run, set on a mission to alter the future, while Gordon-Levitt must track down his older, wilier self while evading his own bosses at looper HQ, who can instantly take out the elusive Willis by killing Gordon-Levitt, thereby erasing Willis from the timeline.

Ostensibly a chase movie through a neo noir future, Looper keeps its story energised by keeping the time travel repercussions as simple as possible. As long as Willis is still there, he knows Gordon-Levitt will grow up to be him. As Gordon-Levitt acquires fresh cuts and injuries, Willis develops brand new, decades-old scars.

Looper is as smart in its dialogue as it is in its ideas. Gordon-Levitt and Willis spar over their shared memories in the film’s most cleverly crafted scene. Looper boss Abe (a delightfully sneering Jeff Daniels) chastises his young employees for dressing in suits and ties, an out-dated fashion now brought back by the Mod-like gangsters – fashion has a cyclical nature, underscoring the film’s central theme. Language, too, has come full circle; the word ‘blunderbuss’ has been uprooted from the history books to refer to the loopers’ heavy-duty shotguns.

Johnson’s team have crafted a terrific thriller here, with crisp, bright imagery and coherent editing. The score hums and clicks with electronic, industrial sounds overlaying traditional instruments. Gordon-Levitt, belatedly (by a decade) the in-demand actor of the hour, is tough yet endearing in the lead role, and the fine makeup that makes him a believable antecedent to Bruce Willis (most notably wearing Willis’ curling nose) never distracts from his performance. Willis plays the weary, broken-hearted avenger he’s based the last decade of his career on with expected fluency. Only Johnson regular Noah Segan disappoints, in the underdeveloped role of token villain Kid Blue.

The film’s seemingly boundless energy comes to a crashing halt in the third act as Willis heads off on his mission and Gordon-Levitt hides out at the rural home of Emily Blunt’s suspicious Sara. The rhythm of the film goes all to hell for nearly 20 minutes, and the temptation to, like the characters in the movie, repeatedly glimpse at your watch is hard to resist. But this is all forgiven in a shocking, brilliantly conceived final quarter hour, that is as exciting as it is philosophical.

Aside from that late lull, the film’s most troubling aspect is its narration, lazily used to explain its mythology and technology, and it’s left unclear from where or when (or on what timeline) Gordon-Levitt is narrating. But Looper succeeds in making its world easily accessible, and more impressively manages to make its two anti-heroes – one a junkie out to kill his future self, the other so hell-bent on vengeance he will stop at nothing to do what he insists is right – likeable and worthy of our attention.

With echoes to films as eclectic as Witness and Akira and with a finale drawing on the magnificent climax of the supposedly inimitable Russian classic Come and See, Looper is a minor triumph of genre-bending entertainment.

David Neary

Rated 15A (see IFCO website for details)
118mins

Looper is released on 28th September 2012

Looper –  Official website

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Cinema Review: Moonrise Kingdom

DIR: Wes Anderson  WRI: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola  PRO: Scott Rudin, Wes Anderson, Jeremy Dawson, Steven Rales • DOP: Robert Yeoman • ED: Andrew Weisblum • DES: Adam Stockhausen • Cast: Bruce Willis, Ed Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel, Jared Gilman, Kara Hyward

A filmmaker like Wes Anderson is in a tough position. His visual style and direction is so well-known, so unmistakably his, that for him to try something different would be akin to committing career suicide. He has built up a reputation of making quirky films with colour-drenched scenes and razor-sharp dialogue. Moonrise Kingdom doesn’t break the mould in terms of his previous work. And yet, it is by far his most accessible film to date. The story takes place in the summer of 1965 on New Penzance Island, off the coast of New England. Sam and Suzy (Jared Gilman and Kara Hyward) are two odd children who decide to run away together for a period of time. Sam, who is a Khaki Scout and wilderness expert, escapes from his summer camp and meets Suzy. Their plan is to retrace the steps of the local Native American migration. The scout master, Randy Ward (Ed Norton), takes his troop out to locate the runaways – along with the help of local police Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) and Suzy’s parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand).

 

Wes Anderson has crafted a touching film that isn’t bogged down by the usual overbearing dialogue that plagues his other films. The film’s strength lies in both the chemistry between the two runaways and their story. While it is very innocent and eccentric, their story is more based in reality than other films Anderson has made. This doesn’t detract from that other-worldly quality that are his trademark; it means that their story is more easy to relate to. Where the runaways’ story is centred around first love, the relationship between Murray and McDormand is strained and reserved. However, the film cleverly eschews delving into it. Theirs is shown through what the child see and, as such, the true state of their marriage is kept suppressed from Suzy. As well, Sam’s home-life is only brought up later in the film as it doesn’t factor in until it is needed. Anderson’s use of the supporting cast is inspired. No extra screen-time is given to Murray, Norton or Willis needlessly. The film’s central focus is on the runaways and their adventure together – not the search parties that are looking for them.

 

Moonrise Kingdom is a gentle, heartfelt film that never feels like it’s anything but sincere. Willis gives a fantastic performance as the good-natured policeman who only wants to help Sam. As well, Norton excels as the earnest scout master, all salutes and quick-smart marching. Bill Murray is, admittedly, underused as is Frances McDormand. However, a scene featuring the two of them is particularly emotional when, exasperated, the two come face-to-face with the reality that they’re failing as parents. It’s true, Wes Anderson is working with familiar material here. The film has certain echoes of Lord of the Flies and Roald Dahl stories, however Anderson has put his unique stamp on a timeless story that is sure to win over his fans – and may win him some new ones as well.

Brian Lloyd 

Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details)
Moonrise Kingdom is released on 25th May 2012

Moonrise Kingdom – Official Website

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John Moore confirmed as ‘Die Hard 5’ director

Digital Spy have reported that Dundalk man John Moore has been confirmed as Die Hard 5 director.

Behind Enemy Lines director John Moore has been confirmed as the director of Die Hard 5.

After being linked to the movie earlier this year, it has been revealed that Moore was chosen after a long deliberation process by both 20th Century Fox and Bruce Willis to replace former director Noam Murro, who had to depart due to the high demands of making 300 prequel Xerxes.

According to Deadline, Willis was reportedly won over by Moore’s love for his character John McClane and his experience of shooting practical, non-computer-generated action sequences.

Die Hard 5 will see hero McClane team up with his son to foil criminal forces in Russia. The new script has been created by X-Men Origins: Wolverine writer Skip Woods.

Other directors previously believed to be linked to Die Hard 5 included Attack the Block‘s Joe Cornish, Fast Five director Justin Lin and Drive‘s Nicolas Winding Refn.

Filming is scheduled to begin in Russia later this year, before Willis moves on to shoot a Red sequel. He is currently also searching for a director for this sequel, with Breck Eisner among those linked to the project.

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Die Hard 5: Look of the Irish

20th Century Foxs Tom Rothman and John Moore at Max Payne Premier

It looks like the next installment of the iconic torn vests may be courtesy of an Irish man – director John Moore (Max Payne). The film was to be the baby of Noam Murro but apparently the strain of creating the 300 prequel has forced him to leave the project.

The script is by writer Skip Woods (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and centres on John McClane (Bruce Willis) as he teams up with his son when the Ruskies get up to their old tricks again.

So how many times can a man die hard? Willis plans to retire gracefully, vowing that 6 will be the magic number: “At the moment, I can run and I can fight on screen. But there will come a time when I no longer want to do that. That’s when I’ll step away from the Die Hard films.”

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