Saturday, 21 October 2017

Review: The Lego Ninjago Movie - Entertaining Family film that sees return to form for the franchise

This third installment in the Lego movie series revolves around the battle for Ninjago City which calls to action a young Master Builder Lloyd, aka the Green Ninja, along with his friends, also secret ninja warriors. Led by Master Wu, these ninja warriors must defeat the evil warlord Garmadon, who also happens to be Lloyd's dad. Pitting father against son, the epic showdown tests these willing but undisciplined ninjas as they learn to check their egos and pull together to unleash the inner power of Spinjitzu.
As a big fan of the first Lego movie but not being completely enamoured with the second, I was interested to see if firstly, this third chapter of the popular franchise was in any way a marked improvement in what I felt was a muddled second effort or indeed if this series had run it's course, having lost the novelty factor some time ago.
The good news for fans of the Lego movies is that this is undoubtedly an improvement on Lego Batman whilst not hitting the heights of the first uniquely imaginative and entertaining film.
Screenwriters Bob Logan and Paul Fisher keep it simple with a barrage of gags largely taking precedence over plot returning to what made the series so popular in the first place.
The animation, as the audience has come to expect, at this stage, is superb and the whole production is visually stunning.
There are some downsides however as with the originality of the first film now being a distant memory it's hard to visualise where to next for the series. It also(as expected) at times simply looks like a LEGO advertisement with emphasis on the product as opposed to the feature production itself.
In general though, The Lego Ninjago Movie is an entertaining enough family film , that while may be a bit too loud and brash for younger members of the family is nonetheless a rather fun way to spend ninety minutes out of the elements!

Friday, 20 October 2017

What movies to watch this weekend?

In the Cinema:

Thor Ragnorak:
Much previewed and following the usual fanfare this latest marvel feature sees Chris Hemsworth return to the role he has made his own. Expect much of the same with awesome effects and thrilling action sequences aplenty (with a few gags thrown in for good measure) -  which is not a bad way to spend two hours or so in the cinema!

At Home: 

Spiderman: The Homecoming:
With a new cast, new director and a third bite at the Spiderman apple, this reboot thankfully got a new lease of life. Highly entertaining high octane blockbuster that should not disappoint. Read my full review here.

On Telly

The Iceman (Channel 4 Saturday 21st October 23:35pm)
A true life crime drama that largely succeeds due to a strong turn from the excellent Michael Shannon. This film could have done with a stronger director and script but Shannon holds it all together in one of his most mesmerizing performances to date. Recommended!

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Classic Movies Revisited - All About Eve

Its says a lot about Joseph L. Mankiewicz's All About Eve that 67 years after it's initial release it still holds up as one of the finest examples comic dramas ever shown on screen. It is a film that can be viewed as the rule book for aspiring screenwriters, the swift notes for student actors and a timely lesson to all film fans that a well told parable, with a smart dialogue and talented cast wins hands down over any CGI effects, camera tricks or show stopping stunts that technology can muster up.
Based on the story The Wisdom of Eve by Mary Orr, All About Eve is an elegantly bitchy backstage story revolving around aspiring actress Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter). Tattered and forlorn, Eve shows up in the dressing room of Broadway mega-star Margo Channing (Bette Davis), weaving a melancholy life story to Margo and her friends. Taking pity on the girl, Margo takes Eve as her personal assistant. Before long, it becomes apparent that naive Eve is a Machiavellian conniver who cold-bloodily uses Margo, her director Bill Sampson (Gary Merill), Lloyd's wife Karen (Celeste Holm), and waspish critic Addison De Witt (George Sanders) to rise to the top of the theatrical heap.
Thematically multi-layered, this sharp and witty written film  won 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and a Best Supporting Actor for the magnificent George Sanders.
In fact it has the unique honour of seeing two actresses and two actors nominated in the Best Actor/Best Actress category at the Academy Awards - a feat that has not been repeated since.
Unsullied by the demands and technology of modern cinema, this classic Hollywood tale is a wonderful insight to the backstabbing backstage of Broadway as the heavy weight bout between these two divas comes fuelled with poisonous yet witty dialogue in a timely reminder that as the cliche goes "the don't make em like they used to"!
All About Eve is currently available on Netflix.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

5 great films on show at the 18th Kerry Film Festival

This Thursday sees the beginning 18th year of the award winning Kerry Film Festival which has a crammed programme of quality features, shorts and events over the four days. Whilst I would encourage all film fans to travel to Killarney to experience the magic of such a prestigious event there are some simply unmissable films on show and I have put together a list of 5 such films. It is worth noting however that there is plenty of exceptional films on show aside of these 5 at the Kerry Film Festival and it's well worth checking out for further details).

