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Non-Review Review: Trespass Against Us

This film was seen as part of the Audi Dublin International Film Festival 2017.

Trespass Against Us is a relatively solid crime thriller, albeit one that suffers slightly from heavy-handedness and clumsiness.

At its core, Trespass Against Us hews close to a tried and tested crime movie formula. Chad is a family man who is working hard to ensure that his children have a better life than he ever enjoyed, making sure that his children get an education that was never available to him and trying to do right by his long-suffering wife. At the same time, Chad struggles against his familial connections to organised crime, with his free-wheeling driving skills inevitably drawing him into his father’s tangled web of plotting and scheming.

"I knew it was you, Chad, and it breaks my heart."

“I knew it was you, Chad, and it breaks my heart.”

The most innovative aspect of Trespass Against Us lies in the decision to transpose those tried-and-tested character and plot beats to a novel setting. Audiences are well accustomed to epic crime stories about familial obligations set within the Irish American or Italian American communities, but Trespass Against Us unfolds against the backdrop of a family of Irish Travellers living in rural England. It is an interesting juxtaposition, given how relatively under-exposed that community is.

Trespass Against Us earns a lot of credit based on the novelty of its setting and the fantastic cast that it has assembled. However, a lot of that goodwill is squandered on a very conventional plot and an awkward clunking heavy-handedness that trips the script up in its third act.

"I keep telling you 'til Gordo's blue in the face..."

“I keep telling you ’til Gordo’s blue in the face…”

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Non-Review Review: The Grand Seduction

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2014.

The Grand Seduction is nowhere near as cynical as it needs to be, and nowhere near as cynical as it thinks that it is. The story of a small Canadian town harbour in desperate need of a doctor in order to win a lucrative contract from a nebulous oil corporation, The Grand Seduction sets itself up as a vicious satire of these sorts of communities. Trying desperately to convince a visiting doctor to stay in their small community, the locals fashion themselves an endearingly quaint façade, manipulating their guest to get what they want.


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Immatürity for Charity, Tonight, 9.30pm, RTÉ 2

Christmas is often the time to indulge your inner child, so Immatürity for Charity seems perfectly suited for a post-holiday comedic treat. I had the pleasure of checking out a preview of it last week, and it is deliciously juvenile. It is, as the title suggests, a decidedly low-brow comedy sketch show, the kind of thing that could easily grate if it weren’t handled with the right amount of skill and enthusiasm. Luckily, writer (and star) Domhnall Glesson and director John Butler have done an outstanding job. Not all the sketches included are absolutely pitch-perfect, but the beauty of sketch comedy is that if you don’t like what you’re watching, well… another will be along shortly.

Domhnall Gleeson - IFC

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Immatürity for Charity, 9:30pm, RTÉ 2, 27th December 2012

I received this and thought it was worth sharing, in aid of a good cause.

This Christmas, some of the best actors and film crew in Ireland have come together for a sketch-show comedy special in aid of St Francis Hospice, Raheny. Immatürity for Charity features a whole host of Ireland’s top thespians including Domhnall Gleeson, Brendan Gleeson, Amy Huberman, Robert Sheehan, Hugh O’Conor, Brian Gleeson, David Wilmot and many more. Their mission: to embarrass themselves with pride and embrace their immature side in comedy sketches that aim to raise money and awareness for the hospice.

Brendan Gleeson - IFC

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Non-Review Review: Safe House

Safe House is a perfectly fine international thriller, which manages to effectively capture the look and feel of its setting in South Africa. Light on plot and characterisation, but heavy on action and atmosphere, Safe House isn’t necessarily required viewing. In fact, it has a great deal of difficulty convincing the audience to emotionally invest in either of the two lead characters. Still, director Daniel Espinosa keeps things ticking over with a workman-like efficiency on a simple plot and Denzel Washington is as charming a leading man as ever.

Safe as houses…

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Non-Review Review: Albert Nobbs

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2012. It’s getting its Irish theatrical release this weekend, so I thought I’d re-post this one.

Albert Nobbs is a fascinating little film that plays host to two fascinating central performances. It’s no secret that the movie has been something of a passion project for Glenn Close since she first played the role on stage, and she relishes the opportunity to bring the eponymous character to the big screen. Just as impressive is Janet McTeer as her confident and an unlikely friend. However, the movie suffers a little bit from a script that offers clever and enticing symbolism and metaphor, at the expense of offering an accessible narrative.

Close call...

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Non-Review Review: The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (Band of Misfits)

This review was embargoed until 14th March.

There’s a lot of charm to The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (or Band of Misfits, if you’re so inclined). Aardman Animation might be best known for their distinctive (and beautiful) claymation style, but the studio also has some very sharp writers providing great concepts, ideas and scripts for their madcap films. Pirates! is no different, taking a fairly conventional setting with a fairly conventional central moral, and just throwing absolutely everything against the wall. The result is a genuinely endearing and more-than-a-little madcap family adventure.

A cut above the rest?

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