Category Archives: Blog

Black Panther

Happy Birthday, Marvel! 2018 marks the tenth year of the ever expansive Cinematic Universe, and it’s a double celebration. February is Black History Month in America, and Black Panther is black history, and the first Marvel-and Hollywood- movie to bring Afrofuturism into the mainstream.

SPOILERS- WHETHER YOU WANT IT OR NOT

After Civil War, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is set to inherit the throne as King of Wakanda, but first he rescues his ex-girlfriend Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) from human traffickers, alongside Okoye (Danai Gurira) the general of the Wakanda royal guard, the Dora Milaje. T’Challa then returns home to Wakanda, meeting with his mother, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and his younger sister Shuri (Letitia Wright). After completing the rituals of succession, T’Challa is crowned King of Wakanda.

All while this has been happening, Wakanda’s mortal enemy Ulysses Klaue(Andy Serkis) has re-surfaced and is working with mercenary Erik Stevens(Michael B. Jordan), better known as ‘’Killmonger’’ for his high body count. After Klaue is captured by T’Challa, Killmonger breaks him out, only to later arrive on Wakanda’s border with Klaue’s dead body. Gaining an audience with T’Challa and the rest of the Royal Court, Killmonger reveals himself to be N’Jadaka, the son of King T’Chaka’s brother and therefore cousin of T’Challa and Shuri. (So it’s like the Lion King meets Game of Thrones).

Killmonger challenges T’Challa to trial by combat for the crown and title of Black Panther, with the aim of starting worldwide revolution armed with Wakandian Vibranium weapons. With T’Challa seemingly defeated, Nakia, Shuri and Ramonda along with CIA agent Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) must stop Killmonger before it’s too late.

While Killmonger is a villain, he’s not unsympathetic, and his reasons are valid, wanting to arm oppressed people all over the world to overturn those in power who capitalize off their disenfranchisement. Conversely T’Challa is faced with the dilemma of whether to be a King or a hero and how much he can do to make the world better. And the women of Wakanda prove to be as every bit capable, Shuri is possibly smarter than Tony Stark and Okoye is steadfast and utterly fearless, and she leads the Dora Milaje who are all warrior women who make the Amazons look like pin up girls by comparison. Praise the ancestor and thanks be to Bast, because Wakanda is here to stay. I pity the fool who thinks Wakanda is a sh*thole country.

And also, they have cyborg rhinos.

Klaue got himself a new arm with built-in sonic cannon, now I imagine him in the waiting room of a robot arm clinic sitting next to Misty Knight, Nebula Phil Coulson and Bucky.

Coco

Last year, Disney and Pixar crafted the animated epic Moana that resonated with and brought Polynesian culture into the mainstream. This year they’ve moved to the other side of the ocean to Mexico to bring an uplifting and soul-stirring musical. (And for the last time, no, it’s not just the Book of Life made by Pixar, stop saying that).

While it’s called ‘’Coco’’, the story focuses on the title characters great-great-grandson, Miguel Rivera. The Rivera’s family business as shoe makers began when Coco’s father left to become a famous musician. Coco’s mother Imelda forba de any music in her household continuing to Miguel’s life. But Miguel is enamoured with musical legend Ernesto de la Cruz and wishes to be a musician himself. Miguel, discovering an old incomplete photo of Coco’s father holding a guitar, begins to believe that Ernesto is his great-great grandfather. After a falling out with his family, Miguel runs off with his Xolo dog Dante (who is just the most lovable mangy dog you ever did see).

Miguel and Dante head to the cemetery where Ernesto is buried, taking his guitar displayed in his crypt, but doing so curses Miguel and he crosses over into the Land of the Dead. Meeting with his late relatives including great-great grandmother Imelda, Miguel must return to the Land of the Living before the end of Dia de Muertos. However, Imelda will only sent Miguel back if he agrees never to play music again. Unwilling to accept this, Miguel runs off in search of Ernesto to get his blessing to return to life and play music.

