Category Archives: Blog

Rocketman

With the success and critical reception of Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star is Born, musical movies are back and on the rise, especially if they’re also serves as an autobiography of the artist’s life. Such is the case here with Rocketman detailing the life of Elton John.

Beginning in medias res with Elton John (Taron Egerton) storming into an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in full costume to seek help, as he details his life story.

Born Reggie Dwight, he grew up with his distant mother, aloof father and a loving grandmother. When Reggie shows talent playing the piano, his mother gets him a tutor, who recommends a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music. Breaking out with a band of friends playing at the local pub when Reggie is approached by a talent scout. After playing backup for touring singers, Reggie decides to break out on his own, taking on the stage name Elton John.

Elton meets songwriter Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell) and together the two product enough songs for an album and gets a slot for the Troubadour in L.A. There Elton’s performance attracts the attention of record manager John Reid (Richard Madden), with whom he enters into a secret relationship. As Elton’s fame and fortune rises to new heights, he becomes absorbed by the rock star lifestyle of sex and drugs, not helped by John’s financial abuse, and his mother’s cold rebuttal when he comes out to her. After a depressed suicide attempt, Bernie returns back to England which only drives Elton further into a downward spiral, ultimately culminates with Elton walking out of one of his concerts and heading straight to rehab.

As Elton gets himself better, Bernie returns and they reconcile their friendship and gives Elton some songs to work on for his big comeback I’m Still Standing.

Rocketman is a warts and all biopic of one of the biggest names in music, showing the highs and lows of Elton’s life, spliced with his greatest hits at key moments of his life. Egerton’s performance is true to form, capturing the turmoil hiding beneath the flashy costumes, and the costume designer nails recreating Elton’s eccentric wardrobe. Recommended for music lovers everywhere.

By Daniel Murphy

Avengers: Endgame

Now this is it. Ten years, twenty one movies, and the most ambitious undertaking in cinema history, as Marvel studios raises the bar ever higher in the definitive chapter of their universe. Infinity War was dubbed the ‘’biggest crossover ever’’, but it was just clearing the tables for Endgame, less ‘’hold my beer’’ and more ‘’hold my keg’’.

SERIOUS, SERIOUS SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY.

Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) is adrift is space, following the fight against Thanos on Titan. He is Nebula (Karen Gillan) onboard the Guardians spaceship trying to make their way back to Earth, but they won’t make it before Tony dies. They’re saved by the arrival of Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), who returns them to the Avengers compound. The surviving Avengers- Steve (Chris Evans), Nat (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce (Mark Ruffalo), Rhodey (Don Chedale) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) – resolve to find Thanos and take the Infinity stones.

The find Thanos alone on a garden planet and easily subdue him, only to find the Infinity stones are gone. Thanos (Josh Brolin) destroyed the stones after using them to kill half the universe. Thor kills Thanos as the rest of the Avengers believe there is no way to bring back the dead.

Five years later, the Avengers are still dealing with the fallout of the snap when Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) shows up. Scott disappeared five years ago when he was stranded in the Quantum Realm, but for him it was only five hours. Realising hat the Quantum Realm might hold the secret to time travel and with it the possibility to reclaim the stones and undo what Thanos did. While Tony and Steve bury the hatchet, Nat goes to find Clint (Jeremy Renner) who’s become the vigilante Ronin following the deaths of his family. Rocket and Bruce go to New Asgard to convince Thor to rejoin the team. With the Avengers re-assembled they form a plan- travelling back through time at various points in their history and claim the Infinity stones in the present- whatever it takes.

Endgame is nothing short of epic in its ambitions and the way it executes its premise. You really must see it yourself to appreciate all it has to offer, from the quips and one liners to the interpersonal stakes and the sheer amount of fan service on display, revealing in its own history complete with cameos and reappearances from past entries. Without doubt, one of the best films you’ll see this year, and sure to be remembered as one of biggest blockbusters of all time.

