Cinema Review: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones



DIR: Harald Zwart • WRI: Jessica Postigo •  PRO: Don Carmody, Robert Kulzer • DOP: Geir Hartly Andreassen • ED: Joel Negron • DES: François Séguin • CAST: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Jemima West

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is the latest in the seemingly unending array of young adult films adapted from successful young adult books in recent years. Ever since Harry Potter was launched onto our screens in 2001, and Warner Brothers had amazing success with the adaptation of the seven books, film producers have tried to emulate its unique success. However, that particular magic (pun intended) of the Harry Potter franchise is hard to bottle and these competing films have had varying degrees of success.

I went into The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones blind with no knowledge of the books, and at first I was a bit lost as the film jumps straight into the action and the plot moves along quite fast. However, you soon catch up and acquire enough detail of this world to understand the coming-of-age story of Clary Fray (Lily Collins). Clary is a seemingly ordinary girl living in New York whose world changes overnight when she begins to realise she isn’t as ordinary as she thought. She discovers an underworld of vampires, demons, werewolves and, the heroes of the piece, the Shadowhunters.

This type of fantasy world have been a bit overdone on TV and film in recent years and The Mortal Instruments is nothing new really. It adheres to certain stereotypes; the heroes wear copious amounts of black leather clothes (hardly the most comfortable for slaying demons), ordinary humans are seen as stupider and less brave than the Shadowhunters and the baddie (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is comically weak.

However, the actors do their best with the weak dialogue and it is an enjoyable enough film. Robert Sheehan is admirable as Clary’s ordinary best friend and he has decent chemistry with the rest of the cast. Lily Collins holds her own as the lead, but is not a patch on Jennifer Lawrence, in the superior The Hunger Games. It doesn’t help her that the dialogue between herself and her love interest Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) is laughably bad.

Overall, the plot moves along nicely and it is a decent length, so you can enjoy this film without much knowledge of the books. This is presumably the first instalment of this six-novel franchise so there is plenty of room for development of the characters and it merely sets them up for a longer story.

Ailbhe O’ Reilly

Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details) 

129 mins
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bonesis released on 23rd August 2013

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones– Official Website


Cinema Review: Demons Never Die

keep your day job

DIR/WRI: Arjun Rose • PRO: Jason Maza, Joanne Podmore, Arjun Rose, Rhian Williams • DOP: Toby Moore • ED: Tim Murrell• DES: Paul Burns • CAST: Robert Sheehan, Ashley Walters, Tulisa Contostavlos

At the start of Scream, it came as a shock when the biggest star in it, Drew Barrymore, was killed in the opening scene. At the start of Demons Never Die, the same effect is strived for by using none other than X-Factor judge Tulisa. It doesn’t quite work, which is a pretty good mini review for the film as whole.

Despite Tulisa dying from stab wounds to the stomach, the police and her college classmates believe she killed herself, and in the depressing aftermath, some of them decide to make a suicide pact. Lead by Misfits star Robert Sheehan, they begin to organise the whens, wheres and hows of their group suicide when someone begins murdering them all one by one. And the murderer could be any of them, or any of the cops or school faculty who have been keeping a close eye on them…

At the core of the movie there is a kernel of a good idea (the suicide pact, a very really problem in today’s society), but its surrounded by a big gaping hole in logic; if all these kids want to die, why do they (and, in turn, should we) care that someone is going around killing them? And as the number of red herrings almost hits the triple digits, by the time the killer is revealed, you’ll not care enough to realize that it makes absolutely no sense.

First time writer/director Arjun Rose has some skill when it comes to creating tension for the stalky/stabby scenes, but it’s too bad they’re plonked in the middle of this opportunistic tedium.

Rory Cashin

Rated 18 (see IFCO website for details)
Demons Never Die released on 28th October 2011


'Killing Bono' director & author: Nick & Neil

Killing Bono

Gemma Creagh chats with Killing Bono director Nick Hamm and Neil McCormick, author of novel Killing Bono: I was Bono’s Doppelganger.

