Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie

mrs-browns-boys-dmovie

DIR: Ben Kellett • WRI: Brendan O’Carroll • PRO: Stephen McCrum • DOP: Martin Hawkins • ED: Mark Lawrence • MUS: Andy O’Callaghan • DES: Simon Rogers • CAST: Brendan O’Carroll, Jennifer Gibney, Robert Bathurst, Sorcha Cusack

Chances are if you’re planning on going to see Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie, then – much like writer and star Brendan O’Carroll – you don’t really care what film critics have to say about it and probably won’t be reading this review. So instead of pre-loading the critique with apologetic lines like “But fans of the show will love it…”, let’s just assume that fans of the show already love it, and have this review be for everyone else, such as people going in blind to Mrs Brown phenomenon. Is there anything here for the average cinemagoer? Aside from making Dublin look pretty, the answer is a loud and solid “No.”

When a local politican (boo!) wants to pave Moore Street to put up a parking lot or whatever it is his nefarious plans involve, Mrs Brown finds her stall under threat. Doubly so when she discovers that she actually owes nearly €4 million in taxes due to a government SNAFU. So Mrs Brown’s Boys (and girls) get involved to try to save the day, and we end up with a bunch of blind ninjas and their faux-Asian leader (also O’Carroll, leaving no racist joke unturned), a lawyer with Tourette’s Syndrome and a gay man in Borat-style mankini. Hilarious…..?

It’s not that O’Carroll and co aren’t funny, more that it feels like at no point does it ever really feel like they’re trying to be. For all the fourth-wall breaking self-awareness and kept-in outtakes while the film is still happening, there’s no sense of intelligence or originality going on when it comes to the jokes.

Of course it is nice that, for once, Dublin is being shown as a lovely, warm, welcoming place filled with accepting, loveable folk, and the cinematography really does paint the capital as a layered, vibrant cosmopolitan city, but this isn’t exactly a Richard Linklater movie. This is a comedy, one now without the laugh track of the TV show to remind us where the punchlines are. Without that assistance, it’s next to impossible to figure out when we’re supposed to find any of this funny.

But fans of the show will love it…

Rory Cashin

15A (See IFCO for details)
94 mins

Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie is released on 27th June 2014

Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie– Official Website

 

 

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Cinema Review: Blended

Sandler-and-Barrymore

DIR: Frank Coraci • WRISimon Kinberg PRO: Jack Giarraputo, Mike Karz, Adam Sandler • DOP: Julio Macat • ED: Tom Costain • MUS: Rupert Gregson-Williams • CAST: Ivan Menchell, Clare Sera

“The new Adam Sandler comedy” are words that strike a Pavlovian response in most film critics around the world, to the extent that if he’s not being directed by Judd Apatow or P.T. Anderson, it’s probably a safe bet that whatever the movie is, it’s probably going to be one of the worst movies you’ll see that year. We can safely assume that it’s just going to be him and a group of his “funny mates” like Kevin James or Rob Schneider or someone else that only Adam Sandler finds humourous, set against the backdrop of what is essentially a holiday for Adam Sandler and all his mates (Just Go With It – Hawaii, Jack & Jill – Royal Caribbean Cruise, Grown Ups – Lake House).

In fact, the only redeeming factor in Sandler’s career has been Drew Barrymore, co-starring with him in what is inarguably his best film, and then re-starring with him in what has been one of the very few watchable rom-com’s Sandler has been in from the last decade. But if you take the quality dip from The Wedding Singer to 50 First Dates, and multiply that by a hundred, that’s where we are with Blended.

Sandler plays Jim, a recent widower with three daughters, who goes on a first date with Barrymore, who plays Lauren, a recent divorcee with two sons. The date doesn’t go well, but a series of fiercely unbelievable events ends up with them accidentally going on holiday together to Sun City in South Africa (there’s that holiday we mentioned earlier). Spattered about the place are bit roles filled by the likes of Terry Crews, Joel McHale, Kevin Nealon and Shaquille O’Neal (there’s those mates we mentioned earlier), but really this comes down to Sandler and Barrymore first hating each other, and then slowly coming to love each other, because… Well, there’s the problem.

