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Non-Review Review: King Arthur – Legend of the Sword

The most striking aspect of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is how little interest it has in being a “King Arthur” film.

King Arthur is the latest blockbuster from Guy Ritchie, and contains much of the director’s signature style. Indeed, King Arthur works best when it indulges these stylistic quirks, as cockney characters construct winding non-linear narratives that double back upon (and trip over) one another in a decidedly playful manner. The best and most enjoyable segments in King Arthur feel almost throwaway, as if they might easily have been lifted from (or perhaps even dropped into) a completely different feature film without causing any significant problems.

Set in stone.

King Arthur runs into trouble when it comes to the meat-and-potatoes business of constructing a blockbuster franchise-starter. To be fair, the formula has been relatively well established to this point, with audiences very familiar with the expected plot beats. Even still, King Arthur has little enthusiasm for hitting or expanding these beats. Many of the bigger moments in King Arthur feel like an exercise in box-ticking, elements that exist largely because they are expected in a film like this and with a minimum amount of set-up or panache.

The result is a deeply uneven film that feels very much at odds with itself and no real engagement with the movie’s central driving narrative. King Arthur works best as a series of engaging diversions, but underwhelms as a functional narrative in its own right.

Going out in a blade of glory.

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Jameson Cult Film Club: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels & A Talk With Nick Moran (JDIFF 2015)

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

One of the biggest losses of the dissolution of the long-standing relationship between Jameson and the Dublin International Film Festival this year (aside from the fact that “J-diff” is a pretty catchy acronym) is the fact that the Jameson Cult Film Club seems unlikely to be held as part of future festivals. The Jameson Cult Film Club is a wonderfully fun and casual celebration of cult classic cinema in a rich and atmospheric environment, often accompanied with very clever theatrical flourishes.

There are quite a few events hosted each year, but it always felt appropriate that perhaps the highest profile event was staged during the eleven-day film festival, as just one example of how film seemed to take over the capitol for that week-and-a-bit of cinematic fun. Nevertheless, what might just be the final Jameson Cult Film Festival companion piece went down spectacularly well; with a screening of Guy Ritchie’s low-budget debut caper film, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Jameson Cult Film Club 1

A delight for the audience – those who had seen it and those who hadn’t – the screening was accompanied by an engaging (and occasionally quite candid) interview between veteran journalist Dave Fanning and star Nick Moran. Moran – a writer and director in his own right – was on fine form, regaling the audience with stories from the production of the film, along with his own anecdotes about fame and fortune. Eager to field questions from the audience, and impressed by the thoroughness of Fanning’s research, Moran proved a natural storyteller.

Witty and self-effacing, Moran was a perfect (and sporting guest) for what turned out to be a fascinating interview.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation – Embrace the Wolf (Review)

This January and February, we’ll be finishing up our look at the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation and moving on to the third year of the show, both recently and lovingly remastered for high definition. Check back daily for the latest review.

We’ll be supplementing our coverage of the episodes with some additional materials – mainly novels and comics and films. This is one such entry. This is actually supplementary to the episode Elementary, Dear Data.

The concept behind Embrace the Wolf is quite ingenious. The execution is slightly less so. Recognising that Star Trek: The Next Generation had a recurring interest in Victorian London, in Data’s interest in Sherlock Holmes, it seemed quite logical to drop Redjac into that scenario. Redjac was the non-corporeal serial killing entity introduced in Wolf in the Fold, one of Robert Bloch’s contributions to the second season of the classic Star Trek. As part of Wolf in the Fold, and playing into Bloch’s fascination with the notorious serial killer, Redjac was explicitly identified as the spirit of Jack the Ripper. As you do

So, pairing up Data’s Sherlock Holmes with Redjac’s Jack the Ripper should make for a decidedly pulpy adventure. Unfortunately, the end result is a little generic and unsatisfying.

Wolf in the holodeck...

Wolf in the holodeck…

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Win! Tickets to the Jameson Cult Film Club Screening of Snatch, in Cork! (Closing Tomorrow)

I’m a big fan of the Jameson Cult Film Club. It’s a great excuse to celebrate cinema in a delightful unconventional way. Literally transforming the screening into a scene or location from the film,a s well as bringing key scenes to life, it’s a wonderfully awesome way to enjoy cult classics. So far, the screenings have – as far as I’m aware – been confined to Dublin. However, this time, the wonderful team behind the Jameson Cult Film Club are bringing Snatch to Cork. And we have four tickets to give away, to one lucky individual and three mates.

I’ll be closing the competition at 9am on the 23rd May 2012. Courtesy of the nice folks at the Jameson Cult Film Club, here’s an example of what’s in store.

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Non-Review Review: Safe

Safe is remarkably up-front about what it is. It’s a collection of action clichés strung out on a series of contrivances and coincidences that exist purely so Jason Statham can appear menacing and get involved in brutal fight sequences. There’s no surprise to be had in Safe, save perhaps the charm of Statham as a leading man and his wonderful chemistry with the debuting Catherine Chan. The movie’s never outside its comfort zone, but it manages to do what it sets out to do with a respectable efficiency and charm. While he does occasionally succumb to the rapid-fire editing that plague modern action movies, I think that it’s safe to say that Boaz Yakin is a much stronger director than he is a writer.

Looking for a Safe house…

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Non-Review Review: Snatch

The wonderful folks over at the Jameson Cult Film Club were polite enough to sneak me into their screening of Snatch. It was my first time attending a screening organised by the team, and I was genuinely impressed. seriously, if you live in Ireland and are a film buff, do yourself a favour and pop over to sign on up. They transformed the Tivoli Theatre into a series of sets from the film, with an open trailer park out the back, a boxing ring inside and lovely bit of flavour throughout. It really was a fantastic evening, and the crew deserve a huge amount of kudos for pulling it off in such style. Hell, they even got actors impersonating the characters to introduce the film, with a Brad Pitt impersonator telling us to turn off our phones with the help of subtitles. I honestly think it might be the closest I’ve ever been to living inside a film, and I’ve been to Disneyland.

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Non-Review Review: Sherlock Holmes

Well. I enjoyed that probably far more than I should have. If you ever wondered what Bad Boys would look like set in turn-of-the-last-century London and featuring a better director, then look no further. Although it would seem to be your typical old-fashioned action yarn in the mode of The Mummy or Shanghai Noon, the movie really works best as a time-displaced buddy cop film – or even just as a regular bromance. The movie is light, quick and entertaining. What more could you expect?

There's going to be bloody 'ell to pay...

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