The Gentlemen

Title: The Gentlemen
Director: Guy Ritchie
Genre: Gangster, Comedy, Violent thriller.
Main Cast: Hugh Grant, Charlie Hunnam, Matthew McConaughey, Henry Golding, Colin Farrell, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong.
Runtime: 113 mins.
IMDb rating: 8.1/10.
My rating: 9/10.
Quick summary: A typical Guy Ritchie flick with an all star cast. Matthew McConaughey is the drug lord in danger of losing it all when a suspicious American, a violent rival and an unpredictable Irishman put multiple spanners in all of his works.

Colin Farrell and Charlie Hunnam in The Gentlemen (2019)
Colin Farrell and Charlie Hunnam up to nefarious deeds

Plot

Mickey Pearson is trying to leave his dirty, violent underworld life behind him and go legit. However, selling his vast empire to the mysterious and eccentric Matthew (Strong) proves to be much more dangerous and treacherous than he first envisioned. While he battles with an up and coming rival Dry Eye (Golding), tries to figure out his new business partner’s motives and protect his wife Rosalind (Dockery), Pearson is risking everything he holds dear to start a new life with a clean conscience. Does blood stain consciences like a white shirt or does it come straight off?

McConaughey gives Henry Golding the what for in a meeting

Verdict

I am obviously a fan of Ritchie’s earlier films like Snatch and Lock, Stock. This is a film in the same vein. If you didn’t know who the director was going into the movie you would soon know it was the master of dialogue himself. This film is full of Guy Ritchie’s trademark twists and turns and last gasp escapes. The writing is superb and full of the Cockney humour we know and love. The very first scene paints a story in our minds and we digest each scene with that ending embedded in our brains. When that turns out to be a red herring and the story is turned on its head we fully appreciate the mastery of the director.

A movie like this with a high number of high profile actors and considerable talent could fall into the trap of trying to get everyone on screen as much as possible. This film doesn’t fall foul of this trope. Every main character gets to make a lasting impression on the audience. Matthew McConaughey is charismatic and dark as the main hero/villain; Colin Farrell returns to type as a fast-talkin’ Irish boxing coach with a penchant for violence; and Henry Golding surprised me with how well he played the smarmy and angry rival. I had grown used to seeing him in rom coms or dramedies but he was good here.
Hugh Grant was hilarious as the untrustworthy narrator. His role obviously throws up the conundrum of whether we can even trust his version of events? Granted, Charlie Hunnam does catch him leaving a producers office at the very end and locks him in a cab with the obvious intention of driving him somewhere to beat him silly, but the fact remains that we don’t know what is true and what is not. Nonetheless, the events are enjoyable and fantastical and make for great cinema.

Hugh Grant spins elaborate yarns as a cheeky Cockney

There is a distinct lack of female representation in Gentlemen. Michelle Dockery plays Pearson’s wife, Rosalind. Dockery is a fantastic actress and is sparsely used in this film, only really as an object for Pearson to save from rape and death. It is a shame that her actual acting skills aren’t used more. It is also a shame that she is really the only main female character throughout. There is no other female character that moves the story along. Sure, there are women who need saving and wives of other characters but only one solid female character. It was a bit disappointing.

Michelle Dockery stands by her man

Overall, this film was tremendously enjoyable. The action and comedy blended together well but the lack of diversity in the cast was noticeable. If it is still in cinemas near you then definitely check it out!

Bombshell

Title: Bombshell
Director: Jay Roach
Genre: True Story, Dramatisation, Comedy, Sexual Assault
Main Cast: Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, John Lithgow.
Runtime: 109 mins.
IMDb rating: 6.8/10.
My rating: 6/10.
Quick summary: How much must women put up with everyday before they have enough? Before they’re called names and labelled ‘sensitive’ for simply not wanting to put up with male sexual harassment anymore? How much are people willing to lose financially and personally in order to keep their jobs and save face? Step inside Fox News circa 2015 and find out.

Margot Robbie and Kate McKinnon

Plot

It would be remiss of me to say that I knew the details of this story. Of course, it can unfortunately be assumed that America’s right-leaning news network might not have the best record when it comes to treating their female employees fairly and properly. This story tells the tale of the bravery of Gretchen Carlson (Kidman), Megyn Kelly (Theron) and fictional character Kayla Pospisil (Robbie), and how they took a stand against the seedy and powerful Roger Ailes (Lithgow). Gretchen Carlson, after being fired, sues Roger Ailes and the Fox Network for sexual harassment and unfair dismissal. We follow Megyn Kelly and her struggles with picking a side while battling a feud with Donald Trump and his fans, and Kayla as she discovers what Ailes is really like behind closed doors.

