A late ‘Arrival’ – Film Review


The most notable cinematic aliens to visit Monatana (since the Star Trekkers brought the Borg) have landed in there and in eleven other global locations.  Linguist, Dr. Louise Banks, (Amy Adams) and Theoretical Physicist, Ian Donnelly, (Jeremy Renner) are sent to work out what they want. All global locations are on high alert as they try to work together in the race for a breakthrough. The U.S. Military is represented by a benign Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) while intelligence is served by an obtuse Agent Halpern (Michael Stuhlbarg).

arrival

Director Denis Villeneuve delivers the action at a slow and steady rate; his sense of apprehension-building makes the film seem to have more pace than it actually does.  The majority of scenes are interiors; mixed with the apprehension, this gives the film an appropriately claustrophobic and tense quality. The Sci-fi elements are set into a more grounded world to which we can relate. It follows more in the vein of Interstellar, Moon or Contact rather than the spectacles and high ideals of Star Wars and Star Trek. It is refreshingly subdued and contained for the sci fi genre.

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All performances are appropriately understated; Amy Adams gives a subtle, thoughtful and retro-reflective performance as a bereaved mother and we are given a series of somewhat disconnected yet touching memories of her relationship with her daughter as she battles to understand the Alien dialect.  Jeremy Renner does his Jeremy Renner thing, with glasses because he is a mathematician, but does not feel out of place while doing it. Forest Whitaker brings an almost too benign and understanding quality to his Army Colonel and following with the film’s muted tone Stuhlbarg’s spiteful investigator is wonderfully snide rather than brash and loud.

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There is an already contentious feature spliced into the plot which is no more bizarre than Interstellar and already some people are finding silly. While it could have dug deeper into an explanation of a few of these plot devices I still found it to be gentle, cozy and delivered endearingly despite its simplicity. It would sit comfortably beside “A.I.” in a sci-fi collection.

I came away with a warm content monies-worth feeling. Overall it worked for me.

7/10

Arrival on IMDB

Follow me on twitter @Beanmimo

How My Friend Became A Mini-Meme


In September 2016 my friend Michael had to renew his passport. Afterwards, in his own cool, cheeky and inimitable style, he committed the account of the all important photo-taking to Facebook… like this…

“The “Passport Renewal Photo Roulette” game. You make sure you weren’t drinking the night before, you scrub yourself up, shave, slap on some moisturiser, dab a bit of hairwax on the noggin and think “Shit yeah, I look good”…and then you sit down in the photo booth, follow the instructions “not to smile, not to grimace, not to look up, or down, or sideways”….so you spin the wheel and there you are, for some fucking reason the gods have decided “NO….YOU DO NOT LOOK LIKE THAT”….and you are doomed for the next 10 years to look like “Igor Bollockoff, AKA “The Huge Head from Hungary”, wanted in six countries across the Balkans for kitten trafficking and crimes against vegetables”. Another 10 years of laughter from immigration control officers ahead. Great.”
 

Here is his photo.

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Then someone grabbed it and did this…

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This opened the flood gates and over the subsequent hours and days this happened…

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…and this…

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…and this…

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…and these…

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It got weirder…

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..and weirder…

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It got Hungarian…

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It got creepy…

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It went all Netflixy for a moment…

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Then it took a military turn…

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Then it got breakfasty…

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Followed by a short American Gothic Renaissance…

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Before going all Regal…

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Then it had a short avante-garde period…

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…before finally going all religious!! 

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But that doesn’t have to be the end of it!! 

Add your own in the comments!! 

EPIC Ireland – A Journey of A People – A Museum Reviewed


My trip to Ireland’s newest Museum – courtesy of EPIC Ireland.

When I told a few friends I was planning a visit to the Irish Diaspora museum

EPIC Ireland – A Journey of A People

I got some typical Irish begrudging reactions. “That’s just for American tourists” and similar views.

Well begrudgers, you can eat that begrudgery followed by  humble pie. EPIC Ireland doesn’t just live up to its name but redefines the whole museum experience. It delivers history through deft use of 21st Century technology while mixing sparse and thoughtful design in the CHQ building which has a cool history all of its own.

