Netflix Selection: After Life and Paddleton

Ricky Gervais has found himself, or put himself, in the news again talking about snowflakes and people getting easily offended. While I agree with him about people being a little too quick to jump the gun on what they think is offensive nowadays, he has been spouting the same stuff for well over a decade now. However, it is always good publicity when a new show comes out. Today I’ll be going over his new show After Life and the indie comedy Paddleton that he is not affiliated with.

After Life

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Gervais plays Tony, a miserable, suicidal man mourning the death of his wife. He has a penchant to say horrible things that pop into his head because, as he sees it, he’s going to be shaking off his mortal coil soon. He works at the local free paper and is nasty to his boss who happens to be his brother in law, and everyone else who crosses his path.

I liked the show. I enjoy Gervais, especially as David Brent and in his animated show from a few years ago with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington. I appreciate that he is not everybody’s patronising cup of tea. He doesn’t do himself any favours with his constant harping on about offensive material, although i do agree, and the amount of fat jokes aren’t helping him with anyone.
All in all though, I’d recommend this show and would urge people to leave their sensitivity at the door. It is a tad bit predictable but that last episode is worth it.  It’s not for everyone, but the sweet moments are tearfully emotional and the jokes are  barbwire sharp.

Paddleton

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This indie buddy-comedy starring Ray Romano and Mark Duplass is another one that hits in the feels. Romano and Duplass are Andy and Michael, two socially awkward neighbours turned best friends. They hang out every night, watch Kung Fu movies, eat pizza and play a made up game derived from squash called Paddleton. Michael is diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer, sending the two on a roadtrip for a special kind of medication which lands the two in an emotional, funny and charming look into friendship and love.

As everybody knows I enjoy almost everything I watch. This was no different, although I wouldn’t say I was hooked. It is very slow and the hijinks the guys get up to on their trip are marred by their ineptitude at talking to women and people in general.
There are some poignant moments that are totes, dare I say, emosh, but I’d give it a skip. You won’t miss out if you miss this one.

I’ll be back Sunday with a Paddy’s Day post and/or Monday with more reviews/news and sports.

Netflix Selection: Umbrella Academy and Russian Doll.

The digital streaming behemoth has had a great start to the year. After producing some dubious figures and some questionable stats about the viewing figures of a number of shows, Netflix has come good again with a selection of Originals, their own personally funded and produced shows, and new additions from established artists.

The Umbrella Academy

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The first of these shows that I watched was Umbrella Academy. Revolving around a group of unwilling superheroes who were plucked from their mothers at birth by the eccentric and mean Sir Reginald Hargreeves, the story centres on the apocalypse and how life, or the end of all life, pulls you back to the ones you are closest with; in this case, your superhero brothers and sisters.

I really enjoyed this show. 10 episodes at 55 mins approx. each might seem like a lot but it flowed easily enough. There was a spot around episodes 6, 7 and 8 that dragged a bit but the end of the 8th episode and the final two installments are superb.
Robert Sheehan plays Klaus, one of the troubled supers, almost like a supercharged Nathan from Misfits. He is so effortlessly funny, flighty and camp while also developing as a character throughout the season. Although his accent doesn’t stay true the entire time, much like his role as Darren in Love/Hate, he still steals the show for me.
Aidan Gallagher as Number Five was also a joy to watch, as was Mary J. Blige as one part of a fiersome hitman team out to get Five. Colm Feore’s turn as the madcap billionaire was fun to watch in flashback scenes, even if you did feel for the neglected heroes.

I’d definitely recommend this show to most people and would urge you to power through the mid season lag.

Russian Doll

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Another show that deals with the marching of time and also the reset, is Russian Doll. Natasha Lyonne stars and produces in this show about Nadia, a thirty-something New Yorker who spends her nights drinking, smoking and doing whatever she wants. It is her birthday, and after going home with a smooth talker, she gets knocked down while running across the street for her cat. In the blink of an eye she is back up at her party the night before while all the other guests carry on as normal.
Nadia thinks she is on her own until she meets Alan in a hurtling elevator shaft before impending death. He reveals he has the same affliction; they both die and reset to the same point in their lives. The two go on to try and solve their problem, learning some dark truths about each other and themselves along the way.