John Lithgow as Roger Ailes

Verdict

I feel like this was an important film. It brought a crusade by powerful women who had been unsuccessfully kept quiet to an international audience. Despite what some Americans might think, the rest of the world doesn’t know the exact ins and outs of everything that’s going on in the United States. I was amazed, though, that I hadn’t heard of this story. Maybe I am not as clued in as I thought.
I enjoyed this movie. Enjoyed is possibly a weird word to use given the subject matter. I was gripped by this movie, let’s say. I had heard of Kelly and Carlson. I know who Rupert Murdoch is and had heard Ailes’ name associated with Trump before. I suppose I had a general interest in the movie before knowing the story.
It was shot well, giving the impression that we were in the busy newsrooms with these people as the camera swung wildly around the more frantic the story became.

Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson

As far as individual performances go I just have to commend Charlize Theron on being one of the best actors around right now. She is believable in every single role she takes on, including this one. I saw her in Longshot and Tully most recently and she was equally brilliant in both. She can do action, comedy, drama and romance with no problems flitting between the genres with ease.
We don’t actually see much of Nicole Kidman but her performance in the latter parts of the movie is superb. She plays the angry, broken and hurt Carlson so very well, shedding a tear at her pyrrhic victory.
John Lithgow must have borrowed from his portrayal of Churchill in The Crown because he was just as boorish and misogynistic in this role. He exudes sleaze and the scene in which he forces Margot Robbie to hike up her skirt gave me chills.

Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly

As I said before, I enjoyed this movie. I think that I liked it for the individual performances rather than the actual storytelling. I feel that because the three leads command such respect and contain so much talent in themselves, we spent too much time flitting between the three characters. In this case, despite her story being resolved, Gretchen Carlson’s tale and part in the story and the wider implications of the story was left behind a bit in favour of Megyn Kelly and Kayla Pospisil.
This will be a big hit on Sky Cinema and whatever other broadcaster will give it airtime. It portrays a hopeful ending and a bright future for Kayla (Robbie), but unfortunately that hasn’t really transformed itself into truth in real life. Should that affect my rating of the movie? Probably not, but unfortunately it did.

The Three Amigos

1917

Title: 1917
Director: Sam Mendes
Genre: Drama, Action, War, Historical.
Main Cast: Dean Charles Chapman, George MacKay.
Runtime: 119 mins.
IMDb rating: 8.5/10.
My rating: 8.5/10.
Quick summary: Two soldiers are entrusted with a vital mission to save 1,600 of their fellow soldiers. Traversing across No Mans Land, German-occupied cities and harsh conditions, the brothers in arms must rely on each other and themselves to stop a catastrophic ambush in war-torn France.

Plot

Lance Corporals Blake (Chapman) and Schofield (McKay) are given a mission that could save thousands of lives. Blake’s brother is part of a force that are advancing on retreating Germans. What the older Blake brother doesn’t know, along with over one thousand other men, is that the Germans are feigning this retreat and plan on decimating the English forces. The two soldiers are ensured that the German occupied trenches on the other side of No Mans Land are deserted and, reluctantly on Schofield’s part, head on their treacherous journey.
What follows is almost two hours of intense, dramatic cinema. We follow the two soldiers on their descent into hell and chaos as they battle booby-traps, desperate Germans, waterfalls and hails of bullets as they struggle to get their message to the right people in time.

Verdict

This is truly edge-of-your-seat, handrail-gripping cinema. From the moment our two heroes set out on their ill-fated journey your heart begins to pound in your ear as the actors, the soundtrack and the audience have fallen quiet. Even in the louder action scenes towards the end of the movie you can still hear the THUMP THUMP against your chest. When Blake and Schofield are caught in a bomb blast in the bowels of a German trench you would be forgiven or thinking that this was the end of our soldiers. This is a bleak movie and although it has a somewhat happy ending, you may still feel hollow and drained walking out of the theatre. It is wonderfully shot and the locations for the production were beautiful against the dark setting.

Chapan (left) and MacKay

Chapman is best known for his role as Tommen on Game of Thrones. He still has a boyish innocence about him, making his performance that more real as he talks of home and plans for the future despite the hopelessness of his situation.
MacKay is someone who I have known to be in a number of interesting films. I just haven’t seen any of them. After this film, though, I will be looking out for him in any future or past work. He plays the traumatised Schofield incredibly well. Both numbed by war but horrified by death, Schofield’s blank stare and unbreakable will keep you invested in this story and as I said before, on the edge of your seat.