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When you descend into EPIC you are greeted with a charming ‘passport’ to the Irish Diaspora Museum. I see this being embraced by the generations of schoolchildren who will pass though the museum. We are told to stamp our passport (which doubles as a handy map) in each room.

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At the entrance you are greeted with columns of dazzling colour and a video of an incoming tide splashed up against the 200 year old walls of the CHQ building’s lower level. The lights are low and this creates a fittingly eerie atmosphere.

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When I think of the Irish diaspora two time periods spring to mind; the mid to late 1800s and the 1960s – 80s. But EPIC, (living up to its name) charts many of the reasons, some of the journeys and many of the kinds of people who left throughout the history of our country from 500 A.D. to our present century.

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Within the ancient walls the designers have considerately fashioned a theme for each room that suits the information being relayed. The first three rooms chart the journey from Ireland to the various countries that my ancestors found refuge. It then proceeds to focus on the descendants of those people who left and the impact they had on those countries.

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EPIC untangles hundreds of their stories at the touch of multiple screens and audio experiences. There are stories of bravery, of hope, despair, creativity, achievement in many spheres, infamy, deception, even cross-dressing and much more. These stories are from both the Irish who first arrived on the shores of their new worlds and in subsequent room the stories of their descendants.

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EPIC delivers a refreshing balance as we hear the positive aspects of our Irish History standing shoulder to shoulder with the negative ones.

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There are also a number of amusing quizzes to take which proves that EPIC is not without a sense of humour.

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One of the many highlights of the tour was reading the scanned letters that Irish immigrants had sent home.  Seeing a digital image of the original letters and reading the words of these ordinary people brought me closer to the struggles of the original Irish Diaspora.

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I could go on but I don’t want to spoil the experience any further. I spent three and a half hours there and could have spent the same amount of time again and still not taken in everything it has to offer.

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One more thing, don’t forget to look at the floors.

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This Museum goes to Eleven.

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Dublin Restaurants as recommended by Twitter – May 2016


I don’t usually eat out. When the opportunity arose, with two friends who have lived out of Dublin for more than a few years, I went to twitter for help.

This was my tweet…

‘Dublin twitter foodies. I’m looking for a suggestion for a reasonably priced restaurant in the city centre. @Tweetinggoddess @darraghdoyle‘

Before I list every recommendation I will tell you (briefly) why I chose Avenue.

avenue

A) Avenue was recommended by Darragh Doyle and they instantly responded from their twitter account with their menu!

B) I had actually been there once before for lunch.

I am not suddenly going to turn into a food blogger and demand free meals from anyone in return for words on the internet but I did visit Avenue with my friends and had a lovely early bird meal. I recommend the Pressed Pork for starter and the Onglet I had for my main course.

Thanks to Alanna Feeney for her twitter interaction and the hosting on the night and to Nick Munier for the food!

Thanks to

@darraghdoyle @tweetinggoddess @GinandGriddle @PrettyPPD  and ‏@MargaritaRibotV

for replying to my tweet with the following recommendations.

@catch22dublin

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@Carluccios_ie

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@BeeftroDublin

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@featherblade

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@brasseriesixty6  

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@imonellidublin

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@CaffeItaliano1

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@CocuKitchen

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@Sproutfoodco

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@HAIRYLEMON1

thehairylemon

Flanagans on O Connell St

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And @YamamoriDublin which appeared in two separate recommendations.

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Enjoy your meals!

Tomorrowland – Directed by Brad Bird for Disney


A few months ago I saw one trailer for “Tomorrowland” and managed to avoid everything about it since. That one trailer promised to transport us to the futuristic world of the title and the film does just that but not in the way I imagined. For a sci-fi movie the grounded atmosphere, in one sense, follows in the the legacy of Spielberg’s “Close Encounter of a Third Kind” and “ET – The Extra Terrestrial” and in another sense it pays many sweet homages to the U.S.’s view of the future as it was imagined up to and in the 1960s and sci-fi films since.

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George Clooney’s Frank Walker, coming from a long line of Disney’s disillusioned inventors, has been kicked out of Tomorrowland (for spoiler reasons I will not go into) and is persuaded to return by two of the films real stars Britt Robertson as Casey and Raffey Cassidy’s Athena. Robertson is one of the coolest rebel girls-next-door characters you could meet and you root for her all the way while Cassidy plays Athena with a curious grown-up mix of charm and underlying agenda.