How did you come to direct Killing Bono?

Nick: I heard Neil being interviewed on the radio in London and I thought there was an interesting story there about rock n’ roll failure. I thought that failure would make a good journey for a movie rather than rock and roll success, which is what most movies are.

Were you happy with the portrayal of yourself in the film?

Neil: You know it’s really complicated to see yourself portrayed by anybody, anybody else’s idea of you… I’m much better looking in the film than in real life so I should be happy about that, but of course my dance moves are way better.

Nick: He’s very lucky that Ben Barnes is playing him!

Neil: It makes my head explode. The difference is, when you write the book you tell these stories of your own failures with the ironic voice of someone who’s including themselves in the joke. I’m saying: ‘I did this really stupid thing isn’t that funny?’ but when someone else tells it, they’re just saying ‘he did this really stupid thing’.

What was the most difficult part of shooting it?

Nick: The most difficult part was to get two main elements. One was to make accurate the moments of rock history that I needed to get right. In other words: the early days of U2, the audition scenes and the music scenes in the clubs. Those for me, were important. I wanted to make sure they were historically correct and had the right energy and vibe at the time. The other thing was making the main character, because if you’ve got an antihero character that essentially irritates the audience all the time through ineptitude or hubristic decision making then you need to make that character as likable as you can. Neil’s fictional journey –the story of how bad he should be at any moment and how terrible he actually was – the plotting of that is quite difficult.

Has Bono seen it?

Nick: Yeah.

Neil: Bono has seen it. U2 have all seen it, they thought it was very funny at the screening. They’ve been supportive of the process because Bono loved the book in the first place. He felt it was the first time he’s recognised himself in print. He should know, because I knew him before he became Bono. I knew him as a boy and now I’ve seen this inflated image – this iconic rock god everyone has, this cartoon of an idea of Bono – that has taken over. I know the human being and he’s a really great guy, that is there in the book and it is there in the film. He should be delighted with that. No actor could have done better than Martin McCann as Bono. He IS Bono. He’s more like Bono than Bono is. If Bono wanted to retire and let someone else do the singing, he has a ready-made replacement.

Did you both collaborate when creating the characters? Because there are some pretty mental characters in there.

Nick: There are some mental characters in there! Without getting into litigious areas, Neil wrote about some real people in the book and we thought that probably wasn’t the best way to go. There were enough real characters in the story, so we conflated certain characters together that he met on his musical journey in the ’80s, and made them into one, cementing them. So therefore you get over the problem that they are ‘this’ person, and also create something that the audience can relate to. They go on that journey, because you can’t just have hundreds of different people coming in. The book is a kind of kaleidoscope of events that happened, whereas a movie has to be more focused.

How much of it actually happened?

Neil: It’s close to the truth of the idea of the book. The stuff that happened is on record with U2, the other thing is that Ivan and myself formed a band at the same time as U2 in school and U2 went to the top of the music business and we didn’t. The actual incidents of how that occurred have been dramatised and made more tangible for the film, but the essence of the film is a true story of almost cosmic levels of failure.

Nick: There are certain elements of the movie that are factually correct: They did audition in Larry’s mum’s kitchen, they did put a notice on the noticeboard at Mount temple school and they did play in that tiny little hall. We fictionalised other factual events and factualised a lot of fiction. In the end what you want to say to the audience is ‘yeah there are of elements in this that are true but it’s authentic to what happened.’

Does Ivan like it?

Nick: Ivan thinks it’s the truth. He thinks it’s funny that his brother stopped him in U2 and that now I’ve managed to get that message out to the world.

Neil: If you’re in an unsuccessful rock band, mostly your story never gets told and Ivan is a really talented musician who’s still a musician but he’s working on a different part of the circuit now. He’s available for weddings and parties. This is a way that he gets his story told to the world. I’ve been able to tell my story because I’ve written a book and I’ve been able to write and express myself in different ways, so this is a gift to Ivan – plus he gets played by Robbie.

Nick: He gets played by a very attractive actor, Robert Sheehan!

