Saturday, 17 November 2018

Review: The Grinch - Charming tale that will please the younger members of the family

Six weeks away from Christmas and with The Nutcracker already getting the feast of festive film underway, this week the whole family headed  to Tralee Omniplex to catch the latest in holiday reboots , a return to animated form for that well known Christmas grouch , The Grinch.
Illumination Entertainment's adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss tale, has already scored the all-time biggest opening weekend for a Christmas movie in the US earning $66 million during its first three days and hopes were high among the younger members of our cinema posse as we embarked on what was sure to be a christmas cracker to get us all in the festive mood.
The film tells the famous tale of the Grinch (voiced Benedict Cumberbatch) who hatches a sneaky scheme with his trusted canine Max to ruin this year’s Christmas when the residents of Whoville plan to make their annual holiday three times bigger that year. While the Grinch plots his plan, a young girl Cindy Lou Who plans to seek out Santa Claus to thank him for helping her widowed mother  every Christmas, but little does she know she is trying to blow the Grinch's cover.
The family friendly film is such a strong genre that often as the dust settles on a year of cinematic exploits, there is always a family film lingering in the top ten list of favourite movies of the year. Paddington 2 from last year still stands up as one of the best of 2018 and one worthy of repeated viewing. More often than not, the family film has enough ingredients to dazzle the younger members of the family whilst simultaneously entertaining the older members resulting in a pleasant experience for all. Unfortunately with the Grinch although the younger members are well catered for with dazzling animation, plenty of slapstick and a silliness that's safe and lacks anything that may scare the younger demographic also serves up a film that can be bland at times lacking the characteristics that make these films so appealing. Whereas Jim Carrey chose to unsettle and overegg his performance as the Grinch, this animated version which visually looks terrific is a bit too vanilla in flavour with Benedict Cumberbatch never really convincing us that he is really all that bad to begin with!
It does feel at times that the production is so polished and perfect that it somewhat takes the charm from this well loved yuletide tale.
That said, however, the Grinch is still a pleasant 90 minutes of sweet and sugary colourful fun that young children will love and whilst not groundbreaking by any means is a holiday trip that all will  enjoy!

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Tralee Omniplex Tuesday Treat - What movie deserves your €6 this week?

There are just the two new releases on show this week at Tralee Omniplex. A animated reboot of well loved Christmas tale and a zombie war drama (now that's a first!)With 8 screens and plenty of quality still available why not catch a movie at Tralee Omniplex with the added bonus of all shows today just €6 as part of Omniplex Cinema's Tuesday Treat!

The Grinch
Illumination Entertainment's animated reboot of the famous yuletide tale is one for all the family to enjoy. With Benedict Cumberbatch voicing the Grinch and some  astounding visuals on show this is a feature that is largely aimed at a younger audience but will appeal to all ages.

JJ Abrams produced multi genre feature is part war movie, part horror and all in all gore fest that has had critics and audiences purring. May not to be everyone's taste but this B movie fan pleaser has an air of originality rarely seen at the cinema these days and deserves credit for that fact alone.

Monday, 12 November 2018

This weeks Top Movies on the Telly

A Beautiful Mind - (Film Four Monday 12th November 18:00)
The compelling true story of John Nash directed by Ron Howard and winner of four Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress for Jennifer Connelly. Also one of Russell Crowe's finest performances and worthy of repeated viewing!

Inception- (SyFy Wednesday 14th November 21:00)
For those of us who didn't figure it all out the first time around (around 99% of the audience) here is another chance to catch Christopher Nolan's mind stretching blockbuster that looks terrific and has the benefit of a top class cast coached by a true innovator behind the lens.

The Drop - (RTE 2 Saturday 17th November 21:00)
Written by Dennis Lehane and with a cast that boasts the likes of the late great James Gandolfini (in his final film role), Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace this crime drama from Academy Award nominated director Michaël R. Roskam was always going to be something a bit special. Excellent!

