Talking Movies

February 16, 2017

Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures tells the neglected story of the black women mathematicians behind the scenes during the early days of NASA.

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Katherine Johnson (Taraji P Henson) works as a computer in the backrooms of NASA as the fledgling agency tries to put a man in space. She is tapped to work out analytical geometry for hard-nosed director Al Harrison (Kevin Costner), and suffers the contempt of Paul Stafford (Jim Parsons) who resents her attempts to gain credit for her work on his project. Fellow mathematicians Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) have parallel struggles. Karl Zielinski (Olek Krupa) wants Jackson as his engineer, but she must jump through Jim Crow hoops to achieve that title, while Vivian Mitchell (Kirsten Dunst) offers no help to Vaughan in her quest to be given the title of supervisor of the coloured computers given that she’s doing the job. Their difficulties are mirrored by America failing to keep pace with the USSR.

Always be suspicious of important films, they are rarely good. And always be suspicious of films based on a true story, they usually make pig-swill of history and defensively claim artistic license even as they demand Oscars for their fearless dedication to telling true stories. Director Theodore Melfi and co-writer Allison Schroeder’s script is full of transparently bogus movie moments that are the hallmark of screenwriting designed purely to create Oscar ceremony excerpts: Costner desegregates NASA with a crowbar, Henson gives her boss the sort of haranguing that in reality precedes being escorted from the premises, and, in perhaps the most delirious touch of all, to symbolise how Johnson despite her important work had the door slammed in her face by white men, Melfi has Johnson hand over her important work and have the door slammed in her face. Indeed.

Spencer hasn’t changed her shtick since I disliked it in Ugly Betty but is Oscar-nominated for Supporting Actress. Spike Lee’s calculated tantrum reaped 6/20 black acting nominations this year, but Spencer is nominated when Greta Gerwig is not for 20th Century Women, and you wonder about that during Spencer’s jaw-dropping put-down of Dunst (who is obviously a snob not a racist). A put-down redolent of the current cultural moment’s disquieting joy in fault-finding witch-hunts which insist dissent from the (ever-changing) party line betrays a racist/sexist/et al mindset which might not even be conscious of its own white privilege/toxic masculinity/et al. Hidden Figures, like Supergirl, is rather effective when it gets off its soapbox. Monae translates her soul star charisma, Mahershala Ali plays quiet grace, Glenn Powell is an ebullient John Glenn, and the rise of IBM in rocketry is fascinatingly handled.

Hidden Figures is entertaining, despite missed opportunities to dig deeper into black identity via radical Levi Jackson (Aldis Hodge), but its depiction of history needs to be taken with a whole cellar of salt.

3/5

Here Comes ADIFF

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The Audi Dublin International Film Festival 2017 (16th-26th Feb) opens tonight with the Gala Irish Premiere of hotly-anticipated Irish-Canadian co-production Maudie, featuring Ethan Hawke and Sally Hawkins, finally making its Irish homecoming after international critical acclaim. Director Aisling Walsh will attend the screening for a Q&A in front of an audience that includes festival-goers, film-makers, and industry professionals.

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Film fans have 11 days of cinema ahead with an array of top talent coming to Dublin to present  films from around the world and some key Irish films from the year ahead.

Highlights of the first weekend include the Gala Screening of Jim Sheridan’s The Secret Scripture with a host of special guests, the World Premiere of Jamie Thraves’ Pickups with actor Aidan Gillen in attendance, Tindersticks front-man Stuart Staples will present his brilliant new project Minute Bodies: The Intimate World of F, Percy Smith, and New Zealand actress Kerry Fox will appear at the Irish premiere of The Rehearsal and join us for a look back at her breakthrough role in Jane Campion’s An Angel At My Table. On Monday 20th Feb the festival hosts the Centrepiece Gala screening of new Irish documentary In Loco Parentis, and the Cineworld Gala World Premiere of new Irish horror Nails with Ross Noble, Shauna MacDonald, and Leah McNamara in attendance. On Wednesday 22nd Feb, the festival hosts the Irish premiere of Unless, a new Irish-Canadian film starring Catherine Keener, with director Alan Gilsenan in attendance.