5.The Crest - Thursday 19th Oct 20:45pm Cinema Killarney
The opening feature of the festival and directed by Dir. Mark Christopher Covino this magnificent film tells the tale of two descendants of an Irish king journey to an island where he once presided - not to reclaim the land, but to surf the waves. They meet for the first time in Ireland on a quest to explore their shared heritage, learn what has been passed down to them from those who came before, and surf the waters of their ancestors.This is a story of family, immigration and the value of tradition and culture.
Booking for this film can be made at :

4.The Farthest - Friday 20th Oct 11:00am Cinema Killarney
Directed by Emer Reynolds, winner of KFF Maureen O’Hara Award for 2017,
this feature documentary is a visually stunning and heartfelt depiction of the Voyager Space Probe and the people who dedicated their lives to reaching out to the cosmos and looking outside of ourselves and continues to encapsulate audeineces worldwide.
Booking for this film can be made at :

3. Score A Film Music Documentary - Friday 20th Oct 8pm St Marys Church of the Sloes 
A must for anyone with an interest in cinema score - this FREE EVENT is one not to be missed!What makes a score unforgettable? Taking a peek at how composers developed some of the most iconic scores in history, SCORE: A FILM MUSIC DOCUMENTARY follows the creative struggles of designing a modern soundtrack from scratch, featuring some of cinema’s most recognised names in film music.

2. The Lies We Tell
The Irish premiere of the Mitu Misra directed film starring Gabriel Byrne and Harvey Keitel. Producer Andy McDermott will attend the screening and will also take part in the KFF industry day sessions, T.A.L.K. This one will undoubtedly be very popular and already booking is swift for this screening so book early.
Booking for this film can be made at

1.Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect - Sunday 22nd Oct 7pm Cinema Killarney
Still working at age 95, Pritzker Prize winning Irish-American architect Kevin Roche is an enigma. He’s reached the top of his profession, but has little interest in celebrity and eschews the label “Starchitect”. Despite a lifetime of acclaimed work that includes the Ford Foundation, Oakland Museum of California and 40 years designing new galleries for The Met in New York, he has no intention of ever retiring and keeps looking forward.
Booking for this film can be made at

Monday, 16 October 2017

Tralee Omniplex Tuesday Treat - What new release movie deserves your €6 this week?

There are three new releases for your consideration for this weeks Tuesday Treat at Tralee Omniplex. Another edition of a well love children's movie series, a Brit horror and a highly anticipated Jo Nesbo adaptation are what's on offer for Omniplex customers and all for the giveaway price of just €6!

The Lego Ninjago Movie:
The third installment in the lego series and here's hoping that the franchise still has something to offer. Initial reviews would suggest otherwise however but there should still be enough here to keep the whole family entertained over the 90 minute running time.

The Ritual:
It's the season for horror movies as this latest offering from director David Bruckner and starring Rafe Spall has received strong reviews for fans of things that go bump in the night. Expect something along the lines of the Blair Witch Project and Cabin in the Woods and you won't be disappointed!

The Snowman:
This latest Michael Fassbender vehicle is not enjoying the greatest of love from critics but for fans of Jo Nesbo and the work of an extremely talented cast there may be enough here to get by. Has the air of missed opportunity about it however!

This weeks Top Movies on the Telly

Die Hard - (E4  Tuesday 17th October  21:00)
Who doesn't love Die Hard? The film that announced Bruce Willis as an action star and gave us one of cinema's greatest panto villains in Max Gruber played superbly by the late great Alan Rickman. Any chance to relive this guilty pleasure has to be taken even if it is still a bit too far away from Christmas for this festive classic!

Empire of the Sun - (TCM Wednesday 18th October 18:00)
One of Steven Spielberg's lesser known and slightly underated works, nonetheless this ambitious war time epic is another shining example of this legendary film makers unique storytelling ability and introduced the world to a certain Christian Bale. Well worth revisiting!

Kill Bill Vol I - (MGM Thursday 19th October 21:00)
With my opinions on the work of Quentin Tarantino quite clear this is filed under"must see" as this talented film maker gives his unique touch to the revenge western/martial arts genre in the first part of this incredible epic tale. Tense, taut and action packed this is simply of this iconic director's finest!

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Blade Runner 2049: Visually stunning sequel that may be one for fans only!

In what was arguably the most highly anticipated movie event of the year (aside from the annual Star Wars hype), the prospect of one of Hollywood's most talented and on form directors captaining the sequel to Ridley Scott's iconic 1982 masterpiece Blade Runner was one that had most sci-fans giddy with excitement.
Denis Villeneuve's remarkable work on his previous feature Arrival indicated that the chances of a film worthy of it's place alongside the original were quite high and unsurprisingly the director delivers (and more besides) in a film that is atheistically superior to anything that you will see on the big screen this year.
The innovative film maker stays true to the style, themes and tone that made it's predecessor such a cult classic and there are a lot of similarities with the original, yet Villeneuve has added his own unique brush strokes on what was already a picturesque canvas.
Hans Zimmer pays homage to Vangelis' iconic soundtrack with a similar haunting score and Roger Deakins cinematography is simply breathtaking. Casting Ryan Gosling in the lead role was a masterstroke also, as was evident from his work in Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive, he plays the quiet brooding type quite well. Harrison Ford adds a level of gravitas to the production whereas credit must also go to a formidable supporting cast which includes Jared Leto and the remarkable Sylvia Hoeks.
All this praise for this incredible feature does come with a warning however, if you are not fan of the original then this may not be the film for you (a point that was evident from a few early walkouts at the screening I attended). In a cinematic world of the instantly gratifying blockbuster the slow burner is not the popular choice and at a running time of 164 minutes this does at times require patience, yet in my opinion the payoff is mostly definitely worth it as Blade Runner 2049 is a visual spectacle like no other you'll see this year!