Lyonne is fantastic as the witty, clever and self-sabotaging Nadia, still suffering from her mother’s abuses and struggling to see a happy ending. I haven’t watched OITNB but she is brilliant in this, playing the tough talking, streetwise New Yorker with ease.
Charlie Barnett plays Alan, Nadia’s unfortunate companion in their horrible situation. He is the polar opposite to Nadia; he is clean, rigid and sticks to a schedule. He is also hiding some mental health issues and refuses to face them, prompting both to wonder why they are in this mess. Barnett comes alive when he shows real emotion and both Lyonne and he work well together.
I enjoyed this show also, partly because it was set in New York and I got to live vicariously through the characters and remember my time there. A word of warning, though, is that the show gets incredibly dark in the last three episodes. The show is not for everyone.

Tomorrow I will review Ricky Gervais’ After Life and the indie buddy-comedy Paddleton, starring Ray Romano and Mark Duplass.

 

 

 

Captain Marvel

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The newest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe hit our screens last Friday. Excitement surrounding the Avengers storyline has been high over the last number of years and with Endgame being released next month I wasn’t so sure that this was a necessary movie to release right now. I’m pleased to say that I was completely wrong.
The Marvel films are always enjoyable to watch, mixing action and humour effortlessly. Pithy one liners are a constant and the final face off between the goodies and the baddies are worth the two hour build up. Captain Marvel had all of these in droves while also putting a new spin on some aspects of the filmmaking process.

Captain Marvel tells the story of Vers (pronounced Veers), played by Brie Larson, a Kree soldier being trained to defeat a race called the Skrull, shapeshifters, in an intergalactic war. She has gaps in her memory and can’t remember her life before a Skrull attack six years ago. When she is captured by these shapeshifters and they reveal more about her past she follows them to C-53, Terra, or good old Earth. She meets two young agents, Fury and Coulson and begins to learn her true identity as the first hero of the galaxy.

All in all, I thought the movie was very good. It wan’t as funny as Thor: Ragnarok but was definitely funnier than most of the other films in the MCU. After talking to my friend about the movie, we agreed that if Captain Marvel is to save Tony from almost certain death in space then we cannot wait for the riposte and the banter between the two.
A big part of the movie I liked is that it set a good pace for the story. Due to the fact that Vers has no memory before six years ago and is already imbued with awesome powers we skip the hour/hour and a half of build up and figuring out who she is and who she can become. While this does in fact happen later in the movie, Vers already has her powers, knows how to use them and just gets on with it!
The soundtrack is also perfect. The movie is set in 1995, so the songs chosen are a mixture of Rock, Grunge and Pop/RnB. What a mixture! There is an epic scene between Larson and Anette Bening where Nirvana’s “Come as You Are”, plays. The title of the song is poignant in that moment in the film but it also just fits so well with what is happening on the screen.

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Larson is fantastic as Vers. She plays the soldier/piolet/saviour with confidence and is at ease with other big names such as Jude Law, Samuel L. Jackson and Bening. She has won an oscar after all!
Samuel L. Jackson, CGI’d to be twenty years younger in this movie and with both of his eyes, is a scene stealer as always. He and Larson bounce off each other and the characters are like old friends at the end of the movie.
Ben Mendelsohn plays one of the villains of the piece, Talos, a Skrull captain. Although their ability to shapeshift is unnerving and their appearance is undesirable, Mendelsohn is hilarious in this movie. I do have a friend who shall reMuireann nameless who found the Skrull’s attractive. In case anyone wanted to know.

I have read a lot of mixed reviews about this chapter of the MCU. Many, like I did origibnally, thought it was unneccessary and would be forgettable. I only went to see the post credit scene which ironically wasn’t worth staying for, but I’m glad I went.
Reviews I have read since have said it is forgettable and that she isn’t a likeable hero. I respectfully disagree on that count as like all Marvel movies, she has serious help from those around her. The difference is that in the end, she realises her true potential and is powerful enough to do whatever she wants.

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This film is an empowering movie for women without claiming to be one. Anna Boden directed this alongside Ryan Fleck, while Boden, Fleck and three other women wrote the screenplay and the story. Pinar Toprak composed the score, making this Marvel’s first ever film composed by a female. These real life women alongside the fictional powerful female characters in this story make this a film worth watching.

