Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Avengers Endgame - A fitting finale to a fantastic franchise!

With a world record breaking opening weekend box office haul of over $1 billion worldwide, and cinemas up and down the country full to capacity over the last week, I made my way to Tralee Omniplex to become probably one of the last cinema goers to see Avengers Endgame, but more importantly to find out was it worthy of such high box office figures and critical acclaim.
In Avengers Endgame, the grave course of events previously set in motion by Thanos that wiped out half the universe and fractured the Avengers ranks compels the remaining Avengers to take one final stand in Marvel Studios' grand conclusion to twenty-two blockbusting films.
Avengers Endgame may strongly demonstrate the powerful strength of marketing and hype but like all the other twenty one Avengers films, it also contains lots of other factors that have made the franchise soar whilst other comic book series have floundered spectacularly.
Avengers Endgame, sees the usual groundbreaking effects dished up in spades again this time around maximising the thrill adventure ride that this movies produce. The dialogue is again sharp and witty with the humour a constant relief from the trials and tribulations facing our heroes.
What has been added with extra attention this time around however, is the emotional depth (I know..it's only as superhero movie - but it can still have depth!) that is evident from the very first shot.
After a thrilling twenty one film ride the pressure must have been enormous on the production crew to serve up a fitting ending to a highly entertaining and successful franchise and in my opinion, they have achieved just that!
The usual pick n mix of Marvel stars are there sharing screen time and all contribute to a dazzling finale with many twists and turns along the way.
My usual gripe about these films hasn't subsided however as a running time of over 3 hrs seems a bit excessive in a film that could have easily lost a few minutes and still had the same profound effect.
Overall though, Avengers Endgame is a film worthy of it's place in the rich (in all senses of the word) Marvel catalogue and will excite fans of the genre and leave blockbuster fan disappointed!
✸✸✸✸

Thursday, 2 May 2019

See it all! - Omniplex launches MyOmniPass monthly subscription

Omniplex Cinemas, one of Ireland’s largest cinema chains, announced today the introduction of MyOmniPass – a monthly subscription allowing customers to ‘See It All’.
The release of MyOmniPass is based on an ever-growing demand for cinema trips in Ireland – in fact, on average every person on the island will visit the cinema 3.8 times per year which makes it the highest cinema-going nation in Europe for 4 years running.
The monthly subscription includes a range of benefits including 1 ticket to every standard movie, 10% off your cinema treats, 10% off extra tickets online for your friends, free upgrades of MyOmniPass tickets to MAXX & Recline shows, and exclusive screenings just for our members.
Shauna Crawley, Marketing & Loyalty Manager, said “A lot of customers have asked about a subscription service at Omniplex, and we’ve built our MyOmniPass on our customers’ feedback. Two key elements of our service is that it’s all based on e-cards so once you have a smartphone you always have your pass. And secondly, you get 1 ticket to every standard movie we’re showing, with an average of 702 movies released per year over the past 10 years, we really want to give our customers a chance to see it all.”
Yes you read that right, 702 movies. Last year, a whopping 1,279 movies were released in Irish Cinemas including special re-releases of classic movies which are becoming ever more popular.
The big question, is what do Irish cinema-goers like to watch? The answer is a little bit of everything. Over the past 10 years, the most popular genre has been Action movies, closely followed by Comedy & Animation. We also have a strong affinity towards music based movies. In 2018, Ireland was the only country in Europe to have two music based movies in their top two movie slots at the end of the year – Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! & A Star is born.
Begin your adventure today at Omniplex.ie/MyOmni

Review: Wonder Park - Family fun feature where imagination is king!