To this end, Miguel enlists the help of Hector, a skeleton who is unable to cross into the living world on Dia de Muertos because no one puts up a picture of him on their ofrenda. Miguel promises to place Hector’s photo if he can get him to Ernesto’s palace. The two head off, with Imelda and her family in pursuit alongside their alebrije- spirit animal- a multicoloured winged jaguar. Her name is Pepita.

Coco is nothing short of Disney and Pixar patented tried and true magic, and will become a cherished classic, especially for Mexican children and their families, because that’s exactly who the movies about. Beautifully animated, Disney one-up’s themselves not just in the intricate and colourful city in the Land of the Dead but in how Miguel handles a guitar, the attention to detail is astounding. And of course the songs are exactly what you expect, all original scores that have a deep emotional resonates in particular, the song Remember Me. In short Coco is the kind of movie that makes you really feel alive.

By Daniel Murphy

The Greatest Showman

’The noblest art is that of making others happy’’. True words make a truly entertaining biography of the life, love and legacy of P.T. Barnum, and plenty of great songs.

Young Phineas Taylor Barnum (Hugh Jackman) is the down and out son of a tailor who marries his childhood sweetheart Chastity (Michelle Williams) but while they live on hard times they are happy despite having Phineas going through a gauntlet of odd jobs and wanting to provide a better life for his wife and their two daughters. Deciding to risk it all, Phineas buys an old wax museum and converts it into a circus. P.T. calls for ‘’unique persons and curiosities’’ to star in the show he’s putting together.

With everyone from a tattooed man to a bearded lady answering the call, soon Barnum puts together a show and brings in the money, with the shock factor gaining the circus further publicity , they even take their show to Buckingham Palace. P.T enlists the help of noted playwright Philip (Zac Efron) to legitimize the circus and insulate them from angry protests. Philip agrees after an improv musical number, and seeing trapeze artist Anna (Zendaya).

With fame going to his head, P.T. begins to push himself away from the circus and his family to tour with opera singer Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson), leaving Philip to run the circus and wanting to be with Anna despite the societal expectations and class taboos of the time. Remembering Chastity and his daughters, P.T. returns home just as thugs’ burn down the circus and Philip is hospitalized. Despite being effectively bankrupt, P.T. is encouraged to re-open the circus with the performers telling him how he gave them a home and a family.

Even the stingy critic admits to P.T. that putting people of all shapes and sizes, colours and walks of life on stage as equals was a celebration of humanity. That it is and with original songs that stir the soul, it makes The Greatest Showman a high note to close the curtain on a trying year for everyone.

(It’s already been nominated for Best Song, here’s hoping that Hugh Jackman gets an Oscar nomination. I’ll drive Doctor Cox crazy).

(Barnum’s Circus for Gifted Youngsters, anyone?)

By Daniel Murphy

 

Star Wars Episode VIIII: The Last Jedi

The saga continues, as Sith hits the fan and the First Order strikes back (not quiet as catchy as Empire Strikes Back) against the Resistance

After the destruction of Starkiller base in Force Awakens, General Leia (the late Carrie Fisher) orders all Resistance to evacuate to avoid the First Order’s retaliation. The First Order’s fleet arrives during the evacuation and ace pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac) and BB-8 (played by himself) head off the Orders dreadnought flagship, giving cover for their bombers to destroy it, despite suffering heavy losses themselves. With the big gun taken out, the Resistance jumps to hyperspace to escape.

Meanwhile on the set of Skellig Michael, Rey (Daisy Ridley) is meeting her idol, the titular last jedi, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and presents him with his father’s lightsaber… which he promptly throws away. (Aw, it’s like Grumpy Ol Han never left). Luke has been living in self imposed exile and cut himself off from the Force, and he refuses to reach Rey, despite her insistence that the Resistance needs him. After badgering from Chewie and R2, Luke concedes but insists to Rey that the time of the Jedi is over.

