Talking Movies

April 30, 2022

Any Other Business: Part LXXII

As the title suggests, so forth.

Photo: Eric Ray Davidson

David Boreanaz Said What?!

You could have knocked me down with a feather the other month when watching SEAL Team on the channel formerly known as Sky One, David Boreanaz’s Bravo One Jason Hayes on being informed the HVT was leaving the train with the triggermen still on it, shouted “F*CK!”. What?! WHAT?! On Network TELEVISION?! I thought I must have misheard it. Did he perhaps say cluck, duck, luck? None of which would make much sense… Then he said it again. What was going on? Then a quick google later I saw that SEAL Team had moved from CBS to its streaming service. Ah… And, based on what had been happening in that rip-roaring train episode, it must have done this between commercial breaks. I’m not sure that SEAL Team actually gains that much from the profanity that has been added to the show. But my word it remains weird as hell to see Boreanaz after a network television career of eight years as Angel, twelve as Seeley Booth, and four and a bit as Jason Hayes, suddenly start effing and blinding like a sailor.

The Lonesome West

Filed under: Talking Theatre (Reviews) — Fergal Casey @ 9:58 pm

Decadent Theatre Company returned to the Gaiety Theatre with another Martin McDonagh play, but strangely this was far less outre than their previous outings.

Coleman (Denis Conway) and Valeen (Franke McCafferty) are brothers in the lonesome wesht of the semi-cursed townland of Leenane engaged in what Hunter S Thompson might have called a profoundly active balance of terror. Bickering over Tayto crisps, religious statues, and the ownership and exclusive usage of a new stove are the tip of an iceberg of more grievous crimes from the recent past but going back decades. Little wonder that Father Welsh (Art Campion) has a crisis of faith about twice a week with the unholy goings on of his parishioners…

Looking back at this 1997 script it’s noticeable that the extended quiet scene of Girleen (Zara Devlin) talking to Father Welsh (Art Campion) before something truly awful happens seems to have stuck with McDonagh as something worth revisiting at length as the second act of The Pillowman.

3.5

April 18, 2022

Portia Coughlan

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 4:14 pm

The Abbey’s revisiting of Marina Carr’s 1990s coruscating work continued apace with a revival of Portia Coughlan starring Denise Gough.

Portia Coughlan is turning 30. But she has no intention of marking the day with any positivity, instead drinking alone as soon as the kids have gone to school, as her husband Raphael (Marty Rea) discovers to his horror. Despite the best attempts of her friends and family to cheer her up, and her own fumbled affairs with local likely lads, the day is hollowed out by the absence of her twin brother Gabriel who drowned himself years before. And the horror of that long past day will be lived all over again, and then explained, thanks to Carr’s curious structure.

The opening line of the play signals that extreme abrasiveness is about to follow. And the influence of Pulp Fiction is plain to see in the death of Portia, in what seems an incredibly bold stroke, only for the clock to rewind as we follow her up to that point, as Carr once again invests the Midlands with the depravity and ritual horror of Ancient Greek myths. Once again the lack of an interval seems less a means of sustaining tension and more an affectation as an obvious curtain is played through. Caroline Byrne, however, directs with a keen eye for pace and balance between black comedy and harrowing drama.

4/5

March 18, 2022

The Father of My Daughter

No Drama Theatre returned to the intimate Boys School space in Smock Alley Theatre for a distinctly multi-media appearance in the Scene and Heard Festival.

Eileen (Helen McGrath) is burdened by griefs public and private. The public knows that her husband (Greg Freegrove) shockingly killed himself on the night of their daughter’s birthday. They don’t know that the reason Eileen came home to find his body in the bathroom that night was because she had left her daughter and husband to continue her affair with her work colleague (Andrei Callanan). Consumed with a guilt that she cannot explain without inviting judgement, she is further tormented by her husband’s unusual choice of suicide note – a message on a tape recorder. This vivid reminder of his living presence keeps her looping around and around their time together, from their first accidental meeting in a crowded cafe where he politely asked if he could share her table, to her unlocking the bathroom door on their fateful last night.

