Category Archives: Uncategorized

A late ‘Arrival’ – Film Review


The most notable cinematic aliens to visit Monatana (since the Star Trekkers brought the Borg) have landed 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.

arrival1

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.

arrival3

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

Advertisements

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.

meehawwloriginal

Then someone grabbed it and did this…

meehawwljoan

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

meehawwlinabun

…and this…

meehawwlforkedtongue

…and this…

meehawwlpony

…and these…

meehawwlvclinton

meehawwlvtrump

It got weirder…

meehawwlhomer

..and weirder…

meehawwlangrybird

It got Hungarian…

meehawwlprison

It got creepy…

meehawwlglitter

It went all Netflixy for a moment…

meehawwlbad

Then it took a military turn…

meehawwluniform

Then it got breakfasty…

meehawwltoast

Followed by a short American Gothic Renaissance…

meehawwllisaah

Before going all Regal…

meehawwlelizabeth

Then it had a short avante-garde period…

meehawwlclassical

…before finally going all religious!! 

meehawwljesus

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.

disporaglobe

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.

passport

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.

entrance

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.

ships

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.

characters

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.

IMG_3208

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

influence

IMG_3213

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

war

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.

letters

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.

sports

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

floor1

IMG_3198

This Museum goes to Eleven.

room

hallway

Lucy – Film Review


Lucy (Scarlett Johansson), an American student in Taiwan, is forced to becoming a drug mule for a criminal gang. While being held captive she is exposed to the drug which gives her access to a rising percentage of her brain capacity.

Lucy1

Luc Besson peppered my late teens and twenties with his wonderfully unique and fast paced films like Subway, The Big Blue, La Femme Nikita, Leon: The Professional and The Fifth Element. Here he continues with one of his strongest themes i.e. increasingly kick ass female lead characters surrounded by a bunch of fairly helpless men.

This premise has been covered before (recently in the enjoyable but weakly concluded Limitless) but Besson takes a different view of how heightened brain capacity could affect a human. As opposed to the enjoyment, playfulness and commercial end of higher functioning we saw in Limitless, Lucy tries to treat the increasing awareness in a philosophical and scientific manner.

Lucy3

But, and yes there is a big ‘but’ here… no, I lie, there are a lot of little ‘buts’ here. It begins slowly as little-to-no-background Lucy finds herself at the mercy of the stereo-typically one dimensional Taiwanese gangsters. This is inter cut with neuroscientist Professor Norman (an underused Morgan Freeman) giving a lecture on the potential effects of increased brain function (hammering home the foreshadowing Lucy’s development). His lecture on human development is punctuated by irrelevant images depicting survival and procreation.

Besson has also tried to make an action film here as well. The result is that we are given snatches of what is going through Lucy’s mind as her brain begins to view the world through a dazzlingly different lens. Just as this is getting interesting we must endure lengthy car chases and western like stand offs between various characters.

Lucy2

Another ‘but’ is that the script is lazy and we are left no identifiable characters expect perhaps Pierre Del Rion (Amr Waked) the French Policeman who after being helpful for a brief moment seems to lose so much relevance to the plot at one stage he actually asks Lucy what she needs him for.

I am all for suspension of disbelief but there are too many conveniences to overlook here and a few plot holes to navigate around which drowns the enjoyment of a good concept. Even the end which is clever and messy at the same time cannot save the overall enjoyment.

Lucy4

One thing Besson does not overlook is the use of Scarlet Johansson’s feminity. As per his usual feisty heroines, she dresses up and down, looks amazing, kicks ass and all the while Lucy’s initial character disappears cleverly into her evolving intellect.

Besson maybe just trying to outdo himself in the powerful female lead characters as I do believe If you put Lucy and Leeloo (from The Fifth Element) on a room together, Lucy would be the winner while as a movie it is the loser.

Fun but flawed.

5/10

Lucy is in Irish cinemas now.

Check your local Irish Cinema here

The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Film Review


The growing colony of genetically enhanced apes is pitted against the human survivors of the virus which has more than decimated the earth’s population.

dpaposter

Shouldn’t the ‘Rise’ have come after the ‘Dawn’? In my book events like the Sun rising, an idea, or any urge you may happen to have will have a dawn before they begin to rise. I just wanted to get that out of the way.