Back onboard the Resistance flagship, Finn (John Boyega) wakes up healed from his injuries. Suddenly, the First Order arrives from hyperspace and begins to pursue the Resistance to destroy them for good. Leia is hospitalized and all other commanders are killed, the Resistance is just able to keep out of the First Orders range but their going to run out of fuel in a matter of hours. In order to escape the fleet, Finn, Poe and newcomer Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) comes up with a plan to sabotage the tracking device and lose them for good.

Back with Rey, Luke begins giving her a tutorial in the Force and teaching her why he believes the Jedi order must end, citing the failures of the old council, their hypocrisy and hubris for allowing the Empire to rise (apparently Luke watched the prequel trilogy) (zing!). But it turns out Luke’s reasons are far more personal, he blames himself for failing his nephew Ben( Adam Driver) and his subsequent turn to the Dark Side and him becoming Kylo Ren.

Rey reassures Luke that Ben can still turn away from the Dark Side and from Snoke (Andy Serkis). All the while Rey and Ben are being drawn together by the Force and both felling uncertain where their true alliance lies.

The force is strong with this installment, combining high stakes drama with plenty of character moments and great humour sprinkled throughout, and real conflict in our protagonists and villain, also the big question regarding the identity of Rey’s parents is addressed and possibly answered, but I wouldn’t be spoiling anything.

This Christmas, why bother with a turkey when you can adopt a Porg? Adorable beakless birds from Luke Skywalker’s island, a Porg isn’t just for Christmas, it’s for Christmas dinner.

Justice League!

‘’You can’t save the world alone’’. The world these past few months has become a scary place, that’s why we want- nay, need heroes. They are the better angels of our nature, as Lincoln said. But enough poetry, because Warner Bros and DC may just have saved their own cinematic universe.

Wonder Woman proved to be a success, and following that success Zack Snyder hoped to introduce lightning to the bottle by teaming up all of DC’s big name heroes. Go big or go home. (Although they definitely one-up the Avengers when they bring this team together, the Avengers spent the first hour standing around bickering and getting into pissing matches with each other, the League, as Gary Clark Jr. and Junkie XL sang, come together.)

SPOILERS-IF YOU LIKE THAT SORT OF THING

 After Superman’s death in Dawn of Justice the world has slowly going to hell. Remember how people joke about the DC movies being all dark and gloomy looking? Well, Superman was a symbol of hope, without him, things are looking grim. Batman (Ben Affleck) discovers a demonic creature in Gotham, a scout for an oncoming invasion. The only clue is a pictogram of three boxes. Consulting with Diana/ Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Bruce learns that eons ago Earth was invaded by the end of worlds, Steppenwolf. It took the combined might of Amazons, Atlanteans and the tribes of men to defeat Steppenwolf, drive him away and claim the Mother Boxes- devices that can destroy and re-create worlds.

Diana’s home Themyscira is attacked first, Steppenwolf returns with his Parademon troopers. In short order Steppenwolf seizes the Mother Box from Atlantis, incurring the wrath of Aquaman (Jason Momoa). Bruce recruits Barry Allan/the Flash (Ezra Miller) while Diana tries to convince Victor Stone/Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to join against Steppenwolf.

After Victor’s father is kidnapped by Steppenwolf to coerce the location of the last Mother box out of him, he links up with the others and go after Steppenwolf. However, even with Barry’s speed, Vic’s augments, Bruce’s skill and Diana’s Old God power, they are outmatched by Steppenwolf and his Parademons. They nearly drowned, if Aquaman hadn’t saved them. (I’m useless they said I have stupid powers they said).

Vic retrieves the last Mother Box and Bruce hits upon the idea to use it, because defeating Steppenwolf… sounds like a job for Superman.

With the Mother Box and the Kryptonian birthing matrix from Dawn of Justice to resurrect Clark (Henry Cavill), but he’s out-of-sorts and takes some time with Lois (Amy Adams)  to get his house in order. The newly formed League goes to confront Steppenwolf before he destroys the Earth and transforms it into an apocalyptic hellscape (remember Batman’s nightmare in DoJ? This is what that as foreshadowing).