 

Fright Night

As I sit here with the brim of my hat as far down as it can possibly go, The Conjuring 2 playing on the TV in front of me, I have come to the conclusion that if a demon were to appear in front of me unannounced I would simply die of shock and probably defecate in my pants. I am no hero. If I saw a ghost or a banshee out late at night I’d run as fast as I could and I would never look back. There’s a real possibility that I would collapse dead from fright.
I saw Conjuring 2 with a friend and I covered my eyes while he covered his ears. We were one monkey short covering his mouth and we would’ve been on a poster. I just don’t like horrors and never have. I won’t lie and say that the adrenaline rush isn’t fun and there is a thrill from yelling and screaming every few minutes. What I don’t like is walking around a dark house late at night after having the bejaysus scared out of me. I don’t like walking by mirrors and thinking I am going to be snatched by a nun or an old lady out for my soul. I especially don’t like sprinting up the stairs in the dark as a demon tries to snatch my delicious booty.
Of course, then, I’ve seen countless horrors. Here are some of my favourite/hated horror movies I’ve seen.

Insidious

I know there’s like 4 of these movies now but I’ve only watched the first one. The simple reason being that the kid who gets taken into the shadowland or whatever realm he is in is named Dalton. Feck right off with that! Are ye trying to give a man nightmares for the rest of his life??
There are some supremely scary scenes in this film but the one that got me was the very end when all is revealed and the demon trying to catch Patrick Wilson’s soul or whatever it was after almost has him. Give it a watch if ye get a chance.

 

The Woman in Black

Horrors are great movies to bring girls to, in my humble opinion. I rented this from Xtra Vision back in the days when I had stable relationships with females and this film is creepy as f word. I haven’t rewatched it because I am a giant man child and as I said before, I hate horrors but this one is worth at least one look.

 

Crimson Peak
Another date, another horror movie. Jaysus, I’m such a lothario. Set in a Victorian England, Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston and Charlie Hunnam lead an all star cast. Gore, jumps and a house that hunts you down are all you need. Not as scary as the others on this list but torrent it online or something. Don’t @ me.

 

Paranormal Activity 3
The Paranormal Activity movies brought the found footage genre back into the limelight. The first two were remarkable, although a bit funny at times. The scene in the second movie when the mother runs away from the demon only to be pulled back downstairs by her legs is downright hilaruous. However, there is nothing funny about the scene with the coven of grandmothers advancing towards the man with the camera towards the end of the movie. Anyone who has seen it will know what scene I’m on about and anyone who hasn’t seen it will also know because I’ve just described it perfectly. Journalism.

 

In Irish horror film news, the film The Hole in the Ground will be released in a few weeks. Seana Kerslake stars as a single mother in a new rural town who encounters a mysterious neighbour. She becomes paranoid and mistrustful and must also contend with her son who is becoming increasingly ominous and disturbed. There ya go, straight from IMDb.
Kerslake is well known on Irish television through her starring roles in A Date for Mad Mary and Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope. The latter is written by the fantastic Stefanie Preissner.
I don’t know anything about the director, Lee Cronin but if the hype and the trailer are anything to go by he has done an amazing job and will be a major figure in mainstream Irish cinema for years to come.
Check out the trailer and an interview with both Kerslake and Cronin below.

 

 

 

Can You Ever Forgive Me? Review.

 

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“Back once again.” The reviews are back! Ger Canning has uttered this iconic phrase in countless G.A.A. matches broadcast on live television over the last number of decades. I reached out to him to ask would he record it for me so I could have it playing whenever someone opened an article of mine. Ger, ever the joker, replied via his family, agent and the Gardai, and said, “For the last time, leave me and my family alone. I rue the day I stopped and talked to you in Tesco in Mahon Point. Legal action will follow unless you stop cold calling me in the middle of the night. I don’t know how you got my house number. I am a human being and you are driving me insane. May God have mercy on your soul.” Ah Ger, what a chancer. If you’re reading this, I’ll get onto you later around 2 a.m. Keep the phone on!