Disney's TOMORROWLAND..Casey (Britt Robertson) ..Ph: Film Frame..?Disney 2015

There are nods to “Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang”, “The Jetsons”, even “The Matrix” and more. In one scene there is an entire shop full of homages. It is plain to see that Brad Bird had dealt mostly with animated entertainment up to now as the action is directed very much with that kind of an eye, for instance, there is a lovely moment with Clooney’s guard dog that is straight out of a Tom and Jerry cartoon. More of the movie’s style come’s from his animation backgrounds, the chases, the set design’s, the humour (one character nods directly to his earlier movie “The Iron Giant”). Bird infuses the story with his always unsentimental warmth, packed it full of great gadgets, and lots of universally accessible humour.

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While I would recommend it and the clear message it delivers to children (and adults) about holding onto your early dreams and being overwhelmingly positive, there is something lacking in the movie as a whole. Perhaps the evil threat (while all encompassing) wasn’t delivered with the impact it deserved, or the baddies, while entertaining, were a little to distant and even somewhat benign. Or Perhaps Bird was making a film about ‘chasing your dreams and not giving up’ for his own generation and somewhere along the way today’s children were a little obscured from the vision.

The verdict… it is lovely, entertaining and funny but not as consistently so as three of his previous film which I have adored, “The Iron Giant”, “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille”.

Tomorrowland is in cinemas now  7/10

Irish Film Trivia Round 11


They were the first Filmmaking Father and Daughter to be nominated for an Oscar for the same film, which Irish family are we talking about?

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Which Irish television series was mentioned in the movie Once as how one of the characters learned to speak English?

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In 1961 President Eamon de Valera, who said in his speech: “Never before was there in the hands of men an instrument so powerful to influence the thoughts and actions of the multitude.” What was he talking about?

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The daughter of which Irish front man appeared in This Must be the Place?

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Which 2012 Irish made film begins with the lines “My story can never be told. I write it over and over, wherever we find shelter. I write of what I cannot speak: the truth. I write all I know of it, then I throw that pages to the wind. Maybe the birds can read it.”?

Guess The Film

He was part of a comedy duo, has appeared in a number of highly successful Irish television comedies and played it straight and tragic in Garage, who are we talking about?

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Which Irish Actor was offered a role as the first Doctor Who (1962)

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Which 2007 Irish television series was a spin-off from “Adam & Paul” (2004)?

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Which Irish actor/writer/producer currently enjoying success and television and movies is quoted as saying “I’ve always been conscious of the fact that there aren’t enough Irish voices on British television compared to the amount of Irish people who live there.”

Guess The Film

For which British sketch show did Graham Linehan begin his comedy writing career?

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(scroll down for answers)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answers

Jim and Kirsten Sheridan were the first filmmaking father and daughter to be nominated for Oscars the same film for In America.

Fair City was mentioned in Once.

Eamon De Valera spoke those word about the opening of RTE on New Year’s Eve of that year.

Eve Hewson, Bono’s daughter was in This Must Be the Place.

Saoirse Ronan speak these words at the beginning of Byzantium. 

Pat Shortt played it straight in Garage.

Cyril Cusack turned down the role as the First Doctor Who.

Prosperity was the television spin off of Adam & Paul (both written by Mark O’Halloran and both directed by Lenny Abrahamson).

Chris O’Dowd said those words about the Irish in the UK

Graham Linehan first wrote for Alas Smith and Jones.

 

Thanks you for reading!

If you enjoyed those here are more rounds…

Irish Film Trivia

Irish Film Trivia Round 2

Irish Film Trivia Round 3

Irish Film Trivia Round 4

Irish Film Trivia Round 5

Irish Film Trivia Round 6

Irish Film Trivia Round 7

Irish Film Trivia Round 8

Irish Film Trivia Round 9

Irish Film Trivia Round 10

At A Glance – 2015 Best Picture Nominations in The Academy Awards – the Oscars!


American Sniper
Directed by Clint Eastwood

AmericanSniper

Eastwood has fine-tuned the harrowing journey. Here he has a beefed up Bradley Cooper giving an intimate glimpse of how real-life Navy Seal sniper Chris Kyle’s successful military career emotionally affected his domestic life back in the U.S. between his many tours. Eastwood balances the conflict and domestic scenes with skill. While both sides of Kyle’s life are well crafted and full of different types of tensions I never fully warmed to the characters and the film left me exhausted.