With so many call-backs to the previous installments the DCEU you would almost think that they deliberately planned everything exactly as it played out. Recall Jor-El’s words in Man of Steel: ‘’they will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall, but in time they will join you in the sun’’. If Dawn of Justice was the stumble, then here is where the heroes join each other in the sun. The cast portray the heroes as being larger than life yet human, and there is plenty of great character moments sprinkled all around, despite having six big guns, no one is superfluous and everybody gets there moment to shine.

Tie me with Wonder Woman’s lasso, because truly, this film does the biggest heroes of the DC universe… Justice.

(Also, J.K. Simmons is Commissioner Gordon, which makes me want to see him run the GCPD like it was the Daily Bugle. ’ Montoya!  I want pictures of Batman! What are you waiting for!? Chinese New Year!?’’.

By Daniel Murphy

 

Wexford Events!

Wrecking ball, live music – The crown bar, Monica street, Wexford town, Friday 17th November.

Cursed Murphy laboratory – Wexford art centre,Friday 17th November.  Featuring: live music, visual arts, literature, film, theater, spoken word.  Afterward there will be a DJ set by Danny Lawlor.

Annual Christmas lighting ceremony and Santa parade, Saturday 18th November.  New Ross district chamber of commerce, ground floor, rising tide center, New Ross

Parade from St Michael’s church at 4pm, with Santa and pals concluding at Tholsel on Quay street at 5pm; for the lighting ceremony. Also; there will be rides for the children and fun to be had for the whole family.

Animal sculpture workshops with Imogen Stafford, costing €80 this Saturday the 18th of November held at the Irish National Heritage park, Ferrycarraig, Wexford.

The Ennsicorthy Presentation Center, this Saturday at 2pm ‘Learn to Draw with Desmond McCarthy you can join at any time! it’s never too late to learn to draw! Contact Desmond on 0872555614 #everyonecandraw Art History in the South-East

Also at the Ennsicorthy Presentation Centre “The journey from storytelling to stage at all times has been in close partnership with our story tellers to ensure the project stayed true to the their cause, to increase acceptance and understanding towards mental health difficulties and support the realisation that it is nothing to be ashamed or afraid of.” A Face in the Crowd comes to our stage on Friday 17th November at 8pm. Tickets available at www.presentationcentre.ie or by phoning 0539233000

A Magical Christmas Adventure Awaits! 
For further information & bookings see:https://www.santasenchantedcastle.ie/
#Enniscorthy #Christmas #VisitWexford

Only one week to go to The Happy Pear cooking demo in the Riverside Park Hotel on Wednesday 22 November! Secure your tickets at https://enniscorthychamber.ie/happy-pear-cooking-demonstra…/

By Tyler Murphy

Murder on the Orient Express

They say nothing under the sun is new, that it’s all been done before, and the plethora of reboots, remakes and continuations of classic films has held true to this and… I’ve said all this murder_on_the_orient_express_cast_2before. Oh no, now I’m doing it. Anyway, Agatha Christie’s crime caper classic (I love alliteration), The Murder on the Orient Express starring the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, retold with an all star cast and a fresh coat of paint.

Beginning in Jerusalem 1934, Poirot (Kenneth Branagh, who also directs) stopping the theft of a priceless relic, all by deducing the thief’s identity by a single crack on a wall. Poirot then proceeds to depart for Istanbul and from there catch the Orient Express to Europe. While getting settled for the long journey, he is approached by businessman Edward Ratchet (Johnny Depp), a mobster who made a fortune selling counterfeit art work, and a few enemies. Ratchet offers to hire Poirot for protection but Poirot declines, being a man of strong moral fiber. Next morning, an avalanche derails the train and Ratchet is found murdered in his room.Murder-on-the-Orient-Express-poster-1

On shows like CSI or Law and Order, you can bet if there is a famous guest star, they are the killer. With that in mind, this particular remake has many big names to keep you guessing who the killer is (unless you already know, in which case, spoiler sport). So who are our celebrity murder suspects? (Which sounds like a reality show being waited to be made).