The Audi Gala of Free Fire on Thurs 23rd Feb sees Kill List and High-Rise maestro Ben Wheatley return to the festival, joined by Irish cast members Jack Reynor and Cillian Murphy. Friday 24th Feb sees a special tribute to John Hurt with the first Irish screening of his performance in 2014’s Snowpiercer, which wasn’t released here after much controversy over its re-cutting for American audiences, while Anna Friel appears with director Juanita Wilson at a Special Presentation screening of Tomato Red.

The Festival’s final day sees no let up in activity with a Special Presentation of Indonesian martial arts star Iko Uwais’s new film Headshot, the Special Presentation World Premiere of Emer Reynolds The Farthest with an appearance from Voyager Program project manager John Casani, the much-speculated-about Surprise Film, and the Closing Gala Irish Premiere of John Butler’s Handsome Devil.

February 11, 2017

Prevenge

Alice Lowe, star and co-writer of Sightseers, makes her directorial debut with a misfiring black comedy about a heavily pregnant woman guided by her unborn child.

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Ruth (Lowe) is looking for a pet for her son. That’s what she tells a pet store owner, anyway. Just before slitting his throat, at the behest of her daughter; as yet unborn but already very demanding – and rather homicidal. And so it goes. Ruth targets men and women for sudden bloody murder, and nobody sees it coming, because who would suspect a woman in her final trimester to be capable of such violence. But as it becomes clear that Ruth is working her way through a very particular list of transgressors, she starts to have doubts about the wisdom of what she’s doing.

Prevenge is a strange beast indeed. You seem expected to give a standing ovation to Lowe for not only writing, but starring and directing in the semi-improvised romp, while she was herself in her final trimester. But if the resulting film isn’t any good, what does it matter what the circumstances of its production were? Teeth and Jennifer’s Body are the films that came to mind while watching this, and that’s not a compliment. At first it seems Ruth is killing men for making 1970s sitcom double entendres, or for not being interested in having children. Then she murders a woman uninterested in having children and prejudiced against women who are and waste her time faffing about with maternity leave. By the time you understand her motives it’s already too late.

Prevenge is a mean-spirited film, and perfunctorily so. Each victim feels like a vignette, as if Lowe had taken the modus operandi of Kind Hearts & Coronets, but dispensed with the delicious calculation and Alec Guinness’ delightful gallery of twits and bounders.

1/5

January 25, 2017

That’s “Mr. President The Donald” to you…

Yes, it’s time for one of the regrettable lapses into politics on this blog; occasioned by the vitriol thrown at Donald Trump’s Presidency, which is of dubious historical merit when considered under the headings of mandate, legitimacy, and suitability.

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Donald Trump got 46% of the popular vote.

Bill Clinton got 43.01% of the popular vote in 1992.

Woodrow Wilson got 41.8% of the popular vote in 1912.

Armando Iannucci is one of many people to claim that Trump has no mandate, because more people voted for someone else.

Well, the only way to ensure that doesn’t happen is to win over 50% of the popular vote, isn’t it?

If a candidate must receive more than 50% of the popular vote to have a mandate, then no Democrat President in the 20th and 21st centuries has ever had a mandate except Franklin D Roosevelt, Lyndon B Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Barack Obama.

By contrast every Republican President from William McKinley’s 51% in 1896 onward has had a mandate, except Richard Nixon, George W Bush, and Donald Trump; and Nixon and Bush both achieved over 50% of the vote on re-election.

 

The electoral college system is silly, but it’s been silly for a long time now.

Andrew Jackson blew a gasket in 1824 when he was denied the Presidency.

But it wasn’t fixed then.

Rutherford B Hayes ended Reconstruction in 1876 to be let be President.

But it wasn’t fixed then.

Nor in 1888, nor in 2000, because, like AV in England, it is politically insoluble.

If you weep for Hilary Clinton’s near 3 million votes and no Presidency, did you also weep for Nigel Farage’s 5 million votes and only 1 (previously filched Tory) seat in 2015?

Hilary Clinton effectively built up massive and useless majorities in safe seats, while Donald Trump eked out tiny majorities in seats that could be flipped, and so won with equal legitimacy as David Cameron did in 2015.

 

Trump as an unsuitable character to be President…

More unsuitable than Johnson, who boasted that he’d had more women by accident than JFK had on purpose?

