Thursday, 14 February 2019

Review: Green Book - Charming sentimental tale filled with excellent performances

Those familiar with the works of Peter Farrelly will know of his genius in the field of cinematic comedy with the likes of Dumb and Dumber and There's Something about Mary still celebrated and viewed as the last period of film with any consistent (and more importantly - funny!) comedic elements.
This weeks movie review sees Farrelly not unlike last weeks director Adam McKay change genre with Green Book, a heartfelt true story that has been lauded by critics and is currently featuring heavily in award nominations.
Green Book tells the true story of  Tony Lip (played by Viggo Mortensen),  a bouncer from an Italian-American neighbourhood in the Bronx, who is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South. Confronted with racism, constant danger, as well as unexpected humanity and humour, they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime.
Unfortunately, there has been a lot of negativity surrounding this movie, with the accuracy of events questioned, the over sentimentality attached and also implausible and insensitive manner in which the subject matter is handled throughout.
Green Book is also however, a charming road trip movie with two outstanding lead performances with more than a throwback to the great travel tales of the 80's such as Rain Man, Planes, Trains and Automobiles and Driving Miss Daisy evident.
A feel good bromance of epic proportions, this Oscar nominated film is touching, charming and at times very funny and a movie that will warm the hearts of all that take there seats at Tralee Omniplex to enjoy it!
Oscar nominations for both leads are well deserved and despite the measured and subtle performance of the talented Mahershala Ali, it is Viggo Mortensen that steals the show as the loud mouthed Tony Lip in a role that seems like he was born to play.
The chemistry between the two actors is a chief reason why this film soars higher than it potentially should and Farrelly's humane and comic touch will ensure that every cinema goer will walk out of Tralee Omniplex at the end of Green Book with a silly smile and a warm glow and despite all the negativity surrounding the film - isn't that what anyone wants from a trip to the movies?

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Review: McKay pulls no punches in sharp satirical Cheney biopic!

Director Adam McKay rested his comedic chops in 2015, and changed artistic direction with his critically acclaimed feature The Big Short which, saw the director explain the financial crash of 2008 in his own unique way to great effect.
In this week's Tralee Omniplex featured film, Vice, McKay again embraces that unique style that worked so well in The Big Short, to tell the tale of former vice president, Dick Cheney in a film that has been featuring strongly in award nominations over recent weeks.
Vice explores the epic story about how a political Washington insider quietly became the most powerful man in the world as Vice-President to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today.
A lot has been made of Christian Bale's physical transformation for this film, with the actor gaining 40lbs to take the title role of Dick Cheney in this production. What is also evident,however is the strength and understated brilliance of his portrayal of the former VP.
Golden Globes and BAFTA nominations for Bale are all well deserved in a role that sees the Welsh man also instilled as the bookies favourite for Best Actor Award in this months Academy Awards.
Credit too must go to Amy Adams (also Oscar nominated) in her role as Cheney's driving force,wife Lynn , Steve Carrell as Donald Rumsfeld, and Sam Rockwell who plays George W. Bush to perfection.
The film itself is an entertaining yet at times chaotic look at the life of this infamous political figure.
As in The Big Short, some of McKays wacky plot devices work quite well and others simply don't and his opinions on the life, times and methods of the former VP are about as subtle as a lorry load of bricks and this may seem tiresome to some audience members.
On the other hand, it does make for entertaining cinema and for all the criticism that may be levelled at this film, boredom can not be one of them!
McKay's uniqueness for the art of storytelling can also be refreshing, especially when supported by some terrific actors on top form.
Even though McKay could have toned down the volume a little bit, nonetheless, Vice is another solid and commendable effort on his part, and one that is a gentle reminder for those of us who lament the days of pre-Donald, previous US administrations and their puppet masters weren't much to write home about either!

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

5 reasons to get excited about film in 2019

After another successful year in 2018 at the box office with superheroes, sequels, spin-offs and big budget blockbusters more than paying their way, the good news is that 2019 has more of the same in line for it's eager audience with some interesting reboots, original productions and sequels upcoming in what potentially has the box office ingredients for a fruitful and enjoyable year at the Omniplex. So without further ado here are 5 reasons (there are many many more..) to be excited about cinema in 2019!

1. Jordan Peele releases his follow up feature to Get Out 

When the director of one of 2017's top features finally releases his follow up feature with the premise which states "A mother and a father take their kids to their beach house expecting to unplug and unwind with friends. But as night descends, their serenity turns to tension and chaos when some shocking visitors arrive uninvited" - cinema audiences everywhere are bound to take notice and eagerly await the next instalment from a very talented filmmaker

2. Disney serves up a selection of live action remakes 

Following on from the success of the live action remakes of the Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast, this year sees Disney release no less than three live action remakes of some well known classics with Dumbo, Aladdin and The Lion King all  getting the live action do over. With Jon Favreau, Guy Ritchie and Tim Burton behind the lens, interesting results surely awaits!

3. Avengers: Endgame hits our big screens!

The film that simply needs no introduction as Marvel fans are finally put out of their misery after a year of head scratching at the climax of the superb Avengers: Infinity War. What now for our fallen superheroes and who will save the day that half of them have been wiped out (spoiler alert!) If this final chapter in Marvel Phase 3 contains a fraction of the entertainment of Infinity War there will be no complaints from it's dedicated followers!

2. The Return of Quentin Tarantino

In a return to the setting of L.A. for the first time since Pulp Fiction has assembled an all star cast that includes Brad Pitt and Leonardo Di Caprio. His latest upcoming feature Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a mystery crime film written and directed by the iconic film maker and centres around the Manson Family murders. A break from the steady diet of summer blockbusters its' sure to be and I for one, can't wait!