Jim and Lauren are so intrinsically unlikeable, that you kind of don’t want them to get together at all. The script comes up with belaboured reasons for them to fall in love – They both drink their coffee the same way! Gasp! – but he is such a selfish ignorant douchebag and she is such an anal nagging harpy that you could care less if they find happiness. Coupled with that are their kids; both of Barrymore’s sons are horribly annoying, to the point where you hope the director makes some risky choices, turns the film into a The Ghost & The Darkness rip-off and they both get violently killed by lions, while Sandler’s daughters fair a little better, but only because they appear to have recognisable human personalities.

So between the unlikeable characters, the unfunny script, the painfully apparent product placement (you’ll have a hankering for Hooters by the time the end credits arrive) and the fact that all of this actually came from the director of The Wedding Crasher, we’re now living in a time when even a watchable Adam Sandler movie, let alone a good one, has become something of a pipe-dream. Avoid.

Rory Cashin

12A (See IFCO for details)
117 mins

Blended is released on 23rd May 2014

Blended – Official Website

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Cinema Review: Monsters Inc.

 

Pixar is seen as the once immaculate production company that has since lost its way in a sea of sequels and less-than-perfect output, but there is a slight sense of rose-tinted hindsight about them. Monsters Inc. was their fourth feature film, having directly followed sequel Toy Story 2 and the less-than-perfect A Bug’s Life, but it’s 3D re-release seems all the worse now as it’s following sequel Cars 2 and the less-than-perfect Brave as well as feeling like a money-grabbing cash-in before they release prequel Monsters University later this year.

But despite all this, it’s still impossible to have anything but love for Monsters Inc., which finds Pixar at the top of their game in terms of entertainment and originality. Two monstrous best friends – Sully (John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal) – work at an energy plant, where they use magical doors to enter our world, frighten children and capture their screams. These screams are then transformed into energy back in the monster’s world, and all is going swimmingly until Sully unwittingly allows a very young child to enter their world, which kick-starts a series of events which will turn every monster’s life upside down.

Perfectly directed, fantastically scripted, beautifully animated, everything that was great about Monsters Inc. back in 2001 is still just as great today. Goodman and Crystal make for a wonderful double-act, and they’re superbly supported by the likes of Steve Buscemi, Jennifer Tilly and James Coburn. Plus, anyone who didn’t immediately fall in love with the two year old Boo has a heart of cement. As for its 3D re-release, to its benefit a lot of the scenes work fantastically with the added dimension, particularly the climactic chase through the warehouse of magical doors.

So if nothing else, Monsters Inc. remind us of how great Pixar used to be, and gives us hope that they will be that great again in the future.

Rory Cashin

Rated G (see IFCO website for details)

95 mins

Monsters Inc. is released on 17th January 2013

Monsters Inc. – Official Website

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Cinema Review: The Sweeney

DIR: Nick Love • WRI: John Hodge, Nick Love • PRO: Allan Niblo, Rupert Preston, James Richardson, Christopher Simon, Felix Vossen • DOP: Simon Dennis • ED: James Herbert • DES: Morgan Kennedy • CAST: Damian Lewis, Hayley Atwell, Ray Winstone, Allen Leech

Writer/director Nick Love (The Business, The Football Factory, Outlaw) has made his living from showing the criminal’s side of things, so much so that even on The Sweeney, his first movie told from the vantage point of the law, the good guys still act like the bad guys. Based on the ’70s British TV show, this is story of Jack Regan (Ray Winstone), George Carter (Ben Drew, aka rapper Plan B) and the rest of the Flying Squad of London’s Metropolitan police, as they use any means necessary to get the job done. And that includes, in the first five minutes alone, bribing snitches with stolen gold, beating up crooks with baseball bats, and having affairs with married women.

Love does a good job of picking influences for his movie, knicking bits and bobs from Christopher Nolan (the Inception-esque score, as well as a plot section lifted straight out of The Dark Knight Rises) and Michael Mann (London is seen here as a beautiful city of endless skyscrapers of glass and metal, as well as a massive post-bank robbery shoot-out lifted straight out of Heat), and between the cinematography, editing and some well-paced action scenes, he’s made leaps and bounds in terms of filmmaking.

But when it comes to story-telling, he’s still got a lot of work to do. The very messy plot – a seemingly pointless murder at a robbery that may or may not involve a world class thief – never gets too involving, and the other story elements – Regan’s affair, his partnership with Carter, his bosses (including a wasted Damian Lewis) trying to shut down his department – are too by-the-numbers to be entertaining. Add into that some truly awful dialogue, as well as a staggeringly dead-eyed performance from Ben Drew, and what you end up with is 112 minutes that feels twice that long. Next time, stick to the directing end of things, Love. Leave the story writing to someone else.