More unsuitable than JFK, who was so out of control new Secret Service agents were aghast at being assigned hooker detail?

More unsuitable than Nixon and Reagan, who both committed treason to win the Presidency?

Should the Republicans only be allowed to nominate candidates approved by the Democrats?

Would the Democrats then be happy to only nominate candidates approved by the Republicans?

Wasn’t that instinct what led to Watergate – Nixon trying to swing the nomination towards McGovern because he felt, and rightly so, that he could easily destroy him in the campaign proper?

 

Donald Trump is the President.

He has more of a mandate than Bill Clinton  in 1992, Richard Nixon in 1968, and Woodrow Wilson in 1912.

He has the same legitimacy as John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, and George W Bush.

And he has fought fewer duels than fellow populist and all round short-fuse exponent Andrew Jackson.

 

All three strands are ahistoric rationalisations obscuring the raw howl  ‘I voted for the other candidate!’.

Well, in a two-party system, there is a 50/50 chance that the other candidate wins every 4 years.

And then you wait for the next roll of the dice in 4 years and place your money on your candidate again.

January 24, 2017

ADIFF: Oscar movies

The Audi Dublin International Film Festival 2017 offers the first chance for Irish audiences to see five of the films nominated for Academy Awards earlier today.
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Best Animated Feature Film nominees The Red Turtle and My Life as a Courgette will screen as part of the ADIFF Fantastic Flix children’s and young people’s strand, while Best Documentary Feature nominee I Am Not Your Negro and Best Foreign Language nominees Tanna and The Salesman feature as part of the main ADIFF programme. Eagle-eyed viewers will note that I Am Not Your Negro and The Salesman were featured in Talking Movies’ 17 films to watch at ADIFF when the programme was announced last week. Elsewhere Irish actress Ruth Negga was nominated for Loving, ADIFF Volta Award-winning Irish costume designer Consolata Boyle, was given a nod for Best Costume Design for Florence Foster Jenkins; and two films from last year’s ADIFF programme, Zootopia and Land of Mine, were also shortlisted.

The Red Turtle –Fantastic Flix’s Opening Film
A man is shipwrecked on a beautiful island devoid of humans and must make the most of what he has to survive. Watched on by a group of sand crabs, he attempts to escape but is thwarted by the weather and a red turtle with a vendetta. Then an unexpected visitor arrives who will alter the man’s fate for all time.

10th Feb, 6.30pm at Omniplex Rathmines.

My Life as a Courgette
After his mother’s sudden death, Courgette is befriended by a kind police officer Raymond, who accompanies him to his new foster home filled with other orphans his age. At first, Courgette struggles to find his place in this strange, at times, hostile environment. Yet with Raymond’s help and his newfound friends, he eventually learns to trust, finds true love and at last a new family of his own.
17th Feb 2017 11.50am at Omniplex Rathmines.

I Am Not Your Negro
Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, and with unprecedented access to James Baldwin’s original work,  Raoul Peck has completed the cinematic version of the book Baldwin never wrote – a radical narration about race in America that tracks the lives and assassinations of Baldwin’s friends, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers. Whilst partly anchored in the struggle for equality in the ’50s and ’60s, I Am Not Your Negro sees Peck extrapolate from Baldwin’s actual work to make his own statements about what it means to be black in America today.

Tuesday 21st February, 8:45pm at the Light House Cinema

Tanna
Tanna is a captivating romance set amongst the Yakel people of Vanuatu and is the first feature film shot completely on that island. Based on real events, and written in collaboration with the cast (all non-professionals), the film tells the story of Wawa and Dain, a young couple in love who must go on the run to escape Wawa’s arranged marriage to an enemy tribe.

Sunday 26th Feb 2017, 2 pm at the Light House Cinema

The Salesman
After making his previous film (The Past) in France, Asghar Farhadi (A SeparationAbout Elly) returns to his native Tehran for this story about a couple forced out of their apartment due to dangerous works on a neighbour’s building. Emad and Rana move into a new flat in the centre of Tehran, where an incident linked to the previous tenant will dramatically change the young couple’s life. Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman plays an unexpected part in proceedings, as the nature of honour and violence are explored in typically metaphorical Iranian style.
Friday 17th Feb, 6.15pm. Cineworld

Tickets for the 2017 programme are available to buy online at diff.ie, in person at DIFF House & Box Office, 13 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1 or by phoning 01 6877974.

