Talking Movies

May 31, 2023

Any Other Business

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 6:58 pm

Cycling Culture Clash

I nearly got run over by a cyclist twice in the last few weeks. And it made me think about the attempts to impose a cycling culture on Dublin, as if Copenhagen’s century of cycling culture could simply be imposed by fiat. I nearly got flattened in Copenhagen straight off the airport train, as did another tourist beside me. We were simply not prepared for this level of cycling. Packs of cyclists, moving at speed, and assured of their right of way. This was not familiar territory. In my walks around the Southside there are rarely packs of cyclists. The busiest cycle lanes that come to mind are along the quays. One does not expect cyclists on cycle lanes in this city. A dangerous habit of mind to bring to Copenhagen where entire city quarters seem closed until you realise it’s simply the absence of car noise.

April 8, 2023

Miscellaneous Movie Musings: Part LXVI

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 12:52 pm

As the title suggests, so forth.

Speed 2

It was unfortunate for Speed 2 that 26 years later I finally watched it mere days after reading a fascinating piece about how 10 weeks out from production Tom Stoppard reimagined Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. And boy could Speed 2 have used some reimagining… It really does seem the case that director Jan De Bont and star Sandra Bullock just gritted their teeth and got on with their contractual obligation. But why did no studio executive ever admit the film was conceptually absurd to any cinemagoer – a ship in the Caribbean has a decent shot at not hitting anything – and try to at least salvage the premise with a decent script? It’s well known that practically every line of dialogue in Speed came from the script-doctor pen of Joss Whedon, and from the beginning of Speed 2 you can feel the lack of Whedon dialogue. And this has the unfortunate effect of making Bullock’s Annie irritating rather than adorkable. And Jason Patric cannot help. The fact that villainous tech wizard Willem Dafoe is introduced whining about getting upset about his golf clubs being lost iis a bizarre choice. And there are bizarre choices aplenty.

Black Hawk Down

I avoided it for decades because of its gore, and Kim Coates’ end is literally the stuff of Romero’s Day of the Dead indeed, but finally watching Black Hawk Down was well worth it. It was quite odd to be looking at a film that was basically wrapped before 9/11, so when characters talked of Iraq it was the Gulf War they meant, and the pointless campaigns of Afghanistan and Iraq had yet to come to symbolise futile combat. Instead there were distinct echoes of Vietnam in the way Ridley Scott repeatedly showed black helicopters running along the coastline of Mogadishu to get to the hostile area, and then the intense fighting in the streets seemed at times like Hue in 1968. Black Hawk Down then is perhaps as indebted to Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket as Scott’s debut The Deullists was to his Barry Lyndon, but there is also a hefty nod to Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan in the quite extreme levels of gore depicted in this brutal engagement.


Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 12:51 pm

Decadent Theatre Company continue their trademark association with the Gaiety Theatre with the Irish premiere of Martin McDonagh’s Hangmen.

In a pub in Oldham England’s 2nd best hangman Harry (Denis Conway) is fending off media attention on the occasion of the abolition of hanging. But that is not the only attention he is getting, as a sinister stranger (Killian Scott), with designs on Harry’s daughter (Olivia Byrne) and a strangely ambivalent antagonism to Harry’s wife (Aisling O’Sullivan), arrives from London to drop vague insinuations that Harry may have hanged an innocent man.

I feel like I have both seen and not seen the original production of Hangmen, courtesy of the NT Live streaming it into cinemas. But this production holds its own against it. In fact oddly enough one of the most striking differences was Conway being far more stoic than David Morrissey in the final moments of the play.

Hangmen continues its run at the Gaiety Theatre until the 8th of April.


Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 12:43 pm

The Abbey brings Moliere’s 17th Century play to its main stage with some dubious 2020s vibes.

  • Monsieur Loyal: Amy Conroy
  • Mariane: Emma Rose Creaner
  • Tartuffe: Ryan Donaldson
  • Damis: Naoise Dunbar
  • Dorine: Pauline Hutton
  • Orgon: Frank McCusker
  • Elmire: Aislín McGuckin
  • Filipote: Clare McKenna
  • Valere: Emmanuel Okoye
  • Pernelle: Geraldine Plunkett
  • Officer: Darragh Shannon
  • Cleante: Kevin Trainor

Moliere wrote in rhyming couplets and Frank McGuinness has chosen to honour that in his version. But the question must be, what is gained from writing in rhyming couplets? There is a reason that verse drama had a brief revival in the 1950s with TS Eliot and Christopher Fry and hasn’t been since. Too often the punchlines here resemble moments from the Buffy musical episode where it is an obvious obscene rhyme left blank that generates the laughter. Troubling too is the attempt to gain some humour from slapstick abuse of one of the servants. She has her face idly slammed into a wall by the grand dame leaving the room, and is hit in the face with a platter, and as the play goes on is given make-up to reflect these bruises. Did you ever see Manuel in Fawlty Towers displaying lasting signs of injury after getting a clout from Basil?