Now, onto serious stuff. The movie Can You Ever Forgive Me? caught my eye due to the many nominations the cast received across multiple academies and committees. Also, it was the only thing that I knew would be quiet at my local cinema, the Reel Picture Blackpool ( hashtag ad). I knew it wasn’t a comedy but with Melissa McCarthy leading and Richard E. Grant in a prominent supporting role I had a feeling there would be some comic moments.

McCarthy plays Lee Israel, a down on her luck author who has just lost her job for drunken behaviour, has a fraught relationship with her agent and is months behind on her rent. Israel does not have any redeemable qualities that we can see and is told by her agent that she, “…is not famous enough to be an asshole.” She has a sick cat that she cannot afford to take care of and the biographies that she is writing to stay afloat are on the sale rack. After selling a letter of a famous author toa bookshop owner played by Dolly Wells, she quickly realises that she could make a hefty profit by forging letters of other well known figures. She has made a living writing books about other people so she knows she can impersonate them in her letters.
She meets Jack Hock, played by Grant, at a bar in Manhattan, remembering when she first met him and he went to the bathroom in a closet (hashtag Jonny Melia, hashtag ad). Hock is hilarious, flamboyant and the perfect positive tonic to Israel’s cynicism and misery. After letting him in on her secret cash cow and after duping half of Manhattan’s bookshops and collectible dealers into believing her ruse, she and Hock come under the suspicion of the FBI. Sabotaging her rathionship with Anna, the bookshop owner and Hock himself, Israel is finally caught and sentenced to house arrest, probation and monetary restitution.
The movie ends with Israel and Hock reuniting in the same grimy bar they met in. They bury the hatchet and he agrees to let her write a book about their escapades, ever his funny, charming self. This never happened in real life but it was a good end to a fine movie.

The movie itself is enjoyable if a bit slow. The topic of literary forgery does not sound all that interesting but the revelations that there are seedy characters in the literary world such as Israel herself, made it an easy watch. The fact that the FBI were involved in her subpoena was amazing to learn. The dynamic between McCarthy and Grant was brilliant and really saved the movie from being a bore. That said, it dragged towards the end and I did find myself looking at the clock on my phone. While I know that with a film such as this the devil is in the details but if the movie was about fifteen minutes shorter then it would’ve been a small bit more enjoyable.
I couldn’t think of anyone that I would recommend the movie to after watching, but it wasn’t a total waste of an hour and forty minutes. If I was to give it a rating out of a number that I will make up right now, I would give it a 3.5/5. Some funny moments but I’m not sure if this book warranted a movie. That said, the performances of McCarthy and Grant saved this production and both, especially McCarthy, deserve their nominations.

 

My movies of 2019

Happy New Year, one and all! A number of people online, as well as publications, have released their favourite movies of 2018 online. I was very tempted to steer away from any creative ideas of my own and just hop on the bandwagon. In the end, I decided to just leave a little list of what my favourite movies were of this year and then start talking about what’s coming up in 2019. Usually I’d have some witty little anecdote or fictional story here but I’ve just told you what I’m going to write so I might as well just do it. Yeah. Read on, I guess.

Top Movies of 2018 – M’List (tips fedora)

  • Molly’s Game – I was sent this by a resident in the building. Impressive leading cast with Jessica Chastain supported by Idris Elba and Michael Cera. It’s about Molly, an Olympic skier who, following an injury, naturally becomes a poker Queenpin and rakes in millions from her underground games. Of course she is then targeted by the law, the mob and disgruntled celebrities because of her money and, more than likely, gender. 4/5.
  • Black 47 – I wrote a review of this in an earlier blog but the Irish famine inspired tale of the deserter soldier who returns home and exacts his own war of vengeance on the British would send any man into a patriotic frenzy. Luckily I was on my own in the cinema and the adrenaline died down after the credits. 4.5/5.
  • A Star is Born – A friend and I watched this again last week in a hungover stupor and both were fairly emotional after it. The film holds up the second time around, as do the songs, both lead actor’s performances, and the intense hatred I felt for Allie’s agent when he practically kills Jack. Prick. 4/5.
  • Bohemian Rhapsody – I also wrote a review of this in an earlier blog. I loved this movie. A lot of people gave it crap reviews because of the gaps in the history of the band or the lack of context and background info about certain incidents. For me, it was brilliant. Rami Malek was Freddie Mercury, and the supporting cast were fantastic too. It helps if you love Queen but the movie is solid. The last 20 minutes in Wembley are sublime. 4.5/5.
  • Eighth Grade – Another one I covered, Bo Burnham’s directorial debut was perfect. Telling the story of awkward 13/14 year old Ellie, it encapsulates what it was like to be that age again; awkwardness of crushes, being invited or not being invited to parties and trying to ‘fit in’. Despite being set in the modern day, I think that anybody who watches this movie would cringe at their past selves, but also really enjoy the movie. 5/5.