By Daniel Murphy

Hellboy

Superhero movies are big business these days, but while Marvel and DC, the Big Two, battle over who’s shared universe will reign supreme, independent comics are their characters are looking for a slice of that pie. The most successful indie comic title, with multiple TV series, movies and toy lines is the Ninja Turtles, but back in the early 2000’s Guillermo Del Toro adapted Mike Mignola’s fan favourite character onto the silver screen. And now their trying again.

Hellboy (David Harbour) is a demon fighting for humanity against the forces of darkness, as an agent of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defence. He is called to England to join the Osiris club as they hunt a trio of giants. However, the Osiris club instead betrays Hellboy, intent to kill him before he can fulfil a prophecy of ending the world. Surviving the ambush and killing the giants, Hellboy is taken into the care Alice (Sasha Lane), a medium that Hellboy saved as a child.

Professor Trevor Bruttenholm (Ian McShane), Hellboy’s adoptive human father and B.P.R.D. founder picks them up and pairs them up with Major Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim). Returning to the Osiris club to find them slaughtered by agents of the Blood Queen Nimue (Mila Jovovich).  During the Dark Ages, Nimue unleashed a plague on mankind until she was stopped by King Arthur and Merlin. She was cut into six pieces and sealed away, but now the monsters have reunited her body and resurrected her to complete her work.

As the B.P.R.D. begins tracking down Nimue, Hellboy has a crisis of faith, a combination of daddy issues and general mistrust by humans whose first response to the supernatural is shoot on sight. Not helped by the prophecy that says he’s destined to cause the apocalypse.

This Hellboy doesn’t compare to the Del Toro duo starring Ron Pearlman. It hits on a lot of the same beats the original movie did, but it’s more miss than hit, it also substitutes a lot of the nuance for gore and swearing. It touches on the oxymoronic nature of Hellboy, showing his internal conflict, also his supporting are certainly more interesting than the typical redshirts. Ian McShane is phenomenal as usual and in the role once played by his friend the late John Hurt. All in all, an enjoyable romp for any Hellboy virgin but better stick to Del Toro.

By Daniel Murphy

Shazam

Ah, the glorious war of fandoms. Star Trek vs. Star Wars, Pokémon vs. Digimon, and of course the original rivalry that is Marvel vs. DC. So with Captain Marvel flying high, DC decided to embraced that ‘’hold my beer’’ meme and try to one up their distinctive competition, with their own Captain Marvel- even if they can’t legally call him that anymore. (Comics are weird, if you didn’t know)

The story begins with the Wizard (Djimon Hounsou), champion of humanity against the forces of evil. But now he’s all alone and officially too old for this s*it and seeks a worthy successor. Fast forward to present day Philadelphia where Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is searching for his birth mother and ends with him being put into a new foster home. There he meets his foster siblings Darla (Faithe Herman), Mary (Grace Fulton), Eugene (Ian Chen), Pedro (Jovan Armand) and Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer).

Billy is resistant to be part of family but he does come to Freddy’s defence against a pair of bullies who chase him to the subway. On the train, Billy is magically transported to the Rock of Eternity. Billy meets the Wizard, who informs Billy he has been chosen. One of the Wizard’s potential chosen, Thaddeus Sivanna (Mark Strong) broke into the Rock and stole power he used to free the Seven Deadly Sins upon the world. Now Billy must stop Sivanna, the Wizard transfers his power to Billy with the word ‘’Shazam!’’, transforming him into an adult form (Zachery Levi).

Billy, trapped in his adult form, seeks Freddy’s help to understand his new powers. Together they begin testing his powers and foil a mugging and store robbery. With Freddy recording Billy’s exploits, the ‘’Red Cyclone’’ becomes an internet sensation, but Billy quickly becomes self-absorbed in his newfound power and celebrity status and neglects any actual hero work. Sivanna easily finds him and attacks showing him to be equal to Billy. Now Billy must rise to the challenge and be a real hero.

is perhaps the best entry of the DC movie series, it’s light tone and humour fully embraces the feeling of being super, and it appeals to that inner child in all of us. It’s also a family movie that defines what a family is and who is family. Great fun through and through, nuff said.

