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 🤔🎥🎥

Barry's Rants – Christmas

Gerelateerde afbeelding

You meet a whole array of characters over Christmas, and none more annoying and amusing as your resident crank, Barry. He filled me in on his typical Christmas at home by the Lee.

Me: Well, Barry, what’s the craic? How was your Christmas?

Barry: Alrite kid! How are you bai? Haven’t seen you in a while? Were you laying low before Christmas? Trying to stay away from town in case you had to buy anyone a pint, I’d say! Some mooch, lad, that’s all you are! Plenty of nights out I could’ve done with someone to buy me a drink. They weren’t serving me anymore. Said I was, “More drink than man” or some dramatic aul shite.
Other than that it was the normal stuff. Drink too much Christmas eve. Get up at about 4 o’clock and plonk myself down at the Christmas table, reeking of fags and booze. Listen to the mother give out that I ruined Christmas. Sure it was only the feckin’ front door that I kicked in. Not my fault that I forgot my keys. Although she is 90 so I should be more respectful and kick in the back door next time. ‘Tis the demon drink that did it to me.

Me: Would you ever give up the drink?

Barry: What the fuck did you just say to me?

Me: ……

Barry: Thought so. Anyways, Stephen’s Day then I’d go down to the long puc and lose about three or four sliotars into the ditch. Some bollox of a feckin’ route they’re after taking the last few years. Down from O’Neills and along the windy road to the Squire. And all the feckin’ cars driving up and down the road as if it wasn’t a sacred day in Rathpeacon G.A.A. I tried to lobby for a tannoy system to be put in place between Rathpeacon and Whitechurch. Local news, announcements and that sort of thing. At least then I could warn the feckin’ rally drivers to stay at home for an extra hour and that their relatives would be safe as long as they stayed indoors away from the stray sliotars. Anyways, the community group shot me down. Miserable pricks.

Me: That’s be a bit much, surely. Would you expect people to enjoy being woken up or scared shitless by random announcements? Were the tannoys just for the long puc or for everyday use?

Barry: Everyday use, lad! Morning announcements and all that. “Pauric Joyce shat himself in the pub last night. Avoid the second stool by the window.” I could set up an aul watch tower over by the pitch then and keep on eye on the surrounding area at night, too. I’d have it hooked up to the pub then. “Lads, the shades are en route. Close the blinds and turn off that feckin’ jukebox.” It’d be fierce handy for G.A.A. matches. “The Whitechurch team bus has just left and will be here in 15. Lock your doors and make sure valuables are out of sight!”

Me: Fuck it, that’d actually be handy. And they shot you down? Can’t believe it.

Barry: I know, yeah. Sure look, can’t win em all.

Me: Any other plans before the New Year?

Barry: Same old, kid, same old. Drink, drink, drink. See some relatives. Talk some shite. Yourself?

Me: Same here. Might write some shite too.

Barry: Do kid. Practice makes perfect.

"But could he do it on a cold, rainy night in Stoke…"

I’ve dabbled in games over the years, going through phases. I might get stuck into a few open world games a year and then watch as my interest slowly fades. I’ll try and play some First Person Shooters with my brother and get slaughtered enough times that I’ll rage quit for another year. Some days I’ll get a sudden urge to buy a Nintendo, crack open a fresh Poke Ball and start another journey. Eventually I’ll forget to keep playing and my poor Pokemon will be without a Master.
There is one game that I’ve always played consistently (not always well) and religiously. Fifas 2002 through to 2019 have been bought, played and well and truly paid for. Starting off on my Playstation 1 with no memory card, myself and my brother would play Fifa 2002 morning, noon and night. Due to the lack of the aforementioned memory card we would get up, immediately start a season of the Premier League or the World Cup and play through until we were knocked out or won the tournament. Normally we were knocked out.
We graduated together along the years, playing every single Fifa game up until Fifa 20, crossing enemy lines by buying the Xbox 360 before coming to our senses and finally settling on the Playstation4. I have a feeling I haven’t played either Fifa 10 or 11 but the rest have definitely passed through our various consoles. This year, though, we didn’t so much hang up our boots as keep them in the year 2019. I don’t have the same desire to play as much as I did in previous years. The new game wasn’t bought and we’ve made do with the outdated version from this year. The love for the beautiful, virtual game was gone. That was until tonight.