1. The Final Part of the Star Wars trilogy lands
A franchise that has been good for this corner of the world in recent times sees J.J.Abrams return to the director's chair and it is safe to say that fans will be more than ready to take their seats when this final episode hits our big screens next Christmas. With the late Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and fellow alumni Billy Dee  making an appearance this is one sure to score big in the box office and with Abrams at the wheel is bound to be a film of great quality and entertainment!

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Review - Glass : Glass half empty in limp end to supernatural trilogy

Those familiar with the work of M.Night Shyamalan will now that his career in film resembles somewhat of a rollercoaster ride with the heights of such features as The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable followed by the lows of The Happening and After Earth. Lately however has seen a resurgence in the director's career with The Visit and in particular the 2017 film Split gaining critical and popular acclaim for this "marmite" film maker.
On the back of an extremely intriguing ending to Split, I ventured to Tralee Omniplex to catch the final part in this supernatural trilogy, Glass and wondered which M. Night Shyamalan would I get ?
The reality was that I got neither, in a feature that never really hits the heights of any of it's predecessors in the series, Unbreakable or Split yet thankfully never sinks to previous depths of mediocrity either.
Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds Dunn (Bruce Willis) pursuing Kevin Wendell Crumb's (James McAvoy) superhuman figure of The Beast in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men.
As comfortable as Shyamalan is with setting an air mystery and the unknown, I can;t help but get the feeling in Glass that as chuffed as he was reintroducing the characters from Unbreakable towards the end of Split that he never really thought through what to actually do with them in this film.
James McAvoy's multi-layered performance in Split was central to the success of the movie, yet seems jaded and overplayed here. Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson perform credibly in what is scant source material and the whole production seems to move at a pedestrian pace for a lot of it's near two hour running time.
As in all his movies, the director does surprise us with the showstopping big reveal towards the end and to M.Night Shyamalan's credit, this reveal along with competent cast performances (despite any real emotional weight) does salvage Glass to a certain degree.
However as the end credits role , I can;t help but feel that this was yet again somewhat of  a missed opportunity to bring the intriguing supernatural series to a more triumphant end and the search for M.Night Shyamalan's mojo continues in earnest!

Friday, 25 January 2019

Oscar Nominations for two films screened at Kerry Film Festival 2018

The high calibre of film showed at the Kerry Film Festival each year was highlighted again this week as two short films screened at this years event earned Academy Award nominations.

Kerry Film Festival , an internationally recognised film festival that takes place in the picturesque town of Killarney, Co. Kerry is delighted to have screened two of the five short films nominated for the Academy Award for Live Action Narrative Short, Detainment and Mother.

Both films screened at Cinema Killarney in October 2018 at the 19th edition of the Kerry Film Festival with Detainment winning Best Irish Short, a much coveted award at the festival.

Speaking about the nominations yesterday, Kerry Film Festival Chair of the board, Grace O’Donnell noted that, 'The Kerry Film Festival has consistently programmed films that win awards. Films that screen at Kerry Film festival go on to win Oscars, Baftas and Iftas. We curate unique films through the submission process and this allows a Kerry audience to see the best independent film being made from around the world”

Detainment is a true story based on interview transcripts and records from the James Bulger case which shocked the world in 1993.

Mother follows the everyday conversation between Marta and her mother which turns into a tragic, against- the-clock situation, when they get a call from the former’s son.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

And the Secret Screening Movie for Tralee Omniplex is ...... Instant Family

Teased by hints via social media on the days leading up to Tralee Omniplex's Secret Screening this week,the pieces had begun to fit together and I had a sneaky feeling that the feature on show may be another quality feature from director Sean Anders who has previously served up some comedic gems such as Daddy's Home and low and behold as the curtain raised to a eagerly anticipated full house, all were pleasantly delighted to see his latest movie Instant Family was the subject of the secret film!
I will review the film itself in detail in due course but the whole concept of the Secret Screening is one which was again very popular in this particular movie theatre as all seats were full for this "surprise" showing.
The price of €10 for a cinema ticket, medium popcorn and medium soft drink is very appealing for cinema goers and the opportunity to get to see a preview showing of a big budget feature long before it's release date adds to the appeal!
The fact that the audience doesn't know what film they are about to watch also amplifies the attraction of this great offer from Omniplex Cinemas.
With this secret screening  full to capacity, this successful outing continues the popularity and success of  Secret Screenings at Tralee Omniplex and long may they continue!

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Oscar Nominee among very strong programme of shorts announced for this years Dingle Film Festival

Oscar nominee Detainment, a true story based on interview transcripts and records from the James Bulger case which was written and directed by Vincent Lambe is among a selection of exceptional short film just announced and which will be on show at this years eagerly anticipated 13th Dingle International Film Festival taking place from 21st to 24 March 2019.
The first taste of what is sure to be a quality packed programme sees short films that include the likes of Moe Dunford, Rosaleen Lenihan and Brendan Gleeson with something for everyone to enjoy.
With films being screened in some unique venues such as St James Church and McCarthys Bar this years Dingle International Film Festival promises to live up to the strong reputation it already has amongst film festivals worldwide.
Considering that features, workshops and special events are yet to be announced, it is surely well worth pencilling 21st to 24th March of this year into your diary for what will undoubtedly be another special event with film lovers of all tastes catered for over the four days of this exceptional event - and all this practically on your doorstep!

For further announcements and Dingle International Film Festival related news check out