By Daniel Murphy

Alita: Battle Angel  

Hollywood has a bad track record of adapting Japanese anime and manga into live action films, usually whitewashing the cast or changing from the source material for the sake of making the plot easier to understand often at the expense of the characterisation and larger themes. But veteran director James Cameron and visual effects guru Robert Rodriguez, with their powers combined were able to crank out a blockbuster that sets new ground for Hollywood anime, with the adaption of Yukito Kishiro’s manga series Battle Angel Alita.

 Set in the distant future after a war between Earth and Mars, most of humanity now resides in either the slums of Iron City, or the floating city of Zalem, where the rich and powerful live. Doctor Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) a cyber surgeon of Iron Cities cyborg population searches through the scrap yard looking for salvage when he comes across the remains of a cyborg girl.

Taking her back to his clinic, Ido rebuilds the girl, whom he names Alita. Alita (Rosa Salazar) has no memory of her life before Ido found her and accompanies him through Iron City where she meets and befriends Hugo (Keenan Johnson) who introduces her to the sport of Motor Ball.

Hugo helps Alita piece her old identity together while Alita discovers that Dr. Ido is also a Hunter Warrior, collecting bounties on criminals. Alita saves Ido from an ambush of cyborg criminals and fights them off, showing off her instinctive combat skills and has a flashback to the war between Earth and Mars. Alita’s victory over the cyborgs draws the attention of Chiren (Jennifer Connolly), Ido’s ex-wife, and her employer Vector (Mahershala Ali). Zalem’s leader Nova commands them to destroy Alita.

Alita: Battle Angel is a visual spectacle, Iron City feels real with its cluttered streets, and all the cyborgs have unique and memorable designs and Alita herself looks very real despite her large eyes and the facial animation is perfect for capturing emotive expressions. The fight scenes are fast paced with fluid choreography. The story is sweet ands simple with an endearing protagonist that you’d certainly want to see more of .

By Daniel Murphy

 

 

 

 

Talk to Tom QPR Training

I attended the (QPR) Suicide Prevention course, in Gorey recently and enlightened was an ed shearunderstatement.  I expected more of a conference room, with seated rows and a projector. These were all in place with a more relaxed and welcoming environment with CEO Ray Cullen at the door to meet you. Ray and his volunteers are behind the organisation ‘Talk to Tom’ based in Gorey.  I had heard him speak before of his personal experience with suicide and was inspired.

We were a small group of ten and Ray said we could finish early. I thought to myself, ‘we’ll be taught the basic signs to watch for and sure it’s good to take part’.  Ray began with his personal journey, from being an engineer in the early 90’s, to breaking his back because this is where Ray sees the beginning of how he became teaching QPR, meaning Question, Persuade and Refer.  When Ray got to the point of feeling that something had to be done after the loss of his nephew by suicide along with the discovering there was a huge gap in mental health services in North Wexford.

He got together with his family and within four months they had set up Talk to Tom in July 2012.  Ray travelled to Colorado in the US, to train and qualify in the course QPR, which was created by Paul Quinten.  QPR training was introduced in June 2013 and soon ran programmes for Wexford Marine Watch volunteers, RNLI, Garda Siochána, Coastguard members and various17475173_10154395588985222_1399789633_o sports clubs.  When you attend Ray’s training day, you will witness how his expert advice is sought after by any organisastion; in 2015, Ray was invited to Brussels to present the Talk to Tom model.

He explains in-depth of how your surrounding environment and your everyday belief system effects how you see that the world, based on learned behaviour and associations.  He reveals some shocking statistics of how 2016 was at its highest in completed suicides.  Also that over 500 people die by suicide a year, with 80% being male and 20% are female.

Ray asked us ‘how many we thought attempted suicide a year that end up in hospital’ and our highest guess was 5,000 people.  The truth was frightening, to learn that 12,500 people a year with the majority being 80% female and 20% male.  He further explains that suicide is the most preventative death and with the use of the right language, approach and learning the signs of someone who is in pain and suffering.  We participated in role play with each other and I found it very intense and emotional but extremely beneficiary and illuminating.