Killing Bono is released in cinemas today.


Ben Barnes on 'Killing Bono'

Ben Barnes

Gemma Creagh chats with Killing Bono and The Chronicles of Narnia star, Ben Barnes.

You have a great accent in the film; how did you manage your Irish accent?

Well I had about two hours with a dialect coach before I came over to Ireland because we didn’t have the budget to have him for longer – and I just decided I would stay in the accent the whole time that I was in Ireland. So for about 10 weeks, whether I was in the pub or on the phone to my mum, everything I said was in the accent. I was listening to Robbie Sheehan speaking. I know he’s not from Dublin, but Laois is close enough! So I was just listening, basically because with a comedy you’re going to improvise little lines here and there, and if you learn only to say what’s in the script you’ll come unstuck very quickly. I just loved that accent, I’ve done loads of accents in my career so far, lots of different weird accents, but this was a really fun one. I’d do it again. I’m looking for other Irish projects.

What attracted you to the role of the troubled musician?

I was aching for the script to be funny when I knew that it was by the guys who wrote The Commitments, because I knew what sort of feel it would have. It was hilarious because this guy was such a moron, he couldn’t really get out of his own way, and I could relate to the passion and the frustration of not really getting there as soon as you hope you can. I was looking for something to do that was a different, a little bit less… earnest. I didn’t want to play a heroic character. I wanted to play someone who took the piss out of himself – and this was he if ever there was someone. But because he’s not famous I had the freedom to play him however I wanted, and turn him into who I want and now everyone will think that he’s like he is in the film, when he’s not. It was an interesting challenge, I wanted to make him good-natured and good hearted but a plonker as well.

Are you a U2 fan in real life?

Yeah, I’m more so now. I didn’t really grow up with their music but I always liked particular songs of theirs. I have a newfound respect for Bono as a frontman, you can see the energy of that raspy high voice! I think they’re a great band and I’d love to go and see them.

What’s the difference between Killing Bono compared to a big role like The Chronicles of Narnia.

I think time is a big thing. On those big movies you have a lot more time. You’re filming for five, six or seven months so you’re concentrating on little tiny moments – but on a film like this, it’s like a firework every day. You need a big sweary director like Nick Hamm to get it going every morning and be like: ‘be funny. Go. Immediately.’ Its about rushing, and that’s the major difference. You can definitely have a lot more fun on things like this also.

Did you get any pointers from the real Neil before you played the role?

No, I wasn’t allowed. The director wouldn’t let me meet him. He said, ‘if you meet him you’ll be wanting to take little bits of his character and put them in and I don’t want you to do that because he’s so irritating. I’ve met him, he’s so annoying and if you play him like that nobody will be able to watch the film from start to finish.’ So I had free reign to go back to the book. I did watch In Bruges, I wanted to take some of that crazy enthusiasm that Colin Farrell has in that movie and put it in this – Withnail & I as well. They structured the relationship between Neil and Ivan on that relationship and infused it into the real story of what happened. So I looked at Withnail, Richard E. Grant’s character. I mixed them all together and read the book over and over again, to be able to think the way Neil thinks – which is in a very abstract, strange way.

You finished a play recently in the West End?

I did yeah, I just finished six months in a World War One play, called Birdsong.

Which do you prefer, film or the theatre?

They both have their challenges really. There’s nothing quite matches up to the feeling of telling a whole story to an audience on one night, and getting through to the end of it, feeling like you’ve told that story successfully. You take that audience on that journey with you. You have a lot more control and power as a stage actor because you can change and manipulate things to suit the audience and suit that particular night. On film there’s so many more people involved in crafting those moments. All you can do as a film actor is give those moments of amusement or whatever is and hope and prey that the director and editor will put it together in an arc that makes sense. The responsibility is not yours anymore. Performance in film is very collaborate and performance on stage is very much your own. The weird thing about theatre is when you finish it feels like it never happened, especially if you don’t talk about it. You tend not to – and then when the theatre is stripped and it has other posters on there… it’s just bizarre, it feels like a weird dream.