Te screen time is taken up mainly by the two young stars but the film boasts a star-studded supporting cast. Colin Firth plays the general who thrusts the mission on the two corporals. Mark Strong cameos as a general who assists Schofield after a tragic encounter with a fallen German pilot. Benedict Cumberbatch features as the trigger-happy general in charge of the doomed attack, incensed with rage at Schofield’s message of withdrawal. Richard Madden, another Thrones alum plays Blake’s older brother.
What I loved about this stellar supporting cast was that they didn’t take away from the story. None of these veteran actors/soldiers joined our protagonists on their journey. The limelight was solely on Chapman and MacKay. If Mark Strong joined MacKay on his almost fatal journey through a German-occupied French city we wouldn’t be as invested in the story. We genuinely feel that the young soldier will not make it through as he is on his own. The stars only add to the performance; They don’t take away from it.

George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman in 1917 (2019)
MacKay

Sam Mendes is a terrific storyteller. He has directed two of Daniel Craig’s Bond performances and also directed one of my favourite films, Revolutionary Road. He is not restricted by period or genre with each film as dramatic and suspenseful as the last. This film is up for ten different categories at theAcademy Awards and has already won Best Director at the Golden Globes. Its presentation as one-shot has a lot to do with this as you are on the same time path and journey as Blake and Schofield. In particular, the scene where Schofield runs across the front line of battle through soldiers, bullets and debris. It is a sight to behold and one of the many reasons that you should go and watch this film.

A Private War – Review

Title: A Private War
Director: Matthew Heineman
Genre: Drama, Action, Biopic.
Main Cast: Rosamund Pike, Jamie Dornan, Faye Marsay, Tom Hollander.
Runtime: 110 mins.
IMDb rating: 6.7/10.
My rating: 8.5/10.
Quick summary: Marie Colvin was a fierce human being, a fantastic writer and journalist and a woman at war with her own demons. She saw many battles while fighting her own. Which would be the end of her?

A Private War (2018)

Plot

Marie Colvin (Pike) loses her eye in a Sri Lankan ambush after interviewing a rebel leader. She journeys far and wide to the most war-torn places, trying to let the wider world know the human side of conflict; the innocent civilians that are caught up in the bloodshed and violent chess games that more powerful men play. She constantly puts herself in the most dangerous places, risking life, limb and eye to get the stories out there that people need to hear.
We follow Marie all over the world to places like Liberia, where she interviews Gaddafi, and the Syrian city of Homs that is under constant siege. The bullets rain down and the ceilings cave in as Marie lets the trauma she has witnessed take control and drive her to the edge. Her photographer, Paul Conroy (Dornan) is a strength beside her but he cannot save her from herself. A results-driven and unsympathetic editor at her newspaper doesn’t allow her to rest and take a break, ultimately driving her towards destruction.

Rosamund Pike, Raad Rawi, Jamie Dornan, and Emil Hajj in A Private War (2018)
Conroy, Colvin and Gaddafi

Verdict

There is not much hope or happiness present in this film. What it does do is it brings a human perspective to the table regarding war. It is easy to look at an article online or in the paper about a conflict far away and brush it aside from your mind. We already have enough to worry about don’t we? This film reminds us that we are all one race. Our brothers and sisters are out there dying in rubble and decimated rural lands and we are safe. But, if we know more about it we can possibly do something, or spread the message that it is not OK.

Rosamund Pike is superb as Marie Colvin. It was surreal to see the real Marie in an interview at the end of the movie and realise that Pike had absolutely nailed her voice. She spirals throughout the movie. She reaches depths that no person should ever reach but she is constantly reminded of the plight of others through her work. Pike portrays this hollow existence superbly. We feel helpless for her and know there is no saving grace for this fallen angel.

Dornan suits the look of a war photographer. His Liverpudlian accent may have slipped a few times amid the bombs and the debris but he looks the part.

Rosamund Pike and Jamie Dornan in A Private War (2018)

This film also raises a lot of valid points about mental health and how sometimes it is OK to ask for help or step away. People may use you for your own benefit. Sometimes the truth is more impportant than your own safety. Sometimes you have to pay the ultimate price. Most of the time, though, people have ulterior motives.

This movie was based on the Vanity Fair article written by Marie Brenner in 2012. It has inspired me to read more about Marie Colvin’s life and to read the original article. This movie is not suitable for a Friday night at home relaxing. It is something you should watch knowing that it will stay with you. And isn’t that what all great art should do?

