Director: John Boorman.
Starring.Nigel Terry (RIP) , Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Paul Geoffrey, Nicol Williamson (RIP) , Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart. Ireland/USA/UK. 2h 20m.
Based on:15th-century Arthurian romance Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory
There aren’t too many movies that I can mention from my childhood that have such an epic reaction of admiration as this definition of epic fantasy. Albeit a guilty pleasure, I generally hang around heavy alternative scenes where this has become a fashion guide as well as cult classic pieces of cinema, but there’s a wealth of shiny aesthetics and magical storytelling which has never really been mimicked again making this truly unique stand alone opulent piece. Continue reading Excalibur (1981)
Director: Peter Bergin.
Starring. Ronan Murphy, Bridget O’Connor, Corey Macri, Aaron Lee Reed Ireland. 1h 20m.
Found footage can be an easy genre to devise a film for, but a hard one to master. There are obvious struggles as this survival expert attempts to film an instructional video deep in the Lolo National Park and encounters a real threat.
The lonely survivalist is tracking through the forest in a national forest while filming himself demonstrating how to make the most of your camping trip, back at home he offers a class and this instructional video will allow himi to reach more people and finally he can turn his hobby into a lucrative business. The lush forest is the perfect setting for a found footage horror, less people and factors to interfere with the story, the only problem is that so many of them are set here and it’s hard not to mention.. Blair Witch.. There I went and did it. But there are no witches in this struggling horror movie, so it’s very evident despite the red herring what’s going to appear by the end of the film and this is only one of the problems. Continue reading Territorial Behaviour (2015)
Director: Rob Bowman
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Christian Bale, Gerard Butler, Alexander Siddig, Ned Dennehy, Izabella Scorupco .UK. 1h 41m
I fell out of love with fantasy movies for the surreal back in my teens, I still enjoy the genre but I live for the way out psychotropic pop surreal that goes that one step beyond. The fantasy genre is riddled with stories of dragons, maidens, cruel giant monsters, laws and riddles but going back to the standard western fantasy realm only gets a film canned as a tiresome Lord of the Rings rip off, so many attempts to bring Fantasy into the modern realm have challenged many a cast and crew, this silly bu entertaining project from X Files director Rob Bowman is interesting but slightly cringe.
After years of working the TV circuit Bowman branched out into a lengthy feature which resurrects a modern tale of dragons and legendary heroes, blending castles and helicopters, a tale of ultimate bravery and sacrifice unfolds. Continue reading Reign of Fire (2002)
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Starring: Sean Penn, Frances McDormand, Judd Hirsch .UK/Ireland/USA. 1h 58m
Italian director Paolo Sorrentino emerges with some triumph as one of the masters of modern cinema with this English Language film This Must be the Place, starring Sean Penn as a Robert Smith inspired aged rock star Cheyenne. Retirement doesn’t bring as much action as the rocker passes his time living a non existent life in Dublin spending his days alone in his mansion or with his best friend Mary (Hewson) while his American wife (McDormand) is content with her job as a firefighter.
The approach is superbly elegant and has a mix of looming camera movements and bursts of dynamic action mixed with Penns dry humor that sinks into a hallucinatory landscape, which at points is so massive swallows up the characters. Continue reading This must be the place (2011)
Director: Liam Gavin.
Starring. Steve Oram. Catherine Walker. UK/Ireland/Wales. 1h 39m.
For a directorial debut things can’t get much better than this enlightened and powerful independent movie about grief, revenge and the harsh deeper side of the occult.
An obviously distraught and confused mother, Sophia (Walker) rents an isolated house in rural Wales to try and convince an angry and unhinged occultist Joseph Solomon (Oram) to lead her through months of grueling rites in order to summer her Guardian Angel to grant her a special favor after her son was abducted and murdered, all she wants is to talk with him again.
Sophia follows the rules to the letter, collecting large amounts of supplies and spending thousands just to entice Joseph to the house and after some rugged persuasion he begrudgingly agrees but has reservations about Sophia’s motives but she is persistent and pretty durable, and she grinds through the punishing exercises, changing her diet, and begin soaked with chilled water, denied sleep and spends hours learning complex sigils and rituals. All the while in the dim secluded house that’s alien to them both and is constantly creaking and being generally creepy, Joseph remains a moody occult guide and rude rule maker, reading from the Book of Abramelin, and making some things up to help him keep his mind in the game, usually involving Sophia’s naked body.. Meanwhile Sophia doesn’t see enough results for her hard work, but ever so slowly the magic starts to work, or is it all a result of the demanding time locked away in the house with a volitlie and pushy occultist? Continue reading A Dark Song (2016)
Director: Sergei Bodrov
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Olivia WIlliams, Djimon Hounsou, Julianne Moore. USA/UK/Russia 1h 42m
Based on The Spook’s Apprentice by Joseph Delaney
In principle the story is ok, I’m pretty sure the better selling novel by Joseph Delaney is worth a read if fantasy is your thing, but in this bizarre adaptation there’s no longer anything particularly outstanding. Which is totally bizarre as it has all the ingredients, great actors, many who have starred in many fantasy movies, a Russian director, and without prejudice some of the most inventive fantasy movies have come from the region, topped with a lavish story, this should have blown many pairs of socks off, but it could barely figure out how to put them on.