Rory Cashin

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

The Sweeney is released on 12th September 2012

 

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Cinema Review: Lawless

DIR: John Hillcoat • WRI: Nick Cave  • PRO: Michael Benaroya, Megan Ellison, Lucy Fisher, Douglas Wick • DOP: Benoît Delhomme • ED: Dylan Tichenor • DES: Chris Kennedy • CAST: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman

Writer Nick Cave and director John Hillcoat, who previously worked together on the impressively oppressive The Proposition, reunite for this very cinematic, highly entertaining, but quite uneven truth-based tale of Prohibition-era Robin Hoods, the Bondurant Brothers. Set in 1920s Virginia, youngest brother Jack (Shia LaBeouf), eldest brother Howard (Jason Clarke) and leader of the pack Forrest (Tom Hardy) have a nice, quiet life bootlegging apple brandy when, almost on the same day, Jack falls in love with the daughter (Mia Waskiowska) of a local Amish priest, Howard becomes a raging alcoholic, Forrest falls in love with a new lady in town (Jessica Chastain), and last but not least, Special Detective Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) has been sent in from the big city to shut down their operation.

While all these stories chug along, there are no great surprises in terms what happens, but more how it happens, as Hillcoat’s penchant for powerful scenes of violence are still as present as ever, as is his odd levels of sexism – every bad thing that happens in this movie is due to or spurned on by one of the female characters, which, after the negative representation of women in Hillcoat’s The Proposition and The Road, can’t be an accident.

There are some other issues too, including Guy Pearce’s over-the-top, moustache twirling villain, or a shockingly wasted Gary Oldman, who shows up for two minutes as a big bad mobster, and then promptly disappears for the rest of the movie. But aside from this, there is still a lot to enjoy in Lawless. The 1920s  is gorgeously recreated, and the Virginia landscapes are beautifully shot. LaBeouf shows us for the first time since A Guide To Recognising Your Saints that he can do more than just react to CGI in hollow blockbusters, and Hardy’s hulking, grunting, but soulful brute is yet another proud entry on his already enviable CV. All of this combines to something that looks great, packs a wallop, but will probably leave a bad taste in your mouth afterwards, not unlike that bootlegged apple brandy…

Rory Cashin

Rated 16 (see IFCO website for details)
115 mins

Lawless is released on 7th September 2012

Lawless – Official Website

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We Love… 25 Years of Irish Film – The Guard

Illustration: Adeline Pericart

So Film Ireland magazine is 25 years old. Over those years Ireland has produced some great films which have been successful both here and abroad – not to mention nabbing a few Oscars® along the way. And so over the next couple of weeks Film Ireland‘s army of cinema dwellers look back over the last 25 years and recall their favourite Irish films in the latest installment of…


We Love…

25 Years of Irish Film

 

The Guard

(John Michael McDonagh, 2011)

‘… the movie correctly wraps itself around Gleeson, whose deadpan delivery of his subversive, and often shocking, sense of humour powers the film along…’

Rory Cashin

It is just me, or were most Irish movies completely devoid of fun? That’s not to say they were bad, but they weren’t exactly a joy to watch, since they were usually awash with the Troubles or dealing with some kind of abuse. We were the frontrunners when it came to making depression porn. But then the McDonagh brothers came along with their one-two punch of In Bruges (which, despite all the Irish-ness involved, can’t really be labelled an Irish film) and The Guard (which, thankfully, can).

Also delivering a killer one-two was Brendan Gleeson, who helped ground In Bruges, but is primarily the main reason The Guard soars so highly, with ‘high’ being the operative word, as we’re first introduced to his Sergeant Gerry Boyle taking acid which he has taken from the pocket of a very recently deceased car-crash victim. His racist, alcoholic, drug-taking, prostitute-loving, IRA-dealing character is so all consuming that it takes a repeat viewing to be reminded that the movie also features such usual heavyweights such as Don Cheadle, Liam Cunningham and Mark Strong.

Now then, what have we here…

While the international cocaine smuggling ring plot seems like a take-it-or-leave-it afterthought, the movie correctly wraps itself around Gleeson, whose deadpan delivery of his subversive, and often shocking, sense of humour powers the film along, as his unwanted FBI partner Cheadle interrogates the locals, who respond with an Irish interpretation of what we think America thinks of Ireland, all impenetrable accents, unending rainfall and unquenchable thirsts for alcohol.