Bad Day For the Cut

Title: Bad Day For the Cut
Director: Chris Baugh.
Genre: Action, Comedy, Gangster.
Main Cast: Nigel O’Neill, Susan Lynch, Josef Pawlowski.
Runtime: 99 mins.
IMDb rating: 6.5/10.
My rating: 7/10.
Quick summary: A quirky but gory look at a mild mannered farmer who loses the one thing keeping him sane…His mammy. Violence galore and cultural clashes make this film an enjoyable one. It’s on Netflix so head on over.

Bad Day for the Cut (2017)

Plot

Donal, played by Nigel O’Neill, is a middle aged farmer living in the countryside near Belfast. His quiet existence of living under his mother’s thumb is rocked when she is murdered in their home. Donal himself is targeted two nights later. After killing one assailant and taking the other one captive, Donal sets off towards Belfast city to find out more about his mother’s killing.
Donal, his Polish attacker Bartosz (Pawlowski) and Bartosz’ sister Kaja go on a meek but unmerciful rampage against those who robbed Donal of his mother. He might just find out some things he’d rather he didn’t.

Verdict

Thumbs up from Donal and Bartosz!

This is a sort of hidden gem on Netflix. It caught my eye immediately and I’m so glad I turned it on. It captures the predicament of many rural Irish adults and farmers especially; do they leave and do their own thing or stay in the family house and take care of elderly parents?
Donal is devoted to his mother and despite her abruptness with him we see their tight bond and her love for him. Obviously he takes her death hard. The attempt on his life by two inept attackers, from the same crowd that killed his mother as it turns out, spurs him on to find out the truth once and for all and exact revenge.
The movie moves along at a nice pace. We are brought all over Belfast in an hour and a half of action. While the action is impressive and varied, it is the individual performances of the actors and the development of their characters that give this movie such a high score for me. Donal has lived in the countryside all his life while Bartosz, attacker turned friend, has lived in Poland and Ireland and is several years younger. There is a brilliant scene where the younger man explains mobile phones to Donal, the older man getting visibly annoyed with the technology. The fact that this light hearted moment is immediately followed by Donal daring his life to go and rescue Bartosz’ sister, Kaja, makes it a much more solid showing of the bond that has grown between the two.

I am a great fan of all things Irish, especially Irish art and creative productions. If an Irish film is done well it is a breath of fresh air. While this film shows small town life, it also invests in the human relationships that are vital to us and give us life. Donal may have been feeling a bit of wanderlust with his new van at the beginning of the movie. I wager that by the end he had had enough of travelling and meeting new people for quite some time. Typically Irish, if you ask me! Rave on about travelling and lament your home in the country once you’re out and about 🤣

The film ends on something of a cliffhanger which I’m afraid to say I wasn’t a fan of in this instance. I know that Donal is fed up of fighting and just wants to go back to his cottage but the dilemma he faces at the end is too easy to solve. I won’t ruin it for you here but Donal should continue fighting and bring this story to a close. Other than that, please watch this when you get a chance or need something to throw on Netflix when you’re chilling out after work!

'In One Eye, Out the Other' – Review

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor tadhg hickey cccahoots
Hickey (centre) with Dom McHale and Laura O’Mahony, his CCCahoots partners

I saw Tadhg Hickey’s one man show in the Riverbank Arts Theatre in Newbridge this past Saturday.

As a massive fan of CCCahoots, there was no chance that I was missing a performance of Tadhg Hickey’s one-man show, ‘In One Eye, Out the Other’. I had the pleasure of seeing Dominic McHale and Laura O’Mahony, the other members of the comedy trio, in the raucously funny ‘Improvised Panto’ in the Opera House. I couldn’t miss out on seeing the man that brought ‘Partrick’ to our phone screens in the flesh. Hickey performed this performance with First Fortnight, First Fortnight is a charity that challenges mental health prejudice through arts and cultural action.
After watching Tadhg’s interview on the Six O’Clock show with Muireann and Martin, I knew we were in for an interesting performance. He spoke genuinely about his own troubles with drink, mentioning that there were some elements of truth to the events portrayed in his performance. I knew I would laugh. I knew it would probably get emotional. I knew it would stay with me after the end.

We are introduced to Feargal – a happy-go-unlucky alcoholic from the great city of Cork. His whole family were alcoholics and as any young fella growing up in such an environment would, he began to love the drink. He knows he is a bit of a ‘head-the-ball’ and acknowledges how he comes across to those in a more, shall we say, sober state. Yet he loves talking to somebody, anybody, to get away from the aching loneliness he faces everyday.
Feargal takes us on a fractured journey through his past, present and future. We meet a whole host of characters from pop culture and religious culture as well as some of Ireland’s feminine sporting heroes. Sonia O’Sullivan, St. Anthony and E.T. have the craic with Feargal in his house one night, while a love affair that will live through the ages with one Katie Taylor is as explosive as it sounds. If you just read that sentence and thought to yourself, “Fuck it, that sounds mad, like,” you’d be dead right. It is mad. It is mad and it is brilliant.

