Talking Movies

November 15, 2018

A Very Very Very Dark Matter

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 3:36 pm

Martin McDonagh’s new play is undoubtedly the oddest thing he’s ever done.

Skull-APP

Trying to explain the plot involving Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Dickens, two Congolese pygmies, and a couple of time-travelling dead Belgian soldiers makes one seem as deranged as the play. I have the feeling that, like Paul McCartney’s song on Picasso, this is an artist responding to a bet by showing there is nothing so implausible they can’t construct plausible work from it.

There is something to offend everyone; from mining the Belgian rule of the Congo for comedy, to jokes about the Famine, to deriding the English as an ugly race; and the effect is delirious. Jim Broadbent is a callously clueless buffoon as HCA while Phil Daniels brought the house down as a foul-mouthed Charles F****** Dickens, not Charles Darwin as HCA keeps addressing him.

4/5

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Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 3:33 pm

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November 4, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 9:19 pm

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November 2, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 11:58 pm

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Any Other Business: Part XX

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 11:52 pm

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The Luas stations and trams are now festooned with posters ordering people about (give up your seat, take off your bag, clear out of here) and then adding in a larger typeset – It’s Manners. I feel there ought to be an exclamation mark after that to give the full flavour to the absurdity. I can think of few things more unmannerly than peremptorily barking orders at people and then adding in a bellowed roar that it’s manners. I remember skimming a book in Hodges Figgis’ bargain basement section  some 7 years ago. It suggested that Japanese etiquette avoided confrontational corrections for unspoken but meaningful examples of the right way to do things. If someone made a terrible verbal blunder, the blunder was, after a discreet interval, silently amended without attention being drawn; the understanding being that this was good manners. I put this into practice by waiting a few minutes after Synge Street had been pronounced as Singe rather than Sing to drop in the correct pronunciation idly while asking a follow-up about goings on there which were the real point of interest. The correction was made, no attention was drawn to the original blunder, no confrontation was had. Good manners. I contrast my practise there with a trying scene that followed not long after where, out of nervousness that I would be roared at for mispronouncing Alain Resnais, I mispronounced Alain Resnais as Rey-na and got roared at – ‘Rey-NAY! Rey-NAY!!! JE-SUS!!!!’ Bad manners. I get visually roared at by these Luas posters and I think – Bad Manners.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 11:40 pm

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September 25, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 6:46 pm

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September 9, 2018

Notes on The Seagull

The Seagull belatedly swooped into cinemas Friday. Here are some notes on’t, prepared for Dublin City FM’s Sunday Breakfast with Patrick Doyle early this morning.

The impecunious teacher Semyon (Michael Zegen) loves the sullen housekeeper’s daughter Masha (Elisabeth Moss), who loves the temperamental young writer Constantin (Billy Howle), who loves the flighty girl next door Nina (Saoirse Ronan), who loves the cynical famous writer Trigorin (Corey Stoll), who is the lover of the self-absorbed great actress Arkadina (Annette Bening), who had an affair with the dashing doctor Dorn (Jon Tenney), who the downtrodden housekeeper Polina (Mare Winningham) still loves after all these years by the lake. No wonder the master of this chaotic Russian dacha, Sorin (Brian Dennehy), feels that he has never truly lived in his 60 years because he never got married or became a writer but ground away in the government bureaucracy till he had ground himself down. But grinding people down is what life does, as Constantin and Nina painfully discover…

If you can’t steal The Seagull from the role of Masha then you’re not awake. Elisabeth Moss is wide awake.

You get Hoynes/Trump!

It’s been a nostalgic blast watching The West Wing from the start on TG4 this past week. Coming at the exact moment that Bob Woodward’s new book of nasty quotes and the New York Times’ anonymous op-ed painted a picture of the workings of a very different Oval Office it led to disquieting thoughts about Presidents Bartlet, Obama and Trump.

The Ringer recently produced a list of the 100 best TV episodes since 2000. I got the impression reading that one contributor would almost rather say ‘not anti-hero’ than ‘hero’ because if they said hero that would bespeak not being the kind of world-weary sophisticate who writes for The Ringer. This excerpt is fairly characteristic of them:

I don’t disagree about the Bartlet hagiography, but to me that’s almost a charm of the show; in the world of Walter Whites and Hannah Horvaths and the sociopaths of Succession, the idea of the “good guy we’re rooting for” is almost quaint.

But… if the media, especially the unlimited digital ink allowed by the internet, spends its time praising only anti-heroes, difficult men… and the Emmys and Golden Globes go only to shows on cable about anti-heroes, difficult men… and both the media and industry generally deride when they don’t ignore shows  (usually on network, like, say NCIS) that feature principled heroes, can both media and industry (as seen at every awards show) really get up on such a moral high horse when an anti-hero, difficult man becomes the President? If Obama now says Trump is a symptom not the cause, is the media and industry not partially culpable? Did they not prepare the culture to bring forth just that?

Years ago I wrote but never posted a lengthy piece based around a reading of a segment of Obama’s Dreams From My Father and the complaints on BBC of a Hillary Clinton staffer that Obama had had an unfair advantage because pop culture had prepared the way for a black President via Morgan Freeman and Denis Haysbert but there was nobody similarly making straight a path in the wilderness for Hillary. But if Deep Impact and 24 were literally held to have given Obama an advantage then surely The West Wing must have contributed mightily too. During the dark days of Bush Jr’s inarticulate incompetence there was a President who was charming, articulate, intelligent, a university lecturer; he was fictional, but you can’t have everything; and Bush Jr was replaced by a President who was charming, articulate, intelligent, and a university lecturer.

But then after a decade of anti-heroes, difficult men, what do you know but the American public went and elected one of those cultural icons as President – the anti-hero-in-chief. Where could they have got such a weird idea?

Oh, for one of those crassly commercial network notes now! “Can you make President Trump more likeable?”

The Rockford Gambit

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 12:49 pm
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There may be a curious region where satirical ideas are actually more practical than the supposedly practical ideas on offer.

The Rockford Gambit ™ is a short term fix for the housing crisis which Leo Varadkar seems thoroughly uninterested in solving in either the short or long term. We buy everyone a trailer, modelled on the one that Jim Rockford lived in in The Rockford Files; each trailer will come with a cookie jar containing a pop gun. Now everybody that needs one has a roof over their heads, and in minimal time. 20 million Americans live in trailers, so there’s no reason we can’t adopt that lifestyle as a short term solution to an intractable problem. At a cost, converted into Euros, of between 25,925 to 60,500 for the basic model trailer, it is clearly much cheaper than the affordable housing we hear so much about and see so little of.

But that’s only a short term solution. In the long term we need to grasp the nettle, something which no politician has wanted to for these fifty years…

Clearly we need higher density housing. But that nobody really wants to live in that kind of housing. But… what if we take our inspiration from The Donald? Sutherland, not Trump. Who wouldn’t want to live in an apartment like the Tripps in Dirty Sexy Money? But those are not the kind of apartments that get built for regular folk. Well, why not? Conceive of a development of blocks of six storeys, which are effectively three houses stacked on top of each other; as it were. A two storey apartment, another two storey apartment, and a final two storey apartment. Each with their own separate entrance, and a shared green space rounding one side and to the back, to deal with the shadows cast by these six storey blocks. Absolutely imperative is soundproofing so perfect that you could rehearse Beethoven’s 9th in your apartment and your neighbours would have no idea save for the toing and froing of so many people with curious shaped cases to your door. A place of one’s own, a door of one’s own, a patch of green of one’s own, and bob’s your uncle; the resistance to high density housing is killed with creature comforts.

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