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Review: Widows - Tense and thrilling multi-layered heist movie that will leave it's audience satisified

The movie selection for this week's movie review at Tralee Omniplex was a very easy decision to make. Combine an Academy Award winning director in Steve McQueen, with source material from the great Lynda La Plante, co written by McQueen and Gillian Flynn with an all star cast that includes Viola Davis, Liam Neeson and Colin Farrell and you have the ingredients for something special right from the start.
Widows tells the story of four women with nothing in common except a colossal debt left behind by their dead husbands' criminal activities. Set in Chicago, during a time of turmoil, tensions build when Veronica (Viola Davis), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) take their fate into their own hands and conspire to create a future on their own terms.
In what is a complete change of pace for director McQueen after such films as Twelve Years a Slave, Shame and Hunger, the talented film maker tackles the heist genre for the first time, with interesting results.
The key to his success throughout this compelling feature is that not only does he give proper attention and execution to the various factors that make a great heist movie but this film is also multi-layered with so much extra themes running though it. It also acts as a social commentary dealing with such issues as race, gender and grief and all the time keeping it's audience on it's toes with a constant tension encompassing the whole production.
Central to this film's excellence is the performances of it's extremely talented all star cast with special praise going to Daniel Kaluuya as my pick for henchman of the year as he simply eats every scene he is in. It's the performance of Viola Davis though that sticks in the mind long after the end credits role as she ties the whole production together magnificently in her portrayal of leader Veronica and award nominations may not be far away again this year for this highly decorated and always brilliant actress.
On the whole, Widows is fierce, tense and dramatic heist thriller that will leave it's audience highly satisfied and cements McQueens position as a director that clearly can do no wrong!

Friday, 9 November 2018

Internationally Renowned Film Talent Line-Up for 63rd Cork Film Festival

Over 150 renowned Irish and international actors and directors will attend the 63rd Cork Film Festival, which commences with the highly anticipated Opening Gala Float Like A Butterfly tonight, Friday (9 November). The European premiere kicks off 10 days of cinema, with 250 Irish and international films, documentaries and shorts being screened from 9-18 November. For full details see

The opening feature of the 63rd Cork Film Festival Float like a Butterfly
Float Like A Butterfly’s leading actress Hazel Doupe, who plays Frances in the coming-of-age story of an Irish girl from the Travelling community, will be joined by her on-screen brother, Johnny Collins on opening night at Ireland’s longest-running and largest film festival. Director and writer Carmel Winters will also be in attendance, along with producers Martina Niland for Port Pictures, David Collins for Samson Films, and Academy Awards® winning composer, Stephen Warbeck.

Fresh off the recent success of Rosie, Waterford actor Moe Dunford will attend the screening of The Dig (15 Nov), along with directors Ryan and Andrew Tohill.

Emmy Award winning director, André Singer is in Cork for his documentary Meeting Gorbachev (11 November); and the ‘godfather of Irish electronic music’ Roger Doyle will give a pre-screening performance ahead of Brian Lally’s documentary The Curious Works of Roger Doyle (11 Nov). Pioneering Irish feminist filmmaker Pat Murphy is in discussion with Vanessa Gildea of Women in Film & TV Ireland following her 1981 film Maeve (15 Nov).

Moe Dunford in The Dig showing at this weeks Cork Film Festival

Cork Film Festival Producer and CEO Fiona Clark said: “Our mission is to bring people together through an outstanding programme of films and events, creating an unforgettable festival experience over 10 days.

“We’re delighted to feature some of the most talked about names in film, discussing issues prevalent to our society. For example, Dr Larycia Hawkins, a professor of political science at Wheaton College who was embroiled in controversy after she posted a picture of herself on Facebook wearing a hijab, is to participate in a Q&A of Same God; and we also welcome Karen Hassan of The Fall, who stars in Viko Nikci’s Cellar Door, a provocative mystery thriller with a unique point of view on a familiar trauma that affects countless millions.”

Aoife Duffin (Moone Boy) is at the Festival for the European premiere of the short she wrote, directed and starred in, Sister (11 Nov). Two of Ireland’s top artists Alice Maher and Aideen Barry will also attend their short, 6SKIN (13 Nov).

Stand out female directors in attendance include Cynthia Lowen with Netizens, a documentary exposing the proliferation of cyber harassment faced by women (15 Nov); and Belarus filmmaker Darya Zhuk with Crystal Swan (15 Nov). Debut features from Angelica Zollo with Trauma is a Time Machine (10 Nov), part of the Illuminate film and mental health strand; and young German filmmaker Henrika Kull with Jibril (18 Nov).

