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New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2019) #2!

It’s time for the latest Scannain podcast!

This week, I join Ronan Doyle and Jay Coyle to discuss the week in film news. But first, we talk about the films that we’ve watched this week, and what a bumper selection that runs the gamut from Wim Wenders’ Trick of the Light to films like Gotti and United Passions. There’s also an extended chat about the impact and legacy of Cloud Atlas, and the work of the Wachowski Sisters in general.

It’s also a bumper week for film news, with the looming Oscar nominations, the Screen Ireland 2019 production slate, the American release of Maze, the South by Southwest premiere of Extra Ordinary, the announcement of Jason Reitman’s Ghostbusters sequel, and the Dublin International Film Festival Fantastic Flix lineup.

The top ten:

  1. Creed II
  2. Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet
  3. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  4. Bohemian Rhapsody
  5. Aquaman
  6. Bumblebee
  7. The Upside
  8. The Favourite
  9. Stan and Ollie
  10. Mary Poppins Returns

New releases:

You can download the episode here, or listen to it below.

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Non-Review Review: Maze

Maze is a gritty well-constructed psychological thriller, documenting the famous escape of thirty-eight inmates from the eponymous prison in 1983.

Written and directed by Stephen Burke, focuses its attention on two central characters who serve as opposite sides of the same coin. Larry Marley is a veteran member of the IRA, who survived hunger strike and is looked for a cause around which he might rally the movement. Gordon Close is the warden in charge of maintaining order in a prison packed with murderers and terrorists. Both men are trapped, whether by iron bars, concrete walls or political ideology.

Burke infuses Maze with a powerful cynicism, a clear frustration and contempt for a cycle of violence and hatred that perpetuates itself. The prison environment becomes a metaphor for the world created by the authorities and paramilitaries, a climate in which both sides serve as wardens and prisoners, ensuring that nobody is ever truly free. Maze is constructed as a very sterile film, largely desaturated, with Burke keeping the camera steady and often at a distance.

Maze is perhaps a little bit too conventional in places, a little too anchored in the routine expected from a prison break film and a little heavy-handed in its symbolism and thematic ruminations. While Burke avoids getting drawn into either side of this battle of wills, resisting the urge to glamourise or romanticise the escapees, there are points at which Maze feels a little too straightforward, trapped by the expectations of this sort of narrative. Still, the result is a thoughtful and well put-together film.

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