Thursday, 20 June 2019

Review: Godzillla: King of the Monsters - a loud and brash monster mess of a movie!

This weeks trip to Tralee Omniplex involved another in what is bound to be a packed summer of big budget blockbusters in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. With some quality productions already seen this year and more to follow where will this latest effects driven, CGI laden film feature in the mix up come the end of the summer season?
Sadly, this answer is probably near the end of the pile as what should be a no-brainer B-movie with throw away one-liners and awesome effects will be remembered by this viewer as two hours of loud noise and indistinguishable creatures tearing lumps out of each other!
This latest Godzilla vehicle follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species - thought to be mere myths - rise again, they all fight for supremacy, leaving humanity's very existence hanging in the balance.
Written and directed by Michael Dougherty whose past credits include X-Men United and Superman Returns, who in this film assembles a formidable cast that includes Oscar winner Sally Hawkins, Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga and Millie Bobby Brown and adds an awful lot of CGI to bash the senses - a ploy that can work in a lot of big blockbusters but sadly this one lacks the humour, fun and adventure that normally accompanies such features and the whole production seems to fall flat!
Cheesy performances and cliches are to the forefront with humourless quips littered throughout and you do wonder why a such a talented bunch of actors (with solid back catalogues) added their names to this film. (Kyle Chandler being the only one that survives with his reputation fully intact!)
Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh on a B-movie that involves battling mythical figures but aside from some impressive set pieces, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is simply no more than a loud and brash mediocre production that left me cold and will be easily forgotten in the coming days!

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Review: Rocketman - Highly entertaining biopic of a modern musical icon!

Fresh from steering Bohemian Rhapsody to shore following Bryan Singers removal, director Dexter Fletcher takes on another icon of the music industry Elton John in the subject of this week's movie review Rocketman currently showing at Tralee Omniplex.
Fletcher, no stranger to musical biopics or indeed the musical genre, as other than his fine work on Bohemian Rhapsody, he was also behind the criminally underrated Sunshine on Leith, which was the a musical based on the songs of Scottish duo The Proclaimers.
This time around however , the director was under a lot more pressure to produce a film of real quality and to pay tribute to one of popular music's real iconic figures in Elton John and thankfully here, he does just that!
Rocketman is an epic musical fantasy about the incredible human story of Elton John's breakthrough years following the fantastical journey of transformation from shy piano prodigy Reginald Dwight into international superstar Elton John. This inspirational story -- set to Elton John's most beloved songs and performed by star Taron Egerton -- tells the universally relatable story of how a small-town boy became one of the most iconic figures in pop culture.
When you have such a back catalogue of quality tunes (and Rocketman really reminds it's audience of what an exceptional song writer Elton John really was) it's half the battle in the attempt to produce a movie of real quality. The other half is proper casting and in Taron Egerton as Elton John, Dexter Fletcher has really struck gold in his leading man. Lending raw emotion, true conviction and amazing vocals it's hard to imagine any one else playing the iconic musician's role with such purpose.
The film's seamless meandering into Elton John's most popular songs is also a wonderful trick with some excellent choreographed and emotionally rich scenes running through the film(the first time "Your Song" is played is a scene that stands out in particular).
As superb as this film is, there are some pitfalls which prevent it from hitting that top bracket of quality however. It does at times seem to be a bit of a vanity project for Elton with a rather biased view of history on his part and some of the supporting cast do let the side down at times(Jamie Bell's Bernie Taupin is not his best performance by any means!).
That said, Rocketman should be enjoyed for what it is, a magnificent celebration of a musical genius from humble beginnings whose songs have become a large part of modern culture and deserve the big screen treatment to entertain fans all over again!

Friday, 24 May 2019

Review: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum - Crazy high octane rollercoaster not for the squeamish!

Following in the vein of closing chapters of successful franchises after the box office record breaking Avengers: Endgame, this week I made my way to Tralee Omniplex to catch the third and final installment of adrenaline-fueled action trilogy based around the adventures of one John Wick.
In the aptly named John Wick:Chapter 3: Parabellum, super-assassin John Wick (played by Keanu Reeves) returns with a $14 million price tag on his head and an army of bounty-hunting killers on his trail. After killing a member of the shadowy international assassin's guild, the High Table, John Wick is excommunicado, as the world's most ruthless hit men and women await his every turn.
Bursting on to our big screens in 2014, director Chuck Stahelski ensured that John Wick was an action movie that the audience were not going to forget, channelling films like Gareth Evans The Raid to deliver action and fight sequences that simply blew it's viewers away with a perfectly cast Keanu Reeves the orchestrator behind it's razor sharp delivery.
John Wick 2, in my opinion had seen standards slip somewhat as the film didn't live up to the high standards set my it's predecessor. Thankfully in John Wick 3, those high standards of highly choreographed fight sequences, imaginative action scenes and overall chaos are again evident serving up the best film in this energetic trilogy.
Keanu Reeves again proving, the less dialogue the better, as he makes the most of his skills as an all out action star, with some simply stunning fight and chase spectacles that you will not see bettered on a big screen this year.
The pace is frentic as Wicks swats away enemies like pestering flies at an alarming rate and like all John Wicks movies absurdity is the order of the day so if plausibility is your thing, then maybe John Wick is not for you!
There is also copious amounts of graphic violence which may not be to everyones' tastes but just add to the madness of the whole production.
Overall, if you are prepared to suspend disbelief for a few hours and enjoy the crazy ride then John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum is an enjoyable rollercoaster full of exciting thrills from beginning to end!

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'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

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!

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.