Talking Movies

November 13, 2014

World Book Day coming to Dublin

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World Book Day has revealed the live tour line-up for 2015’s The Biggest Book Show on Earth, which will live up to its name by featuring over 40 top authors and illustrators visiting ten locations throughout the UK and Ireland.

The Biggest Book Show on Earth was first established by World Book Day in 2012 in London. The first tour in 2014 saw the show visit five regions, and in 2015 events will run from 23rd February – 6th March; including a stopover in Dublin on March 4th which will feature Steven Butler, Derek Landy, David O’Doherty, and Chris Judge with more authors to be announced early 2015. Derek Landy, author of the Skulduggery Pleasant series, says: “I’m delighted to once again play my part in my home town for World Book Day, one of the most wonderful, positive campaigns going.”

The Biggest Book Show on Earth was conceived by Kirsten Grant, Director of World Book Day, alongside hand-picked local partners who will work with local schools to fill venues and coordinate book-selling for each event. Grant says: “World Book Day’s ultimate mission is to encourage a love of reading in all children, and by doubling our tour stops we’ve made a major step towards achieving this ambition. We’re bringing an amazing selection of children’s author and illustrator talent to over 14,000 children in the UK and Ireland. I hope that enjoying performances by so many brilliant authors will inspire children.” Bob Johnston, Chair of Bookseller’s Association Irish Branch and Dublin co-organiser, says: “We’re thrilled The Biggest Book Show on Earth is crossing the water and joining us in Dublin this year! World Book Day is a hugely popular event in Ireland and the tour means that we can celebrate it on a huge scale. With a stack-load of great authors taking part and hundreds of children coming along to participate we’re already getting very excited.”

World Book Day was designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and is marked in over 100 countries by a partnership of publishers, booksellers, and interested parties encouraging children to explore the pleasures of reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own. To mark World Book Day on Thursday 5th March 2015 school children are entitled to receive a €1.50 Book Token provided by Irish booksellers. It can be exchanged for one of eleven specially published World Book Day titles, or against any book or audio book of their choice costing 3.99 or more at participating bookshops or book clubs.

More details about World Book Day and The Biggest Book Show on Earth can be found at www.worldbookday.com.

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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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