This hour long performance is self-deprecation at its finest. Well, it may border on horrifically insulting oneself but it is hilarious for the audience. Feargal may be a raging alcoholic but he is painfully self-aware. He talks about crying himself to sleep, and a new venture, crying himself awake. He knows that his upbringing by the world’s drunkest family did him no good but he is too scared to work on himself. His adventures with his imaginary friends are hilarious but almost sad to watch. We, the audience, and Feargal both know that he’s talking shite. But he’s funny, so he continues and we let him.
Despite being full of dark humour (the word ‘Auschwitzian’ is used in the opening monologue) there are chinks of light towards the end of the show. I won’t ruin the ending because it is profound and needs to be seen, but I will say that Tadhg Hickey’s voice is astounding. I have been scouring the internet trying to find the song he sings as part of the choir but alas, I have had no luck.
Feargal’s childlike sense of wonderment is infectious. The mastery of Hickey and the way he delivers the performance is that he and the audience both know it is a cheap mask over a mind numbed by alcohol. Feargal just wants to talk and chat and it is our duty to listen to this misfortune’s story.

I would highly recommend this show for absolutely everybody. The elderly man next to me gave a few chuckles but nothing else more throughout. I honestly didn’t think he was enjoying himself. However, towards the end of the play when poor Feargal shone a light into his real life, my neighbour held his breath, shocked by revelations he had not seen coming.
I spoke to Tadhg after the show and he spoke of how different audiences evoked different feelings from him. Depending on how the audience reacts to the opening segment, you could be in for a riotous night akin to a stand-up show, or, in my case, you may be sitting in a room where you could hear a pin drop. We were all rapt with attention.
As I am a fan of dark humour and uncomfortable jokes, I wanted so hard to guffaw and laugh out loud. I think the rest of the audience might have looked between me and Tadhg and wondered who was the man with the addled brain and who was the performer if I dared to react.

I am looking forward to seeing this show again with a more lively audience. I don’t think that the message of the show will cheapen with more laughs. If anything it will be more impactful, especially the last ten to fifteen minutes. The collboration between Hickey and First Fortnight is a special one, shining a light on a Cork star and the diverse ways our mental health can be affected.
They say ‘Never meet your heroes’, but I can say that I’m delighted my girlfriend made me go up to say hello because Tadhg Hickey is a fantastic performer and an absolute gent.

Thunder Road

Title: Thunder Road.
Director: Jim Cummings.
Genre: Indie, Comedy, Drama.
Main Cast: Jim Cummings, Kendal Farr, Nican Robinson.
Runtime: 99 mins.
IMDb rating: 7.1/10.
My rating: 9/10.
Quick summary: A bizarre man goes through an extended mental breakdown as he loses all closest to him. This independent film was based on a short film of the same name which won awards at Sundance. A slow burner that always threatens to boil over the edge. Highly recommend.

Plot

Officer Arnaud (Cummings)

Jim Cummings plays Officer Jim Arnaud, a Deputy in what seems to be a small American town. He has just lost his mother, will potentially lose his daughter and judging by his descent into madness will probably lose his job too.
The film follows Officer Arnaud as he battles his own demons with the help of his partner and friend, Officer Nate Lewis (Nican Robinson), and his daughter Crystal (Kendall Farr).

Thoughts/Verdict

Crystal Aranud, played by the wonderful Kendal Farr

I really enjoyed this movie. From the very beginning we know that we have an extremely unpredictable protagonist, or antagonist depending on which way you view him. He is both endearing and alarming all at once. The opening scene in which Officer Arnaud reads an eventful eulogy at his mother’s funeral sets us up for the chaotic timeline we follow.
Although he is an unnerving man and a person we might all avoid if for some reason we were forced to be in a small room with them regularly, he shows an unconditional love for his daughter. The scene where he perfects the hand-clap game she plays with her friends is perfect. The camera pans to show his practice set up of drawn hands on a piece of paper sellotaped to the wall. It is superb storytelling that shows his true, kinder side that morphs back into his aggressive, macho side in one of the very next scenes.
This movie is not for everyone but if you give it a chance you might just laugh and smile throughout.

Jim Cummings is masterful and extremely funny as the neurotic Officer. This movie was based off a short film of the same name that won numerous awards at SxSW. I loved it and would recommend it to everyone. The last scene alone nearly moved me to tears with Jim sitting alongside his daughter watching a ballet recital. The camera pans to his face as he fights back tears and a strings performance of ‘Skinny Love’ by Bon Iver plays out. It is strangely beautiful, just like this movie.