January 21, 2017

Fears: 2017

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God Particle

Cloverfield in Space,

Elizabeth Debicki,

looks at earth aghast.

 

Logan

Jackman retires claws,

Mangold goes for R and yet…

storyline seems silly.

 

Free Fire

Ben Wheatley thriller,

Brie Larsen brings Oscar power,

classy shoot ’em up?

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Alien: Covenant

Waterston: new Ripley,

replacing Rapace’s one,

Fassbender abides.

 

The Mummy

Tom Cruise: action man,

but ghost of Sommers haunts this,

more than the Mummy.

 

Flatliners

Kiefer cameos,

Ellen Page, Nina Dobrev,

needless nostalgia.

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Wonderstruck

Todd Haynes does The Hours,

so to speak, Julianne Moore,

stories in two times.

 

Thor 3

Will this really be

Taika Waititi’s show

or just dull Marvel?

 

Murder on the Orient Express

Ken Branagh Poirot,

Suchet’s legacy looms large,

can Depp save the show?

 

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The Beguiled

Remake of Clint,

Sofia Coppola,

might waste bright young things.

 

Yeh Din Ka Kissa

Stiller and Baumbach,

team up with Hoffman, huzzah!

but Adam Sandler…

 

Last Flag Flying

Richard Linklater’s

spiritual sequel to,

The Last Detail.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming

Now look here Marvel,

we saw Parker in school thrice,

graduate him now.

 

American Made

Edge of Tomorrow‘s

Liman & Cruise now remake

Air America.

 

The Masterpiece

Franco and Rogen,

make a making of The Room,

but is it funny?

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Justice League

So much potential,

and yet Zach Snyder still there,

to squander it all.

 

Star Wars: Episode VIII

Disney paid too much,

but that is not our problem,

be original…

January 19, 2017

ADIFF 2017: 17 Films

Booking is now open for ADIFF 2017 at diff.ie, and here are 17 films that deserve your attention.free-fire-cillian-murphy-brie-larsen-armie-hammer

Free Fire

Directed by Ben Wheatley (2016, 90 mins)
It’s 1978. Justine (Brie Larson) has brokered a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two Irishmen (Cillian Murphy, Michael Smiley) and a gang led by Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and Ord (Armie Hammer) who are selling them a stash of guns. Everything seems to be going smoothly at first, but when shots are fired in the handover all hell breaks loose and a heart stopping game of survival ensues. Moving from tense caper to explosive action, Ben Wheatley marries tight choreography with a witty script (co-written with his wife and regular editor Amy Jump). Inspired by films like Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, and demonstrating Wheatley’s increasing ability to attract indie stars, Free Fire is another stunner from one of today’s most exciting directors.
The Secret Scripture

Directed by Jim Sheridan (2016, 108 mins)

Based on Sebastian Barry’s acclaimed novel, Jim Sheridan’s first film set primarily in Ireland since The Boxer (1997) explores the life and history of Roseanne McNulty (Vanessa Redgrave), a woman confined to the Roscommon Mental Hospital for 50 years. As the institution is about to close, Dr. Grene (Eric Bana) is sent to see whether she’s fit to be released. He’s intrigued by Roseanne’s eccentricities and her fierce attachment to her Bible, in which she’s been keeping a diary since she was first admitted. As he delves into her past, Dr. Grene gets to know the younger Roseanne (played by Rooney Mara) and eventually learns the terrible truth about her confinement. Shot in the west of Ireland, The Secret Scripture mines  a familiar seam in depicting Ireland’s history.

 

The Salesman

Directed by Asghar Farhadi (2016, 125 mins, an Iran-France co-production, in Farsi with English subtitles)

After making his previous film (The Past) in France, Asghar Farhadi (A SeparationAbout Elly) returns to his native Tehran for this story about a couple forced out of their apartment due to dangerous works on a neighbour’s building. Emad and Rana move into a new flat in the centre of Tehran, where an incident linked to the previous tenant will dramatically change the young couple’s life. Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman plays an unexpected part in proceedings, as the nature of honour and violence are explored in typically metaphorical Iranian style.