Image result for fifa 06 Ireland cover ps2
Rooney and Ronnie

Having grown tired of constantly choosing Manchester United and leading them to glory year after year I finally decided to change it up. Fifa ’06 changed the game for one year only as you couldn’t choose any of the top, top sides. You had to earn it. I chose the boys in blue from Merseyside. Rooney was my favourite player and he had come from Everton. They weren’t a supremely talented team but they were solid and looked the best of a bad bunch. Also, Fifa ’06 was an extremely tough game. It was hard to score and easy to concede. That meant that every victory and point earned was a mighty battle won. James Beattie was my new favourite player and Alan Stubbs and Leon Osman became heroes of mine. Everton were my second team. Of course, you’re not supposed to have a second team and United are my true love but I have a soft spot for Everton and Goodison Park. I thought that I might try and find a new team to add to my list of favourites.

Image result for James Beattie everton
Leon Osman, James Beattie and Andy Johnson.


I delved a division deeper and trawled through the 24 teams for my chosen vessel. Who would I guide through the murky waters of the Championship? Would I go for a team that I didn’t really know or would I go for one of the top contenders for the title? Aston Villa looked tempting but after United drew with them recently I couldn’t stomach it. After much thinking I settled on Stoke City. Tony Pulis’ once rock solid defensive unit had just been relegated when the game came out. A mix of youth, experience and untapped potential lay within their ranks. I felt I could make a winning team out of this freshly demoted squad.

I didn’t really look at the squad before I picked the mighty Stoke. Jack Butland, one of England’s best keepers, manning the goal gave me a solid start. Pieters at left back with Ryan Shawcross and Ashley Williams as centre-halves looked solid. Joe Allen, the Welsh Messi, stood out in midfield. James Mclean and Tom Ince pushed out wide with Benik Afobe heading up the attack. That starting 11 looked promising enough for a Championship side and the bench looked every bit as good.
Saido Berahino, Mame Biram Diouf and Peter Crouch were an odd triplet of strong substitute options. Bojan and Ibrahim Affelay also looked a little bit too good to be on the bench, but we all know what Bojan is like in real life and I don’t fully trust the Barca reject.
All in all, a good squad with a big enough mixture of young and old to see me out to the Premier League in our grand return: Premier League 19/20: StokeBack Mountain….

Image result for Stoke city starting XI Fifa 19 efl
Jack Butland

I can already see some future problems. While there are some technically gifted players in the squad, Fifa’s fitness levels are ruthless. It is quite an old squad too and I’m going to have to raid the youth of the Premier League if I am to have any chance of not petering out straight away. I shouldn’t think too far ahead but I am fairly confident that I will get promoted somehow this season. How will I get on in the world’s most competitive league while probably still relying on Joe Allen and Charlie Adams?? I mean, it’ll be a bit of craic, anyways.

Every Tuesday and Thursday I will update with how my squad is doing and how I am faring on my road to the Premier League with an aging Stoke side in World Class difficulty. I have decided to try parts of the below challenge. A top four finish will be difficult but with the great Mr. Manager on the case I’m sure it will be fine.

Interesting….

Goon: Last of the Enforcers (2017)

There’s something about sports movies that just get me going. The storylines are always uplifting and you are almost guaranteed a happy ending. Even if the sequel throws up some new troubles and questions for our sports star, they almost always come out triumphant at the end.
Goon (2011), was the first time I had seen Seann William Scott play a role other than a loud-mouth, fast talking degenerate. The kind but clinically dumb Doug Glatt transforms from bouncer to hockey player and fighter extraordinaire, leading a rag tag team to semi-professional, Canadian hockey glory. He beats the crap out of every team he plays, meeting his one and only match in Ross Rhea, played be Liev Schreiber. The finale of the first movie is Rocky-esque, the two knocking each other to the ground at the exact same time in an icy punch-out.

Seann William Scott

The sequel, Last of the Enforcers, picks up with Doug ‘The Thug’ married to his girlfriend Eva, played by Alison Pill. Injuries are plaguing him and threatening his career, while a new threat in the form of Anders Cain (Wyatt Russel) proves to be too much for our hero. He is forced to retire and prepare for a life of fatherhood and desk jobs. But will the lure of the ring and the bloodshed be too much for Doug, and will his marriage be strong enough to allow him to fight and be a father?

