Talking Movies

August 10, 2019

Personalities: The IFI

The IFI is about to start serious refurbishments to fix the leaking roof and restore screens 1 and 2 to a level equal to the plush comfort of screen 3. I thought it would be meet to reflect on the personality of the IFI and its three very different screens.

Screen 1 is the biggest screen with 258 seats and I have seen some appropriately big movies on it: Apocalypse Now Redux, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Blade Runner Final Cut, and Vertigo 70mm. Vangelis’ glorious synthesiser score bouncing around that relatively small space made far more of an impact than seeing the same cut of the movie in the cavernous space of the ‘IMAX’ screen in Cineworld. But not all films in screen 1 are as totally packed as the four shows just named were. Paul Fennessy and I once had the wildly disconcerting experience of seeing Olivier Assayas’ Apres Mai in a private screening because nobody else showed up for the matinee, and we greatly enjoyed seeing Alex Ross Perry’s Listen Up Philip very unexpectedly on that big screen for the benefit of about a dozen punters.

Screen 2 is far smaller at 106 seats and I have sat thru many press screenings there, and witnessed the rush at Open Days for the good seats: those in the first of the two rows placed above the fray to the right at the very back which thus afford infinite legroom, or the seats in the front row which also afford infinite legroom. Legroom, as you may have divined, is an issue in this screen. It has also had a tendency to emulate the late lamented Screen and get overpoweringly hot when at full capacity. I vividly remember stumbling out of an Open Day screening of 8 ½ feeling dehydrated. But screen 2’s intimate nature has made for bizarre audience interactions; the previously described outraged Bruce Campbell fans at Bubba Ho-Tep and accidental heckler at The Tree of Life.

Screen 3 has but 61 seats, it is the Old Dramsoc of the IFI’s screen, and for the vast majority of the times I have been there it has been half-empty at best. Indeed for a spell there I was plagued with shows where audiences halved within the first hour as people walked out in disgust. My favourite non sequitir being the people who walked out after the long-take of two successive monologues in Queen of Earth; obviously disgusted at Alex Ross Perry’s virtuoso directing. There have been startling exceptions such as uncomfortably crowded shows of Mulholland Drive and The Disaster Artist. There was the unexpected occasion of not seeing Le Doulos at all because there was only one ticket left when we arrived expecting the usual relaxed atmosphere and found a frenzied queue. But usually it’s laidback as Jazz24.

Maybe Jazz24 is the key to how I regard the IFI; the only cinema where it seems right time after time to get a coffee to bring in to the film with me. Perhaps because I’ve seen so many French films there. It’s been suffering thru something of a malaise for the last two years, maybe sprucing the place up will be the key to regaining the half a yard in pace lost to the Lighthouse.

October 20, 2018

Greg Sestero hits the Lighthouse

Oh, hi Mark. Greg Sestero is in town next weekend, to attend the Irish premiere of Best F(r)iends: Volume 2 on October 26th at the Lighthouse.                                                                                                              

Sestero is of course one of the unfortunate stars of success de scandale The Room, who managed to spin a best-selling memoir, The Disaster Artist, out of the experience, and was portrayed by Dave Franco in James Franco’s hilarious film adaptation. Sestero will attend the screening of Best F(r)iends: Volume 2 and do a Q & A hosted by Derek O’Connor.

Billed as the thrilling conclusion of the Sestero-Wiseau Saga, and picking up where the first volume left off, Best F(r)iends: Volume 2 is heralded as bringing the saga to a satisfying close. Jon (Sestero) is on the run across the American Southwest, where he meets an array of wild and amazing characters and finds himself in ever-stranger situations…which go a long way in giving a better handle on the reality he’s fleeing. Of course there’s still one more encounter and one last reckoning to bring this strange journey full circle. The saga is the best (sic) of Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau distilled into pure ecstasy: charming, unexpected, dramatic, dark, and above all, endlessly entertaining (addictive). Wiseau wisely is not involved in writing or directing, just acting. Sestero is the writer this time, and Justin MacGregor has the unenviable task of taming the craziness.

Best F(r)iends: Volume 1 will screen at 18.15 in advance of Best F(r)iends: Volume 2 at 20.30.

Tickets for both films as a double bill can be bought at the reduced rate of €25 by calling the box office on (01) 872 8006.

Screening times and tickets can be found here:

Best F(r)iends: Volume 1: https://lighthousecinema.ie//showing/showing-39243

Best F(r)iends: Volume 2 + Q&A with Greg Sestero: https://lighthousecinema.ie//showing/showing-43261

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