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New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2018) #30!

It’s time for the latest Scannain podcast.

This week, I join Ronan Doyle and Graham Day from Speakin’ Geek to discuss the week in film news, what we watched, the top ten and the new releases. Films discussed include The Long Goodbye2001: A Space Odyssey and Upgrade. New releases include a number of arthouse releases (including The Guardians) and reissues (including Mildred Pierce), along with more conventional fare like Christopher Robin and The Equaliser 2 – which is sadly still not called “The Sequaliser.” Oh, and Ronan discovers that Sergeant Stubby: An American Hero exists.

Give it a listen at the link, or check it out below.

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New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2018) #27!

Your podcast, should you choose to accept it…

This week, I join Jay Coyle and Luke Dunne from Film in Dublin to discussion the week in film news. There’s a host of interesting stuff here, from the James Gunn controversy over Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 to the film noir compromise of Gilda to the divisive Dublin Oldschool. Along the way, we take a side-trip into discussions of vaguely unsettling YouTube algorithms aimed at children. However, perhaps the real reason to give it a listen is to hear Luke’s “grand unified theory of Tom Cruise” as part of a broad discussion about Mission Impossible: Fallout.

Give it a listen at the link, or check it out below.

New Podcast! The Movie Palace – “Gilda”

It was a pleasure to join the great Carl Sweeney on his podcast The Movie Palace to discuss Gilda, Charles Vidor’s iconic postwar film noir which is possibly the most exciting movie ever made about tungsten monopolies. A psycho-sexual thriller about two men trying to forge a future in Buenos Aires and the woman who comes between them, Gilda remains one of the most enduring films of the late forties in large part due to Rita Hayworth’s central performance.

At the same time, Gilda occupies an interesting place in the film noir canon, never quite considered a classic in the style of Casablanca or The Maltese Falcon or Double Indemnity, but always respected by those with an appreciation for postwar American cinema. It’s certainly a film about which I have very mixed feelings, even if they aren’t quite as intense as those between Johnny and Gilda.

The Movie Palace is a podcast that takes an affectionate look at the Golden Age of Hollywood, with Carl talking about a classic film with a guest once a week. It was an honour to be asked on, even if I’ll concede out of the gate that I’m not anywhere near as familiar with the era of filmmaking as Carl is.  You can check out the episode here, back episodes of the podcast here, or just click the link below.

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44. Chinatown (#127)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney and this week with special guest Phil Bagnell, The 250 is a fortnightly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every second Saturday at 6pm GMT, with the occasional bonus episode between them.

This time, Roman Polanski’s Chinatown.

When a seemingly routine investigation into spousal infidelity evolves into a political scandal, private investigator J.J. Gittes finds himself navigating the dark underworld of thirties Los Angeles. Sinister conspiracies, local politics, private ownership of public utilities. As Gittes digs deeper and deeper, he uncovers the rotten foundations upon which the city was built.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 127th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Star Trek: Voyager – Fair Trade (Review)

In theory, Fair Trade is precisely the episode that Star Trek: Voyager needs right now.

From the outset, the show has struggled with several major problems. Superficially, Voyager has struggled to distinguish the Delta Quadrant from the Alpha Quadrant, to the point that the Kazon felt like low-rent Klingons and the various aliens-of-the-week seemed largely indistinguishable from the aliens-of-the-week featured on the sibling shows. More fundamentally, the show failed to conjure an air of mystery and intrigue about the region. Everything about the show felt too safe, right down to the characters. This was a show where terrorists became model officers.

Venting plasma...

Venting plasma…

Fair Trade feels like it should offer the perfect remedy to all of this. The opening scenes find Voyager brushing up against “the Nekrit Expanse.” It is a region of space that is pointedly different and alien. Neelix has no idea what lies beyond. The sensors cannot penetrate it. Voyager is forced to dock at a local space station to take supplies, one crowded with aliens of multiple species engaged in shady dealings. More than that, the episode hinges on the neglected character of Neelix. It returns to early undeveloped suggestions the Neelix is not all he claims to be.

However, in practice, Fair Trade is disappointing. The episode lacks the courage of its convictions, both as a script of itself and as clear demarcation within the third season. It is a show rich with promise that offers up any number of intriguing ideas, but lacks the courage necessary to follow through on them.

In a bit of a Wix.

In a bit of a Wix.

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Non-Review Review: All About Eva

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2015.

All About Eva has ambition to burn.

It is a modern film noir set against the backdrop of the Irish racing scene, filmed mostly on a single stately country home and with a functional budget that seems minuscule even by the standards of independent Irish film. The fact that it exists is a testament to everybody involved. The fact that it comes very close to working is icing on the cake. All About Eva is a very stylish piece of work that very clearly has a lot of ambition behind it. It is a trashy revenge saga that is produced with a very high level of competence. In particular, director Ferdia MacAnna does great work.

However, ambition is only so much. As good as the film looks relative to its budget, there are a number of key structural flaws that cannot support the weight heaped upon them. Most obviously, All About Eva is an attempt to hark back to the classic femme fatale movies, with a seductive and manipulative young woman infiltrating a racing dynasty so as to dismantle it from the inside. All About Eva lives or dies based on that central performance. Newcomer Susan Walsh simply does not have the ability to carry the movie around her.

To be fair, Walsh is let down by an uneven and scattered script, which revels in cliché. All About Eva is a film that seems wryly aware of its own trite plot beats and dialogue, but that self-awareness can only carry a film so far. There is a point where homage is not enough to sustain a genre pastiche. All About Eva comes surprising close to working, and has an energy that is almost infectious. Unfortunately, it cannot make it over the line.

allabouteva

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Star Trek: Voyager – Ex Post Facto (Review)

This September and October, we’re taking a look at the jam-packed 1994 to 1995 season of Star Trek, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Check back daily for the latest review.

Ex Post Facto has a lot of problems.

It has logical problems. It has plot problems. It has character problems. It is difficult to fit within the framework of Star Trek: Voyager. It feels like a retread of A Matter of Perspective, a less-than-successful effort from the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation that Michael Piller produced. It is a bit of a mess, a bit too casual about everything, a bit too contrived.

And yet, despite all this, it almost works. Almost.

"This isn't the head massage I asked for!"

“This isn’t the head massage I asked for!”

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