I enjoyed this movie but like most straight to video, or now straight to Netflix, sequels, it is not as good as the first one. I found myself checking how long there was left in the film. Whereas in the first instalment, we knew Doug was stupid yet it was his kind nature and inherent goodness that drew us to him, this time around it is used for far more cheap laughs throughout. Scott doesn’t have much to do here and is just there for the fights.
Alison Pill puts in a strong performance as the suffering Eva, lending a note of seriousness to a production of cheap laughs.
Wyatt Russel is O.K. as the villain of the piece. He is hauntingly good at looking… well haunted, by his fathers domineering nature and lack of love and his own failures as a player.

Goon: Last of the Enforcers (2017)
Wyatt Russel and Seann William Scott

However, when all is said and done, I still love a sports flick, and the Highlanders’, and indeed Doug Glatt’s, journey to the playoffs is full of great hockey moments and fantastic fights.
Schreiber is a welcome addition, reprising his role as the punch-drunk and alcohol-drunk Rhea.

Rating: 3/5.

Hangover watchable: Definitely.

Dog Soldiers

This past weekend, myself and Katie went to Spike Island After Dark. That’s the name of the tour. We didn’t sneak onto Spike Island after dark. We paid money to go and hear a Q & A from horror actors, talent managers and casting directors. Get off my back, GAWD!
Liam Cunningham was the main reason I wanted to go. He was magnificent in Game of Thrones, and I had completely forgotten that he was in War of the Buttons, one of the films of my childhood. The Q&A was fantastic. We really got an insight into the changing landscape of Hollywood and how the onus of power has switched from casting directors to producers and agents.
After our tour, the talk with the guests and a small break we sat down to watch a horror film. Due to Cunningham being one of the guests, the film of choice was the 2002 cult hit, Dog Soldiers.

Set somewhere in the Scottish highlands, a routine military exercise turns into a nightmare as a unit is hunted by more than just their comrades…and the damage is deadly real.
Cunningham stars as Capt. Ryan, a delightfully morally corrupt soldier who knows more about their attackers than he lets on.
Kevin McKidd is Cooper, the fearless, calm and collected Private who refuses to believe until its almost too late.
The two leads are fantastic in this movie. McKidd embodies the spirit of what we would associate with a soldier; willing to die for his brothers in arms and not afraid to stand up to the nefarious Ryan.
After hearing Cunningham speak in his Dublin drawl,it was almost disconcerting to hear him speak in a prim and proper upper class British accent. He delights in antagonising the other characters and his smug sounding voice is perfect.

Liam Cunningham

The film itself is not necessarily scary. There are a few jump-scares that are telegraphed from a mile away. The werewolves themselves look hilarious by today’s CGI standards. However, I can see exactly why this is a cult hit. It is just the right mix of scary, funny, dark and ridiculous to make you not look at your watch for an hour and forty five minutes.
I like McKidd and Cunningham from different roles so I was delighted to see them together in this, even as foes. The supporting cast are great, providing a lot of laughs and gruesome deaths.

Rating: 3/5. The werewolves look absolutely ridiculous. Like, you know when you see girls wearing heels that are far too big for them and they’re falling all around Daunt Square at 3 in the morning? Yep.

Hangover watchable: Definitely.

Unbelievable

It is rare that a show or movie leaves me speechless. I won’t lie to you. There were a number of times during the show that I was a bit uncomfortable. The subject matter is extremely shocking and it was tough to watch at times. Rape, especially the rape of women, is a common thing that we hear of almost every day. It fills me with a great sadness to hear of any incident of rape or sexual assault, whether it be from a person I know personally or a random person on the internet who is sharing their story. This show, despite me being hooked and enjoying the storytelling and the acting, made me sad. I can only be thankful that I am just sad at what has happened and what is happening and not suffering from it myself. The women depicted in this story, from Marie, Amber, Lily and Sarah to Detectives Duvall and Rasmussen, are all heroes. The women who live with what has happened everyday, all over the world, are heroes.

Unbelievable tells the story of Marie Adler, played by Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart). In 2008, Marie was raped at knifepoint, bound and blindfolded. The detectives who took her report didn’t believe her and Marie, after intense questioning and definite coercion, ended up saying she made the whole thing up. Living with the reputation of a false accuse, Marie’s life spirals out of control. Meanwhile, three years later, two detectives in Colorado, Duvall and Rasmussen, feel like they are both looking for the same rapist. Can they catch the monster, and is it all linked to Marie?

