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Non-Review Review: Dennis Rodman’s Big Bang in Pyongyang

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2015.

Dennis Rodman’s Big Bang in Pyongyang tells a story that would seem almost too absurd or too far-fetched if it were a scripted drama. The documentary charts the former NBA star as he attempts to organise a friendly basketball game between North Korea and the United States. The idea came from Kim Jong-Un, who had struck up an unlikely friendship with Rodman during an earlier trip to the isolated dictatorship. Over December 2013 and January 2014, Rodman helped to organise the most unlikely basketball friendly in history.

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Non-Review Review: Olympus Has Fallen

It’s easy to see why Die Hard is such a popular action movie template. It’s a formula that is very hard to do wrong. Sure, you might end up with a clumsy and disjointed mess of movie, but the format of man trying to save hostages in a base under siege is so straight-forward that it’s almost always an effective vehicle for an action film. Olympus Has Fallen takes that familiar movie outline and rigidly adheres to it. After all, once you’ve figured out the formula, all you have to do is plug in a few variables and a movie practically makes itself. As compared to a boat or a train or in a stadium, Olympus Has Fallen at least has ambition. It’s Die Hard in a White House.

It’s a clumsily constructed film, one that doesn’t excel at anything and fumbles at quite a few things. However, there’s only so far you can screw up a formula and Olympus Has Fallen winds up being a watchable, if very far from exceptional, mid-tier action film.

"Look, this is what happens when terrorists attack while Bruce Willis is on holiday..."

“Look, this is what happens when terrorists attack while Bruce Willis is on holiday…”

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Non-Review Review: The Yellow Sea

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2012.

The Yellow Sea is a strange little Korean neo-noir that manages to seem impressively intimate and epicly vast, often at the very same time. Written and directed by Hong-jin Na, the movie follows a cab driver in the borderlands between North Korea, China and Russia. Severely indebted to a local crime lord, Ku-Nam finds himself assigned to assassinate a South Korean businessman. At the same time, he tries to track down his wife, who disappeared into South Korea after he paid for a rather expensive visa. The movie occasionally has a bit of bother balancing the personal side of the story with the wider crime-based elements, but it is darkly fascinating viewing, driven by Hong-jin Na’s wonderful eye for kinetic action sequences.

Myung-Ga wonders how good his insurance police is...

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