Welcome to my blog, if you are looking for reviews of the latest releases then I would suggest taking a look at some of the other excellent blogs mentioned to the right of this blog, for I review an eclectic mix of films from any era and any country and have sadly little time for the latest film news.
Enjoy my blog and don't hesitate to comment, I will answer without delay!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Irish Film Marathon: Part 3

In my previous review, I compared Michael Collins to The Wind That Shakes The Barley and it didn't come out very favourably, but the truth is it is far from being a bad film. In fact it's a very good one that is extremely close to being great.

Michael Collins is directed by Neil Jordan, which may come as some surprise to those used to seeing his name on films such as The Crying Game and others, but Jordan clearly shows his versatility here as he directs a big Hollywood blockbuster with some of the biggest stars of the time.
It was released in 1996 to largely positive reviews and became the highest grossing film in Ireland, to be beaten only by Titanic sever years later.
However it failed to gain the success it aimed for, as it grossed only 16 million worldwide on a budget of 28 million and positive but not exceptional reviews (77% on RT.)

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Irish Film Marathon Part 2

The Wind That Shakes The Barley is a 2006 film directed by English director Ken Loach.
It is the most successful independently financed film made in Ireland, with a budget of around 6 million. It was a resounding success and a triumph for independent filmmaking. It won the prestigious Pal D'Or by a unanimous vote. I personally think it was a most deserving winner as it is certainly one of the finest films of the decade.

The Wind That Shakes The Barley is widely held to be a masterpiece of independent Cinema and of Irish Cinema in particular.
It shares many themes and similarities with an earlier Irish films, Michael Collins, a big budget biopic of one of the most important men of the times.
However in my opinion this film is superior, despite the obvious differences in budget size. But more on that later.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Irish Film Marathon Part 1

For this first part I will be reviewing The Commitments, a film made in 1991, directed by Alan Parker and adapted from a novel by one of Ireland's most successful authors, Roddy Doyle.
The Commitments is one of Ireland's most beloved films frequently topping lists of best Irish films, but it is also highly praised by international audiences and critics alike as it is an extremely likeable film.

It is not exactly what you may have in mind when thinking of a "great" film. It has no ground breaking technical attributes, no award winning performances, no important message and no sensational or particularly thrilling events. And yet I would not hesitate to call it a great film.
Perhaps due to it's sheer likeability, the way it takes a group of very realistic yet at the same time larger than life characters many or even most of whom are very unlikeable and makes such a charming and enjoyable film.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Announcing: Irish Films Marathon!

As I've mentioned previously, I recently moved with my family from France to Ireland (which explains my lengthy blogging hiatus). I thought it would be a nice idea to mark my return with a short series of reviews of Irish films.

As Irish Cinema is far from being prolific, and in fact has been marked by long periods of inactivity such as the 40's when only two films were made, and they have only provided Cinema with a handful of celebrated directors such as Jim Sheridan and Neil Jordan, it was not a particularly tough task to choose which films to write about. But I'll write more on the industry as a whole later on.

I've chosen a rather varied bunch, some comedies, an animation, some big budget Hollywood funded films some small independently made. Some directed by Irishmen some by English.
But one thing they all have in common is the fact that they all rank amongst the most famous Irish films.
I could have gone with more obscure films but I feel that for a small marathon such as this I would do better to focus on the bigger works. Of course this also makes it easier for me to write as I have already seen many of these previously.
But this does not mean that I won't be reviewing more obscure Irish films at a later date, I certainly have a few in mind already.

Monday, 25 July 2011

End Of The Week Post

My viewing this week on a pretty pathetic scale, only one film seen. I don't even have any excuses, I just didn't get around to watching as many films as I wanted to.

Alfie - 1966 directed by Lewis Gilbert

Alfie is a vastly misunderstood British masterpiece. It has sadly never got the recognition it deserved in my opinion, even if it did start Michael Caine's career and was the subject for an awful looking remake starring Jude Law. But its delightfully dark humour, inventive directing, brilliant use of narration (which involves Alfie breaking the fourth wall in a most amusing fashion) combined with its highly interesting views on morality and the extreme skill with the character of Alfie is developed make it a most interesting piece of Cinema, that is as subtle in its approach to its subject, as it is ground-breaking in its choice of subject and its technical prowess.  It may seem rather dated by modern standards, but this is only because it succeeds in capturing the times it is set in so well. It may not be a timeless classic, but it's a film I feel is worthy of a reevaluation.