Officer Lewis (Robinson) and Arnaud

Little Women

Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, and Eliza Scanlen in Little Women (2019)
Meg, Amy, Jo and Beth

Title: Little Women
Director: Greta Gerwig.
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Period piece.
Main Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Emma Watson, Eliza Scanlen, Timothee Chalamet.
Runtime: 135 mins.
IMDb rating: 8.3/10.
My rating: 7/10.
Quick summary: A genuinely lovely movie that packs a surprising emotional punch. Saoirse Ronan is phenomenal in this movie that deals with love, death and the rise of powerful women.

Plot

Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, and Eliza Scanlen in Little Women (2019)
There they are now, the four little women

Jo March, played by Ronan, is a writer and tutor living in New York. She is fiercely proud of her writing but needs money to send to her mother back home who is caring for her gravely ill youngest sister, Beth. Meanwhile, Amy March, the second youngest sister is completing her art studies in Paris with the rude, condescending sometimes benefactor to the family, Aunt March. Older sister Meg, who has always valued the high life, is living just above the poverty line with her husband and two the children.
The news that Beth is at death’s door reaches Jo. She immediately leaves New York, leaving friend and possible love interest Friedrich behind. As she travels home by train she reminisces on the four March girls growing up in modest circumstances while helping poor families around them. We see a blossoming friendship between Jo and Laurie, a local wealthy boy, and an unrequited love that forms. We see Meg fall in love, Amy grow bold and confident, a rivalry between Jo and Amy and Beth fall sick.
Throughout the film and the flashing back and forth we go on Jo’s journey with her; should she have accepted Laurie’s proposal?
Jo finds her love of writing return towards the end of the movie and begins writing a novel that tells the story of her and her sisters. It mightn’t be the most exciting story but it is something that she is passionate about. Getting a novel published has always been her dream and it happens for her right at the end, allowing the sisters to find happiness in the darkness that follows Beth’s death.

Verdict

Beth and I are all smiles for Little Women

A thoroughly enjoyable film, this one will be all over awards season. Saoirse Ronan is supreme as Jo March while Timothee Chalamet grew on me throughout. At the beginning I just couldn’t buy him in this period piece for some unknown reason but his charm won me over.
Florence Pugh was so funny and precocious in this movie. She is not so much a breakout star as a rising star in her own right but this performance will bring her to a wider audience. I would like to see her gain some nominations for her role. She can turn on the seriousness too, giving an impassioned speech about a woman’s worth in the male driven world, stunning Laurie into a rare silence.
It is told in non-linear fashion and can be easily followed. There is no real indication of which time we are in bar different hair styles and location but as I said, it is very easy to follow.
This adaptation is the first of the Little Women I’ve seen and it has made me want to read the book. It is beautifully told and wonderfully acted. Greta Gerwig is a magnificent story teller and her cast are magnificent. I would highly recommend this for a quiet Sunday evening. It will hit you in most emotional areas and leave you feeling full of love.

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

In case you missed the final trailer!

Title: Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
Director: J.J. Abrams.
Genre: Sci/Fi, Fantasy.
Main Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher (RIP), Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Billy D. Williams.
Runtime: 142 mins.
IMDb rating: 6.9/10.
My rating: 8/10.
Quick summary: Not a perfect movie but the right blend of cheese, action and ridiculous humour that makes this an enjoyable film. Keep an eye out for Babu Frick, the alien equivalent of an aul lad at the back of the pub randomly cheering things for no reason.

Plot

Rey and Kylo Ren face off in the ruins of the Death Star

Like every Star Wars movie, there are multiple threads running at the same time. The scrolling text at the start reveals that the laugh we’ve heard in the movie’s trailer was also heard by pretty much everyone in the galaxy. Emperor Palpatine is back and ready to take over the galaxy again. Kylo Ren has taken Snoke’s position and is now Supreme Leader. Rey is completing her training at the resistance base while Poe Dameron, Finn and Chewie are out gaining intel from a spy embedded in the First Order.
First, we join Kylo Ren on his murderous quest to find Darth Sidious and make the throne his own. He comes face to face with the wizened body of the Dark Lord and is faced with a proposition; kill Rey and receive the might of Palpatine’s starkiller fleet.
Next, we join Poe Dameron, Finn and Chewie as they race through space to bring priceless intel back to Genral Organa at the Resistance base. They find out that Palpatine is definitely back and will launch a deadly attack in sixteen hours.
Rey is training to become a better jedi but her link with Kylo Ren and her obsession with her murky past slows her down.
We follow these three threads as they interweave and separate over the course of the movie. We find out more about Poe Dameron’s shady past on the planet Kimiji and meet my new favourite Star Wars character, Babu Frick. The little droid mechanic operates on C3PO’s memory bank to retrieve vital information about the location of Emperor Palpatine. Rey must decide whether she wants to make her vision of her sitting on the Sith throne a reality or if she wants to make her own destiny. Frick is voiced by Shirley Henderson, who most of us will know from her iconic performance as Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter movies! Worlds collide!