 

What to look out for in 2019

2019 is going to be the year of sequels and spinoffs with the odd remake thrown in for good measure. Toy Story 4, Men in Black: International, How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World, Star Wars Episode IX and Hobbs and Shaw are just some of the titles of instalments in film franchises over the next 12 months. On top of that, Hellboy is getting remade, as is Dumbo and The Lion King, albeit in live action form. I will watch all of these and probably enjoy all of these, but it is just the way cinema has gone. Although there are a few other films I’ll be looking forward to see.

Us will be Jordan Peele’s second horror offering. His film Get Out was hailed as a masterpiece and rightfully so. It is a magnificent film that combines the thriller and horror genres. Jordan rose to fame with Mad TV and the Key and Peele show. The horror stuff came fairly out of left field for me but thankfully so as he’s killing it. The trailer for Us looks intense and will be a must for most cinemagoers this year.

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There is no trailer yet for The Irishman, Scorcese’s gangster epic starring Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Bobby Cannavale and Ray Romano. This film marks the 9th time Scorcese and DeNiro have worked together and the first time that Pacino and the great director have done so. It tells the story of Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino) and his bodyguard ‘The Irishman’ Sheeran (DeNiro), and the latter’s involvement in the gangster’s assassination. I can’t wait to see it, as Netlfix reportedly bought the rights for $105 million, and the budget has risen to $175 million. It’ll be epic, and hopefully it gets released in cinemas too, as that would be worth the whole year.

I know I was harping on earlier about sequels and spinoffs and yes, this film is a sequel and also a collaborative film between several different stand alone characters in the same universe (that sentence is confusing and should annoy anyone who reads it), BUT, and it’s a big but and it cannot lie, we have all been following this journey since Ironman (2008). We’ve gone through all the Thor movies, the Captain America movies, the Spiderman reboot III, the Avengers movies, the Guardians movies, AntMan and we’ve arrived at Avengers: Endgame. What a time to be alive! Following this I expect there will be a reboot in the casting of the titular heroes so this one will be very special.

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There’s also no trailer for Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, Quentin Tarrantino’s latest epic, starring Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. Margot Robbie also features alongside Al Pacino and a host of other stars. I’m not entirely sure what the plot of this movie is but if it has Pitt, DiCaprio and Robbie in it then I don’t care.

Finally, Glass, the third instalment in this sort of anti-superhero trilogy, looks very good. Jackson and Willis reprise their original roles of Mr. Glass and Mr. Unbreakable, respectively, while the supremely talented McAvoy returns as the Beast. Or Patricia. Depends on his mood.The trailer looks class without giving too much away, and it also has Sarah Paulson and I’m in love with her so it’s already great!

Apologies for the lengthy post but hopefully you’ll see some of these movies also in 2019. I also am looking forward to Captain Marvel because I love Brie Larson too but Sarah Paulson’s OK with it so we’re all good.

Angela’s Christmas

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This 30-minute wonder of a film is on U.S. Netflix and is perfect for small kids, parents (the 1st time), and people who work the night shift. Now, if you’re not a kid, not my cousin Bridget who has been forced to watch it hundreds of times by her two-year old, or me on the nightshift, maybe you won’t want to give it a chance. But I promise you, it is only half an hour and a nice story with only a small dash of sadness and death. Just like any other Irish film!

