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New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2018) #33!

Bringing us completely up to date with the Scannain podcast, it’s this week’s episode!

This week, I join Grace Duffy, Ronan Doyle and Luke Dunne from Film in Dublin for a jam-packed discussion of the week in film news. There’s a lot of great stuff here, covering everything from the closure of the Village Voice to the strong feelings that Luke and I had towards the Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg action vehicle Mile 22. It’s also a big week for new releases, including Bart Layton’s American Animals, Corin Hardy’s The Nun and Lance Daly’s Black ’47. The latter of which will be the largest Irish cinematic release ever, screening in one hundred cinemas North and South.

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

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Non-Review Review: Mile 22

Mile 22 is an intriguing and muddled piece of work.

Judged by the standards of contemporary filmmaking, Mile 22 is a deeply frustrating and disjointed piece of cinema. In some ways, it seems strange to describe it as a movie. It is a film with one of the most blatant and transparent sequel hooks in recent memory, cutting to the credits at what feels like the end of the second act. This sense of confusion and bewilderment is only increased by Berg’s direction of action sequences, which are disorienting to the point where they come close to incomprehensibility.

Wahl-to-Wahl action.

However, while these elements add up to an underwhelming cinematic experience, there is something strangely compelling in the way that Berg stitches together this relatively straightforward narrative. The chaos at the heart of the movie makes it hard to enjoy the action sequences, but offers an endearing frenetic energy that sustains the film. There are moments when Mile 22 borders on the self-aware, particularly as at careens towards a climax that seems to have been reverse-engineered from two separate Mark Wahlberg memes.

The results are baffling, but fun to pick at.

Picking up the pace.

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Non-Review Review: Daddy’s Home

Daddy’s Home is fairly mediocre comedy, despite the promise. In some respects, the film recalls very successful Will Ferrell vehicles. The premise of the film is fairly solid, with father and step-father competing with one another for the love of their children; it loosely resembles a middle-aged version of the awkward immaturity that made Step-Brothers such fun. The film features the unlikely comedic team of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, two actors who had played very well off one another in The Other Guys.

The problem is simply one of calibration. Daddy’s Home struggles to pitch itself at the right level, never finding the right balance between sincere and cynical. It seems trite to complain that the protagonists of a modern comedy are unlikable or unsympathetic, but Daddy’s Home never feels like it finds an emotional core. This is not a fatal flaw of itself, but it becomes a problem when Daddy’s Home cannot supply a steady stream of laughs.

daddyshome Continue reading

Non-Review Review: Ted 2

Ted 2 is a Seth McFarlane movie that ends with an extended sequence set at New York Comic Con, that hub of nerd culture populated by people dressed like any number of iconic pop culture characters.

As such, it seems perfectly reasonable to describe Ted 2 as the quintessential McFarlane movie, for better or for worse.

Unbearable?

Unbearable?

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Non-Review Review: Transformers 4 – Age of Extinction

Transformers: Age of Extinction is not a movie. It is a pneumatic drill. It is sustained bombardment. It is an attempt to force the audience into submission by bounding them. There isn’t a moment of the film where Michael Bay allows silence or mood. Even the establishing shots are offered through swooping camera shots – up, down, in, out. There’s no sense of place or time or character. It’s an extended music video, set to the percussion of cannon fire.

A Prime time?

A Prime time?

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Non-Review Review: Broken City

Broken City seems like an ironic title for a movie that seems to take so much pride in being functional. Broken City is a political investigative thriller, a subgenre that has produced any number of genuinely classic films. However, while Broken City doesn’t really excel in any true sense, it does take a great deal of care in making sure that everything works, that everything is assembled with enough care, and that there’s no real discordant note to be heard. Broken City isn’t a very good film on its own merits, but it manages to avoid being an overly bad one.

Broken marriage...

Broken marriage…

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12 Movie Moments of 2012: Shared Pop Culture History (Ted)

As well as counting down the top twelve films, I’m also going to count down my top twelve movie related “moments” of 2012. The term “moment” is elastic, so expect some crazy nonsense here. And, as usual, I accept that my taste is completely absurd, so I fully expect you to disagree. With that in mind, this is #2

When it comes to end of year “best of” lists, comedy seems to draw the short straw as a genre. Like some of the less earnest genres, comedy is far too easily overlooked in favour of something more “worthy” of attention. Seth MacFarlane’s Ted has been something of a contentious film this year. Depending on where you sit, the film is either the epitome of everything wrong with American comedy, or it was a refreshingly profane yet heartfelt breath of fresh air. I lean more towards the latter than the former, and I appreciated the way that it played to MacFarlane’s strengths – concealing a surprisingly sincere sentiment behind a cynical and glib exterior.

As such, it’s no surprise that the most effective sequence in the film – the opening credits – managed to play to both that side of MacFarlane and also to his wonderful ability to channel pop culture as something of a shared collective history. Call me sappy, but there was something wonderful about seeing Ted interact with Johnny Carson and watching Ted and John queue for The Phantom Menace in costume, that created a tangible sense of back story between the characters.

ted10

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