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Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2013: Highlights!

The Jameson Dublin International Film Festival launched the programme for its eleventh year today. There’s some great stuff in here. There’s a variety of films, from European to American to Asian, from big budget blockbusters to intimate documentaries to more personal films. It’s a great selection of films, and festival director Grainne Humphreys should be proud. After all, if your biggest complaint is having to choose between L.A. Confidential and Bernie, then you must be doing something right.

I’ve picked out some of my own most anticipated events of the schedule below, in rough chronological order, so if you are looking for something to do on a particular day, feel free to see if there’s anything of interest. Unfortunately, some of the events overlap, so you can’t attend everything – something that’s a massive shame given some of the films on display here. With that in mind, the list is below.

JDIFF Brand 2011 (Landscape) copy

Broken

Thursday 14th February, Savoy, 7pm

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We like Tim Roth. We like Cillian Murphy. Therefore a small-scale drama about life inside a small estate featuring these two actors seems well worth our time. Plus it’s the opening gala, and the only film showing on Thursday. Because nothing says Valentines Day like a hard-hitting drama with Tim Roth and Cillian Murphy.

Gangs of Wasseypur, Parts I & II

Part I: Saturday 16th February, Cineworld, 10.30am

Part II: Sunday 17th February, Cineworld, 10.30am

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Indian cinema isn’t just Bollywood. This ambitious six-hour gangster epic explores seven decades of a family feud in post-war India. It’s violent, it’s nasty, it’s melodramatic. In the briefing today, Grainne Humphreys explicitly compared it to The Godfather, which is enough to put it on our radar. A truly impressive accomplishment runs six hours in total though, and has been split into two three-hour halves. So we might recommend taking a trip to the bathroom beforehand.

Blancanieves

Saturday 16th February, Savoy, 11am

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Blancanieves was filmed at the same time as The Artist, proving perhaps that great minds think alike. The silent movie has undergone something of a resurgence of late, and this reimagining of Snow White in 1920s Spain as a silent movie is intriguing enough to merit a quick look, especially if you were enchanted by The Artist.

The Good Man

Saturday 16th February, Cineworld, 4pm

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We also like our Aidan Gillen. In fact, even our mom likes Aiden Gillen, which is a testament to the actor’s skill and the quality of the work he has been putting out. Here he headlines Paul Harrison’s drama about a man dealing with the consequences of a random act of selfishness, as the lives of a banker and a South African activist intertwine.

Cloud Atlas

Saturday 16th February, Savoy, 7.30pm

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You will love it, or you will hate it. That seems to be the consensus on this epic – touted as “the biggest independent movie ever produced.” Adapting David Mitchell’s best-selling novel, Cloud Atlas tells six intersecting stories featuring the same ensemble, a cycle of souls trapped in some strange union. It’s already been released in the States, and it’s a film that I have been anticipating for quite some time. It’s a shame we’ve had to wait so long for it, but at least it’s here so we can make up our minds.

The Place Beyond the Pines

Sunday 17th February, Savoy, 10.30am

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I’m a sucker for a big crime drama, in case you couldn’t tell. 2013 looks like it’s shaping up to be another great year for Ryan Gosling. While my most anticipated Gosling-starring film isn’t included in this year’s festival, settling for my second most anticipated Gosling movie isn’t that bad. Especially when it reunites him with the director of Blue Valentine for the story of a stunt motorbike rider who turns to crime to support his family. Bradly Cooper co-stars.

Side Effects

Sunday 17th February, Cineworld, 1.15pm

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It’s a Soderbergh film! It stars Rooney Mara! It involves copious amounts of medication! I’ll be the first to concede that Soderbergh doesn’t consistently hit the spot, but he’s still one of the most interesting directors working today, and one with a very unique approach to film-making, seemingly able to construct a movie around whatever the hell he wants. I have no idea if it will be good or not, but I’m there.

The Hardy Bucks Movie

Monday 18th February, Lighthouse, 8.15pm

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Talk about a pallet-cleanser. While I’m qualifying recommendations, I’ll admit that The Hardy Bucks aren’t necessarily my favourite Irish comedy troupe of the past few years. However, I’ve been hearing a few mutterings and mumblings that the movie might be worth a look. At the very least, it’s the sort of big Irish success story that it’s nice to celebrate. And it might be a bit refreshing to just settle in a bit of light relief after four days of sophisticated cinema.

Arbitrage

Tuesday 19th February, Cineworld, 8.40pm

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Arbitrage was one of the underdogs in this year’s awards race. Apparently Richard Gere’s performance here, as with a lot of his recent work, was absolutely fantastic. An exploration of greed and the current economic climate, Gere stars as a billionaire who sees everything he has built starting to unravel on his sixtieth birthday.