This weeks film of the week at Tralee Omniplex is Wonder Park, another family feature and a film that has hit our screens with less of the hype of it's recent rivals yet one that was highly anticipated within the cinematic posse of mini critics that accompanied me to it's screening.
From Paramount Studios, Wonder Park tells the story of a magical amusement park where the imagination of a wildly creative girl named June comes alive. One day, June is running through the woods to find her way home where she discovers an old rollercoaster car and climbs inside. She suddenly finds herself in Wonderland, an amusement park she had created in her mind. All of her rides and characters are brought to life but are failing miserably without her. Now, with the help of her fun and lovable park characters, June will have to put the wonder back in Wonderland before it is lost forever.
With the usual incredible animated action sequences and set pieces on show (that we now take for granted such is the high quality of effects seen in modern day family films) and a scope for wildly imaginative scenarios and storylines, Wonder Park will tick a lot of boxes for the younger viewers in the audience, with my cinematic companions aged from 4 to 8, all raving about it's entertainment value and level of fun! The running time of 90 mins plus also seemed to fly by, such was the draw of the subject matter and it's relentless sense of chaos and amusement.
There are some drawbacks however, there is a central theme running through the film of childhood fear and grief that begins strongly enough but fades somewhat into the background as the film progresses and doesn't handle what are complex issues for a family film quite as well as  movies like "Inside Out" has done in the past and in the process may lose some of the older viewers investment in the film.
That said, the younger viewers will thoroughly enjoy this film and it's adventurous spirit, humour and merriment and for that it must be applauded!
✹✹✹1/2


Monday, 15 April 2019

Review: Wild Rose - Kerry native Jessie Buckley shines in entertaning musical feature

Following on from it's successful showing as part of the recent Dingle International Film Festival, the new feature from Tom Harper and starring Killarney's own Jessie Buckley gets it's long awaited  release this week at Tralee Omniplex.
Wild Rose tells the complex story of Rose-Lynn, a woman on a quest to become a country music star, while also grappling with the responsibilities of being recently released from prison and a young mother of two children.
Having worked with Tom Harper on BBC's War and Peace series and having initially having found fame for displaying her musical talents in BBC's 2008 series I'd Do Anything , it was quite clear from the outset that this was the perfect fit for Kerry native Jessie Buckely who dazzled in her first top billing role last year in Beast.
What was pleasantly surprising also was that not only was she impeccably suited for the role but that this was yet another "A Star is Born" type movie that has been seen many times before and should be jaded at this stage but somehow , thanks to some superb writing by Nicole Taylor, excellent supporting players including the always magnificent Julie Walters and Sophie Okonedo, and another remarkable lead performance by Jessie Buckley,  Wild Rose manages to out a fresh and raw spin on a well worn tale and is a film that will evokes all types of emotions over it's 101 min running time.
Killarney really is a hotbed of acting talent at the moment with Buckey deservedly spoken about in the same tones as her local counterpart Michael Fassbender and Wild Rose is another feature she simply owns from start to finish and with her musical talents leading to her writing six of the songs of what is an amazing soundtrack (and this from a non-country music fan!) , Jessie Buckley is central to all that is great about this feature from many different angles.
Wild Rose is a pretty entertaining and gutsy bit of film making with one of our own lighting up the screen in the process and that is surely something worth getting behind and celebrating.
Overall, if it's entertainment, heartfelt drama, some moments of real humour and a soundtrack that will have you toe tapping for days then look no further than Wild Rose.
✹✹✹✹

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Review: Dumbo - Visualing stunning live action remake that will please all the family!

After a week of sleepless nights after watching Us last week at Tralee Omniplex, I was delighted to get back to fun family fare this week with Tim Burton's live action remake of the classic Disney tale Dumbo the movie of choice.
Accompanied by the whole family including my own mini co-critics in Ellie (aged 8 ) and Luke (aged 4), I knew that only the best effort by visual maestro Burton would pass muster and leave the whole family satisfied.
This all-new grand live-action adventure expands on the beloved Disney story when Circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) enlists former star Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) and his children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) to care for a newborn elephant whose over sized ears make him a laughingstock in an already struggling circus. But when they discover that Dumbo can fly, the circus makes an incredible comeback, attracting persuasive entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), who recruits Dumbo for his newest, larger-than-life entertainment venture, Dreamland. Dumbo soars to new heights alongside a charming and spectacular aerial artist, Colette Marchant (Eva Green), until Holt learns that beneath its shiny veneer, Dreamland is full of dark secrets.
Dumbo is the first of three live action remakes of animated classics with Aladdin and The Lion King following on later this year so the pressure was on for Burton to produce something unique as he was tinkering with a well known animated classic that has held a special place in audiences hearts for a long long time. That fact, along with the heavily marketing and advertising that went along with this remake meant that audiences were eagerly anticipating what this iconic and unique director would produce.
Whereas, the original Dumbo has not been outclassed here (an impossible task!) there is lots to like in a near two hour visual extravaganza of entertainment in a style that only Burton could produce.
The backdrop, effects and visual set pieces are amazing and the storyline continues at a pace that never bores. Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito and Eva Green also acquit themselves well, with Michael Keaton perhaps over egging it a bit as the villain of the piece. The star of the show inevitably is Dumbo and Tim Burton can indeed be proud of his live action creation that simply steals every scene he is in.
Whilst, Dumbo may not have everyone shouting from the roof tops ("It's no Lego Movie 2" - I was informed by my co-critics!) , there is plenty to entertain and excite in what is a fun family feature of pure cinematic escapism!
✹✹✹1/2

Troll Inc - A compelling documentary that will split it's audience and educate on the world of online trolling!