My lame attempt at making you want to see the show is unnecessary. If you want to watch a show that celebrates the power of the victims to hold onto their lives and the power of the female detectives who believed when so many men didn’t, then this is the show for you. If you want to watch a show based on a true story in which a violent monster is taken off the streets and his victims can live with at least a glimmer of hope for a better future, then this is the show for you. If you want to watch a show that is unafraid of exploring the brutality of rape and the aftermath of such a horrific act, then this is the show for you. If you can’t bring yourself to watch and see the toxic nature of a lot of male behaviour in the modern world, then this isn’t the show for you. But you should watch it anyways and learn.

I learned an awful lot from this show. Like any series based around the search, capture and imprisonment of a criminal, the intricacies of a police station is extremely intriguing. The different acronyms for scientific tests are interesting to hear about, as are the different hunches that detectives and their partners have. What struck me the most about this was the fact that rape victims have to relive and relay the information so many times. I know that it is important for police, detectives and doctors to have statements and to know what to look for, but I can’t begin to imagine how vulnerable the victim must feel in that moment.
I know that while I’m writing this it may come across as preachy and full of woe. A man, a big man at that, who has never felt at threat on his own walking down a dark road, or been in danger of being sexually assaulted is lamenting the plight of women and being a ‘white knight’. But it is sickening to think about and this show is important for people to watch.
As uncomfortable as it may be for some people to talk about it, the toxic traits associated with masculinity, mainly the perceived ownership of womens’ bodies or their perceived right to touch and feel women in a pub or club, need to be assessed and talked about in detail.

Rating: 5/5. Unbelievable show, pardon the pun. Go see for yourself.

Please read the Pulitzer Winning article of the true story that the show is based on.

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/12/16/an-unbelievable-story-of-rape

Extra Ordinary

Extra Ordinary (2019)

It is always a pleasure to get Irish movies into the cinema. None will ever reach the heights of Young Offenders. Given that it is set in Cork city and showcases a lot of the suburbs and the city centre, it was always going to be hard beat. Unfortunately, other Irish movies never get the audiences they deserve, at least in our cinema.
I had seen the trailer for this flick a couple of months ago and had a feeling that I would like it. It takes place in an unnamed rural Irish village. Rose, played by Maeve Higgins, is a local driving instructor with a spooky past. She doesn’t use her talents anymore but used to converse with the dead and with spirits with her late father. Martin, played by Barry Ward (Jimmy’s Hall), is a local man plagued by the spirit of his unhelpfully helpful late wife. When his daughter Sarah is placed under an evil spell by unsuccessful musician Christian Winter (Will Forte), he contacts Rose and so begins their adventure to save Sarah and get Rose her groove back.

Barry Ward and Maeve Higgins

I enjoyed this film. Like every Irish production, the plot is thick and has many different threads. This one doesn’t get too muddled up and is relatively easy to follow. The ending is a bit mad, even for a movie about ghost-whisperers in modern rural Ireland. I won’t ruin anything but you will laugh out loud and wonder whether they will show what they show. They do…tastefully!
I think that a lot of people would be surprised at how much they would enjoy this movie. The twists and turns are delightful and the performances from the principle cast are outstanding. There are a few slapstick moments and a few well constructed jokes. There are a few intense moments followed by silly interactions. The movie has it all, really.
Extra Ordinary plays out like a long episode of The Savage Eye, or Father Ted even. The comedic possibilities of Irish countryside and the folk that inhabit it are endless. You see a bit of people you know from your own road and village in this movie.
Fans of the Channel 4 smash hit Derry Girls will enjoy the cameos of Sr. Michael (Siobhan McSweeney) and Ciaran (Jamie Beamish), who play a town gossip and a self-obsessed county councillor respectively.

Will Forte and Maeve Higgins

Maeve Higgins is extremely funny as the lonely, awkward yet charming Rose. Her bumbling delivery of her lines is perfect, as Rose is constantly thrust into situations she doesn’t ever want to be in again. Higgins is definitely the star of this production.
Will Forte is also hilarious as the evil yet highly incompetent Christian Winter, constantly failing as a musician and in his quest to get back on top.
Special mention must go to Barry Ward for his turn as the many different spirits that inhabited his body.

All in all, this film was extremely enjoyable. I laughed out loud a few times which is always a good sign. I think if more people gave it a chance they would really like it but unfortunately, IT: Chapter 2 and Downton Abbey are both new releases also and will rule the roost for the next few weeks.

Rating: 4/5. Loses a point for Claudia O’Doherty’s character. I really like O’Doherty in Netlfix’s Love, but the character is just too crass and vulgar for this dry, Irish movie.