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New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2018) #36!

It’s time for the latest Scannain podcast!

This week, I join Jason Coyle, Grace Duffy and Ronan Doyle to discuss the week in film. As usual, we talk about the top ten and the new releases, as well as what we’ve watched this week. In this episode, we discuss the appeal of Tony Scott’s (arguably) underrated late film Domino, which Jay claims as a cinematic classic and Ronan watched while hung over. We talk about the true horror lurking in Ghost Stories. We debate whether Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation is a Sacha Baron Cohen show as a horror movie.

We also talk about the films that the “young ones” will be watching as part of the back-to-school programme at the Irish Film Institute, the ongoing Dublin Festival of History and the first look deal between Element Pictures and Fox Searchlight that speaks to the viability of Irish film as award fare.

In terms of the top ten, there’s in-depth discussions of both Black ’47 and The Little Stranger, all four panelists having seen those films.

The top ten:

  1. Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation
  2. The Predator
  3. Christopher Robin
  4. The Little Stranger
  5. Mile 22
  6. The Nun
  7. A Simple Favour
  8. Crazy Rich Asians
  9. Black ’47
  10. The House With A Clock In Its Walls

New releases:

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

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New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2018) #35!

It’s time for the latest Scannain podcast!

This week, I join Jason Coyle and Ronan Doyle to discuss the week in film. As usual, we talk about the top ten and the new releases, as well as what we’ve watched this week. In this episode, the celebration of Agnès Varda continues, dovetailing into the release of her new film Faces Places. We also discuss the Toronto International Film Festival, the masculinity of Clint Eastwood, the strange reception of A Wrinkle in Time and the appeal of the classic Disney animated canon.

We also mark the passing of Irish film critic Stephen Coffey (who wrote under the name of Gar Cremona). Details of the memorial service can be found here, and his books are available for sale here.

The top ten:

  1. King of Thieves
  2. Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation
  3. Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again
  4. Christopher Robin
  5. BlacKkKlansman
  6. The House With A Clock In Its Walls
  7. The Predator
  8. Crazy Rich Asians
  9. The Nun
  10. Black ’47

New releases:

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

 

Non-Review Review: The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger could do with being a little stranger.

Gothic horror stories about haunted houses are often about more than just the building or the estate itself. They often serve as something at once larger and smaller; a prism through which the storyteller might examine both the society around the haunted house and the family unit trapped within. This is true of most haunted house stories, no matter where or when they are set. The Amityville Horror is about much broader familial anxieties than a mere spectre.

Stranger Things…

At the same time, it feels particularly true when applied to the more traditional and old-fashioned gothic haunted house stories, the kind of tales about old family estates in the middle of nowhere, that had once served to anchor political and economic power in a particular area, but had since watched modernity pass them by. These are the sorts of creepy houses frequently glimpsed in period pieces or older stories, whether in tales set in the England of Wuthering Heights or the New England of Edgar Allan Poe.

The Little Stranger belongs to this particularly strain of haunted house horror, unfolding on a once grand estate that is slowly surrendering itself to a rapidly-changing world. It is the story of a house in decay and decline, falling apart as it struggles to find its place in a world that might slowly shed the trappings of class hierarchies and where power might no longer be anchored exclusively in those families wealthy enough to own and maintain these grand estates.

A sorry estate of affairs…

The Little Stranger works better as a mood than as a story, a slowly unravelling portrait of a household coming face-to-face with its own obsolescence, unsure both of whether it can do anything to arrest this collapse or even whether it wants to. The tale maintains a steady sense of unease across its runtime, largely down to a tremendous performance from Domhnall Gleeson as a character who remains ambiguous and unsettling even as he positions himself at the centre of the narrative.

The Little Stranger suffers from a fairly conventional and predictable plot, with little novel or insightful to say, relying on a series of revelations that are quite clear even fifteen minutes into the two-hour runtime. The Little Stranger is a little too familiar for its own good, a little too comfortable and sedate to really pack the necessary punch.

Farraday is far away.
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