Thursday, 30 July 2015

Week 29: Minions

Director: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin
Writer: Brian Lynch
Seen: Sunday 26th July
Venue: IMC Galway
Snacks: Sandwiches
Mood: Silly

Minions is of course the spin off from the Despicable Me films, which in my opinion are better and more entertaining films. Oh fuck this who am I kidding? Minions is a kids film that is funny and charming and I’m damned if I am going to critique it, if you have young sons, daughters, nieces or nephews or, if you are like us and you just want to relax and look at some ridiculous animated fun for 80 minutes then go and watch Minions. Or as my Minions friends would say “nodish  haf  ouaoiuf lakho  njah of aoojw ohua”.  

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Week 28: Ted 2

Writer/Director: Seth McFarlane
Seen: Saturday 18th July
Venue: Eclipse Cinema, Bundoran
Snacks: Sandwiches
Mood: Giggly

Ted.jpg (970×545)

For the FIRST time ever for either of us we went to see a film and were the only people in the cinema. I like to think we can say that we got our own private screening of Ted 2.

Ted 2 follows on from the original Ted (2012) and in this instalment (there will inevitably be a Ted 3 which will be really stretching the laughs) we see Ted  married to Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) they are having a few marital difficulties and decide to adopt a child (the best way to fix a marriage - RIGHT?)  however they run into difficulties when Ted is not considered a human being and therefore cannot adopt. Ted is outraged and hires Samantha (Amanda Seyfried) to be his lawyer to fight for his right to be considered a person in the eyes of the law.

Ted 2 is not going to blow you away but then you weren’t expecting to be. We went to see it with a touch of a hangover which definitely added to the giggle factor. The film is pretty funny definitely not as good as the first film but I have to take my hat off to Mark Wahlberg who delivers a couple of very funny deadpan one liners
There are various celebrity cameo’s - one with Liam Neeson which I struggled to understand, maybe I missed something there?

All in all Ted 2 is a decent enough comedy for a rainy Saturday afternoon :) ESPECIALLY if you are the only two in the cinema.20150718_140351.jpg

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Week 27: Everyone's Going to Die

Director: Jones
Writer: Jones
Seen: Wednesday 8th July
Venue: Silver Screen Cinema Folkestone, Kent England
Snacks: Revels
Mood: Enthused

Ok so we started this blog because of a challenge we set ourselves to go the cinema once a week for a year no matter what! Now there are a few obstacles, or to put another way, head wrecking elements to this challenge. The two main ones being cost and the lack of good films we often have to choose from. These two head wrecks are also interconnected because of the fact of paying to see films we did not particularly want to see e.g Week 12 – 50 Shades of Grey and Week 25 – San Andreas.  Nevertheless, overall the experience so far has been enjoyable but this week has been especially gratifying. What was even more encouraging was, if it were not for this challenge we would unlikely have visited an old school vintage cinema like we did.

Even though we were in England for a bit, due to our commitment to the challenge we were still going to go to the cinema. While in London last week it was pretty easy to find a cinema, but when we moved on to Folkestone we had to do a little digging to find out where it was, times etc (and when I say digging I really mean go on the internet for all of 5 minutes - oh the woes of this tech age) and what we found was a little gem.

The Silver Screen Cinema is a two screen independent cinema that gave me the feeling that I was stepping back in time, from the old style sweet counter to the red curtain that draped over the smallish screen. To the black and white pictures hanging in the actual screening room from classic films like The General (1926) and also of some of cinema’s pioneers like Charlie Chaplin, Humphrey Bogart and Greta Garbo.
It was refreshing to visit a cinema of vintage style instead of the replicated Cineplex’s that are ubiquitous, the Odeon in Putney (where we saw Amy the previous week) is no different to the IMC Galway or Cineworld on Parnell Street Dublin. The Silver Screen in Folkestone is the opposite of those, it has character and that extensively adds to the cinema going experience.