*deep breath* Miss Mary Debenham (Daisy Ridley) a governess, a doctor named Arbuthnot (Leslie Odom Jr.) whom Mary has some relationship with, Biniamino Marquez (Manuel Garcia murder 3Ruflo) a self-made immigrant, Hector McQueen(Josh Gad) who was Ratchets accountant and Edward Henry Masterman( Derek Jacobi) , Ratchet’s butler. Socialite Caroline Hubbard (Michelle Pfeiffer), Russian royalty Princess Dragomiroff (Judi Dench) and Austrian engineer Gerhard Hardman (Willem Dafoe). * pant* Oh and nurse turned missionary Pilar Estravades (Penelope Cruz). * fighting for breath*

By Daniel Murphy

Thor:Ragnarok

Leave it to Marvel to make the end of the world so colourful and such good fun. Ragnarok was Thor ragsaid to be a winter that lasted three years akin to Game of Thrones Long Night, but the higher ups at Marvel decided to make the Norse Apocalypse vibrant and set to the sound of Led Zeppelin.

 ABANDON ALL COMPLAINTS OF SPOILERS, YE WHO READ THIS!

 After leaving the Avengers, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been searching for Infinity stones and has been having recurring nightmares about Asgards destruction. Freeing himself from the clutches of Surtur, the fiery lord of Muspelheim, Thor returns to find his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleson) impersonating Odin. Departing together in search of their father, Thor and Lokijeff gold meet Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) who assists them and they find Odin (Antony Hopkins) on a Cliffside in Norway. Odin is dying, before departing he warns his sons of the return of Hela, Goddess of death… and Odin’s firstborn daughter.

Upon Odin’s death, Hela (Cate Blanchett) (Not too far from the Lady Galadriel) returns and effortlessly destroys Thor’s hammer Mjolnir. Following Thor and Loki, Hela returns to Asgard, where her power increases greatly, while the brothers were cast off the Bifrost on-route to Asgard. Finding them on the planet Sakaar, Thor is a prisoner and Loki a guest of the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). Thor opts to fight the Grandmaster’s champion to earn his freedom in the gladiator area, only problem, the champion is fellow Avenger Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).

During the fight, Thor discovers his new ability to channel the power of thunder through his thor 3body without the need of Mjolnir. Meanwhile back on Asgard, Hela has taken over, slaying all who oppose her and resurrecting her old army and war-mount Fenrir, a giant wolf, to continue the conquest she and Odin began thousands of years ago. Thor persuades Hulk to help him retake Asgard along with the help of Loki, other Sakaar gladiators and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), a former shield maiden of Asgard who fought Hela once before. While those four plan plans and make wisecracks, Heimdall (Idris Elba) organises a resistance on Asgard and keeps his sword, the key to the Bifrost Bridge, out of her hands.

Marvel (pun intended) as Ragnarok breaks out all your favourite tropes, wisecracks, epic battle scenes, world building and of course the obligatory shirtless hero scene, twice in fact, andThor-Ragnarok-02 introducing… the Hulk’s bare green buttocks, even the mighty Thor is powerless before it. Speaking of Hulk, he speaks mostly full sentences now and his friendship with Valkyrie is adorable. Between Cate Blanchett flaunting her godly presence and Jeff Goldblum chewing the scenery, it’s amazing the sets stay upright. But the real emotional core is the brotherly love between Loki and Thor, with the redemption arc from Dark World coming full circle. Karl Urban’s Skurge is a great reluctant villain and Thor’s gladiator buddies provide comic relief just by existing. By Odin, once again Marvel provides another solid entry in their ever expanding universe.

(If only DC’s upcoming apocalypse in Justice League looked as fun)

(So Tessa Thompson is Valkyrie and Michael B. Jordan is Killmonger in the upcoming Black Panther movie? Set sails fair shippers!)