You do not just receive a Certificate in QPR, you receive a day of impact talk along with exercises17455212_10154395588980222_1378681251_o and interaction.  I did not expect to learn as much as we did in that one day. Every month they hold QPR classes along with parenting and more programmes to help people in crisis.  They are a community based funded orgainisation, you can find them on Facebook and they have a voluntary shop in Gorey, where you can visit any time Monday to Friday or become a QPR Gatekeeper.

By Róisín Williams

 

Black ‘47

Set during the backdrop of the Great Famine, Black ’47 is not so much a spaghetti western as it is a ‘’potato’’ western. The story chronicles one man’s quest for revenge amidst the darkest hour of Ireland’s history.

With the blight ravaging the crop, many Irish men are forced to swallow their pride and enlist in the British army and fight in their wars overseas to support themselves and their hungry families. Feenay (James Frecheville) an Irish ranger returning from Afghanistan to his sister Ellie (Sarah Greene) and her children, with a plan to immigrate to America. Feenay goes to pay his respects to his mother’s grave, but when he returns the constables and landlord evict Ellie and arrest Feenay when he intervenes, only to watch his nephew gunned down. Escaping his imprisonment, Feenay returns to find Ellie and her children dead of cold and hunger.

With his particular set of skills, Feenay sets off to hunt down all those he holds responsible for his sister’s death, his nephew’s murder, for the famine itself, killing apathetic landlords, heartless judge and ministers who will only feed the starving if they convert.

To curb Feenay’s killing spree, the British army recruits the ‘’Hunter’’ Hannah (Hugo Weaving), a disgraced veteran who served with Feenay, and is sent to find him as a stay of execution. Hannah is accompanied by British officer Pope (Freddie Fox) and private Hobbs (Barry Keoghan). The three track Feenay across the rural bog lands and steep roads, as Feenay closes in on his final target, Lord Kilmichael (Jim Broadbent).

As they close in on Feenay, Hannah must choose between his loyalty to the Crown or his respect of Feenay. The historical setting further empathizes the bleakness of the future and a purveying sense of hopelessness. The final scene is open ended to between the choice of carrying on the fight to the bitter end or the possibility of starting over.

Black ’47 is an important addition in Irish cinema, one that is ripe with the cultural, political ,religious and personal history of the land, and it’s made in honour of all those who died, left or never came back.

By Daniel Murphy

 

 

 

Ant-Man and the Wasp

If you’re still recovering from the events of Infinity War but can’t get enough of you’re yearly allotted Marvel fix, then a small adventure should keep you going until the next big event. Following up from 2015’s surprise hit superhero-family drama- heist movie, now Marvel’s first (and original) power couple makes an impact on the big screen.

SMALL SPOILERS

After Civil War, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is living under house arrest and the watchful eye of FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park). For aiding and abetting Scott, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope (Evangeline Lily) are on the run and in hiding. While Scott attempts to lead a normal life, Hank and Hope recalling Scott’s escape from the subatomic Quantum Realm, theorise that Hope’s mother and Hank’s wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) could still be alive. Scott receives a vision Janet left him while he was in the Quantum Realm, Hank and Hope build a device to travel into the Realm and rescue her.

Unfortunately Pym’s shrunken lab is stolen by the Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), a high tech thief who can disappear and walk through solid objects. Needing a way to track the lab, the trio go to Hank’s old colleague Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne). Per Foster’s advice, they locate the lab but are blindsided by the Ghost. Wakening to find themselves held hostage, Foster reveals himself allied with the Ghost, who is in reality a woman named Eva. Foster wants Pym’s lab in the hope that he can use it to cure Eva and prevent her atoms from permanently losing cohesion- but the cost is that Janet would have to be sacrificed.

Escaping capture, Scott, Hope and Hank race against the clock to pull Janet from the Quantum Realm while contending with Ghost and Foster, and evading the Feds as well as a persistent crime lord. Hope comes into her own as the new Wasp and the movie makes it clear that Scott and Hope are partners on equal footing. Unique among superhero films, Ant-man and the Wasp doesn’t really have any villains; Bill Foster and Eva are wholly sympathetic and serve as foils to Hank and Hope with their own father-daughter relationship. And of course Louis (Michael Pena) is the master storyteller. A bit sized adventure with a big heart.