Tartuffe continues its run at the Abbey Theatre until the 8th of April.

Top Performances of 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 12:31 pm

Renate Reinsve (The Worst Person in the World)

Anais Demoustier (Les Amours d’Anais)

Ryan Reynolds (The Adam Project)

Tom Cruise (Top Gun: Maverick)

Denis Podalydes (En Corps, Les Amours d’Anais)

Barry Keoghan (The Banshees of Inisherin)

Jessica Henwick (Glass Onion)

Karen Gillan (The Bubble)

Top 10 Films of 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 12:26 pm

The Worst Person in the World

En Corps

Top Gun: Maverick

Glass Onion

Les Amours d’Anais

The Black Phone

The Adam Project

All Quiet on the Western Front

The Pale Blue Eye

Crimes of the Future

March 23, 2023

Fears: 2023

Filed under: Talking Movies — Fergal Casey @ 7:20 pm

Asteroid City

Wes A’s back again

Whimsy among stargazers

Wes, come back to earth?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Gunn leaves MCU

Vol. 2 left a sour taste 

Will parting be sweet?

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Um, who asked for this?

80s icon now icon in…

Can Mangold save it?

No Hard Feelings

J-Law does raunchy;

Cameron Diaz retired.

So… can this be wise?

Killers of the Flower Moon

Leo and Marty!

Gangsters again! Not excess.

(A three hour epic…)

February 28, 2023

Hopes: 2023

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning

Henry Czerny’s back!

Soft-spoken threats in between

Death or glory stunts


C Murphy the lead

Atomic guilt is the theme

Will time bend again?

Dune: Part II

Paul A returns

To see the future jihad

Will he make it rain?

Scream VI

Bright lights, big city

Ghostface escapes Woodsboro

Who will survive? Gail??

The Killer

Fincher does hitman

Fassbender does many takes

Exacting thrill ride?

January 31, 2023

The Weir

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 7:23 pm

The Abbey revives Conor McPherson’s all-conquering 1997 play of ghost stories in an isolated Leitrim pub to a somewhat curious effect.

Jack (Brendan Coyle) arrives into a small pub to find the tap for his chosen tipple isn’t working. So it goes with laidback barman Brendan (Sean Fox), who gives Jack a bottle instead. They are soon joined by the quiet but sharp Jim (Marty Rea), and anxiously await the arrival of local tycoon Finbarr (Peter Coonan), who is bringing ‘Dublin’ blow-in Valerie (Jolly Abraham) to the bar. The men are concerned that Finbarr, a married man, is being unseemly in his attentions towards Valerie, and are equally concerned that he is turning them into dancing bears as a show of local colour for Valerie. But in the end the unseemliness comes from the concerned locals, as a number of local ghost stories pour forth, becoming progressively darker as the night draws in and the beers and short ones mount up.

Director Caitriona McLaughlin’s handling of The Weir is curious, not least her decision to drastically cut down the playing space of the Abbey by placing a car outside the pub, and shoving all action to one half of the stage. She also lightly amends the play to make Valerie, not a woman from Dublin, but a woman from Ohio relocated to Dublin relocating to Leitrim, which seems to be putting a bit more weight on the play that its structure can support. Not least as it sets up a problem with tone. This is the second time I’ve seen the play since Patrick Doyle parsed the script for me as a Mametian series of power-plays. Seen in that light the stories have suspicious similarities of theme, to say nothing of the escalation; Jack narrates a historic haunting, Finbarr narrates feeling a ghost behind him, Jim interacts directly with a paedophile’s ghost, and Valerie’s daughter returns via a ghostly phone call. The fact that Valerie unleashes her trumping story after a trip to the toilet supports the idea that she’s had enough of these strangers trying to unnerve her and has decided to beat them at their game. A certain histrionic quality to her telling of the tale only plays into that, alongside the fact that Abraham and Coonan seem to be giving performances in a different register to the other members of the cast. There is a certain cartoonish larger-than-life quality to Coonan and Abraham, which does not sit at all well with what Rea, in particular, is doing. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the individual turns, but as an ensemble it doesn’t make any sense – it’s like keeping Eric Stoltz in Back to the Future alongside Christopher Lloyd.


December 24, 2022

O Holy Night

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 3:19 pm

This is the way the year ends, not with a bang but a whimper.

The blog has been even more sporadic this year than in 2021. I don’t know if things will improve on the writing front next year, but I do hope that 2023 will be the most normal year of this benighted decade.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Talking Movies will return in 2023.

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