Originally published in The Irish Post, September 3rd, 2013.
Domhnall Gleeson creases up, eyes widening and shoulders shaking as he tries to suppress a bellyaching laugh and avoid spraying the room with the mouthful of water he’s just gulped back. I have just asked the young actor whether he is ready to be hailed as the next big rom-com dreamboat – what’s so funny about that? – but a line in his new film About Time may go some way to explaining his mirth. By modern standards, Gleeson is, perhaps, “too pale, too skinny, too ginger”, as his character puts it, to be your stereotypical leading man. Continue reading »
Let’s face it: decent modern horror films are hard to come by. Striking the balance between tension, genuine scares and an original storyline is something that has largely eluded mainstream cinema in recent years, which explains why a lot of horror films fail to make it to the big screen and are fast-tracked to DVD before you can say ‘I’ll just go and check the basement out’.
James Wan has had mixed form up to this point. The Australian is best known for his role as co-creator of the dreadful Saw franchise (and director of its first installment); movies that were huge money-spinners, movies that caught the imagination of the multiplex masses, but not exactly the sort of art that a filmmaker would want to have quoted on their epitaph.
And then along came Insidious. A film that impudently borrowed from the golden age of horror – from the Hammer-style title to the superb Bernard Herrmann-esque score and sound effects – it was a revelation of the modern genre. Not without its flaws, certainly (the last third in particular saw the story majorly lose its way), but it was nevertheless a compelling narrative about a young family whose son’s talent for ‘astral projection’ leaves his body exposed to a host of malevolent ghosts and a scary red-faced demon, all of which want to possess him. Far-fetched? I’ll say, and that’s without going into ‘The Further’, the purgatory-style no-man’s-land where the dead supposedly wander around waiting for an ‘in’ back to the world of the living. Still, the film’s slow-building, creepy nature and multitude of clever jumps made for a hugely entertaining mainstream horror and Wan’s promising work on The Conjuring earlier this year only served to heighten the anticipation for this sequel.
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I’m a bad blogger, please forgive me.
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So it’s nose to the grindstone for most people today (for me, yesterday – nothing like waking up to an email wondering where a feature that you should have filed a week ago is), but most of my Christmas – the part that wasn’t spent eating too much and drinking too much – was spent in a lovely lazy bubble of film- and TV series-watching. In general, most of my spare time is eaten up by music, so it was good to get some quality screen time in. Continue reading »
Another catch-up post. Apologies. I really just want an excuse to prove that I can spell ‘miscellaneous’.
The past few weeks have been a bit crazy for me, but I’ve managed to get to a few gigs and listen to a few albums (behaviour becoming of a music journalist, I’m sure you’ll agree), and even got to the cinema for the first time in months. Continue reading »
Originally published in The Irish Times Magazine on Saturday, October 16th 2010
EVER HEARD OF Meiert Avis? Didn’t think so. How about Steve Barron? No? Well, jot those names down for your next pub quiz, because there may just be a question about Irish-born music-video directors. Avis is the man behind U2’s early videos ( I Will Follow, The Unforgettable Fire, With Or Without You ) as well as videos by some of the biggest names in music, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan included. Barron directed two of the most famous music videos of the 1980s – the revolutionary animation/live-action crossover Take On Me , and Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean – as well as videos by The Human League, Whitney Houston and David Bowie.
Yet Avis and Barron aside, there has never really been a tradition of innovative music video-making in Ireland. Now, however, thanks to the internet and the easy availability of high-end equipment, there are a group of young Irish filmmakers starting to make a splash. Continue reading »
I couldn’t fall asleep until a ridiculous hour last night, and for some reason ended up wandering around the deserted social network graveyard that is my MySpace account. I never use it anymore, but it was fun reading back through the messages (once I’d spent a good ten minutes cracking the password). Continue reading »
Hi folks. Sorry I’ve been a bit rubbish at posting lately. House-hunting, work, and life in general have been getting in the way. I’m working on finishing my ‘Albums of the Noughties’ series and that should be up over the next week or so. In the meantime, I’ve been to some gigs over the last few weeks that I’ve enjoyed. Continue reading »