Talking Movies

February 15, 2012

‘Talk It Out’ Needs Your Votes!

Do you want to support a potential new sitcom for RTE that might actually be funny? And not just funny, but really, really funny? Then vote for ‘Talk it Out’ at http://www.rte.ie/drama/featured/storyland/talkitout.html.

Regular readers will remember my praising to the skies of A Film with me in it some months ago. What’s not to love in the prospect of its deadpan star and writer Mark Doherty appearing as a psychiatrist who’s going slowly bonkers as a charlatan hypnotherapist sets up next to him and starts stealing all his customers? Especially when the next step in his decline is to start taking advice from his patient, played by the Republic of Telly’s Bernard O’Shea.

Screenwriter Darach McGarrigle has taken part in prestigious screenwriting programmes including the Berlin Talent Campus at the Berlinale and BAFTA’s Rocliffe Forum at the New York Television Festival. The opening webisode is a delight and the prospect of more to come should whet comedic appetites. And this is where you come in. RTE’s Storyland competition, like nearly everything else in the world these days except economic policy, is based on a public vote. Viewers vote online for their favourite webisode, and the series that gets the most votes is commissioned to make the next episode.

The first episode of ‘Talk It Out’ went live yesterday on the RTE site, you can watch it here: http://www.rte.ie/drama/featured/storyland/talkitout.htm.

Voting has already started and lasts a week. At the end of the week the 6 programs with the most votes get commissioned to make another episode. I think we desperately need to see more episodes of a comedy with as great a cast as Mark Doherty, Bernard O’Shea, Peter Coonan (Love/Hate) and Aoibhinn McGinnity (Love/Hate) More information about the makers can be found at http://www.facebook.com/talkitout.storyland where you can also vote.

Voting lasts for one week. Make a difference while you can!

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October 11, 2011

A Film with me in it

A Film with me in it has finally been released on DVD, three years after its limited cinema release, so allow me to both praise it to the skies and urge you to buy it.

A Film with me in it is quite simply one of the best Irish films ever made. It’s a jet-black comedy which sees two fine stand-up comedians blunder their way thru a scenario of escalating disastrousness that could have been written by Joe Orton and which makes you laugh at really horrible things. Set in a crumbling Georgian building which has been appallingly converted into the very worst flat in Dublin it follows the misadventures of the morose Mark Doherty (estranged from his live-in girlfriend Amy Huberman and caring for his recently disabled brother David O’Doherty) and his friend Dylan Moran (a scriptwriter who hasn’t written anything but IOUs for quite some time) as they battle their shiftless landlord Keith Allen and try to cope with a series of disastrous but inescapably funny lethal accidents.

Dylan Moran’s sardonic comedy persona finds a perfect leading film role outlet in the part of heroically self-deluding alcoholic writer/director/waiter Pierce. His ramble around the word ‘alcoholic’ at an AA meeting, “My name is Pierce and I am a …. writer/director, and waiter”, is only one of many priceless moments. Moran also gives a fantastic reaction to a bloody accident, “Did, did, did you do a murder?”, devises a series of increasingly ludicrous attempts to avoid a charge of murder, “I have another plan, it involves beards and Morocco”, and powers an amazing cameo where an unexpected actor appears and has his preciousness completely exploded by dint of merciless mockery from Moran. Co-writer Mark Doherty’s blank deadpan opposite all of this mugging from Moran is Leslie Nielsen-esque in its ability to keep the nonsense grounded.

Compiling my top films of the year in 2008 for my own private film awards, as I’ve done annually since 2003, I placed A Film with me in it just outside the Top 10. But coming 11th only confirmed what an extraordinary year it had been for Irish cinema. Declan Kiberd’s Irish Classics noted that Daniel Corkery had propounded a ridiculously purist doctrine. ‘The English language, great as it is, can no more throw up an Irish Literature than it can an Indian literature’, opined Corkery who went further and put forward an influential and rigid formula Kiberd summarises thus, to qualify as Irish, “literature must treat of three themes: religion, nation, and land. Joyce had fled those nets as tyrannies, yet by treating them in his books, he did at least concede their importance”.

2008 saw Irish cinema break free of that transmogrified Corkery/Joyce need to make every film a pompous state of the nation sermon on Dev’s Ireland, the IRA or the land hunger, and/or a box-ticking journey through a number of expected clichés in order to appeal to Irish-American audience expectations, and instead just make films. The result saw entertaining, magical, demented, and insightful films (In Bruges, A Film with me in it, Hunger, Kisses) take 2 of the top 3 places and 4 of the top 12 in my awards. Now you can judge for yourself.

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