 By Daniel Murphy

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Nintendo’s newest Zelda game, was released on the Wii U and the Switch – Nintendo’s newest zeldaconsole – on the 3rd of March. Most agree, that it’s the best game in the series so far. As of now it has a 97% score on Meta-critic and while I agree, that it is an amazing game. I think 97% is a massive overstatement.

The story is pretty much what you’d expect from a Nintendo game: princess gets captured, you must save her. The game has a backstory but it’s mostly just a token gesture and doesn’t add much. The game is also the first in the series to have a full voice-acting, a long overdue feature. Unfortunately, the voice-acting ranges from mediocre to awful. The dialogue is also not great at times. However, Zelda games have never been about the story; gameplay has always been their main draw.zelda 2

The game has many obvious positives. The overworld puts every prior Zelda game to shame by being bigger and granting more freedom than ever before. Within about three hours of play, the entire world is available. The game also has more content, with five dungeons, 120 mini-dungeons – or shrines as they’re called – over 150 different weapons and 901 hidden collectables.

The game, while on larger scale than previous titles, does a worse job at basic things. The combat is a huge step down from previous games, going from motion controls to button mashing.  Also runs at a measly 30 frames-per-second, half the current standard. Even at that,zelda 3 the game often lags. The only workaround is to download the game on PC, which unfortunately is completely illegal. On top of that the 901 collectables are far too much. After only a few dozen they become tedious to collect. The last few hundred don’t even give any reward. This makes fully completing the game not worthwhile.

Overall, Breath of the Wild, is a great game that is revolutionary for the series. But, it’s not the perfect masterpiece the world makes it out to be. It struggles with too many fundamental things like framerate and combat for that title. It’s still definitely worth playing and an easy recommendation.

By Dean Copeland

The Snowman

‘’Serial killer’’ is not the first thing I think of when I here ‘’snowman’’, my first thought is ‘Frosty’’, the-snowman-2017-serial-killer-thrillerbut don’t fear for your childhood, Frosty hasn’t become a sadistic murderer. (Although that would make for a much more interesting plot twist, and what court would convict Frosty?)

Based on the novel by Jo Nesbo, the story follows Norwegian detective Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender). Let’s run down the list, Harry is: an alcoholic (check), chain smoker (check) and a deadbeat father (big ol’ check-a-roo) so congratulations’ Harry- you’ve been awarded Generic Noir Protagonist of the year. And of course he’s also a ‘’legend’’ around Oslo PD, so the titular serial killer sends him a letter taunting him about all the killing he’s about to do.

Assigned together with new transfer Katherine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson), Harry investigates a 17175642_the-snowman-2017-movie-trailer_d6f4905d_mmissing person’s case, a wife and mother kidnapped and the perp left a snowman outside the victim’s house. After some spending some time with his estranged son Oleg, Harry and Katherine get a tip on another victim, and find her decapitated, with her head placed atop a snowman.

With this new victim, Katherine begins to put together a psychological profile on the killer, he apparently targets women he disapproves of, women with fertility issues or have had miscarriages, and he always leaves his victims on display, and it appears the falling of winter snow sets him off.  This line of thinking leads Katherine to suspect a prolific doctor Idar Vetlesen, who has ties with influential philanthropist Arve Stop (J.K. Simmons). Harry meanwhile looks into the apparent suicide of a detective, Gert Rafto (Val Kilmer) who was investigating a similar string of deaths and discovers that they are The-Snowman-first-poster-featuredfollowing the same killer.

As a mystery it’s pretty par the course, it’s not even edge of your seat tense, certainly gory in places but no real substance. The reveal in the third act isn’t worth a spoiler warning and Val Kilmer, J.K Simmons and Toby Jones are all underutilised. Fassbender fills his role to its fullest, but his character is dull and uninteresting, and perhaps the biggest sin is we never get clear reasons for why the killer does what he does and instead gives us some vague motive that’s really unsatisfying.

(is it wrong that I almost wish it was Frosty the snowman?).

By Daniel Murphy