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I Am Not Your Negro

Directed by Raoul Peck (2016, 95 mins)

Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, and with unprecedented access to James Baldwin’s original work,  Raoul Peck has completed the cinematic version of the book Baldwin never wrote – a radical narration about race in America that tracks the lives and assassinations of Baldwin’s friends, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers. Whilst partly anchored in the struggle for equality in the ’50s and ’60s, I Am Not Your Negro sees Peck extrapolate from Baldwin’s actual work to make his own statements about what it means to be black in America today.

 

Personal Shopper

Directed by Olivier Assayas (2016, 110 mins)

Maureen is the personal shopper for a German model/designer who demands an endless supply of clothes be procured and delivered to her. But Maureen has just suffered a personal trauma: her beloved twin brother, Lewis, to whom she was intensely attached, has just died. She is also a medium, and attempts to communicate with Lewis while wandering around their cavernous childhood home in Paris, where he died. Gradually, mysterious things begin to occur. On paper that may not sound like much, but this is the second pairing of actress Kristen Stewart and writer/director Olivier Assayas after Clouds of Sils Maria.

 

Headshot

Directed by Kimo Stamboel, Timo Tjahjanto (2016, 117 mins, in Indonesian with English subtitles)

When an unknown Indonesian film called The Raid premiered at JDIFF 2011 the Savoy was thunderous in welcoming the furious flying fists and lightning-fast feet of star Iko Uwais. Uwais is the hero of Headshot. A young man washes ashore, an amnesiac with a serious head injury. After being nursed back to health by a young doctor, violence ensues as Ishmael takes on the henchmen of a vengeful drug lord while piecing together his past as a remorseless killing machine. Directors Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel — a.k.a. The Mo Brothers — keep the action coming as Ishmael kicks, punches, ducks, and flips his way through the Indonesian underworld.

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Seymour: An Introduction

Directed by Ethan Hawke (2014, 81 mins)

“How should we live?” A question long asked by philosophers is one which Seymour Bernstein has been cultivating an answer to over 50 years of playing piano. Bernstein chose to forego a promising career as a concert pianist in order to teach, thus revealing his profound world-view, a breathtakingly clear-headed perspective on art and its essential value. Ethan Hawke, one of his greatest admirers, takes us into Bernstein’s world with this delicately crafted film offering a wise and charismatic reflection on art and life, and even punning on JD Salinger for its title.

 

In the Blood

Directed by Rasmus Heisterberg (2016, 104 mins, in Danish with English subtitles)
Summer in Copenhagen; a time of endless days and carefree nights. Simon goes to medical school with his best friend Knud. They party, drink and chase girls and wake up the next day only to do it all over again. But it is also a time of change amongst their group of friends. Whilst the others gravitate toward the safe haven of adulthood, Simon is not ready to let go of his airy adolescent life.
Alone in Berlin

Directed by Vincent Perez (2016, 103 mins)

Berlin, June 1940. While Nazi propaganda celebrates victory over France, Anna and Otto are grieving their son, who has been killed at the front. They had long believed in the ‘Führer’, but now they realise his promises are nothing but lies. They begin writing anti-Nazi postcards as a form of resistance. Putting their lives at risk, the couple played by Brendan Gleeson and Emma Thompson distribute these cards all over Berlin. But soon, as with Sophie Scholl, the authorities are onto them.

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The Rehearsal

Directed by Alison Maclean (2016, 102 mins)

Stanley, a naive first year drama student meets Isolde and begins a sweet, first love affair. Goaded by Hannah, Kerry Fox’s charismatic, domineering Head of Acting, Stanley uncovers a talent and ambition he didn’t know he had. When his group hits on a sex scandal that involves Isolde’s tennis prodigy sister as fertile material for their end-of-year show, Stanley finds himself profoundly torn.

 

Mindhorn

Directed by Sean Foley (2016, 89 mins)

When MI5 Special Operative Bruce Mindhorn was captured in the late 1980s, his eye was replaced by a super-advanced optical lie detector, which meant he could literally “see the truth.” He escaped and fled to the Isle of Man, to recuperate in the island’s temperate micro-climate, and today has become the best plain-clothes detective the island has ever seen. This cheeky and hilarious send up of television detective shows stars Julian Barratt of The Mighty Boosh and is directed by theatre wunderkind Sean Foley.