(Next time, Ant-Man and the Wasp foil the Mafia’s annual pick nick)

(DC can’t help but shoehorn Batman into everything, but Marvel made successful movies with Ant-man, Guardians of the Galaxy and Big Hero fr****** Six. This is indeed a strange reality.)

By Daniel Murphy

 

Mission: Impossible- Fallout

“Your mission Vault Dweller, should you choose to accept it, is to pick put a Pip-Boy and… its not *that* ‘’fallout’’, is it?” Now I really want the next Fallout to be a post-apocalyptic spy thriller, and given what happens this time around, it could very well be. The sixth installment of this long running franchise begins with and possibly ends with a bang.

THIS SPOILER WARNING WILL SELF DECONSTRUCT

 The mission begins with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames) intercept a deal for plutonian cores, but the exchange goes sideways and they loose the package. However, the trail is still hot so IMF Secretary Hunley (Alec Baldwin) sends Ethan but he has be accompanied by CIA agent Walker (Henry Cavil) to catch the suspected mastermind, code named ‘’John Lark’’.

Parachuting over Paris, the two locate the contact and an intense bathroom brawl ensues, but he proves too much and is killed by Isla Faust (Rebecca Ferguson). Ethan opts to go in the contacts place for the meeting with arms dealer ‘’White Widow’’. Assuming John Lark’s identity Ethan makes contact and a deal is arranged- the Widow will give Ethan the stolen plutonian cores if he springs Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) – the former leader of the Syndicate- from government custody.

Ethan and his team proceed to spring Lane while losing the Widow’s men in the process but complicating matters further, Isla re-enters the picture intend to kill Lane on behalf on MI6 in exchange for asylum. Things don’t become any simpler with the sheer scope of schemes, deceptions and double identities and loyalties, but the short version is preventing Lane’s former charges from detonating two nuclear bombs, no pressure.

Mission: Impossible has become perhaps a most reliable summer blockbuster franchise, thanks in no small part for its high concept espionage thriller and death defying stunts, and constant use of Scooby Doo masks. Its balls-to-the-walls absurd and we love it.

“do you have suitcase to swap?”

By Daniel Murphy

 

The Incredibles 2

So the Incredibiles finally gets a sequel? 15 years too late. (Yes, I know its 14 years since the first movies, but you have to say 15 yeas for the joke to work.) Appropriately, we the audience had to wait for a decade and a half, the same length of time in story that superheroes have been outlawed. And once again Brad Bird steps up to the plate as both writer and director to take us in the next chapter of the Parr family.

The story picks up immediately where it left off, with the Underminer attacking the city, robbing the bank and fleeing, while the Incredibiles and Frozone stem the damage caused by the rampage. The Incredibiles are arrested and blamed for the destruction, and afterward are returned into their life in hiding. Bob and Helen meet with Lucius, who brings them to meet Winston Dever and his sister Evelyn, sibling duo CEO’s of Devtech, a telecommunications giant.

Winston and Evelyn want to bring supers back into the limelight, sponsoring Helen as Elastigirl to live stream her crime fighting heroics to change public perception of superheroes, while Bob and the kids, Dash, Violet and baby Jack-Jack, and move into a new home provided for by Winston. While Bob makes the transition to stay at home dad, having to contend with Jack-Jack’s myriad of superpowers, Helen saves a runaway hover train and learns of a new super villain who has her in their crosshairs- the Screenslaver.

The Screenslaver is an interesting villain, while no Syndrome, still has a philosophical monologue which lends itself to some very Meta moments.

In fact The Incredibiles 2 might just be the most subversive superhero movie in recent memory. Another example is how Evelyn and Helen pass the Bechdel test- a rarity in a movie rated PG and marketed towards children. Speaking of which, as Bob shows, and Edna reminds him, being a good parent is just as important as saving the day, just as heroic as anything. There great character drama and beautifully animated action sequences, it makes the wait worth it, just hope that Brad Bird doesn’t wait another ten years to show us what happens next to the Parrs.

(You just know that racoon that Jack-Jack was fighting will turn out to be Rocket.)

By Daniel Murphy