Angela’s Christmas, based on the novel ‘Angela and the Baby Jesus’, by Frank McCourt, is a beautiful little tale about Angela, of course, and the adventure she gets up to on Christmas Eve night.
Angela, her two brothers, younger sister and mother are heading to Christmas Eve mass, and Angela is holding them up while getting ready. Her older brother Patrick is complaining about her and incessantly whinging. Straight away, we see that Patrick is suffering from middle-child syndrome and just unlikeable. Ugh, I wanted to punch the screen. Feck off Patrick, the movie’s called Angela’s Christmas, not Patrick’s Day.
On the way to the church Patrick and Angela bicker back and forth, with Patrick maintaining his annoying personality. After finally sitting down, Angela realises that the baby Jesus in the manger does not have a blanket or a jacket on. Being five, she doesn’t realise that he is a statue and he therefore cannot feel the cold. She formulates a plan, and when her family leave mass to return home, she steals the baby Jesus so she can keep him warm.
On her own way home, Angela bumps into a blind, one-legged beggar, a kind policeman and a bar full of elderly drunks. Once in the door, she tucks the baba into bed and sings ‘Angela’s Song’, a lovely little lullaby. Unfortunately, Patrick the prized pr*ck rats her out, and she fears she may be in trouble. Thankfully, her mother, instead of getting annoyed and punishing Angela, tells the story of Angela’s birth, and how important it is to be together as a family at Christmas. Angela, apparently being able to understand subtext at 5 years old, knows she must bring the baby Jesus back to the manger.

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The whole family set off to return the statue, the world not seeming so scary for Angela on her own anymore. Despite returning 8 pound 6 oz, newborn infant Jesus, don’t even know a word yet, but still omnipotent, baby Jesus, the family are caught by the priest. He calls a guard over to throw the thief in jail but, lo and behold, it is the same guard from earlier! He shows more kindness and lets them free to be together on Christmas Eve.

A truly heartwarming tale, I was shocked to find out that some people wrote to me and said that there is a popular fan theory that Angela, in her quest to first steal the baby Jesus, hits her head on her fall from the pew. The rest of the movie is actually in Angela’s head as she survives in the hospital. I would just like to say that that is not true and those people should never, ever contact me again. Freaks. No better than Patrick in the movie. Although he had a sweet redemption arc.
Dolores O’Riordan sings Angela’s Song during the credits and it is worth it for that alone, seeing as it is almost a year since she sadly died.

Catch this flick on Netflix or get it on cheap blu-ray at the flea markets in Chelsea.

Bohemian Rhapsody: The Show Will Go On

The long awaited Freddy Mercury bipoic opened on Thursday evening in North America to rave reviews. It raced to the top of the weekend’s box office with a projected $35-40 million return. It has beaten out all the other openers this weekend and rightly so. I went to see it in the middle of a split double shift, meaning eight hours on, eight hours off and eight hours on again. I didn’t expect to stay awake throught the whole thing after only a few hours kip but I was rapt with attention throughout.
The film throws up few surprises if any. I saw a few people write that it was predictable and formulaic. I mean, obviously. It’s a biopic of the most popular and most documented frontman in the world. Before the time of smartphones recording our every move, Mercury was in the limelight all the time. Add to the mix that he was a gay man in the ’80s, I think its fair to say that a lot of what he did musically and personally is already well known. Despite this lack of surprise, the movie keeps the viewers attention through witty interactions between the band, tense moments towards the end of the movie and of course, an astounding soundtrack. It helps that the soudtrack is all the band’s catalogue. That band being Queen, in case anyone didn’t know.

Rami Malek is Freddy Mercury. I don’t mean that he is the actor playing the icon, I mean that in this film he IS Freddy Mercury. He inhabits the character and sometimes you almost forget that it isn’t Mercury playing himself with actors surrounding him. That said, Gwilyn Lee as Brian May, Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor and Joseph Mazzelo as John Deacon are all fantastic. Aiden Gillen, Allen Leech and Aaron McCusker are three major Irish talents who star in the movie. Gillen has the same raspy voice as every other character he plays, being John Reid, Queen manager, in this film. Leech, of Downton Abbey fame, plays Paul Prenter, a long-lurking snake in the grass. McCusker plays Mercury’s final love, Jim Hutton. All three put in sound performances with Leech excelling as the slimy Prenter who is intent on playing Freddy against his family, the band.

I listen to Joe.ie and their film review podcast which is very good. They thought that the film was bad and cheesy and only people who didn’t know the full history of queen would enjoy the film as a whole, and not just Malek’s performance. Even though I can see where they are coming from I have to disagree. The film might be a bit jumpy and the early parts of the film seem a bit cheesy but as a whole, the film is very good.