 

A Quiet Passion

Directed by Terence Davies (2016, 125 mins)

A Quiet Passion is Terence Davies’ new biopic of Emily Dickinson; her loves, her struggles, and her magnificent poetry. Shot in Belgium and Massachusetts, A Quiet Passion paints a sympathetic but far from idealistic portrait of one of 19th Century America’s greatest poets. Featuring a finely curated selection of her work read in voice-over by star Jennifer Ehle, this luminous biopic will appeal to existing Dickinson fans and perhaps create new ones at the same time.

Wolf Alice singer, Ellie Rowsell, live on stage at the Junction in Cambridge on 10 April 2015. Last date of the tour.

David Lynch – The Art Life

Directed by Jon Nguyen (2016, 93 mins)

David Lynch was once memorably described by his producer Mel Brooks as Jimmy Stewart fro Mars. Lynch takes us on an intimate journey through his idyllic upbringing in small town America to the dark streets of Philadelphia, to trace the events that shaped the career of one of cinema’s most distinctive directors. This portrait  gives audiences a better understanding of the man and the artist just as he prepares to welcome back the world to his greatest triumph Twin Peaks.

 

On the Road

Directed by Michael Winterbottom (2016, 121 mins)

Don’t worry, it’s not another sally at the unfilmable Kerouac classic. Michael Winterbottom joins London 90s throwback band Wolf Alice on the road, capturing 16 different gigs and daily life backstage. The resulting film documents the tour from the point of view of a new crew member and reveals the relentless, sometimes unglamorous side of playing live, night after night. But it also mesmerises, capturing the nuanced musicality of the full band, and the charisma of frontwoman Ellie Rowsell.

 

Berlin Syndrome

Directed by Cate Shortland (2017, 116 mins)

Holidaying in Berlin, Teresa Palmer’s Australian photojournalist Clare meets the charismatic Andi. There is an instant mutual attraction, and a night of passion ensues. But what initially appears to be the start of a romance suddenly takes an unexpected and sinister turn when Clare wakes the following morning to discover Andi has left for work and locked her in his apartment. An easy mistake to make, of course, except Andi has no intention of letting her go again in the latest German-set effort from Australian director Cate Shortland following Lore.

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Hounds of Love

Directed by Ben Young (2016, 108 mins)

Set in Perth in 1987 and inspired by real crimes, this feature debut from director Ben Young takes place in the aftermath of a murderous couple’s abduction of a teenager on a steamy summer evening. Though she’s a captive, 17 year-old Vicki Maloney isn’t powerless. Suspecting the many problems plaguing her captors, and attuned to marital issues following her own parents’ recent split, Vicki fights for her life by trying to expose the imbalances in their relationship.

 

Neruda

Directed by Pablo Larraín (2016, 108 mins, in in Spanish with English subtitles)

In Neruda Pablo Larraín (Jackie, No) weaves an engrossing meta-fictional fable around the 1948 manhunt for celebrated poet and politician Pablo Neruda (Luis Gnecco), who goes underground when Chile outlaws communism. He is pursued by an ambitious police inspector (Gael García Bernal), who is hoping to make a name for himself by capturing the famous fugitive. This period saw Neruda produce some of his most memorable work, even while he was constantly on the run.

January 18, 2017

ADIFF 2017

The programme for ADIFF’s 15th celebration of cinema is now available to browse and download at www.diff.ie and tickets go on sale tomorrow Thursday January 19th at 10:00am; available by phone on +353 1 687 7974 or in person at DIFF, 13 Ormond Quay.

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World cinema is coming to the Audi Dublin International Film Festival from 16th-26th February 2017 with Vanessa Redgrave, Nathalie Baye, Kerry Fox, Ross Noble, Ben Wheatley, and Anna Friel joining Irish stars Jack Reynor, Moe Dunford, Cillian Murphy, John Butler, and Aiden Gillen on the red carpet.

