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New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2018) #9!

The new Scannain podcast covers a sad week for Irish film, one marked by the sudden (and largely unexpected) closure of Filmbase and Film Ireland on Wednesday.

That takes up the bulk of the discussion, along with the usual conversations about the top ten at Irish cinemas and the new releases coming out this bank holiday weekend. Thrilled to join Niall Murphy, Jason Coyle, Ronan Doyle and Grace Duffy to discuss all things film related.

Check it out here, or give it a listen below.


Non-Review Review: The Guard

“Good to go,” an Irish drug smuggler remarks as the plan comes together for a big delivery. His English colleague derisively remarks, “I f**king hate that. Americanisms. ‘Good to go’!” It’s hard not to read small moments like this as a bit of self-reference on the part of John Michael McDonagh, as the film takes every opportunity to reflect on the Irish fascination and digestion of American pop culture, as contrasted against the somewhat unique national character. Sparkling with witty dialogue and packed with sharply-observed commentaries on Ireland and its relationship with our bigger Atlantic cousin, The Guard is a clever little film that is well worth your time.

Once upon a time in the West...

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Happy St. Paddy’s Day: Are We Too Harsh on Irish Films?

I read an article a little while ago (which is now locked to registered users of the Irish Times) in which director Neil Jordan suggested that, as a nation, we are too kind to our own films. Not that he was complaining, as he felt that he was doing quite nicely from the somewhat softer criticism.

However, always ready to cause a minor kerfuffle (that’s not an insult – it’s one of the reasons why I like him), Irish Times film critic Donald Clarke took time out to post this observation, provoking a raft of uncomplimentary responses from his readers. Commenting on his own article, Clarke admitted that it had all been a fiendishly clever gambit on his part:

This is all very interesting stuff. I must now confess something of an ulterior motive in posting this. You would not believe — and looking at responses above you really wouldn’t — the number of Irish film-makers who believe that domestic critics are unfairly negative towards their work. I’m glad to see I was not hallucinating.

We’re all “begrudgers” you see. (Incidentally that is my least favourite word in Irish-English.)

So,  do these critics have a point? Are we all just incredibly bitter about our own national film culture? In honour of Paddy’s Day, I thought I’d share my own opinions on the matter.

Note to international readers: most Irish films do not look like this...

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Non-Review Review: Ondine

I like Neil Jordan. He’s probably the greatest Irish director, and one of the few directors who can switch back and forth between big Hollywood productions like The Brave One and quirkier Irish films like Ondine, with neither feeling particularly strange or inappropriate for its particular genre. Ondine is Jordan’s attempt at a lowkey Irish fairytale, told in a small fishing village down in Cork – calling to mind the sort of stereotypical portrayal of country life in Ireland, filled with drunkards and gossiping locals, where everyone knows everyone else and a stranger is instantly remarked upon. It’s to Jordan’s credit that the film works as well as it does. The director manages to create a genuine sense of magic and whimsy which carries a large portion of the film. However, like most magic and slight of hand, if you look too closely you’re liable to figure out that nothing’s going on.

Does Neil Jordan's latest hold water?

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Neil Jordan at Trinity College

I had the great pleasure to pop along to a discussion with Neil Jordan hosted by the University Philosophical Society in Trinity College last night. I didn’t have a pen and paper handy, but I did make a few notes on the conversation which at least offer an interesting perspective or two from the Irish autuer. The Phil website normally has recordings of event up fairly promptly, so I’ll add a link to them soon. In the meantime, there are a few interesting thoughts in what the man said.

Irish film legend...

Irish film legend...

Non-Review Review: Once

Maybe Once is that mythical “good Irish movie” that comes along roughly once every five years or so, or maybe I’m being a little soft on it, but I really enjoyed it when I caught it last night. It does have some rather glaring flaws, but it seems to work well despite them.

Tally ho(wth)...

Tally ho(wth)...

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Non-Review Review: Wide Open Spaces

I don’t know what it is about Irish cinema, but it’s very hard to get excited about. Most of our best talent seems to work overseas, which is why it’s great to get the guys behind Father Ted to come back. But it just… it doesn’t feel right. Wide Open Spaces is a perfectly average film. It isn’t side splittingly funny, but it isn’t dreadfully unfunny either. There isn’t much going on, and there are points when it feels like it’s trying too hard, but it isn’t the worst film of the year. It’s just… not very good, to be honest.

Two actors in search of a good script...

Two actors in search of a good script...

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