I was expecting an ‘Empire Strikes Back’ or ‘Back to the Future II’ sort of darkness from ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ and it delivered this to a point but, disappointingly, only to a point. The first half an hour is gripping and had me on the edge of my seat. But before I knew it I has slumped back, weighed down by a sudden rush of sentimentality – an emotion I did not expect too much of in this chapter.

dawn_of_the_planet_of_the_apes_42291

It is not necessary to have seen the first film in the Apes franchise to appreciate the events in this chapter as they fill you in with a now tried and trusted ‘news’ montage in the opening scene. You will, however, have to put up with subtitles in the first half of the film because the apes use a combination of sign language, grunts and the odd English word to communicate. Personally subtitles don’t bother me and the story does warrant the as the apes only begin to speak more when faced with the human survivors.

The look and feel of the film is excellent. The home of the ape colony and their embryonic evolution with regard to hunting and family values is treated with equal amounts of thrilling and touching respect. The human characters are as two dimensional as they were in the first episode but I feel this is a choice rather than a weakness as this, after all, is the story of the Apes. Without giving too much away the overgrown look of San Francisco reminds me of ‘I am Legend’ in the slick detail they provide.

dpa2

The battle scenes are tense and the rising politics in the ape colony are believable as the different apes have different motivations about how humans should be treated. The filmmakers have infused the apes politics with the hallmarks of the Roman Empire far beyond the main character’s name of Caesar.

But all this does not help that about an hour of the film is achingly slow and sentimental. It is as if they had an hour of plot and then split it in half and filled it with rice cakes. Whatever they have planned for the next instalment they should have dumped 50% of the sentimental parts here and taken the first half an hour of the next movie’s plot and used it in this one.

DAWN PLANET APES MOV

While overall it disappointed me the final sequence leaves you wanting more and so it manages to entertain by the skin of its grubby fingernails. I will be in the cinema for the first day of the final part (whatever they decide to call it, “The Brunch of the Planet of the Apes” perhaps) to see how they conclude this reboot.

6/10

In cinemas now!

 

Irish Film Trivia Round 9


Care of my monthly newsletters from MovieExtras.ie  test your random Irish Film Trivia here…

The Questions

Before working with her which Irish actor described Meryl Streep as “that gorgeous blonde I fancied terribly in Drama School.”

ms

How many Irish filming locations were used during the shoot of The Tudors?

tt

Born to an Irish mother and English father, she grew up in USA, Germany and Switzerland. She was named one of Screen Internationals Stars of Tomorrow in 2011, and was awarded the Berlinale Shooting Star award in 2012. Who is she?

ach

In The Commitments one character mockingly sings the theme tune to another of director Alan Parker’s Films, which film is it?

tc

 

Roddy Doyle has 9 writing credits on IMDB, how many are adaptations of his novels?

RD

Which 2000 Irish film contains this line? “Eamon… women are like microwave ovens. You need them to heat up your noodles, but you have no idea how they work.”

Guess The Film

Who played Noel Curley in The General, Maguire in the Crying Game, and Peter in My Left Foot?

tg

How many of director Alan Parker’s films have been set (and shot) in Ireland?

ap

While doing research for what Irish movie did Michael McElhatton find that real prisoners often quoted one of his characters?

mm

My first role was a soldier in Mystic Knights of Tir na Nog, since them I have appeared in Paths to Freedom, Ballykissangel, Batchelor’s Walk, Intermission, This Must be The Place, The Fall, Moone Boy etc. who am I?

mktno

 

Answers

Pierce Brosnan (he worked with Meryl Streep in Mammia Mia!)

The Tudors used 9 Irish Locations
Ardmore Studios, Herbert Road, Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland
Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Christ Church Cathedral, Christchurch, Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
Drimnagh Castle, Drimnagh, Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
Dublin Castle, Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
Kilmainham Jail, Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
Kilruddery House, Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland
(season 4)
People’s Gardens, Phoenix Park, Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry, County Wicklow, Ireland

Antonia Campbell-Hughes was the actor in question.

The theme tune mocked in the Committments was Fame

Rodday Doyle had adapted three of his books for the screen, The Commitments, The Snapper and the Van.

The quote was from The Most Fertile Man In Ireland

Adrian Dunbar played those parts in The General, The Crying Gane and My Left Foot.

2 of Alan Parker’s films were shot and based in Ireland The Commitments and Angela’s Ashes.

Michael McElhatton was researching for Spin The Bottle in an Irish Prison when he found out that inmates often quoted his lines. (The character was Rats who had first appeared in the RTE Series Paths To Freedom.)

Simon Delaney is the actor in question.

Thanks for reading,

If you enjoyed those here are a few 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 10