It’s thrilling to see the difficult playing space used so well by writer/director Ciaran Treanor and producer Andrei Callanan. Multimedia projection of video footage of the once happy couple made it seem as if we were glimpsing inside Eileen’s head and reliving her memories as she reacts to them, while the use of recorded sound cues for moments of physical theatre made them truly pop, in particular Eileen’s desperate hammering on the bathroom door. Greg Freegrove’s sinister reappearance as a spectre with a distinctly voodoo air was made even more startling when the lights went out revealing his clothes to be daubed in glow in the dark patterns. Indeed there was a hint of the Babadook about him, as what is left of him in his wife’s mind has become dark and twisted, eager to urge her to suicide.

Helen McGrath ably carries the play as a woman looping around and around in a depressive spiral, wondering if a good, quiet man killed himself because of what she did, even though his suicide note didn’t blame her. Can she ever know for sure? A fantasy dance sequence appropriately scored by the Bynon Remix of Sofi Tukker’s ‘Good Time Girl’ sees Eileen and her two lovers break out of their looping flashbacks and guilt-trips into something new and strange. As Elevator Repair Service and tgSTAN showed in theatre festivals past even the simplest choreography erupting out of nowhere and being sustained creates a moment of pure theatre. Treanor and his frequent collaborator Noel Cahill have used rap and sustained rhyming before, largely for laughs, but here things become more incantatory; at times, given the subject matter, veering towards verse drama.

The Father of My Daughter is like a theatrical concentrate, it only runs for a spare twenty minutes, but it packs the emotional punch of a longer play.

4/5

February 25, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 2:50 pm

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Hopes: 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 2:50 pm

The Batman

Top Gun: Maverick

Killers of the Flower Moon

John Wick: Chapter 4

Elvis

Jurassic World: Dominion

Don’t Worry Darling

Hallowen Ends

The Flash

The Nightingale

Avatar 2

Top Performances of 2021

Filed under: Talking Movies — Fergal Casey @ 2:43 pm

Best Actor

Dan Stevens (I’m Your Man & Blithe Spirit)

Michael Keaton (Worth)

Jude Law (The Nest)

Best Actress

Melanie Laurent (Oxygen)

Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Kate)

Carrie Coon (The Nest)

Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place: Part II)

Best Supporting Actor

Christopher Lloyd (Nobody)

Cillian Murphy (A Quiet Place: Part II)

Stanley Tucci (Worth)

Mathieu Amalric (Oxygen)

Best Supporting Actress

Garance Marillier (Madame Claude)

Amy Ryan (Worth)

Cate Blanchett (Don’t Look Up)

January 31, 2022

Top 10 Films of 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 9:22 pm

Oxygen

The Velvet Underground

I’m Your Man

Space Sweepers

CODA

The Nest

Meeting Point

The Suicide Squad

Blithe Spirit

Worth

December 24, 2021

O Holy Night

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 10:53 pm

I’m putting the blog on ice for a bit while I do not cook a turkey for Christmas dinner, and desperately try to get closer to meeting my Goodreads challenge for the year than my current abysmal standing.

Talking Movies proper will return in January with a Top 10 Films of 2021, and previews of 2022′s best and worst films.

The blog has been far more sporadic this year than previously, for various reasons, not least of which was the continuing nightmare for morale of COVID-19. I don’t make any promises that things will improve on the writing front next year, but I do have some hope that normality will ebb back into our lives, and for that reason let us revisit Sorkin Christmas: Part Two.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Roll on Omicron and endemicity.

Miscellaneous Movie Musings: Part XLIII

Filed under: Talking Movies — Fergal Casey @ 10:46 pm
Tags: , , , ,

As the title suggests, so forth.

Lynch After Lynch

A strange thought came to mind the other week as I was listening to the sound of the wind whistling thru tall trees, a favourite sound of David Lynch. Is Lynch, like 1990s Tarantino, a dead-end, or, more accurately, such a singular creative explosion that while he at first might appear liberating and invite people to join him in his explorations he actually leaves a Tunguska-like blast radius around him which nobody else can ever enter. Can you make a film that has surreal elements and escape being called Lynchian? Can you use dream logic or corny dialogue mixed with extreme violence and weird sexuality and not have everyone start writing up their Lynchian comparisons? Can David Lynch even escape his own shadow at this point? I’m not comparing The Nice Guys to the work of David Lynch, but Lynch’s description of how to write a screenplay; hoard ideas like a squirrel collecting acorns, and when you have forty conceits that’s the guts of an eighty minut movie; seems to be oddly applicable to Shane Black’s screenplay.

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