Shirley Henderson in Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

We see Kylo Ren shed his Sith skin and retake his old life as Ben Solo. The rise of Skywalker. He and Rey fight side by side once more against the greatest foe of them all in a battle scene that shows how far they have come as characters and showcases their individual fighting styles in ways that left me stunned and giddy for more. One thing that can be said about the new trilogy is that the fight choreography has gotten more and more elaborate and ridiculous and I feckin’ love it!

Verdict

Billy Dee Williams in Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
Smiles all around from Lando and I

I really enjoyed this move and I didn’t expect to in all honesty. I remember leaving The Last Jedi feeling disappointed for some reason. Perhaps it is because the characters have almost fully developed in this installment that I am more on board with them. In the second movie of the franchise the focus was more on Finn and Rey’s trajectories and how that affected the outcome of the battle between the darkness and the light. Now, Kylo Ren’s story was very much at the forefront too but it felt like his fate was decided as a byproduct of Rey’s actions. This time around his actions and journey towards his parents and the fight for good allow Rey to find out her identity and complete her own journey. Finn has his own revelation within the adventure and finds more defectors to the Resistance. Everything is wrapped up in a neat little package. The difference this time around is that there are some serious points along the way where you may not be sure if they are going to win or not.
My only problem with the movie and the reason that it loses a few points is that it doesn’t follow the ethos of the film. Leia says to Rey at the beginning of the movie to “Never be afraid of who you are…”. At the end when Rey is back on Jakku and the old woman asks her who she is, Rey looks around all pensively, sees the ghosts of Luke and Leia and replies, “Rey…Rey Skywalker.” All well and good. I wouldn’t deny Rey the chance to be a Skywalker. She had a close relationship with both siblings and was clearly never going to turn to the dark side. However, if she was being true to herself she would have said “Rey….Rey Palpatine.” A much more contentious name and one that would have showed she was now comfortable with herself. A final bit of character growth for our heroine.

Rey Palpatine

Go see Star Wars in all good cinemas. What is the best cinema you ask? Why, that’s the
Reel Picture located in Blackpool business park. Great location, fantastic staff and award-winning popcorn!*

*It literally has won awards.

*All images and videos © 2019 and TM Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

The Movies of the Decade

Going to the cinema is one of my favourite things to do. I love the popcorn, the Coke, the bags of sweets but most importantly, I love seeing a new film. I love experiencing the emotions that go with a film and figuring out whether it’s good or bad. I love realizing what’s about to happen and I love being kept in the dark for as long as possible. In this listicle of movies of the decade I’m not interested in box office hits or popular blockbusters. I humbly offer you my favourite movies of the 2010s, in no particular order.

A Star is Born (2018)

This movie rocked me. I went to see it on my own in a movie theatre in Chelsea, Manhattan and had to leave swiftly after it finished so the other customers wouldn’t see me as a blubbery mess. I watched it again on St. Stephens Day 2018 with my buddy Ultan and we both made half serious jokes about crying all the way through. One of my favourite movies of all time but don’t watch it hungover with the lads. You might just cry together!

Inception (2010)

This movie, along with the next one on this list, was one of the first I’ve seen that left me completely baffled. I left the screen thinking I had it sussed and after my friend’s mam dropped us home I couldn’t make sense of the layers and levels anymore. Seriously, though, what a film and just awesome storytelling. Was the top beginning to stop spinning though?🤔

Shutter Island (2010)

Leonardo Di Caprio reared his beautiful head twice at the start of the decade to invade my dreams and make me doubt everything I ever knew. I’m referencing the plot of Shutter Island, folks, not my battle with my feelings for Leo….. ANYWAYS, his turn as befuddled federal Marshall Teddy Daniels alongside Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley and Michelle Williams is in my top 5 movies of all time, never mind my films of the decade. Check out the book too.

Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Well, well, well. Lovely Leo strikes again. The raunchiest, funniest and downright outrageous collaboration between Di Caprio and Scorsese should have won Leo an Oscar. Who can forgot Margot Robbie’s ‘eye’-opening performance?

