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New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2019) #24!

It’s time for the Scannain podcast!

This week, I join Jay Coyle and Grace Duffy to discuss what we watched, the week in film news, the top ten and the new releases. Grace has watched ThievesMissing and My Own Private Idaho. Jay has watched A Day in the Country, Without Name, Craig’s Wife, The Loved Ones and One Sings, The Other Doesn’t. I have watched The Dark Knight Rises, Sanjuro and Lone Wolf and Cub in Sword of Vengeance. There is also an extended discussion on the merits (or lack thereof) of Batman Forever.

In terms of film news, the Galway Film Fleadh continues to roll out announcements – including its slate of masterclasses and an unexpected Cagney and Lacey celebration with Tyne Daly. The IFI is hosting a number of seasons in July – one celebrating the work of Robert Bresson and also the annual Family Festival. Meanwhile, the Lighthouse and Palais Galway are hosting a season of coming of age favourites.

The top ten:

  1. Late Night
  2. John Wick: Chapter III – Parabellum
  3. Detective Pikachu
  4. Diego Maradona
  5. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
  6. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  7. Rocketman
  8. The Secret Lives of Pets II
  9. Men in Black International
  10. Aladdin

New releases:

You can listen to the podcast directly here.

 

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New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2019) #22!

It’s time for the Scannain podcast!

This week, I join Jay CoyleGrace Duffy and Luke Dunne from Film in Dublin to discuss what we watched, the week in film news, the top ten and the new releases.

What We Watched

The Week in Film News

The top ten:

  1. Paw Patrol Mighty Pups
  2. The Hustle
  3. Avengers: Endgame
  4. John Wick: Chapter III – Parabellum
  5. Ma
  6. Detective Pikachu
  7. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
  8. Rocketman
  9. The Secret Lives of Pets II
  10. Aladdin

New releases:

You can listen to the podcast directly here.

Note: Due to unforeseen technical issues, the audio quality is a little rougher this week than usual, and there was some audio lost towards the end of the conversation – including the discussion of Late Night.

New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2019) #20!

It’s time for the Scannain podcast!

This week, editor Niall Murphy returns to host the podcast, joining Jay Coyle and I to discuss the week in film. Jay watched Wages of Fear and Persepolis for the first time. Niall has been to Cannes, but regales us with some of the films that he saw outside the festival, including The Fate of the Furious.

A lot of the news this week comes direct from Cannes, including good news for a whole host of Irish filmmakers. Lorcan Finnegan’s Vivarium won the Distribution Prize at Cannes Film Festival’s Critics’ Week. Ireland and Luxumberg launched a joint female-focused development fund. Screen Ireland announced four productions as part of their inaugural POV funding scheme.

The top ten:

  1. Breakthrough
  2. Wonder Park
  3. Dumbo
  4. Long Shot
  5. A Dog’s Journey
  6. Paw Patrol Mighty Pups
  7. The Hustle
  8. Avengers: Endgame
  9. John Wick: Chapter III – Parabellum
  10. Detective Pikachu

New releases:

You can listen to the podcast directly here.

Non-Review Review: Aladdin (2019)

Aladdin is a fairly sturdy adaptation of a beloved animated film.

The obvious point of comparison here is something like Beauty and the Beast, with the live action adaptation facing many of the same challenges. By that standard, Aladdin acquits itself quite well. As with Beauty and the Beast before it, Aladdin is a fairly straightforward no-frills and no-surprises effort to transition a classic piece of nineties animation into live action; it lifts both the song and score, the set pieces, the themes, the characters, even the tempo. It is less ambitious or imaginative adaptation process than Alice in Wonderland or Pete’s Dragon, for better and worse.

Carrying a lamp for the original…

With that in mind, Aladdin feels like a clear improvement upon Beauty and the Beast. A large part of this is down to knowing what to do with the roughly forty minutes of storytelling real estate that seem to be added to these projects by default, adapting eighty-minute cartoons into two-hour blockbusters. The cartoons that inspired Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin were already very tightly structured and very well-constructed, so anything added to otherwise highly faithful adaptations those films often feels alien or uncomfortable.

Beauty and the Beast seemed particularly unsure what to do with those forty minutes, leading to strange narrative diversions to answer questions that nobody asked, like, “What happened to Belle’s mother?” In contrast, Aladdin benefits from a much better understanding of where the story can be fleshed out. There are a few clumsy missteps along the way; the new songs often stand out in contrast to those ported over from the original film, and the first act drags a little. However, by and large, Aladdin understand what aspects of the original can stand to be bulked up.

“And you’re sure you want to use your wish for a photo-realistic Sonic the Hedgehog movie?”

If this is to be the future of these adaptations – and the success of Beauty and the Beast means that it most likely will be – then Aladdin is far from the worst template. It is fun, it is light, it is diverting. It has a charismatic cast, and a solid understanding of the story that it is updating. However, it is also a little sluggish at the start and bloated at the end, traits inherited from modern blockbusters rather than a result of the process of adapting the source material.

At the same time, as with Beauty and the Beast, the same core issues shine through. Despite what spoiler culture might suggest, a film is more than just a series of plot events. Aladdin is adapting a film that was designed specifically for another medium, while making a point to stress its fidelity to that source material while translating it to live action. The biggest problem with Aladdin is built into it from the outset; this is an approach to the story that will always work better in animation than in live action.

It’s not quite a whole new world…

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