 

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Birdman
A dizzyingly shot story of the fictitious, once famous, superhero actor Riggan (Michael Keaton) and his quest to be taken seriously by his audiences, friends and family. This is a highly enjoyable and dark romp, a great supporting cast and cracking dialogue. Shot mostly with interiors gives the atmosphere a claustrophobic quality reflecting Riggan’s struggles as he attempts to put on a broadway play and juggle the different parts of his fractured life. The cinematography and CGI is excellent at creating the impression that the film is almost one continuous shot. But ultimately the journey is better than the destination.


 

Boyhood
Directed by Richard Linklater

boyhood

Linklater charts the growth of his main character Mason (Ellar Coletrane) and the story of his family in a brave approach by shooting and basing the film in bursts over a 12 year period (2002-2013). It is filled with natural story arcs and great period music with such subtle year changes that you can sometimes it takes more than a few moments to realise that we have moved into the next phase of their lives. The ensemble cast is perfect (in particular Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke). Linklater delivers a slice-of-life movie that leaves others in the genre like crumbs on a plate. Eat your heart out reality T.V.


 

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Directed by Wes Anderson

GRANDBUDAPESTHOTEL
Back to his best since “The Royal Tennenbaums” Anderson has put together my favourite film of the eight. It centres on the morally questionable exploits of, Gustav H (Ralph Feinnes), the manager of the imaginary hotel in question. In Fiennes he has found a lead actor who wears Anderson’s quick fire dialogue like an old glove. Each frame is a visual masterpiece the zany humour and adventures do not let up until the credits start to roll. My full review here.


 

The Imitation Game
Directed by Morten Tyldum

theimitationgame

Benedict Cumberbatch pours much of his Sherlock character and then some into his portrayal of the brilliant and fragile character of the Father of Computer Science Alan Turing. The narrative jumps between three parts of his life focusing mainly on Turing’s code-breaking time during the Second World War in Bletchley Park. Tyldum puts together the film much like a code dropping clues here and there that will all eventually slot together into an unexpectedly emotional final bow. There are some wonderful examples of dialogue subtext in Turing’s interrogations. Of all the nominated films based on real events this is my personal favourite. My full review here.


 

Selma
Directed by Ava DuVernay

Selma
A powerful drama based on the defining battle in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement between Martin Luther King Junior (an excellent David Oyelowo) and President Lyndon B. Johnson ( the wonderful Tom Wilkinson) in the town of Selma. The film manages to deal with the national politics of the day down to minutae of small personal battles of minor characters without overcrowding the narrative or confusing the audience. While the film has been criticised for some historical inaccuracies it is still a powerful drama with excellent performances.


 

The Theory of Everything
Directed by James Marsh

The-Theory-of-Everything
Eddie Redmayne looks like he was born to play Professor Stephen Hawking. Marsh focuses on the relationship between Hawking and his first wife Jane Wilde. Remayne is astounding not only in his physical resemblance to the brilliant Professor but in the portrayal of the particular and well known way the physical decline of Motor Neuron Disease has left Professor Hawking. The main emphasis of the film lies in the emotional impact of the disease had mainly on his wife Jane (a touching performance by felicity Jones) as she struggled to raise their children. Though Hawking’s brilliance is evident his mathematical work in Cosmology is more of a supporting ‘character’.


 

Whiplash
Directed by Damien Chazelle

Whiplash
Andrew, young drummer, (Miles Teller) with hopes to impress Fletcher, a ruthless college orchestra conductor, at all costs. Chazelle has sculpted a compelling battle between mentor and student, so much so that the scenes when the two are not together seem flat. Teller, looking like a buffed up Wil Wheaton, is convincing the talented drummer whose hero worship of the greats compels him to make poor life choices. J K Simmons is stand out as the brutal mentor. I have never been so excited to see someone take to the drums. His makes for a compelling drama with a wonderful finale.

My top films here for overall performances, filmmaking and enjoyment levels are The Imitation Game, The Grand Budapest Hotel and I feel the Oscar for Best Picture should land firmly land in the magnificent Boyhood.