While it’s not all played for laughs (Boyle’s interactions with his dying mother are quietly heart-breaking), the film knows not to stay too serious for too long, and at 96 minutes, it’s not around long enough to outstay its welcome. Which is another nice change of pace for Irish film, or as the Sergeant would put it, ‘They take too long getting to the fecking point.’

Rory Cashin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRsMLuCP8a0

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Cinema Review: The Imposter

DIR: Bart Layton • PRO: Dimitri Doganis • DOP: Lynda Hall, Erik Wilson • ED: Andrew Hulme • DES: Marcia Calosio,  Mariona Julbe • CAST: Adam O’Brian, Frederic Bourdin

Texas, June, 1994. Thirteen year old Nicholas Barclay is last seen playing with his friends, and somewhere along the short walk back to his house, disappears. Spain, June, 1997. Nicholas Barclay has been found alive and well by local police, who contact his family who have believed him to be dead. They bring him home, and the family are finally whole again. But this isn’t sixteen year old Nicholas Barclay; this is a 23-year-old French man by the name of Frédéric Bourdin, impersonating their son. And this isn’t devised in the mind of a Hollywood screenwriter; this is a documentary and one of the best movies of the year so far.

If the above paragraph seemed a bit spoilery, it isn’t. All the cards are laid on the table in the first five minutes of the movie, and the remainder of the time is spent watching the Barclay family and Bourdin slowly reach a head-on collision as its revealed who’s who. Outside of the talking-head interviews with everyone involved, the ‘dramatic recreations’, editing and score give the documentary a psychological thriller vibe, one that only hammers home the chilling fact that this is all based on fact.

Like any psychological thriller worth its salt, not everything is as it seems, and even though we’re presented with all the information from the get-go, and how it ends is evident from the beginning, the movie still has a few jaw-dropping tricks up its sleeve, and watching the net close in around Bourdin is hugely entertaining to watch. But unlike any psychological thriller of recent times, The Imposter will linger in your mind for days afterwards. Highly recommended.

Rory Cashin

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

The Imposter is released on 24th August 2012

The Imposter – Official Website


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Cinema Review: Step Up 4: Miami Heat

DIR: Scott Speer • WRI: Amanda Brody • PRO: Erik Feig, Jennifer Gibgot, Adam Shankman, Patrick Wachsberger . • DOP: Karsten Gopinath • ED: Matt FriedmanAvi Youabian • DES: Carlos Menéndez • CAST: Kathryn McCormick, Ryan Guzman, Cleopatra Coleman

Right at the opening credits of this movie, panic set in as a revelation washed over me; I hadn’t seen Step Up 3. My mind collapsed at the thought of not being able to keep up with the story that was about to take place. But thankfully, much like The Fast & The Furious series, the Step Up franchise is not really about breaking new ground, just re-treading old material with new cars/dance moves. Which is odd, considering the mantra of this entry is all about breaking the rules and trying new things, and the lead actress is berated by her dance instructor for having ‘no originality’. It’d almost be meta if it wasn’t so stupid.

Plot-wise, handsome guy from the poor side of the tracks falls for beautiful girl from the rich side, dancing ensues. That’s about it, with every dance movie trope present and correct; Dancing for a prize-money competition? Check. A big bad guy going to ruin their community by demolishing it to build a fancy hotel? Check. Use their dancing to try to save their community? Check. The only original thing about the movie are the dance scenes, and while they are impressive, they do get quite repetitive very quickly, and the only thing that makes the ultimate dance scene stand out is that it’s the only one to properly utilize the fact that the movie is in 3D.

Aside from that, the film flits from kinda boring to out-and-out jarring, and is filled with tiny moments and events that end up grating on your brain. During one dance scene, the broke street-dancers let loose thousands and thousands of dollars like confetti, because, ye know, it looks cool. ‘People like me are invisible in this city’, says the stupidly handsome lead guy, who wouldn’t know what it felt like to be invisible if it came up and smacked him in his stupidly toned abs.

But there is hope. Do you remember how bad Fast & Furious 4 was? And how much fun Fast & Furious 5 turned out be? Just sayin’!

Rory Cashin 

Rated PG (see IFCO website for details)
99 mins
Step Up 4: Miami Heat is released on 10th August 2012

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnWhI0Sw40A

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