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Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2012 Highlights

The Jameson Dublin International Film Festival have released their programme for 2012. Taking over the city centre from the 16th through to the 26th of February 2012, the team have been working tirelessly to put together a schedule offering something for everybody. I have to admit, I’m quite looking forward to a number of these films, and have included some of my own choices and preferences below.

As with last year, I’ll be attending the festival and bringing you reviews of films large and small. Last year it offered gems like the little-seen Preludio and the impressive Adjustment Bureau. That’s a lot for this year’s festival to live up to, in terms of quality, but there should be something there for everybody.

I’ve taken a big step and signed on to twitter, so I can offer live updates during the festival. While I’ll be offering feature-length reviews of every film I see, I hope that the feed might allow me to offer a quicker blow-by-blow account of what I’ve seen and what I’m planning to see. I fired up the tweet machine today and tried to learn the ropes. Those inclined to follow me can do so @Darren_Mooney.

Anyway, enough with that. On to the Festival itself. I’ve picked out the films that look good to me, and tried to explain why they look so interesting. There are old films, new films, big films, small films, family films and quirky indie films. I’m always frustrated at the reality of attending a festival like this – it’s impossible to see everything, however much you might want to, and there are inevitably moves running up against one another. That happens quite a bit here, just to give you a head’s up – I won’t be able to attend everything I list, but I would absolutely love to.

Find the full schedule and booking information here.

So, on with the show…

Saving the Titanic

Friday, 17th February 2012, Cineworld 17, 6.15pm

A world premiere of an Irish film, Saving the Titanic looks intriguing. Offering an exploration of the attempts to salvage the situation in the engine room and the boiler room, it should be prime fodder for gripping and thrilling drama. In terms of Irish drama, last year gave us the superbly pulpy Wakewood, so this has a lot to live up to.

Fort McCoy

Friday, 17th February 2012, Cineworld 17, 8.45pm

Winner of the Cannes Independent Best Drama award, this film features Eric Stoltz as a man caught between his heritage and his American cultural identity. Set in a the eponymous military base, a POW camp, it looks to be a pretty heavy and compelling period drama. Given Stoltz’s rich filmography (and his recent career-best performance in Caprica), it’s not hard to get excited about this.

Samsara

Saturday 18th February 2012, Cineworld 17, 1.15pm

The guide makes this sound a little bit like Koyaanisqatsi, and that’s a very good thing. “By dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, the filmmakers subvert our expectations of a documentary. Instead, they encourage our own interpretations by images and musical compositions that infuse the ancient with the modern.” It sounds wonderfully weird, and out there – if it can capture a hint of the majesty of Godfrey Reggio’s masterpiece, then it should be well worth your time.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Saturday 18th February 2012, Cineworld 17, 3.45pm

I’m a sucker for taking a bunch of actors and putting them in a film together where they just sort of play off one another, unburdened by heavy concepts or rigidly structured narratives. Sometimes it’s cool to watch a bunch of practitioners at the top of their game. That is especially true of older actors, who are increasingly shunted to supporting roles and smaller films as they mature. So the chance to see Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson and Penelope Wilton together is too good to pass up. Director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) should keep things from getting too heavy in this story of a bunch of older British individuals who find themselves somewhat disappointed with their choice of hotel.

The Yellow Sea

Sunday 19th February 2012, Savoy, 11am

I’m a sucker for a solid crime drama, and Na Hon-jin’s Hwanghae looks like it could deliver. All the classic ingredients are there, from the hapless protagonist to the debt owed to the wrong person, with double-crosses and chases sealing the deal. I’m a big fan of pulpy East Asian cinema, and it doesn’t sound like it come much pulpier than this.

Black Gold

Sunday 19th February 2012, Cineworld 17, 1.30pm

The Arab peninsula tends to lend itself to sweeping and epic drama, but there’s something that looks almost intimate about this large-scale period drama. A solid cast including Antonio Banderas and Mark Strong , the movie explores the consequences of the discovery of oil beneath the neutral no-man’s land that divides two feuding Arab sheikdoms.

Sherlock Jr.

Sunday 19th February 2012, Lighthouse, 2pm

Offering new and old, national and international, there’s something for everybody at the fest, and I appreciate how they’ve always tried to celebrate the rich legacy of cinema. So it’s a delight to hear that the Buster Keaton classic will be shown as part of the festival, featuring a live accompaniment from Morgan Cooke, who is a veteran to providing soundtracks like this.

Faust

Monday 20th February 2012, Lighthouse, 8.30pm

I am quite partial to the classics, especially when brought to life with skill and verve. Based on what I’ve been hearing about Aleksandr Sokurov’s adaptation of the classic story of a deal with the devil, I should really be partial to this.

Wilde Salomé

Monday 20th February 2012, Savoy, 7.30pm

Al Pacino came to Dublin to research his documentary on Wilde’s play. While Pacino hasn’t necessarily had the strongest run of his career of late, I’m hoping that the actor can capture some of what made Looking for Richard such a fantastic piece of work. He’ll be in attendance at the premiere as well.

Into the Abyss

Tuesday 21st February 2012, Cineworld 17, 5.50pm

Werner Herzog is a fascinating director, and has an output that a filmmaker half his age would envy. Last year the director dared to give us a fairly unconventional (and magical) use of 3D in The Cave of Forgotten Dreams, but he also produced Into the Abyss. While the death penalty is a well-worn subject for documentary filmmakers, Herzog’s involvement instantly elevates it. Following a pair of convicted murderers, it looks like a compelling study of capital punishment.