Further Q&As include Vitaly Mansky for Putin’s Witnesses (14 Nov); Aaron Schimberg with Chained For Life (10 Nov); Ben Hackworth for Celeste (14 Nov); and Nicolas Champeaux for The State Against Mandela and the Other (12 Nov). Filmmakers Donal Mosher and Mike Palmieri will attend The Gospel of Eureka (18 Nov), which compares performances of Eureka Springs' drag community with the city's long-running play on the Passion of Christ.

Cork Film Festival is proudly supported by principal funder the Arts Council, along with Cork City Council, Screen Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, Screen Training Ireland, Culture Ireland, Creative Ireland and Creative Europe Media. Principal media partner is RTÉ Supporting the Arts and media partners are the Irish Examiner and Red FM.

For details on all films — screened at The Everyman, Triskel and Gate Cinemas — see , call 021 427 1711 or visit the Cork Film Festival Box Office at Market Buildings, Grand Parade.

What movies to watch this weekend?

In the Cinema:

Steve McQueens' multi-faceted heist thriller combining an all star cast with smart writing and a talented director results in a compelling thriller that will please audiences everywhere. Keep an eye out for my full review on


State of Play (Netflix)
Directed by Kevin McDonald, this tense and taut political thriller wowed critics and audiences alike on it's cinematic release and makes it's debut this week on Netflix. A cast that includes Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams deliver an old fashioned journalism feature worthy of your attention.

On Telly

Good Will Hunting (W Saturday 10th November 21:00)
Hard to believe that this movie is 21 years old but another opportunity to revel in the marvellous screenplay of a young Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, under the directorship of Gus Van Sant and bound together by the brilliance of the late great Robin Williams in an Oscar winning role

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

5 great films to catch at the 63rd Cork Film Festival

This Friday sees the beginning of the highly anticipated 63rd Cork Film Festival which will show over 250 films in a 10 day period. Simply a must for all lovers of film with high quality international and Irish feature and short films on show as well as a Illuminate, the Festival’s unique series of film and discussion events exploring mental health and wellbeing, the ever popular Doc Day and lots more besides, Cork is the premier spot to catch all that is wonderful from the world of film (regardless of age or taste!)
Whilst all fans of film should experience as much of this high quality programme and world renowned Cork hospitality as possible there are some simply unmissable films on show and for your convenience I have put together a list of 5 such films. Do yourself a favour though, head to Cork over any of these ten days and and be part of a fantastic film festival!
Check out for further details.

5.Float Like a Butterfly - Friday 9th Nov 19:30 The Everyman Theatre
Cork Film Festival's opening night gala is the second feature from award wining filmmaker Carmel Winters. Shot in Skibbereen and Goleen, Float Like a Butterfly is a life-affirming delight that fiercely challenges patriarchy and stereotypes.
Winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at Toronto International Film Festival this year this feature gets the 63rd festival off to the best possible start

4.The Favourite - Saturday 10th Nov 21:00 The Everyman Theatre
Boasting incredible performances from it's cast, Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest collaboration with the Irish production company Element is a dazzling, majestic film: a riotous period piece with a feisty, feminist spark which saw it scoop the Grand Special Jury Prize at this year's Venice Film Festival as well as Best Actress for Olivia Colman

3. The Old Man & the Gun - Sunday 11th Nov 8:30pm The Everyman Theatre
David Lowery writes and directs Robert Redford's last big screen performance surrounded by an all star cast including Sissy Spacek and Casey Affleck  in this captivating film based on the true story of career criminal Forrest Tucker. A must see!

2. White Boy Rick - Thursday 15th Nov 6:15pm The Everyman Theatre
Based on the life of Richard Wershe Jr, a teenager recruited by US government agencies to infiltrate the drug scene in depressed Detroit, this Yann Demange directed feature evocatively depicts the 1980s underworld and features a break-out performance from Richie Merritt in the titular role as well as a terrific Matthew McConaughey as Rick Snr in a thrilling, muscular crime film that further affirms him as a filmmaker of extreme talent.

1. Sorry to Bother You - Saturday 17th Nov The Everyman Theatre
Boots Riley’s debut feature is already the making noises as one of the most talked about films of the year provoking much debate as a commentary on race, class and capitalism. An Official selection at this years Sundance Film Festival it is yet another top class addition to an already quality packed programme at the Cork Film Festival.