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My 12 for ’13: Cloud Atlas & Sheer Ambition

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 1…

cloudatlas1

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Five Minute Cloud Atlas International Trailer

This is really something. The five-minute look at Cloud Atlas, which certainly looks to be one of the most ambitious movies of the year, is here. It looks wonderfully impressive – with an epic scope that seems to span all of time and space, stories interlocked and connected. Directed by Tom Tykwer, and the Wachowski siblings, it looks like a visual feast. I have to say, this just got bumped up the must-see list. Check out the international trailer, below.

Pottering Away: Reflections on the Harry Potter franchise…

It’s quite strange, considering a movie series as opposed to its independent constituent elements. It seems like in taking in the broad tapestry of adventure allows the viewer a completely different appreciation for the story being told, especially when measured against considering each individual film on its own terms. With the Harry Potter series finally ending, I had an excuse to go back and dig through the old DVDs, watching each and every instalment in the series as a means of saying one final goodbye. However, despite the fact that some of the films may have been less impressive than others, or the fact that the plots didn’t always flow consistently from one film to the next, I still think that the eight films taken in their totality represent a rather wonderful accomplishment for all involved.

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Non-Review Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince represents a fairly significant improvement in quality from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It seems the movie franchise is finally getting a handle on this sort of serialised story-telling, as the movie serves more as a collection of sub-plots leading into Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows than it does as a story in its own right. However, there’s a sense that the series is getting a bit better at balancing all the competing demands for screentime, and it even manages to explain the title mystery, albeit in a slightly off-hand manner (almost as an after-thought).

Storm clouds are gathering over Hogwarts...

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Non-Review Review: Hot Fuzz

“You haven’t seen Bad Boys II?” a character states in complete disbelief to police man officer Nicolas Angel. I’m fairly sure that Hot Fuzz is consistently clever and entertaining even if you’re never seen a testosterone-laden big-budget explosive action cop movie, but Edgar Wright’s parody/homage is absolutely ingenious to anyone remotely familiar with the concept. At its most basic, the movie asks what would happen if you asked Michael Bay to make a balls-to-the-wall action movie in a small English village. The result might look a little bit like this, but I bet it wouldn’t be half as charming.

Timothy Dalton takes the biscuit...

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Non-Review Review: The Young Victoria

There are a few period dramas about classical nobility released every year. Most of them, such as The Dutchess are fairly bland and lifeless affairs – indeed, it’s hard to create an energy or dynamism around a world most of us have never known which is built upon self-restraint and self-control. The tendency is towards po-faced self-importance and excessive melodrama. While I would be hard pressed to describe The Young Victoria as “exciting” or “thrilling”, it is one of the better period pieces I have seen to focus on the British Royal Family, perhaps because – despite the impressive scope of its subject matter (Queen Victoria was, as the end titlecard informs us, the longest-serving monarch of Great Britain) – it remains tightly focused. It’s a story of courtship and romance, loyalty and dependency. It’s a genuinely and honestly romantic film.

Royalty and politics make strange bedfellows...

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Non-Review Review: Perrier’s Bounty

Mark O’Rowe wrote a play that I had the pleasure of seeing last year called Terminus. The piece, featuring four characters narrating sensational events occurring in and around the city of Dublin in thick Northside accents and with distracting amounts of elloquence, obviously became something of a cult hit – so much so that it returned to the Abbey (our national theatre) earlier this year. I mention this purely because O’Rowe has very much fashioned the script for this Irish film from the same cloth as his theatrical success. The same elements which I enjoyed in Terminus I enjoyed in Perrier’s Bounty, and the same elements I didn’t enjoy were just magnified by the transition to film.

Parting shots?

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