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Director: Lance Daly Starring: Hugo Weaving, James Frecheville, Stephen Rea, Freddy Fox, Barry Keoghan, Moe Dunford, Jim Broadbent Running Time: 96 minutes


For an event that had such a profound impact on the course of Irish history, the great tragedy and injustice from which Ireland’s entire subsequent history as a nation sprang forth from, it’s surprising that the Famine hasn’t found its story told on cinema screens, particularly Irish ones, more often. Director Lance Daly takes that task on in Black 47, last week’s Opening Gala of the 2018 Dublin International Film Festival. His approach is perhaps unexpected considering the subject matter, the film being a roaring rampage of revenge, internalising the anger and injustice of the Famine into one man’s quest for vengeance. Prestigous? No. But undoubtedly compelling.

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Director: Faith Akin Starring: Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto, Samia Chancrin Running Time: 106 minutes

In The Fade has a lot to offer its audience: a strong central performance from Diane Kruger, a moving story and compelling characters. Yet the film still lacks the power to stay with you once the credits roll. While easy to chew on throughout its reasonable runtime, director Faith Akin’s recent feature leaves you craving something a little more substantial.

The film, which won best foreign language feature at this year’s Golden Globes, tells the story of Katja (Diane Kruger), a German woman confronted with the tragic death of her husband and son following a terrorist attack. When suspects are discovered and brought to court, Katja battles with her need to exact revenge on the people who took her world from her. Should she leave the judicial system to their ways? Or, should she take matters into her own hands?

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Director: Craig Gillespie Starring: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, Paul Walter Hauser Running Time: 120 minutes

At the inaugural turn of the 24-hour news cycle, around-the-clock coverage meant that more people had access to stories from across the globe. By the early 90s before white broncos sped down Los Angeles highways or actors were caught in suspicious alleys, one particular celebrity scandal in the US crossed the pond to make international headlines; the feud between olympic figure skaters Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding.

As a result of constant media coverage, Harding’s story was elevated from local crime to worldwide scandal overnight, as people lined up to watch the downfall of this notable figure and Olympic hopeful. Now, years later, director Craig Gillespie and star/producer Margot Robbie have joined forces to bring us I, Tonya, a black comedy based on the shocking and wildly contradictory first-hand accounts of all those involved.

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Director: Paul Thomas Anderson Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Vicky Krieps, Lesley Manville Running Time: 130 minutes


Throughout his long and acclaimed career, Daniel Day-Lewis has embodied personalities that burst forth from the screen, simply too powerful, or imposing, or strong of will to be restrained by mere celluloid and silver. From Christy Brown to Daniel Plainview to Abraham-by-God-Lincoln, DDL has method acted his way through dominating characters, willing audiences into awe, the most impressive man in the room when he isn’t really in it. In his supposed last performance, as the wonderfully and ludicrously named Reynolds Woodcock, DDL applies that same level of performance and applies it to a fussy dressmaker in the immaculate fashion scene of 1950s London. Working once again with Paul Thomas Anderson, the pair have taken what may seem at first glance to be an understated love story and intricately sown some of their best work just underneath the surface, a beautiful piece of work with as many hidden thrills as anything their fascinating main character himself might design.

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Director: Ryan Coogler  Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker  Running Time: 134 minutes


Get ready to fall in love with Wakanda – the fictional African nation of the Marvel Universe, a hidden technological utopia that serves as the backdrop for much of Black Panther. While not technically alive, it is perhaps the films single biggest star. Wakanda, as presented on screen, is a fully realized and lived-in world, with a sense of awe and wonder waiting around every corner. It is a place whose cultural significance is undeniable – expertly crafted and wonderfully depicted through every costume, character, and setting; a place that helps Black Panther look and feel completely fresh.

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Director: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina Starring: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, Renée Victor, Ana Ofelia Murguía Running Time: 109 minutes


Though they have been drawn some criticism in the last few years for their reliance on sequels, Pixar can still be relied on to create imaginative worlds filled with fun characters, as the beloved Inside Out proved not so long ago. They also, crucially, never talk down to the kids that there films are aimed at (okay, apart from the Cars series, mostly), imparting lessons without moralising, giving something to take away from viewings beyond bright colours and catchy tunes.  Their latest feature Coco is as colourful as they come, and even leans slightly more in the Disney direction with the number of songs it features, but rest assured, this is a Pixar movie with both a brain and a heart. Even if it doesn’t always look like it, considering how many skeletons are around.

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Director: Joe Wright Starring: Gary Oldman, Kristen Scott Thomas, Lily James, Ben Mendelsohn, Stephen Dillane Running Time: 125 minutes


When the Bard gets boring, it’s increasingly appealing to distinguished actors to turn to Winston Churchill for their monologue jollies; “we shall fight them on the beaches” being as suitable for performance as anything Shakespeare ever did. Through various films, such noteworthy performers as Albert Finney, our own Brendan Gleeson, Brian Cox last year and um…Christian Slater, have donned the bowler hat, stuck up a V-sign and gotten down to speechifying, and now Gary Oldman picks up that mantle. Unrecognisable in impressive make up, Oldman’s turn in Darkest Hour is being put forth as a showcase for the veteran, a big Oscar-grabbing performance in a film that looks, as many do, back at Britain’s ‘darkest hour’ also in some ways as its finest. Let’s not forget, there was literally a film about this exact same time-period titled Their Finest released just last year. Rarely, if ever, do films of this type want to engage with Churchill the racist, the Churchill that sent soldiers into Tonypandy or helped starve India, or set up the Black and Tans and Darkest Hour is no exception, an effort to rouse and court applause and though it’s definitely well-made enough to receive that in some quarters, the film and Oldman’s central performance are both at their best when they tone down the bombast and openly admit just how close Britain came to ruin.

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Director: Steven Spielberg Starring: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk Runtime: 116 minutes

Steven Spielberg’s name has long been synonymous with the Great Hollywood Blockbuster. When we hear the name Spielberg, we imagine runaway boulders, we feel the ground quiver under the weight of reptilian feet, we choke on seawater. Hearing that Spielberg was tackling a historical docudrama about a newspaper was a little surprising. But rest assured, The Post is not overwrought history reeled out to humour a director’s quirk. The Post documents a defining moment for the Washington Post newspaper, with deep resonance in the current political climate.

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With a seemingly endless supply of big budget blockbusters, superhero flicks and glamorous award contenders on our screens, it can be hard to find the time for smaller, independent movies. Despite our endeavour to deliver you all things film, even we here at Film in Dublin have had some remarkable films fly under our radar throughout the past year. With this in mind, we have spent the holiday season looking back on this year’s greatest and most under-appreciated movies in an effort to prepare you for your annual office Oscar party. Now you can have bragging rights over the most obscure and brilliant films that your colleagues and friends may have missed in 2017!

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Director: Jake Kasdan Runtime: 119 mins Starring: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnston, Kevin Hart,  Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas

Don’t adjust your screens, that is not a typo. Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle is a disappointment. But it’s not for the reasons you might expect. We’re used to sequels coming years after their originals these days, and in this respect the film actually has a lot going for it. In a similar vein to Jurassic World’s comment that ‘Kids aren’t impressed by dinosaurs anymore’, young Colin Hanks asks ‘Who even plays boardgames anymore?’ as a teen in 1996. Jumanji decides to update itself, becoming a wooden video game console overnight and next thing we know Hanks’ disappearance is still a local legend 20 years on.

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