By far the most exciting announcement coming from Movie Fest 2012 for Irish cinephiles (particularly those who inhabit Dublin) is that soon Ireland will have our very own imax theatre in Cineworld Dublin. On the Irish film scene otherwise, Lenny Abrahamson’s ‘What Richie did’ looks to be difficult in the best possible way, and captivating. Neil Jordan appears to be bringing us another exciting development in a return to the vampire genre- ‘Byzantium’ looks like a refreshing change to recent vampire fiction, bringing a strong female lead (going by the trailer). Unfortunately I cannot say the trailer for a new Australian film starring Chris O Dowd, ‘The Sapphires’ excited me in any way. That said, we all know how misleading trailers can be.
In international stakes, my jaw hung open during the entire ‘Life of Pi’ preview. The CGI is like nothing seen before (particularly the amazingly life-like CGI tiger), and the visuals in the shipwreck scene perfectly captured the vast, terrifying nature of the sea. This is a film not to be seen on a small screen. The other lengthy preview movie festers were treated to was the seasonal children’s film ‘Rise of the Guardians’. The first ten to fifteen minutes appeared to be standard children’s fare, entirely unsuitable for the movie fest audience, so it came as a surprise when, by the time the preview ended, there was an audible ‘awwww’ from the audience. This film is sweet, funny, and entertaining. A perfect family film, I just can’t wait to watch the whole thing with my nieces. On the other hand, Tinkerbell was just that- entirely unsuitable for the audience. I have no idea why the trailer was shown. On the upside it did become the running in-joke of the festival.
One of the greatest joys for me personally was seeing the alternate rom com on the rise with trailers for films like ‘Celeste and Jessie Forever’. Less schmultz, more realism- yay!
This was on top of a number of trailers starring Chris Messina, who is a face I haven’t seen enough of (granted, this soft spot exists mostly for the fact that he played a much beloved character in the much beloved TV series ‘Six Feet Under’), in a film festival which treated us to a Joseph Gordon Levitt day. Not officially titled ‘Joseph Gordon Levitt Day’ but Levitt held the starring role in its two main films. Personally, I think Joseph Gordon Levitt Day should be an annual event at cineworld, and going by tweets, I am not alone.
In other news, ‘The Sightseers’ looks insane, ‘The Sweeney’ looks run of the mill and uninteresting and ‘The Great Gatsby’ is not to be released for another year?
Overall a congratulations must be offered to the staff of cineworld and all involved with this festival. It was well organised, there was a great atmosphere and bar ‘Hit and Run’, it was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.
The festival began with an impressive children’s zombie film. When it began by parodying horror movie tropes, I knew I was in for a treat. A zombie film containing a screaming girl whose feminine features were emphasized, this was the first in a number of times that the children’s film challenged archetypal gender roles and portrayals. Or more accurately archetypes in general; gender just happened to be one it challenged particularly well.
One childrens film trope refreshingly challenged in this groundbreaking piece, was the theme of good and evil; the ‘goodies’ and the ‘badies’. Not one character in this film was portrayed as evil. While the worst of the characters were ‘the badies’ in one scene, this was challenged in the next, when the other side of the story was told. Kids need to shown the greyness of character early in life. However while I say ‘early in life’, I must warn that this is not a film I recommend for any children under the age of at least 8. I am not one to recommend children stay away from dark themes, but this film had me feeling horrified and terrified so I can only imagine what effect it would have on a young child. Weeks of nightmares!
Witty, visually pleasing, touching, and most importantly; something different, this film is a must see and will be a refreshing change for parents.
Random Gem from the interview with the director: Discussing the film’s portrayal of bodies at movie fest, the director said ‘everything is bellies and asses when you’re a kid’.
Ross Noble joined the festival audience for his appearance in Irish horror comedy ‘Stitches’. Noble exclaimed ‘good luck lads!’ as the film opened and his distinct physical acting provided a key performance in this laugh a minute macabre flick.
The audience were also joined by the director and other members of the cast in a film that captured Irishness to a tee. Authentic Irish actors (bar Noble and the actor of ‘Tom’), locations and familiar themes to any Irish person; slagging, school gossip and that principal who had an obsession with the details of the uniform. Regardless of all else this film must be praised for its cultural authenticity.
Noble was not the only notable performance. Wonderful performances were seen by these previously unknown young Irish actors. However it must be said, one would have to wonder what prompted the casting decision of the main character (aside from Noble) of ‘Tom’. The writing was good, aside from the characterisation of the main character’s love interest who could only be described as bland; and it must be said that cutting could have been more strictly implemented in some scenes. The visual effects were of a very high standard and reminiscent images of Italian gore cinema, but the filmmakers seemed to think this warranted some of the gorier scenes lasting ten seconds longer than anyone needed.
‘Pitch Perfect’, the mystery movie of day one, was a mish mash of a number of ‘chewing gum for the brain’ genres that are popular in recent cinema- musical, romantic comedy, female gross out movie; evoking ‘Glee’, ‘Bridesmaids’, and every romantic comedy of the past ten years.
Although I personally found it to be thoroughly enjoyable, (as did most the audience from what I could tell) I also own every Glee album known to man, so this played a large part in my enjoyment of the film. Although it contained some great musical numbers, it fell down in all the same ways ‘Glee’ does with a weak and shallow treatment of issues such as homosexuality and body image, weak characterisation and a dislikable main character.
An enjoyable film to be seen if you want fluff, and fluff alone.
Day 2: Joseph’s Gordon levitt day
One of the stand out films of last year’s movie fest, ‘Drive’, appears to have had its effect on the aesthetics of the films of this year’s movie fest. ‘Premium Rush’ was the first in Levitt’s two films that had that retro, 80’s feel; reminiscent of the work of the late great Tony Scott.
Although much lighter on the brain, and unlikely to receive quite as much critical acclaim, it is certainly one of my top picks from the festival, I would definitely recommend a go-see. Do not let the trailer put you off- it was much more impressive than I was expecting.
The film contains a relatively simple, generic story, and none of the characters are notable for anything in particular; but the actors performances, and even more so the storytelling techniques and aesthetic features are what make this film worth the eight or nine euro to see it.
Random extra bits: The clip included in the end credits is worth a watch, so don’t leave too soon!
Hit and run
Day two’s mystery film was a terrible choice. Never see this film. It is boring, it is bland, and the people behind it seem to think rape is a funny topic to joke about more than once in this terrible, terrible film. There is nothing redeeming about this film and I genuinely can’t understand why anyone would like it. What were you thinking Kirstin Bell?
Just wonderful. Levitt proved once again what a versatile and talented actor he is in what I would almost go as far as to say was this year’s ‘Drive’. I did however, find it difficult to watch Levitt portray such a gritty character. Oh well. I guess the fantasy of the cute little kid from ‘Third Rock from the Sun’ who grew up to be the naive but endearing Tom Hansen in ‘(500) Days of Summer’ has to end sometime!
It was also strange seeing Levitt made up like Bruce Willis. He appeared to have done his research into Willis’ distinct characteristics; talking and moving just like him. However it must be said that the extent to which Levitt was made up to look like Willis varied quite a lot throughout the film. I’m unsure as the whether this was done intentionally for any narrative reason, but after adjusting to Levitt’s adjusted face in the first place, it was a little confusing.
The acting in this film, as in so many of the films in this festival, was top class. Emily Blunt provided a thoroughly convincing and refreshing performance, while the child actor, Pierce Gagnon, was one of the best child performances I have ever seen on screen. I imagine he will be one to watch.