Opening at a weird stage in the story, we see a man locking away a screaming woman in a remote hold in a vacant landscape, is alludes to this being the outcome of an epic battle between Mother Malkin (Moore) an evil witch and Gregory (Bridges) a member of a knightly order called the Falcons who dedicate their lives defending mankind from supernatural threats. Continue reading The Seventh Son (2014)
Director: Dave Tynan.
Starring.Emmet Kirwan, Sarah Greene, Seana Kerslake, Ian Lloyd Anderson. Ireland/UK. 1h 39m.
I assumed this was going to be more about older irish problems and feelings towards the British, maybe I’m still on a high after watching Black 47 (2018), but this is more of a cross between It’s all gone Pete Tong (2004) and Trainspotting (1996) but without that certain spark or energy instead it’s way more realistic (than Trainspotting) and totally poetic both in narrative and throughout it’s dialogue. There are many drug addicts here, some have succumbed and others literally only use it to enhance their recreation.
So this movie tells a story of Jason (Kirwan), an aspiring DJ who spends those few hours between drug field trips in the streets of Dublin, he stumbles on his educated and long time addicted brother Daniel (Anderson). The two subsequently bond and clash as they batter through their differences and in a strange Irish way, catch up with each other. Jason is determined to reach his goal at DJing a very special illegal rave while trying to win his ex back, this young man really has a lot on his plate and struggles every step of the way. Continue reading The Dublin Oldschool (2018),
Director: Aislinn Clarke
Starring: Lalor Roddy, Helena Bereen, Lauren Coe, Ciaran Flynn . Ireland / UK. 1h 17m
This found footage horror is set in the swinging 60’s but it isn’t influences by mini skirts and being hip instead the women involved are quite different, Devils Doorway sees Father Thomas Riley (Roddy) and Father John Thornton (Flynn) despatched by the vatican to investigate reports of a miracle in a Catholic asylum based in the wilderness of Northern Ireland.
At this remote asylum for immoral women, the statues of the Virgin Mary have been weeping blood. The two priests open their investigation by filming each other, the younger, Father John arms himself with a 16mm camera to record their findings and often interrogates father Thomas about his life and beliefs as a priest, after some adjustments they head to the vast home and begin their investigation but are confronted by some fiercely protective nuns who see their presence as insulting and can’t wait to see the backs of them. Continue reading The Devil’s Doorway (2018)
Director: Lance Daly.
Starring. Hugo Weaving, James Frecheville, Stephen Rea, Freddie Fox, Barry Keogham, Sarah Greene. USA. 1h 40m.
This brilliantly dark poetic revenge flick from the bleakest part of Irish history is rough but so intense. Based on the Irish Language short called An Ranger by PJ Dillon and Pierce Ryan, this lengthy retelling is focused on an Irish Ranger returning home from war and finding his homeland is very different to how he left it.
Starting on another tangent, the film opens with Hanna (Weaving) losing his temper with a prisoner, a member of the Young Irelander movement, while losing his temper he strangles the man he sips from his canteen while another guard realises Hannah has killed the prisoner.
Meanwhile Martin Feeney (Frechville) a former Connaught Ranger arrives in Connemara, west Ireland in 1847, the worst part of the Great Famine, he finds family home hollowed out and filled with pigs, he learns that his mother died from starvation and his brother was hanged after stabbing a bailiff during the family’s evection. Feeney stays with his brothers widow (Greene) who are squatting in one of the few remaining houses. Soon the landlord arrives to evict the family, killing Feeney’s nephew and destroying the home. Feeney is arrested but managed to kill his captors and destroy the barracks and re returns to find his sister in law and her daughter dead from exposure. This sparks something dark inside of Feeney and he begins to seek a tortuous bloody revenge on the men who have wronged him. Continue reading Black 47 (2018)
Director: Rachel Moriarty.
Starring: Killian Scott, Peter O’Meara, Nika McGuigan, Barry Keoghan. Ireland/UK. 1h 30m.
Harry Fox is a man who has it all, an amazing apartment, a cushy job, good looks and a fancy car, but his company goes bust and after a few angry phone calls from the bank he looks set to lose it all. But just in the nick of time a close friend, Vernon comes up with a bizarre but workable solution when he masterminds an insane game called Traders. Advertised on the deep web, the game rules are laid out. You take all your money and sell off all your property bag up the cash (in a green bag) write a suicide note, meet up with the other unknown “Trader” take several bus rides and go to a secluded location, trade phones dig a grave and fight to the death, the winner buries the loser, posts the suicide note and goes home with double his money. Sounds simple so what’s the catch? Continue reading Traders (2015)