It was a buzz to feel what it must have felt like for cinema goers in the early days when there was no sound, no colour, no Netflix or torrents when going to cinema was a big event. Ok maybe I am going too far, but for some of you who read this you will know what I mean. The cinema of which I put some pictures up below is able to survive due to local community support and long may it last.

Now to add flavour to the treat of going to this cinema, the film we watched was made in the very place where we were sitting because Everyone's Going to Die was shot entirely in Folkestone. It is the story of two people who randomly meet, connect and help each other realise that they have to make changes to their lives, both realising that they have been unhappy for some time. Written and directed by Jones, which as far as I can find out is a collective of filmmakers that are anonymous.

The title at first led us to think that it was some sort of apocalyptic horror or comedy horror but it was nowhere near any of these, indeed it is very hard to actually describe what this film is. At times it is laugh loud funny, it’s also romantic and very dark, but for all the elements it has I think it was relatively well kept together structural and narratively. Everyone’s Going to Die is a pretty decent film and it will get you talking after it, but I am afraid this week the film was definitely upstaged by the cinema we watched in. So if you ever find yourself in Folkestone go to the Silver Screen Cinema.    

Monday, 13 July 2015

Week 26: Amy

Director: Asif Kapadia
Seen:     3rd July 2015
Venue:   Odeon Cinema Putney UK
Snacks:  Magnum
Mood:     Melancholic

“Slow down, you’re too important. Life teaches you how to live it if you live it long enough”
Tony Bennett

I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard about the death of Amy Winehouse and I recall vividly that it was not a shock. It was news that was in some way horribly inevitable after photo after photo of her appeared in the media skeletal, wild eyed and fragile. It was obvious to see that this was a woman who needed help and did not need the press hounding her lasciviously for increasingly disturbing pictures. Unfortunately for Amy her talent was such that she wasn’t able to just do what she loved. Instead she lived her life under a microscope constantly harangued by the paparazzi who seemed to take a sick glee in watching her downward spiral into addiction.

I had heard a lot of great things about ‘Amy’ directed by Asif Kapadia who also directed the very good ‘Senna’ (2010). This film follows Amy’s rise to meteoric fame and is very powerful as it is literally full of home video footage of her, we inhabit her world for a few hours and see her start on the dark path of self destruction. ‘Amy’ is not a traditional ‘talking heads’ style documentary but rather uses an immersive technique  of voice overs from friends, colleagues and family. This style combined with all the personal footage is entirely and utterly absorbing.The story is of course very very tragic and some parts of it are very hard to watch as Amy becomes more erratic and sad. On the other hand you really feel the pure originality of her music and lyrics which in a way balances out the sadness.
At one point Amy states ‘If I ever thought I was famous I would kill myself’ and in a way she did.

It reminded me a lot of the Kurt Cobain story, another vulnerable individual that could not handle the trappings of stardom.

Amy’s relationships with her father Mitch and her one time husband Blake Fielder Civil come under close inspection and there is no doubt that her relationship with Blake in particular was extremely toxic. The first time he left her to go back to his girlfriend spurred Amy to pen the highly personal ‘Back to black’ it raises the interesting question if she hadn’t have experienced that break up would we have ever heard that album? So, although Blake undoubtedly initiated her into the world of hard drugs, it is a sad irony that her best music came about because of her relationship with him.
Of course Blake and Amy reunited and eventually got married. I was left to wonder about his intentions - did he truly love Winehouse or did he love the fame? I will leave that for you to decide for yourselves.
Her relationship with her father Mitch was also a tricky one, she clearly idolised him but in turn he made some very curious choices - one example is him following her to her retreat in St Lucia with a film crew in tow, the very thing she was running from.

The documentary is brilliant, gripping and truly tragic.It highlights the dark grip of addiction and what can happen when this is played out in the public eye.
There were obviously various elements that led to the untimely death of Amy Winehouse but as I left the cinema the thought that struck me most was that the media have a lot to answer for.