Did you get on with Robert Sheehan when shooting?

Yeah, absolutely. And straight away as well. I didn’t know who he was in the beginning and he gave me the DVDs of Misfits to educate me. I came in the next day completely in awe of him, going ‘You’re amazing. You’re a comic genius!’ He is so talented, one of the most naturally talented young actors. He can just switch between serious and crazy, frustrated and angry and stupid comedy in two seconds – he doesn’t even have to try. I’m proud of him in the way that an older brother is. I’ve got a little brother and you love them and you’re very proud of them and they annoy you – it clicked very quickly between us.

Killing Bono is released in cinemas on 1st April 2011.


Robert Sheehan Selected as Ireland's Best Young Actor

Robert Sheehan

European Film Promotion (EFP) announced the ten Shooting Stars of 2010, who will be introduced at its annual presentation of new acting talent at the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale). This group of prominent young actors who come from across Europe have been chosen from a list of 21 potential candidates identified by the EFP’s pan-European member organisations.

Robert Sheehan was selected as Ireland’s Best Young Actor.

Born in Portlaoise in 1988, Robert Sheehan made his screen debut in Song for a Raggy Boy (Aisling Walsh, 2003). Since then he has carved out a formidable career on television including all three films in the Red Riding trilogy. His film roles include Cherrybomb (Lisa Barros D’Sa/Glenn Leyburn, 2009) which was selected for the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival and most recently, Season of the Witch (Dominic Sena, 2010).

Jury’s comment: ‘Robert Sheehan is a classic young Celtic charmer whose personal appeal is driven by his youthful energy and self-confidence. In a single scene he can convince you of his boyish innocence, then convincingly demonstrate that he’s left his childhood a long time ago.’

The other awarded actors were: Zrinka Cvitesić (Croatia), Krystof Hádek (Czech Republic), Pihla Viitala (Finland), Michele Riondino (Italy), Anders Baasmo Christiansen (Norway), Agata Buzek (Poland), Dragoş Bucur (Romania),  Lotte Verbeek (The Netherlands) and Edward Hogg (United Kingdom).

For further information on each of these actors please see below or go to

In 2010 the 13th edition of the SHOOTING STARS event will take place from Saturday 13 to Monday 15 February at the Berlinale, where the ten chosen actors will be presented to leading filmmakers and industry personnel as well as attend high profile events at the Festival. The highlight of the event will be when Festival Director Dieter Kosslick introduces the SHOOTING STARS to the Berlinale-Palast audience on Monday 15th February and gives out the SHOOTING STARS AWARDS – sponsored by Studio Babelsberg.

SHOOTING STARS is a unique pan-European initiative which helps to put emerging new acting talent at the forefront for the busy film and entertainment agenda which unfolds each year at the Berlinale.

The ten SHOOTING STARS of 2009 have, between them, worked on 28 films plus television dramas both in their native countries and abroad, for example Alba Rohrwacher (Italy) has six titles to her credit including the Venice and Toronto Festival nominated Io Sono l’amore, Carey Mulligan (UK) has also appeared in a similar number of films and is currently shooting Brighton Rock, Verónica Echegui (Spain) is garnering a lot of attention for her role in the UK film Bunny & The Bull,  Orsi Tóth (Hungary) featured in two Venice titles, and Samuli Vauramo (Finland) had his US break in Bunraku.

During the year they have been introduced at international festivals and attended various workshops around the world, acting as the new ambassadors for European cinema and demonstrating their creative and artistic talents to international audiences.

The SHOOTING STARS project is supported by the MEDIA Programme of the European Union and the participating EFP member organisations. Main Sponsor is Studio Babelsberg. Co-Sponsor is TESiRO. The event moreover is supported by arvato digital services, Filmstiftung NRW GmbH and Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg. In addition, promotion and PR activities are backed by the Centre National de la Cinématographie et de l’image animée (CNC). The Hamburg-based office is supported by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) and the Department for Culture, Sports and Media of the City of Hamburg. Financial Partner is Commerzbank.

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