Grainne Humphreys, Festival Director, said ‘I’m thrilled with the selection of films that not only showcases some of the biggest names in world cinema but features a selection of first time directors from across the globe who will make a serious impression with our audience in this and in coming years. To be able to include new Irish films from Aisling Walsh, Jim Sheridan, Emer Reynolds, Aiden Gillen, John Butler, Neasa Ní Chianán, Juanita Wilson, and Ken Wardrop is an extraordinary testament to the current strength and depth of the Irish film industry. I hope that as many Dubliners as possible take this chance to explore and celebrate the art of film.’

Richard Molloy, Head of Marketing and Product at Audi Ireland, said, “Following a hugely successful partnership between Audi and the Dublin International Film Festival in 2016 we are proud to continue this into 2017.  Audi’s brand philosophy, ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’, really connects with the festival’s ethos of inspiring progressiveness and creativity. Furthermore, our partnership with the festival allows us to celebrate the art of film-making while recognising new and emerging film talent. This year we are delighted to introduce an Audi Gala screening to the festival programme providing festival fans with the ultimate red carpet film experience.”

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Galas and World Premieres

The Gala Opening Night of ADIFF 2017 will be the Irish Premiere of Maudie, the internationally acclaimed biopic of folk artist Maud Lewis by award-winning Irish director Aisling Walsh (Song for a Raggy Boy) which stars Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke. Jim Sheridan’s The Secret Scripture, adapted from the award-winning novel by Sebastian Barry, will receive a Gala Irish Premiere and see ADIFF present a Volta Award to British theatrical royalty Vanessa Redgrave. The Volta Award is the Festival’s most prestigious honour, reserved for those who have made an outstanding contribution to the world of film. Jack Reynor, Cillian Murphy, and Ben Wheatley will attend the Audi Gala screening of Wheatley’s new film Free Fire. ADIFF’s new Centrepiece Gala will be Neasa Ní Chianán and David Rane’s In Loco Parentis documentary study of the Headfort School. World Premieres at ADIFF 17 include Juanita Wilson’s Tomato Red with star Anna Friel in attendance, Dennis Bartok’s terrifying hospital horror Nails, and Aiden Gillen and Jamie Thraves’ Pickups (features Gillen playing a semi-fictionalised version of himself). Ken Wardrop (His & Hers) brings his characteristic warmth and humanity to piano grade exams in The Piano Lesson, while John Murray and Traolach Ó Murchú’s Photo City delves into the celluloid history of Rochester, NY. ADIFF’s prestigious Closing Night Gala is the Irish premiere of Handsome Devil, the new comedy-drama set in an Irish boarding school from John Butler, who directed The Stag.

International Programme

Nathalie Baye, Kerry Fox, and François Cluzet will attend the festival. Baye becomes the target of a dangerous obsession in Moka, Fox is the uncompromising acting teacher in The Rehearsal, and Cluzet stars in stylish paranoia thriller Scribe. ADIFF’s world cinema programme feature films from over 35 countries, from Bhutan to New Zealand, Seoul to Senegal, and Nova Scotia to Manila. There are new films from Festival favourites including Olivier Assayas, Pablo Larraín, Michael Winterbottom, Aki Kaurismäki, Ben Wheatley, Asghar Farhadi, Cristian Mungiu, Lone Scherfig, and Terence Davies. In 2011, Iko Uwais’ flying fists and lightning-fast feet in The Raid brought the house down in the Savoy. Now Uwais returns as the hero of IFI Horrorthon sell-out Headshot, bringing his astounding fighting skills to this tale of amnesia and revenge.

First-time Directors

This year’s programme features a number of new international voices making feature debuts: Juho Kuosmanen’s uplifting Oscar-tipped boxing biopic The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki, Ben Young’s Australian kidnap nightmare Hounds of Love, British director William Oldroyd’s Lady Macbeth, and Daouda Coulibaly’s thrilling West African crime thriller Wùlu. Irish director Lorcan Finnegan’s deeply creepy walk in the woods eco-horror Without Name marks him out as a talent to watch closely in years to comeThe frustration and unease those in the arts have felt at people uninterested in the arts voting for Brexit and Trump is expressed through acerbic and bitter humour – Dash Shaw’s My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea!, Sean Foley’s Mindhorn (with Ross Noble in attendance), Anna Biller’s Love Witch, and Kris Avedisian’s comedy of discomfort Donald Cried.