The film comes to an end after the epic 20-minute finale, an almost identical replica of the Live Aid set that Queen performed. Instead of depicting his final years in which he was ravaged by AIDS, some screen caps explain that he died in 1991 and that a charity was set up in his honor to help AIDS victims worldwide. This is extremely fitting as a half an hour before, Mercury, after telling his band and friends that he has the dreaded disease, says, “I will not be their poster boy, their cautionary tale…”. Instead of showing him at his weakest, we see him go out on that incredible high of performing to billions of people all around the world and holding them in a trance like only Freddy Mercury could.

On a related note, are films coming out earlier in Ireland than America? Thought it would be the other way around. On another related note, I’ve been blasting Queen all day and night after watching the film. Shout out to my music teacher Ms. Lucey for introducing us to A Night at the Opera. On an unrelated note, I’m absolutely wrecked and want to sleep for a thousand years.

A Star Is Born: Review

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A bit late to the party here but I finally got to check out Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, a retelling of A Star is Born. This is the fourth version of the 1937 original film, with Judy Garland playing the star in 1954 and Barbra Streisand playing the same character in 1976. Lady GaGa and Bradley Cooper play the two main characters. Gaga is Ally, a waitress and sometimes performer named Allie, who is discovered by alcoholic and worn out country music star Jackson Maine, played by Cooper. The cheek of him putting himself in his own film. Brazen out!
The film follows the romance that immediately blossoms between the two and the burgeoning career of Allie as she eventually begins to outshine her lover and partner. She lands record deals and primetime entertainment television show appearances while he is being replaced in Roy Orbison tribute bands. Cooper’s Jackson slides deeper into depression and begins to lose his battle with addiction. Following a successful stint in rehab after almost ruining Allie’s career in a drink and drug fuelled Emmy Awards Night (as per), he realises he is holding her back. In a gut punching ending he sets her free and Allie delivers us his final gift: a love song he wrote for her in the event that he would ever leave. We finish with a close-up on her face as she looks deadpan into the camera and although she has made money and won awards throughout the feature, finally a star is born.

Personally, I think that I let too many people tell me this movie was brilliant before I saw it. It was good. It was really good. I love a good rom-com and I love a good musical. As much as they tear me apart Lisa I love an emotional ending. This movie had every one of those in spades and I really enjoyed the movie. However, I had read so many good reviews and heard tell of the wonders of the movie that I just had too high of an expectation. The Imdb rating is also 8.3 which should make it one of the best films of all time. Voting systems can be skewed but I would put the rating in the mid 7s.
The film starts out slow despite the presence of some boozy rock n’ roll and riveting French tones. After Allie joins Jack on tour the film becomes more lively but as a result of this it almost becomes too jumpy. Granted, I am being a bit too critical here because at 136 minutes, the film is long enough but still, it could have been fleshed out more. We jump from the lovers being happy and joyous to being at each other’s throats the next. Perhaps that’s a perfect reflection of the rock and roll/popstar lifestyle coupled with addiction and I’m just a doorman on the nightshift who’s more Indie pop/rock and IPAs. C’est la Vie.

I truly did think this film was fantastic. The soundtrack is brilliant and there are some standout tracks climbing the charts right now. The best part of the film was definitely the chemistry between Cooper and GaGa. Lady’s acting wasn’t on par with someone with the calibre of Cooper throughout the whole film but there was a rawness about her performance that struck a chord (pun intended). It also helps that she has an amaxing voice and is already a global superstar. The scene where she is dragged on stage to sing her original song with Cooper that he arranged for her is nothing short of spine-tingling. Her unsuredness and half-embarrassment at singing her song is adorable and makes you root for the character from there until the end of the film. So go for the tunes, go for the emotions. Go if you want to see Lady Gaga’s nipple around halfway  through the movie. Go for the love of it all!

