Talking Movies

July 20, 2018

At least we still have… : Part IV

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 2:07 pm

The fourth entry in an occasional series in which I try to cheer myself up by remembering what still exists in the world and cannot ever be taken capriciously away.

As I wrote in my Top 10 Films of 2012, praising Damsels in Distress, Greta Gerwig’s desire to improve the global psyche with her international dance craze the Sambola seemed slightly less daft after ‘Gangam Style’.

And if I think of the 2012 election I will immediately think of this parody. Sure, not all of it works as well as you could wish, but when it hits the heights of this particular verse it’s irresistible:

I got distinguished hair

And a private jet that flies me way up in the air

Buy and sell your company with so much savoir faire

I bought a mansion for each one of my two dozen heirs

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On the Purity of the Turf: Part IV

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 2:00 pm

Ahem. Like a certain Douglas Adams trilogy, I sheepishly offer a second finale to an already declared finished series.

I enjoyed Putin’s umbrella power play at the World Cup final far more than the match that preceded it.

I find it very hard to stomach that the French were happy to have won in such a corrupt manner. The first goal was cheating, because Antoine Griezmann clearly dived to win a free kick. He was already beginning his fall before his trailing leg managed to clip a Croatian to provide the casus belli. As if that wasn’t enough a French player was offside when the damn free was taken. Yet the referee and the vaunted VAR had nothing to say about this. The second goal shouldn’t have been a penalty. And then with an advantage gained from cheating the French sat back and did nothing.  At the 80 minute mark you could witness the disgraceful disillusioning spectacle of all 11 French players standing in their own half. Determined to defend to the death their ill-found lead.

Miscellaneous Movie Musings: Part VIII

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 1:55 pm

As the title suggests here are some short thoughts about the movies which aren’t quite substantial enough for each to merit an individual blog posting.

Humphrey Who?

Patrick Doyle asked an unnerving question a couple of weeks ago. How many people know who Grace Kelly is anymore? I am interested in history in general, and this extends into burrowing back into the back catalogue of cinema. But I have to admit that for many people, probably I fear the majority, they couldn’t give a damn. A particularly dispiriting display came at the Lighthouse screening of Hallowe’en a while back. The very young, very drunk audience, was hooting in derision from the get-go. At anything that revealed the movie as having been made in 1978. I couldn’t understand this, and still struggle with it. Do they not think people as yet unborn will hoot in self-same derision in 2046 at the films they hold precious now?

Any Other Business: Part XVII

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 1:50 pm

What is one to do with thoughts that are far too long for Twitter but not nearly long enough for a proper blog post? Why round them up and turn them into a seventeenth portmanteau post on television of course!

Sorry seems to be the hardest word

I had been thinking about writing about Facebook’s current TV spots on British television, and then Channel 4’s Dispatches came along and lifted the lid on the people who work for Facebook but don’t work for Facebook in Dublin. Ah, the joy of outsourcing. It’s someone else’s fault that the high standards Facebook expects are not being upheld. Not that we’re ever told what those high standards are precisely. And nothing is ever criminal, or wrong, it’s always – not okay. Well, I guess if the Zuck can admit that the hacking of the Brexit and Trump votes is not okay then I guess we can all forgive him for letting it happen, and lying about that.

July 15, 2018

On the Purity of the Turf: Part III

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 1:12 pm

One final entry in an unexpected series.

Please let Croatia beat France today for the sake of the game.

The behaviour of the French players during the last minutes of their semi-final against Belgium can only be described in words like pathetic, craven, and despicable. Mbappe was perhaps the worst offender, as he has been cheating for most of the tournament, despite his speed and skill. And that’s the kicker, why in the hell do these players spend so much time cheating when they don’t need to?

July 13, 2018

D

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 2:52 pm

July 8, 2018

On the Purity of the Turf: Part II

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 9:20 pm

Ronaldo is gone, Suarez is gone, and last but not least Neymar is gone. And good riddance to his cheating.

It was disheartening to see a pundit on CNN and a writer for The Atlantic both defending the grotesque cheating of the Brazilian striker. It’s disheartening writing this piece and consciously deploying no euphemisms but the simple factual description each time. Neymar cheated, constantly, consistently, and with a twinkle in his eye at what a fine fellow he was for getting away with all this cheating. Who exactly does such behaviour benefit?

July 1, 2018

On the Purity of the Turf

This is a piece  I’ve been thinking about for a long time that Ronaldo’s temper tantrum last night finally spurred me to properly write up.

Ronaldo was rightly booked by the referee for his hissy fit after said referee had declined to award a free kick to a Portuguese player who had gone out of his way to win a free kick one time too many. I was happy to see the back of Portugal and Ronaldo’s antics, but that it means the progression of Uruguay and the cheating of Suarez. Sorry, not cheating. Never cheating. Unlike the limited knowledge of measurements Jonathan Meades amusingly dissected as equating always and only to half a yard, football pundits have a thesaurus of terms for cheating. In this world cup so far I have heard ‘made a meal of it’, ‘milking it’, ‘gone to ground too easily’, ‘being flamboyant’, ‘a bit of a showman’, ‘a bit dramatic’, ‘being theatrical’, ‘a clever yellow card’, ‘taking one for the team’, ‘professional foul’, ‘gamesmanship’. Or in one plain word: CHEATING.