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Special Events and the Surprise Film

Masterclasses include leading British director Ben Wheatley (High Rise, Free Fire, A Field in England, Kill List), and Oscar-winning costume designer Alexandra Byrne (Doctor Strange). Terence Davies, a singular master of film adaptations, will take part in a public interview with Roddy Doyle. Celebrating the current high point in Irish film, an exhibition by Hugh O’Conor features intimate portraits of his colleagues. An annual treat for the brave, the Surprise Film is a tightly guarded secret known only to the Festival Director, and this year the screening is supported by Just Eat, the official food ordering app, who will be offering special discounts and vouchers to the audience.

Fantastic Flix

The Festival’s expanding Fantastic Flix programme brings the world of cinema to the next generation in its packed festival of children’s films from around the globe, workshops, short film selections, the Fantastic Flix Children’s Jury and special events. Highlights include a special selection of films from visiting children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson, along with the Golden Globe-nominated animated film My Life as a Courgette, and Michaël Dudok de Wit’s The Red Turtle.

Awards
Alongside the Volta Awards that recognise outstanding achievement, the ADIFF Discovery Award sees the festival reward emerging Irish talent; the Dublin Film Critics Circle Jury selects the best of the festival for their awards ceremony; and film-goers themselves select their favourite with the AUDI-ence award. The AUDI-ence award-winning film-makers
 will be flown to the Berlin International Film Festival in 2018, where they will enjoy a true VIP Audi experience.

January 17, 2017

Hopes: 2017

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John Wick: Chapter 2

Keanu Reeves’s unstoppable assassin returns,

with a new dog in the mix,

and old mentors and enemies.

 

The Fate of the Furious

Don’t the Furious need Walker?

Will Helen Mirren win an Oscar here?

Can the nonsense still prevail?

 

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2

Elizabeth Debicki joins the cast,

can James Gunn sprinkle more comedy gold,

to again disguise Marvel formula?

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Wonder Woman

Snyder co-wrote the story but…

Geoff Johns and OC writer wrote script,

can Diana’s solo movie soar?

 

Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan shoots on film,

shoots Germans shooting at beached British soldiers ,

can retreat be cinematically heroic?

 

Baby Driver

Edgar Wright makes a film!

But why cast Ansel Elgort as driver?

And why call driver Baby?

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Salt and Fire

Werner Herzog does volcanoes fictionally,

Michael Shannon and Diego Luna butt heads,

but this is not Pompeii.

 

Golden Exits

Alex Ross Perry hits Brooklyn,

reunites with Jason Schwartzman for family dramas,

with a mostly female cast.

 

Death Note

Adam Wingard directs a remake,

but oddly the original sounds like Lullaby,

is Palahniuk big in Japan?

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Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig finally directs again!

Saoirse Ronan’s comedic adventures in Northern California.

Who needs Noah Baumbach anyway?

 

Wind River

Taylor Sheridan writes AND directs!

Sicario man drops deserts for snowy wastes,

teams FBI and Native Americans.

 

Blade Runner 2049

Denis Villeneuve does more sci-fi,

with the blessing of Ford, Scott, Fancher,

Ryan Gosling the new Ford.

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Goldstone

Ivan Sen made Mystery Road,

Measured, beautiful, and suspenseful Aussie crime thriller,

and now here’s his sequel.

 

The Glass Castle

Destin Cretton adapts acclaimed memoir,

starring Brie Larson who commanded Short Term 12,

this should be something icy.

 

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Grieving Frances McDormand freaks out,

attacks Woody Harrellson and Sam Rockwell’s cops,

yes, it’s Martin McDonagh’s repertory.

 

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Under the Silver Lake

It Follows meets Raymond Chandler,

Andrew Garfield investigates stranger than usual case,

Riley Keough is the femme fatale.

 

Vox Lux

Brady Corbet shoots on 65mm,

Rooney Mara’s pop star scored by Sia,

his first feature was… imposing.

January 16, 2017

The Heiress

Filed under: Talking Theatre (Reviews) — Fergal Casey @ 5:38 pm
Tags: , , ,

The Heiress aka Henry James’ Washington Square has enough vicious jibes to sustain its slender plot of prospecting for gold in 19th Century NYC but it’s a sour Christmas show.16_the_heiress

3/5

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