About Time (2013)

As you can see I’m not really describing these movies in any great detail. You’ve more than likely seen them. They’re all very mainstream and we’re all very popular in their respective years. Maybe you haven’t seen this rom-com. Maybe you haven’t even heard of it. But I guarantee that you will love it and be enchanted by this great film. For that reason I won’t give anything away. All I will say is that it will make you fall in love with Domhnall Gleeson and Rachael McAdams. Also, you will cry.

Split (2016)

James McAvoy cemented his place as Charles Xavier in the X-men movies of this decade but his most memorable performance(s) came as Dennis, Patricia and Hedwig in M. Night Shyamalan’s unexpected sequel to Unbreakable. McAvoy astounds as the broken man with 23 different personalities.

Eighth Grade (2018)

Bo Burnham’s directorial debut won plaudits and praise all around the world. Elsie Fisher is mesmerizing as the awkward, shy and cringey teenager who navigates boys, her Dad,mean girls at school and her own crippling self-doubt in this fine, fine movie. Gucci 👌

Django Unchained (2012)

Quentin Tarantino’s seventh offering was a chaotic mix of over the top Western, laugh out loud comedy and absolute gore fest. Leonardo Di Caprio was awfully brilliant as the vile plantation owner Calvin Candie while Jamie Foxx was absolutely superb as the gun-slinging, slave-freeing hero of the piece, Django Freeman. Samuel L. Jackson and Christoph Waltz were unreal in supporting roles.

Hateful Eight (2016)

Straight into another Tarantino flick, this one set in a harsh winter as our heroes and anti heroes are holed up in a haberdashery, is dialogue heavy and has problems with pacing. It is by no means Tarantino’s best film but I loved the dynamics between the characters and the relationship between Walton Goggins and Sam Jackson.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Frances McDormand is impeccable in this twisted story about loss, tragedy and finding hope in resilience. Her supporting cast isn’t bad either. Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell serve in her local law enforcement and their relationship with McDormand is rocky at best. If you haven’t seen this one, do so immediately. It is a classic Martin McDonagh screenplay, full of twists and turns and has you shouting for all the different characters, no matter their intentions.

Seven Psycopaths (2012)

This is possibly my favourite on the list. Sam Rockwell absolutely steals the show as Billy, the bipolar/Hoyman/serial killer who gets Colin Farrell and Christopher Walken into a whole pile of deadly trouble. This made Rockwell one of my favourite actors. He is so wonderfully weird and this second McDonagh offering on my list shows the pair work well together. There’s always a shootout!

La La Land (2016)

Jaysus, lads, 2016 was a great year for movies! This musical absolutely ripped my world apart and made me fall in love with Emma Stone about fifteen times. Stone and Ryan Gosling are the perfect onscreen couple. Their trajectory and falling apart was hard to watch because I, along with most other audience members, was willing them to stay together. Alas, it was a masterpiece. The singing, the acting, the story and the fantastical set-pieces made this an enchanting, if emotionally draining movie.

Green Book (2018)

It’s hard to say that this was a hidden gem as it won three oscars but finding it on our dodgy box in the Bronx with new movies and having not heard much about it, I was delighted that I got to see it. Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali had such a great back and forth throughout this film. It was so easy to immerse myself in the world they were trying to portray. I lived Dr. Shirley’s oppression with him and suffered Tony’s ignorance in dealing with him. It was a fantastic movie and one everyone should watch.

Spotlight (2015)

A harrowing tale about the Catholic Church scandal in Boston in the 90s. This true story was brought to life by Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachael McAdams and Liev Schreiber. True stories need to be told and this tragic tale is a film that should be watched.

The Secret in Their Eyes (2010)

I watched this at midnight one summer night years ago. Nothing else was on television and as I flicked through the channels it was the title that caught my eye. An Argentinian film that tells the tale of revenge and when does revenge become too much. It was remade in 2015 with Chiewetel Ejiofor and Julia Roberts but it doesn’t hold a candle to the original. One of the highest rated films on IMDB.

Manchester by the Sea (2016)

Turning up to the cinema in full Manchester United gear, singing ‘Glory, Glory’ as I ran up the aisle looked pretty foolish about two seconds into the movie. Seriously, though, a slow burner that tackles raw human emotion. My type of film.

Leap Year (2010)

My brothers and I watch this movie every time it’s on television. Amy Adams is the heroine of this crazy rom-com that features the worst Irish accent ever produced by Matthew Goode. Pure enjoyment and Irish divilment for an hour and a half!

That concludes my list of my favourite films of the decade. Let me know yours in the comments below 👇 Let me know if you agree or disagree with my picks 🤔🎥🎥