With local film maker Bertie Brosnan acting as Associate Producer on this feature and with a official synopsis that reads: " From innocent meme culture to malicious propaganda, the avant-garde has moved online and they have an agenda. Emerging from deep within underground computer
programming culture, internet trolls are disenfranchised and using the click-bait obsessed mass media to propel their performance art into the mainstream. Whether mischievously entertaining the masses, influencing presidential elections, or manipulating journalists and corporations, trolls are either saving us or driving our culture off of a cliff. Prosecuted as a whistleblower by the Federal Government, Trolls Inc. follows the world’s most famous Internet troll, Andrew Auernheimer, and his merry band of provocateurs as they take on corporate America, the media, and political correctness." - Troll Inc was always going to be a documentary that would interest and spark debate.
The current climate of journalistic reporting and how the masses are fed their information is also central to theme of this compelling documentary.
To make Troll Inc., director George Russell fought and won a year-long federal lawsuit forcing the government to honor a Freedom of Information Act request it had originally denied. To get such unparralled access to  such a nototorious figure in the world of online trolling was also a coup for the director as we hear the story largely from Auernheimer's point of view. The personality of the protaganist and his unquestioned views throughout the feature may be a bit much for some but isn't that the point of good film making - to spark debate and discussion. Troll Inc also serves to educate those that may be unfamiliar with the world of trolling and all it entails and is available to view at the links below.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Review: US - Jordan Peele's stunning fear filled feature could well be the scariest movie you'll see this year!

This week's Tralee Omniplex outing, Us, tells the story of Adelaide (Nupita Nyong'o) who, haunted by an unexplainable trauma from her childhood and compounded by a string of eerie coincidences, feels her paranoia elevate as she grows increasingly certain that something bad is going to happen to her family. After spending a tense beach day with their friends, the Tylers , Adelaide and her family return to their vacation home. When darkness falls, the Wilsons discover the shapes of four figures holding hands as they stand in the driveway - doppelgängers of themselves.
My adoration for Jordan Peeles's 2017 directorial debut Get Out is well documented at this stage with it's freshness, originality and social commentary boosting a genre that is already at the top of it's game and announcing the one time comedians arrival on the film making scene with a loud bang!
The next hurdle for Peele to clear was the follow up feature and that difficult "second album" as the bar had been set so high on his first effort! The anticipation this time around was also a new phenomenon for the director to deal with as we all waited with bated breath for what he was going to do next.
Thankfully, the newly crowned master of the horror genre does not disappoint in a film that will inflict a whole range of emotions on its' captive audiences that will stay with them for days afterwards.
Whereas Get Out, had a slow gradual build up before the scares came think and fast, Us puts the frighteners on it's audience from the get go and that uneasy feeling  of horror stays with you throughout!
Michael Abels score fits the movie perfectly adding that extra layer of intensity to the whole production and all the old horror movie tricks are included to aid the restlessness for the duration of the film.
However, it is the performance of Nupita Nyong'o as Adelaide that elevates this from a pretty decent horror film to the top drawer feature that it becomes with a performance that rivals anything seen within the genre in recent times.
Us,  is much more than your run of the mill scarefest (even though it has those qualities in spades!). Peele is a thinking persons horror movie director with the fearful feeling in the pit of your stomach accompanied by a dose of head scratching as Peele's included and expected social commentary comes with extra ambiguity and is open to many interpretations (as all good films should be!)
The inevitable warning that comes with this feature is that if you are not a fan of the horror film and things that go bump in the night then this may not be the film for you!
Otherwise, Us is simply another powerful chapter in the remarkable film making career of an indisputable talent and a film that is bound to end up on many's top ten lists before the end of the year!
✹✹✹✹1/2