Reservoir Dogs (Jameson Cult Film Club)

Tuesday 21st February 2012, top secret

The Jameson Cult Film Club are at it again. After a fantastic debut event last year, with Kevin Spacey attending The Usual Suspects, this year the team are bringing over Michael Madsen for a top-secret screening of Tarantino’s directorial debut. We don’t know much, yet, but I know this much – if you’re a fan of film, you should sign up now and apply for those free tickets.

Batman

Thursday 23rd February 2012, Lighthouse, 6pm

What better way to celebrate The Dark Knight Rises and the Danny Elfman tribute concert (more on that below) than a screening of Tim Burton’s Batman? I’ve never seen it on the big screen, and I’m really hoping to – even though I suspect I’m going to force myself to skip it to see something I haven’t seen before, like…

Stella Days

Thursday 23rd February 2012, Cineworld 17, 6.30pm

Martin Sheen in an Irish film? Playing a priest in the nineteen fifties? Where do I sign up? Thaddeus O’Sullivan has cast Sheen as a priest fighting to hold his congregation together amid an ever-changing outside world and his own doubts about faith and hope. He decides to try to cement his small community by establishing a cinema. If that doesn’t sound like feel-good fare, I don’t know what does.

Chicken With Plums

Friday 24th February 2012, Cineworld 17, 6.10pm

Sunday 26th February 2012, Cineworld 9, 4.30pm

The fact that this is evidently so good that the organisers are showing it twice catches my eye. The cast including Mathieu Amalric and Isabella Rosselini holds my attention. However, what really sells me on this film is the fact that the movie is an adaptation of the second entry in Marjene Satrapi’s trilogy of graphic novels. Persepolis was the first, by the way. Very much worth a look.

The Raid

Saturday 25th February 2012, Savoy, 11am

It’s interesting to see how the rest of the world does action movies. We’re so used to seeing big budget American blockbuster after big budget American blockbuster that it’s easy to forget that there’s literally a whole world out there. David Rooney’s write-up promises a pulse-pounding spectacle. “Full of dynamic physical stunts and imaginative death blows, the movie balances moments of intense quiet with fresh crescendos of visceral violence.” Because sometimes we all like our violence a bit visceral.

Hunky Dory

Saturday 25th February 2012, Cineworld 17, 3.15pm

A bit on the lighter side of the scale, the movie had from the moment I discovered it was a David Bowie shout-out. Featuring Minnie Driver as a drama teacher staging a school show that “both Shakespeare and David Bowie could be proud of”, it’s definitely on the lighter side of the scale – but there’s nothing wrong with that. C’mon, c’mon, we really got a good thing going.

Blackthorn

Saturday 25th February 2012, Cineworld 9, 6.30pm

What if Butch Cassidy didn’t die facing the Bolivian Army? Blasphemy, I know, but this film joins a retired Butch played by Sam Shepard as he tries to live out the last few years of his life in peace. reflecting the shift in the Western genre as a whole, Mateo Gil’s film is apparently a bit slower and more introspective than Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but I think I can live with it. After all, there’s something about the moral ambiguity of the Western that seems to speak to the present day.

Batman: Danny Elfman Film Music

Saturday 25th February 2012, National Concert Hall, 8pm

The National Concert Hall always puts on such fine film-related shows, and they always pull out all the stops when it comes to the Jameson International Film Festival. this year it’s a celebration of the distinctive work of Tim Burton’s long-time musical collaborator, Danny Elfman, who has provided any number of iconic soundtracks over the past few decades. After all, while Tim Burton and Michael Keaton might have been supplanted by Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale, Elfman’s music is still the perfect Batman soundtrack.

And no, na na na na na na doesn’t count, as catchy as it might be, miscreant!

Jo Nesbø’s Headhunters

Sunday 26th February 2012, Savoy, 11am

Stylish modern noir seems to be the name of the game, and I’ve been tempted by this stylish Scandanavian thriller ever since I caught the trailer back at MovieFest last August. A chance to see the story of this headhunter-turned-art-thief is too good to pass up.

Dreileben

Sunday 26th February 2012, Lighthouse, 1pm to 6.30pm

Three directors. Three stories. All set around one village on a given day, as a convicted murderer is on the prowl. With three of Germany’s leading directors behind the camera, it should offer a fascinating experience – glimpsing the same events through three very different lenses. Each director tells their own story framed around that premise, each in a different genre. It’s five-and-a-half-hours of cinema – and it’s so frustrating that I probably won’t be able to attend the final act, because…

Surprise Films

Sunday 19th February 2012, Cineworld 17, 6.40pm

Sunday 26th February 2012, Savoy, 5pm

Tickets are like gold dust for these mystery films, so grab them while you can. Also feel free to speculate on what they might be. Given the lack of any of the Spring “blockbuster” fare in the schedule (like last year had Unknown, for example), I suspect at least one of them will be reasonably high profile.

2 Responses

  1. Ola! Them0vieblog,
    Thanks for the info, On the Jameson label, it says the Bow street distillery, Dublin 7, Ireland, plus on the label it has two employees carrying barrels on there back with the roman numeral 7 found on the barrel. What does the 7 mean?
    Wishes

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