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Non-Review Review: Skyscraper

Hollywood never really gives up on a genre that it loves, even when it might appear that the audience has moved on.

The perpetual reinvention of the western is one example, a genre that is constantly updated in terms of style and substance to reflect the times. The western has been reinvented and reimagined countless times over the past few decades, whether by combining it with other genres or by examining its underlying assumptions. The western survives in movies like The Hateful EightThe RevenantBone Tomahawk; films that are very clearly westerns even if audiences from the genre’s peak would struggle to recognise them.

Hanging on in there.

Disaster films are another example of Hollywood’s perpetual reinvention of a genre that has fallen out of style. While by no means as ubiquitous as they once were, disaster films still pop up from time to time. The attempts to update the disaster film often take the form of hybridisation, of tying the trappings of the genre into a more marketable template. In the nineties, Independence Day cleverly wed the disaster movie to an alien invasion narrative. More recently, Patriots’ Day tied the structure and rhythms of the disaster movie into a counter-terrorism epic.

Skyscraper hits upon what might be the ultimate genre fusion for the disaster movie template. At the very least, it feels like an inevitable hybrid in the modern cinematic climate. At its core, Skyscraper essentially asks… “what if a disaster movie, but also a superhero film?

The bed Rock of a stable marriage.

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58. Die Hard – Christmas 2017 (#122)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guests Ciaran Mooney, Gerry Mooney and Helen Mooney, The 250 is a fortnightly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, a Christmas treat. John McTiernan’s Die Hard.

Travelling across the United States to reunite with his estranged wife, New York cop John McClane finds himself embroiled in a high-stakes hostage crisis on Christmas Eve.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 122nd best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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My 12 for ’13: Gravity & Good Old-Fashioned Simplicity

This is my annual countdown of the 12 movies that really stuck with me this year. It only counts the movies released in Ireland in 2013, so quite a few of this year’s Oscar contenders aren’t eligible, though some of last year’s are.

This is number 4…

One of the more interesting aspects of blockbuster cinema over the past decade or so has been the way that bigger movies tend to have become more complicated and ambitious in their storytelling. This isn’t a bad thing, by any measure. The Dark Knight is a plot-driven blockbuster with no shortage of plot complications, reversals and reveals. However, not every blockbuster is as deftly constructed.

There’s been a surge in overly complicated and excessively convoluted blockbusters over the past few years. It’s not enough to have good guys and bad guys and spectacle. There’s a sense that there needs to be more crammed on in there. Double-crosses and triple-crosses, betrayal and redemption, shock reveals and game-changing twists. Bad guys no longer plan to simply destroy the world or kill the good guy, everybody has competing agendas, and big epic blockbusters often struggle to smooth those into a cohesive narrative.

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From this year, for example, Star Trek Into Darkness – while still an exceptionally enjoyable film – suffered from an over-complicated plot and a surplus of villainous motivation. The Wolverine featured a fiercely convoluted middle act where it seemed like half-a-dozen bad guys were all trying to kill our hero for different reasons. G.I. Joe: Retaliation featured an evil plot that was not only brilliantly stupid, it was also unnecessarily convoluted.

Gravity serves to buck the trend, offering something of a sharp contrast to this convoluted storytelling. Gravity is a celebration of old-school visual spectacle, guided through a decidedly old-fashioned plot.

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Jameson Cult Film Club: Predator

I had the privilege of attending last Tuesday evening’s Jameson Cult Film Club screening of Predator. It’s easy to take for granted the care a preparation that goes into these nights celebrating popular classic films, but the crew pulled out all of the usual stops for the evening, turning their city centre into something of a jungle. From improvised death traps (within health and safety regulations, of course) through to advice on movie etiquette translated from… whatever that noise is that Predator’s make, the evening was a fitting tribute to an eighties cult classic.

Again, the production team walked the line, balancing the need for spectacle carefully against the integrity of the film. Predator is a loud film by its nature, and the special effects on the location were well-chosen to turn the volumes up to eleven. The pyrotechnics display during the movie’s climax was just astounding, as were brief interludes of the Predator itself preparing for battle or cleaning up after one.

The guys at Jameson Cult Film have sent over some snapshots of the night. Check them out below and click to enlarge. In the meantime, feel free to register at their website for free tickets to their next event, which I am already looking forward to.

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Jameson Cult Film Club Presents Predator! Tuesday 19th November 2013!

Due to unprecedented demand, the Jameson Cult Film Club is returning to Dublin for a special 25th anniversary screening of the 1987 classic, PREDATOR. Continuing on from this year’s successful screenings of Die Hard, Intermission and LA Confidential, the Jameson Cult Film Club promises to transport the audience right into the world of this high suspense, sci-fi thriller at a secret Dublin location on Tuesday 19th November 2013.