A Hijacking

Wednesday 20th February, Cineworld, 8.35pm

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Danish television has become phenomenally popular in recent years. The Killing is obviously a major part of that, but so is Borgen. Tobias Lindholm is one of the driving forces on Borgen, and he also wrote The Hunt, the film last year starring Mads Mikkelsen as a teacher accused of sexual abuse. Given that pedigree, we can’t help but take note of Lindholm’s directorial début about a Danish ship captured by Somali pirates.

The Look of Love

Thursday 21st February, Cineworld, 6.15pm

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Michael Winterbottom and Steve Coogan are reuniting. To be honest, after 24 Hour Party People and A Cock and Bull Story, they could be making a film about paint drying and I would be on board with the concept. Luckily enough, they’ve got a much more interesting tale to tell – the story of the “King of Soho”, porn kingpin Paul Raymond.

Bernie

Thursday 21st February, Cineworld, 8.50pm

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I really liked School of Rock. I think that Richard Linklater is one of the very few directors who has managed to constructively channel Jack Black’s energy into a charismatic lead role. The duo are teaming up again for Bernie, based on a bizarre true story about a funeral director and an old widow. To tell any more would spoil it, but it’s one of the movies frequently mentioned as part of the famous “Matthew McConaughey redemption project” that included Magic Mike and Killer Joe, so that alone merits attention.

L.A. Confidential

Thursday 21st February, off the record on the QT and very hush-hush

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The Jameson Cult Film Club do all manner of wonderful things throughout the year. I’ve had the pleasure to attend a few of their celebrations of classic cinema, and I have been consistently impressed by the skill and affection they put into their establishment of mood. For those unaware, the Club is about watching classic movies in unconventional surroundings. Last year they did Reservoir Dogs fantastically, with Mr. Blonde himself Michael Madsen. The year before they did The Usual Suspects with Kevin Spacey to great acclaim. This year it’s Danny DeVito. Tickets for this are absolutely free and you will be able to apply soon at their website. It’s something I recommend to all film-lovers.

Struck by Lightning

Friday 22nd February, Cineworld, 6pm

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We all love a great teen movie, right? By all accounts, Struck by Lightning seems to hark back to the eighties golden age of teenage movies. Written and starring Chris Colfer, the film is about a teenager who feels that his dream of editing the New Yorker simply isn’t being taken seriously by those around him. Rebel Wilson co-stars.

Stoker

Friday 22nd February, Cineworld, 9pm

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The programme uses the word “Hitchockian” to describe Stoker. That would be enough, but the fact that this eerie tale is directed by Park Chan-wook immediately ratchets up the interest substantially. There’s a fantastic cast at work here, and an intriguing premise.

The Bay

Friday 22nd February, Lighthouse, 10.30pm

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Barry Levinson’s mockumentary horror has drawn strong reactions – in favour and against – in the United States, creating the impression that his exploration of a fictional parasite infestation in Maryland is a “love it or hate it” piece of work. As I’ve mentioned above, I’m far more interested in films that draw those sorts of strong responses than anything that aims for the middle ground. That sort of polarising impact  immediately makes it worth a viewing.

Robot & Frank

Saturday 23rd February, Cineworld, 3pm

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Frank Langella has had a great couple of years. Well, if you discount The Box. And you should. It’s great to see one of the legitimately impressive character actors get his time in the sun, and Robot & Frank sees Langella playing a retired jewel thief whose children abandon him to the care of a robot butler. Which, I’m going to be honest, is totally something I’m afraid of in my middle-age. It’s been getting great word-of-mouth, the premise is interesting and the leading man is superb. What more is there to know?

Love is All You Need

Saturday 23rd February, Lighthouse, 3.30pm

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… well, that and a promise that Pierce Brosnan won’t sing. I kid, but only because I love. I’m a sucker for a nice romantic comedy, and Love is All You Need looks to have the right ingredients to provide an endearing and entertaining afternoon at the cinema for those in need of some light relief.

Much Ado About Nothing

Saturday 23rd February, Savoy, 6.30pm

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Joss Whedon is coming to Dublin, for what’s sure to be the hottest geek ticket of the festival. Famously shot in his house with a bunch of mates while he was making The Avengers, Whedon’s classy black and white take on Much Ado About Nothing is well worth a look. The director and writer will himself be present in Dublin for the screening, so get these tickets while you can.

A Late Quartet

Saturday 23rd February, Cineworld, 8.45pm

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Movies as diverse as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and The Expendables demonstrated that there was some fun to be had in teaming up established and veteran performers. A Late Quartet features on four veteran musicians dealing the consequences when their cellist announces that he has Parkinson’s disease. Christopher Walken, Catherine Keener, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Wallace Shawn and Imogen Poots star.

The Surprise Film

Sunday 24th February, Savoy, 5pm

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There’s only one surprise film this year, which is a bit of a shame. I quite liked the bizarre combination of Casa de mi Padre and This Must be Place, even if I liked one a lot more than the other. The slot is one of the festival’s most sacred and respected traditions, and it’s curious to see what the team have turned up. Feel free to start speculating now.

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