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New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2019) #24!

It’s time for the Scannain podcast!

This week, I join Jay Coyle and Grace Duffy to discuss what we watched, the week in film news, the top ten and the new releases. Grace has watched ThievesMissing and My Own Private Idaho. Jay has watched A Day in the Country, Without Name, Craig’s Wife, The Loved Ones and One Sings, The Other Doesn’t. I have watched The Dark Knight Rises, Sanjuro and Lone Wolf and Cub in Sword of Vengeance. There is also an extended discussion on the merits (or lack thereof) of Batman Forever.

In terms of film news, the Galway Film Fleadh continues to roll out announcements – including its slate of masterclasses and an unexpected Cagney and Lacey celebration with Tyne Daly. The IFI is hosting a number of seasons in July – one celebrating the work of Robert Bresson and also the annual Family Festival. Meanwhile, the Lighthouse and Palais Galway are hosting a season of coming of age favourites.

The top ten:

  1. Late Night
  2. John Wick: Chapter III – Parabellum
  3. Detective Pikachu
  4. Diego Maradona
  5. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
  6. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  7. Rocketman
  8. The Secret Lives of Pets II
  9. Men in Black International
  10. Aladdin

New releases:

You can listen to the podcast directly here.

 

Watch! Spielberg’s Lincoln Trailer…

The first full trailer for Spielberg’s Lincoln has appeared on line. I have to admit, I’m looking forward to this one. I actually liked his two films from last year much mroe than most – while neither came that close to making the end-of-year best-of list, I thought they were solid pieces of film-making for what they were. I’m hoping for a bit more from Lincoln, and I guess time will tell, but Daniel Day Lewis looks an inspired choice.

Let me know what you think.

Non-Review Review: Hope Springs

Hope Springs is a fairly unambitious romantic comedy that is very clearly chasing the silver dollar. Featuring two veteran performers playing a couple struggling through a mid-life crisis, Hope Springs feels like an attempt to demonstrate that the careers of romantic leads don’t necessarily end at forty. It is, on that level, quite pleasing to watch – there’s a proud sense that David Frankel is refusing to leave hum-drum romantic comedy to young actors who seem barely out of puberty. However, the problem is inherent in the premise. Hope Springsproves that romantic comedies aren’t exclusive to younger casts, but it also demonstrates tat very few of the familiar quirks, conceits and plot devices are that much more endearing when delivered by actors old enough to remember a world before mobile telephones.

Well, they’ve made their bed…

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J. Michael Straczynski’s (and Mike Deotado’s) Run on the Amazing Spider-Man – The Best of Spider-Man, Vol. 4-5 (Review/Retrospective)

Opinion is somewhat divided on J. Michael Straczynski’s Amazing Spider-Man run. the general consensus is that started strong, but that it lost its way somewhere along, before culminating in the much-maligned One More Day arc that effectively wiped decades of character development for Peter Parker and his cast. More importantly for the author of One More Day, it also completely wiped out a large volume of his contributions to the character – which is a bit of a shame. Straczynski’s Amazing Spider-Man would get tied up in various crossover “event” storylines like The Other, Civil War and Back in Black, to the point where Straczynski’s run went from being driven by the author’s own ideas to being dictated by editorial whim.

The start of the writer’s work with artist Mike Deodato seems to be where Straczynski was placed on a somewhat tighter editorial leash, with Sins Past mangled in the back-and-forth between author and editorial, perhaps a sign of things to come. It’s telling that it remains one of the most controversial facets of Straczynski’s run, even today.

Is it still a blast?

Note: This review or retrospective covers Straczynski’s run with artist Mike Deodato up until the “Other” crossover event. It doesn’t take up the full fourth hardcover, but it starts with the Sins Past story arc. Just so you know.

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Non-Review Review: Men in Black 2

I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of any of the Men in Black films. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike, it’s just that they tend to be enjoyable and entertaining… and yet completely forgettable. Of the bunch, Men in Black II (or MIIB) is probably the most forgettable. Again, it’s not that it’s terrible – although some elements flat-out don’t work – just that there’s not really anything exceptional about it either. It’s a reasonably competent comedy adventure, even if it’s never an especially good one.

Black up there a minute…

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Non-Review Review: Fast Five

Fast Five reminds me a lot of the kinds of cars that its leads drive. Now, please excuse me if the metaphor is a bit clunky. I know nothing of cars. However, whenever we cut to inside one of these enhanced driving machines, it’s clear that virtually every unnecessary component has been stripped out in order to make room for more relevant pieces of equipment. The passenger seat, for example, has been removed and replaced with some canisters I can only assume allow the car to go faster. In many ways, Fast Five feels a bit like that. I knows exactly the film that it wants to be, and it knows exactly what it needs to be that sort of film. Anything else – whether wit, sophistication or character development – is all just dead weight between fast one-liners, impressive action sequences and effective stunt work. And, I am not ashamed to admit, I actually quite enjoyed it on its own terms.

Let’s Rock ‘n’ Roll…

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Non-Review Review: Men in Black 3

Men in Black 3 is a fine film. Like Men in Black and Men in Black 2, it’s a perfectly entertaining piece of popcorn entertainment if you’re willing to just go along with it. It’s not superb, it’s not exceptional, but it’s not bad either. It’s a decent movie. It manages to probably offer some better moments than the earlier two films, but these are averaged out by some painful deficiencies. You lose Tommy Lee Jones for most of the runtime, but you gain Josh Brolin. That’s a fairly reasonable trade, even if Brolin and Smith don’t share the same chemistry. You get the same wonderful production design, this time heightened by a sixties setting, but a plot that threatens to evaporate if you think about it too hard and any number of developments that are far too easy to predict. Nothing is truly fantastic, but nothing is exceptionally terrible. It just sort of is.

Putting the star in 69…

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