Jameson Cult Film Club screening of Predator - 17.11.13

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Jameson Cult Film Club: Die Hard

I had the pleasure of attending Wednesday evening’s Jameson Cult Film Club screening of Die Hard. As we’ve come to expect from the guys, it was a wonderful evening hosted in the Tivoli Theatre, from the black-and-white cop car waiting to greet us outside right down to the cut out copy the Nakatomi lobby sculpture, the team clearly put the usual amount of love and affection into crafting an immersive experience for the audience.

(My personal favourite moment was the decision to announce that the film would be starting shortly by having an Alan-Rickman look-alike and his goons storm the dance floor. It was a lovely touch, particularly given the decision to have the directions shouted by the gun-weilding goons rather than the Rickman impersonator.)

Photos and more after the jump.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

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Win! Tickets to the Jameson Cult Film Club Screening of DieHard!

The Jameson Cult Film Club is returning to Dublin for their biggest and most electrifying double screening to date. Continuing on from this year’s successful screenings of Intermission and LA Confidential, the Jameson Cult Film Club promises to transport the audience right into the world of the high suspense action classic, Die Hard (1988), which will be screened at a secret Dublin location on Tuesday 17th and Wednesday 18th September 2013. Jameson Cult Film Club screening of Die Hard This special screening promises to transport the audience right into the world of this cult classic for an unforgettable viewing experience. Attendees will be treated to much more than a typical screening, as actors, live theatre and special effects timed perfectly with on-screen action help to create an electric atmosphere throughout the screening. Check out www.jamesoncultfilmclub.ie for details and register for the chance to win free tickets to one of the screenings on either 17th or 18th September.

So if you would like to win one of two sets of TWO TICKETS to the screening on WEDNESDAY 18th SEPTEMBER answer the following question:

The competition is no closed. Winners will be notified shortly.

All entrants must be over 18. You must be available to attend the screening. The contact details above will only be used to contact the winners of the competition.

DH-265 Die Hard © 2013 TCFHE LLC Available on Blu-ray & Digital HD™

Die Hard DVD Jameson-CFC-Landscape-WHITE copy

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Jameson Film Club: Die Hard Double Screening!

Due to popular demand, the Jameson Cult Film Club is returning to Dublin for their biggest and most electrifying double screening to date. Continuing on from this year’s successful screenings of Intermission and LA Confidential, the Jameson Cult Film Club promises to transport the audience right into the world of the high suspense action classic, Die Hard (1988), which will be screened at a secret Dublin location on Tuesday 17th and Wednesday 18th September 2013.

Jameson Cult Film Club screening of Die Hard

If you want to get your ‘Hans’ on some tickets, register now on www.jamesoncultfilmclub.ie. These free events are more than just your typical screening, as characters from the movie, live theatre and special effects timed perfectly with on-screen action help to create an electric atmosphere throughout the screening.

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The venue is only revealed to ticket holders and will be completely transformed into a series of sets from the film.  DJ Aidan Kelly will be spinning the sounds from the movie before and after the screening while guests are treated to ‘Yippee-Ki-Yay’ burgers and refreshing Jameson, Ginger and Lime long drinks.

Die Hard DVD Jameson-CFC-Landscape-WHITE copy

jameson drinkaware 1 line 18pt

Non-Review Review: Olympus Has Fallen

It’s easy to see why Die Hard is such a popular action movie template. It’s a formula that is very hard to do wrong. Sure, you might end up with a clumsy and disjointed mess of movie, but the format of man trying to save hostages in a base under siege is so straight-forward that it’s almost always an effective vehicle for an action film. Olympus Has Fallen takes that familiar movie outline and rigidly adheres to it. After all, once you’ve figured out the formula, all you have to do is plug in a few variables and a movie practically makes itself. As compared to a boat or a train or in a stadium, Olympus Has Fallen at least has ambition. It’s Die Hard in a White House.

It’s a clumsily constructed film, one that doesn’t excel at anything and fumbles at quite a few things. However, there’s only so far you can screw up a formula and Olympus Has Fallen winds up being a watchable, if very far from exceptional, mid-tier action film.

"Look, this is what happens when terrorists attack while Bruce Willis is on holiday..."

“Look, this is what happens when terrorists attack while Bruce Willis is on holiday…”

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Non-Review Review: Die Hard

I know it’s a bit cliché at this point, but Die Hard really is my family’s ultimate Christmas movie. The season hasn’t truly started (or, if we’re delayed, truly ended) until all of us have sat down on the couch and indulged in the seasonal spectacular. Even if you don’t quite buy into the “Die Hard as Christmas movie” argument, it’s still impressive how tall John McTiernan’s action movie stands when compared to the bulk of eighties action films. Like Nakatomi Plaza itself, it towers over the competition – and it’s not because it does anything especially or novel or innovative in a genre that has always been fairly conservative. Instead, I’d argue, Die Hard succeeds because it executes all the conventional action movie beats exceedingly well, and because it doesn’t treat any of its plot points as necessary items on a check list.

Jump-starting Bruce Willis' action career...

Jump-starting Bruce Willis’ action career…

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