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178. Snatch – World Tour 2020, w/ When Irish Eyes Are Watching (#100)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guests Alex Towers and Sean Driver from When Irish Eyes Are Watching, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Guy Ritchie’s Snatch.

Two low-level grifters looking to buy a caravan from some Irish travellers. One international thief lying low in London after an Antwerp job. A former Soviet secret agent. A reliable Jewish fence and his American counterpart. A tough old gangland geezer who isn’t used to not having things go his way. A diamond. A dog. And the chaos that ensues when all of these elements collide in the most unexpected of ways.

At time of recording, it was ranked 100th on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Star Trek: Voyager – Fair Haven (Review)

Well, at least it’s better than Up the Long Ladder.

We’ll take what we can get.

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Non-Review Review: Black ’47

This film was seen as part of the Audi Dublin International Film Festival 2018.

Black ’47 is a powerful piece of pulp storytelling, a bold and daring window into an under-served chapter of Irish history.

Directed by Lance Daly, working from a story derived by a variety of writers, Black ’47 is essentially a western set against the background of the Irish Famine. Of course, the reality is much more nuanced than that simple description would suggest, but it provides a suitable starting point for discussion. Indeed, all the genre elements are in place; a soldier returns home from war to discover the horrors that have befallen his family, and decides that there shall be no justice on earth save for that which he might exact by his own hand.

Black ’47 is a very sparse and rugged film. It would be a surprise if the nominal lead character, Feeney, speaks more than one hundred words. Indeed, at one point he explicitly rejects the English language as a tool of communication. The landscape of the film is rough and cold, the audience feeling the chill that runs through the film and almost smelling the decay in the air. Black ’47 reflects its rough and wild settings, and the characters who have been shaped and moulded by those surroundings.

Black ’47 is an effective piece of storytelling.

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Non-Review Review: The Stag

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

On the surface of it, The Stag feels like an Irish version of The Hangover; a “lads going wild before the wedding” comedy that thrives on men behaving badly and even features the bride’s brother as a reluctant invitee and breakout character. Of course, there are any number of differences – substituting the wilds of rural Ireland for the glitzy glamour of Vegas, the decision to make the groom a main character more than a plot device, the nature of the breakout character’s anti-social personality – but The Stag essentially takes a tried and true comedy template and runs with it.

thestag

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Star Trek: The Next Generation – Up the Long Ladder (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.

It’s been a while since Star Trek: The Next Generation has been openly offensive. So, just in case you’d forgotten that this was the same production staff that gave us “Riker beams down to a planet of beautiful women and screws their heads on straight” or “Troi’s womb is occupied by an alien intelligence, isn’t that cute?”, the writing staff have conspired to remind us that just because prejudice doesn’t exist in the 24th century (tell that to the Ferengi!) doesn’t mean that it can’t exist inside a late twentieth century writing room.

Begosh and begorrah! The space Oirish are coming!

"Wait, we're actually filming this?"

“Wait, we’re actually filming this?”

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Watch! A Belfast Story Trailer!

We have a trailer for the new Irish film A Belfast Story, releasing in Irish cinemas on September 20th. Starring Colm Meaney, it’s an exploration of the Troubles which plagued Northern Ireland, and one man dealing with the consequences of that horrific violence. I’m always glad to support Irish film, so check out the trailer below and let me know what you make of it. I’m a big Colm Meaney fan, so I am very much looking forward to it.

I also got some interesting viral stuff in the mail, which I’ll try to share early next week. I think it’s great to see an Irish movie being so aggressive in terms of marketing, and so forthright and assertive.

Non-Review Review: interMission

interMission is a fantastic piece of Irish cinema, a broadly accessible exploration of intersecting and overlapping life in Dublin with a witty script lending the film some distinctly Irish flavour. The structure owes a little bit of a debt to Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction or even Altman’s Short Cuts, capturing a variety of perspectives on life from a reasonably-sized ensemble who only occasionally overlap with one another. It’s a funny, clever, well-acted and well-directed slice of life.

Drive of your life...

Drive of your life…

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My 12 for ’12: The Muppets & Everything You Need, Right In Front Of You

I’m counting down my top twelve films of the year between now and January, starting at #12 and heading to #1. I expect the list to be a little bit predictable, a little bit surprising, a little bit of everything. All films released in the UK and Ireland in 2012 qualify. Sound off below, and let me know if I’m on the money, or if I’m completely off the radar. And let me know your own picks or recommendations.

This is #3

I can’t help but feel that The Muppets probably aren’t quite as popular over here as they really should be. After all, we had to wait about three months for the eventual release of the film in Irish cinemas. Even later this year, following all the publicity around the recent revival, I was only able to find one cinema in Dublin doing three screening of The Muppets’ Christmas Carol, despite the highly-publicised re-release. However, perhaps I shouldn’t take their international publicity for granted either. After all, Jason Segal spent six or seven years trying to guide everybody’s favourite felt performers to the big screen again.

Still, The Muppets demonstrated that the gang had lost absolutely nothing in transitioning out of retirement and back to the screen, demonstrating that all these sorts of characters need is a bit of sincere love and affection.

muppets6

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Watch! Hardy Bucks Trailer!

It’s always nice to see an Irish success story. I can be quite tough on Irish television when the occasion calls for it. Any system that makes it easier to pitch a show like Father Ted or Moone Boy to a British broadcaster must be flawed in a significant way. Despite that, I’ll readily concede we do a lot of things quite well. Apparently Love/Hate is doing quite well abroad, and I’ve always been proud of our current affairs coverage. It’s also nice to see one of our shows making the leap to the big screen. Hardy Bucks has been one of the great success stories of Irish television. It was found during the 2009 Storyland competition and ended up going from strength-to-strength on Irish television. While it’s not quite my own cup of tea, it’s hard not to admire the charm and energy put into it – as well as the fact that it has managed to make quite an impact on Irish pop culture.

So the move to the big screen is certainly an interesting development, and I hope the show’s success continues. More popular comedy and diversity in Irish television is inherently a good thing. The trailer is a little bit too much at points – seeing a cheesily earnest American voice-over applied to an “Irish men behaving badly in Europe” comedy feels a little… dissonant – but the trick isn’t so much in the concept as the execution. I’m curious to see how it pays off. It’ll be opening here in February next year.

Non-Review Review: Stitches

Stitches is an interesting little Irish film. Featuring an interesting set up to parody the conventions of the supernatural slasher film, the movie finds itself falling prey to them just a little bit too often. Irish writer and director Conor McMahon creates a credible gory teenage bloodbath, but doesn’t really find a narrative hook to engage the audience. Never entirely sure how ironic it is trying to be, Stitches is a solid effort, albeit one far from greatness.

Not clowning around…

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