It may be a downer to ask such a blunt question at this celebratory time but what is the purpose of professional sport? If it’s to see a sport played at the peak of its technique and skill then cheating vitiates that entirely. Maradona could have fallen down to look for a free kick when he dribbled damn near the length of the pitch against England in the 1986 World Cup to score one of the greatest goals of individual skill ever filmed. He did not. He was prepared to put in the work, because he wanted the glory. By contrast Neymar Jr in 2018’s group stages could be seen winking after scamming a free kick. The striker who would rather fall down and get a free kick than stay upright and play the ball wants the glory, but is not prepared to put in the work. A workshy millionaire.

If, God help us, millionaire athletes are meant to provide role models to children (apparently unwilling to emulate their parents, siblings, and extended family), then the cheating is even more egregious. Ronaldo, Neymar, and Suarez are brilliant strikers; in the very narrow sense that they strike the ball wonderfully to get it into the net. But they are not brilliant strikers in the sense that they ride thru tackles, work hard, don’t rant at referees, don’t feign injury, and behave with something approaching honour, or at the least professionalism. It was sickening to see the tributes paid Pirlo when he retired if you kept in mind how he writhed on the ground in agony after an innocuous  tackle by an Irish player because Italy were threatened by a breakaway. The Irish players, concerned at his welfare, put the ball out of play, ending their chance of hitting Italy on the counter. Pirlo immediately sprang to his feet. More fool you.

Now that VAR is here to stay how about a modest proposal for extending its use? Each time a player goes down clutching the wrong body part to claim a free kick for an injury of the imagination, send them off – straight red card. Each time a player can be seen waiting to fall over at the touch of a feather like they’ve been shot by a sniper rifle just to win a free kick because they can’t be bothered actually playing football, send them off – straight red card. Yes, the players will howl and moan, they are after all very, very good at that. But the first time Real Madrid find themselves playing five a side against a full strength PSG team there’ll be a little less of the play acting.

May 25, 2018

Save The Green!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 10:26 am

May 2, 2018

IFI Stories

Reading through Talking Movies’ back catalogue after 10 years (sic), and archiving the lost reviews that came before, has set me thinking about memorable cinema trips of the past. So here are two great memories of unexpected audience interventions in screen 2 of the IFI.


In late 2004 I went along with three friends to see Bubba Ho-Tep. Let’s call one of these friends Friedrich Bagel, because that’s who it was. Herr Bagel was, at best, a Bruce Campbell agnostic, and two of us laid on the Bruce hero worship perhaps a bit too thick just before we all walked into the cinema. This led to some unfortunate timing of snippy remarks on the part of Bagel the Bruce agnostic, because as we took our seats he exploded at us, “Just who is this Bruce Campbell character anyway? And how many fans does he have? Just you two?” As we touched down on our seats 4 guys in the row in front of us rocketed up out of their seats. They turned to face us, all wearing Evil Dead t-shirts. Ah… The tallest, looming over the Bruce-baiting Bagel, waved his arms around while booming – “How dare you sir! This is the Church of Bruce! You shall not blaspheme in the Church of Bruce!” Luckily the other guilty party in boosting Bruce beyond Bagel’s breaking point was just as tall and far bigger in build. He stood up and assured the Pastor of the Church of Bruce that our Bruce agnostic did not need to be killed for heresy, but was a potential convert, and needed only this film to push him into Bruce’s arms. Calm returned to the cinema, even if it was a slightly cowed calm on the part of Bagel who now realised Bruce Campbell did indeed have more than just two fans.

2011 found me at one of the last screenings of The Tree of Life in the IFI, in the afternoon with an audience of Malick devotees. Well, maybe they weren’t true devotees. Maybe like me they just really liked Badlands. I’d been trying to concentrate on just luxuriating in the visuals of the creation of the universe montage, rather than thinking too critically about it. The choral soundtrack got louder and louder, and I was thinking about how on earth Terrence Malick was achieving this (was he adding in extra singers for each verse?), when an exasperated older man a few seats down from me suddenly turned to say to his female companion – “Oh, this is just pretentious f****** nonsense! It really is…” Unfortunately life imitates art far more often than art imitates life, and, in a hilarious occurrence straight out of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy film, at that precise and most wonderful moment the soundtrack abruptly went mute. His bellowed whisper bounded around the entire cinema and was heard by everyone. You could feel the audience stiffen in their seats like an electric current had been passed thru all the rows. Some were offended by this philistinism, but many more I think were suddenly roused, out of somnolent acceptance of Malick’s montage as being High Art, back into consciousness and began a critical evaluation of what the man had just said. And do you know what, I swear that I felt most of the audience suddenly silently agree and think, “It is pretentious f****** nonsense, isn’t it?!”

I can’t think of Bubba Ho-Tep or The Tree of Life to this day without remembering the odd way I saw them in the IFI.

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