The Doorman’s Daytime – Week 3

The one constant thing in a night shift doorman’s daytime is the easy access to programs on every streaming device, as well as movies, podcasts and articles. The odd sleep schedule that accompanies the job is a tad annoying. The reduced time you get to spend with friends is another grievance but once you are engrossed in a new show you stop feeling sorry for yourself and continue to vegetate. Episode after episode is consumed. Season after season is watched through increasingly aching eyes. You should really take a break, or at least use your phone for something more productive, but that’s too much effort. The only time legs are used are to swing your arse from the couch to the other part of the couch so your back doesn’t hurt anymore. Enough about my Tuesdays!
This week, I started going to the gym again. All summer long I used the excuse of the GAA season to not stay active. I played a handful of games and skipped the rest for work. So I decided that enough was enough and that I would eat healthier and cut out the eating out. The drawback to this increase in activity is the lack of time for binge-watching T.V. shows and movies. I can’t concentrate on podcasts when I exercise so I listened to Eminem’s new album.Let me tell you, that guy is angry! I didn’t watch as much this week because of this. I also didn’t read as much because I left my bag with all the books I’m currently reading in a friend’s house after an almighty session. I did use my night shifts to binge a few things instead of working. So let’s have a look.

Bojack Horseman (Season 5)

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I couldn’t remember much of the specifics of the first four seasons of Bojack because I binged them all separately and never together. I loved the show before and remembered the basics; Bojack is an asshole who sometimes redeems himself but always manages to ruin his life and other people’s lives; Diane is the book smart friend who may or may not have feelings for Bojack while being with someone else; Todd is the zany, typical comic relief who slowly develops into a rounded character; Princess Carolyn is the unlucky in love agent turned manager who can’t have kids while always batting for Bojack. I was not prepared for how much of their awful, sad lives that I couldn’t remember would come flooding back as I watched.
It is a truly fantastic show that is tough to watch because each episode packs a lot of jokes and comedy around a seismic gut-punch of emotional growth or regression in a character. The fourth season especially dives into Bojack’s childhood and his mother’s reasons for being cold and unloving. It was tough to binge that season because, while the episodes were marvellous and some are ranked in the top echelons of IMDbs top rated episodes, each one left me feeling emotionally drained.
Season 5 is no different. I’ll have to watch it through again to fully appreciate the season. The writers pull no punches, really plumming the depths to which we, the viewer, are willing to go to keep rooting for Bojack. He is plagued by demons even more so in this fifth outing and his past indiscretions are coming back to the surface.
Princess Carolyn spends the season putting out more fires and trying to adopt a baby. Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter have split up and are trying to wade through life without each other. Todd, now crashing on Princess Carolyn’s couch, finds himself in another wacky adventure as one of the top dogs at a website that tells people the time. This show is just fantastic.
Special mention goes to Episode 6, “Free Churro”. The entire twenty-five minutes is just Bojack delivering a heart-wrenching eulogy at his mother’s funeral. Television gold.

Crazy Rich Asians

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I do love a good rom-com. I enjoy the comedy, the always over the top endings and the soundtracks. Movies like About Time, Me Before You and Love, Rosie are some of my favourite movies of all time. They have interesting plots and are just the right amount of corny and cringy. That’s why I was surprised that I didn’t like this movie. The cast are all generically handsome or beautiful; there were sad English songs sang in Mandarin/Chinese; one of the climactic scenes was so over the top it as surreal. Despite all that, it just wasn’t good. The dialogue was clunky, the plot kind of raced along without a whole heap of context and the conflict between the two leads seemed forced. That being said, the aforementioned over the top scene was absolutely fantastic.
Funnily enough, I used to watch Glee, up until the fourth season when the show about an unbelievably diverse group of teenagers running around and singing and dancing in public became unbelievable. Harry Shum grew into one of the main characters. I had seen he was going to be in this movie and he was promoting it pretty heavily online. The prick wasn’t in the actual movie, only a mid-credits scene that apparently sets up two sequels. I was fully sure I just hadn’t seen him on screen.*
So, anyways, the movie is not bad but it is not a great rom-com. I do think it is important for movies of other cultures to be seen in the Western World and I am probably in love with Gemma Chan so that was a plus. But I wouldn’t pay $14 again to just enjoy a wedding scene.
*Disclaimer: I was high as a kite watching this movie so it very well could be an absolute masterpiece hahahahaha

Following up on last week, I didn’t finish Jack Ryan. It just got too much for me. They kept going on about a second 9/11 and I thought there would be more of John Krasinsky and less troubled military guys. I’ll try and finish it this week. We’ll see. I might let ye know. Happy watching!