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When a film becomes an award season juggernaut in the way that The Shape of Water did, racking up 87 wins from 243 nominations at a variety of ceremonies, the front-runner sweeping home on the way to Oscar wins that included Best Picture and Best Director, it’s becomes enveloped forever into that context, forever on a pedestal, conversations around it forever centered on which wins it did or didn’t deserve, if it being the most successful film from those who created it makes it the best one, and whether or not its that most useless word in film criticism, “overrated”. Discussing the merits of The Shape of Water is even more difficult than most examples of those discourse victims, as it’s not only the Homecoming King of 2017/2018 Awards Season, it’s also forever the Fish Fucking Movie.

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Mission: Impossible  – Fallout makes this list because the each act of the film on their own are better self-contained action stories than most blockbuster fare put out this year. A stunning triptych on the altar of Tom Cruise’s  self-destructive self-regard, Fallout is built on a thorough reeling through the list of pretty much every set-piece director Christopher McQuarrie can dream up and Cruise can delude himself into being dying (not yet literally) to do. Ethan Hunt dives through the Parisian sky as lightning cackles around him, decimates a bathroom with a totality and violence not usually seen outside of Stephen’s Day jacks-visits, rams trucks into rivers, races motorcycles around every square inch of one of Europe’s largest cities, chases after man mountain Henry Cavill (if he doesn’t crush you, no giant thing will) with a broken foot and with over 90 minutes of his latest mission already clocked, the man and his film haven’t even really gotten started yet. By the time Hunt starts playing Helicopter Conkers in the Himalayas, you’ll be literally floored as you realise you’ve gone way beyond the edge of your seat.

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You are cordially invited to spend this week (whatever blasted day it is) at the Light House Cinema, to have a ball watching the costumed have #drama in a mini season of costumed dramas. In anticipation of the release of Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite, they’re bringing some of the all time great period piece powerhouses back to the big screen for a quick run. Though one should never run in such elegant gowns.Read more…

Director: Travis Knight Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr. Running Time: 114 minutes


For over a decade, the Michael Bay-inflicted Transformers movies have been a force for evil in the film world, a miserable exercise in corporate-asset churnery, a film series propelled by millions of dollars but decimal points of inspiration, a world-view that seemingly looked up to the US military and down on absolutely everyone else. First Shia Labeouf, and later Mark Wahlburg, the eejit ids of everything these films stand for (which is to say, nothing), ran and yelled and gawped through a swampy succession of increasingly convoluted and visually overwhelming CGI, and most any of the many watched it got nothing from it at all except for their hearts to be hardened, left for hours to stew in their own cynicism when faced with stupidity and sneers writ large in IMAX 3D; lazy mean-spiritedness blown up to overwhelming size. Merely not being that makes Bumblebee more than a breath of fresh air. It’s more a vital grasp of any air, wonderful oxygen gulped into screaming, scratched lungs that have been poisoned something noxious. On its own merits though, Bumblebee with its spirit, its optimism, and its creative enthusiasm, storms far, far ahead of everything else in the series so far, less a spin-off than a strike-out, a knock-out blow to its inferior predecessors, floating and stinging like, well you know.

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is wholesome teenage fantasy. It tells the story of Lara Jean (played by Lana Condor), a sweet and shy girl who develops crushes very easily but struggles to actually make connections with boys. This will be a bittersweet memory for many, and a fresh of breath air for current teenagers frustrated watching media feed them ideas of breezy confident teens engaging in casual sex (which is fine and real but not the reality for all). Watching this film is akin to curling up with a hot drink at a sleepover and finding out that you’re not as different as you thought.

The film doesn’t ridicule or sneer at its characters, unfortunately this is a rarity for media aimed at teenage girls! We recognise young girls as a lucrative demographic but boy do we hate em for it. Director Susan Johnson deftly explores LJ’s urge to make a connection and by the end we understand that losing her mother young has given Lara Jean a fear of loss so strong that she can’t let any of her crushes get close. There are visual separations and frames throughout the first half of the film to reflect the distance LJ fiercely maintains, this gradually breaks down and the colour palette moves from gentle pastels to sharp vibrant blues and reds when Lara Jean and Peter (Noah Centineo) finally kiss. It’s a well-constructed film which accounts for its mass popularity.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a great example of American-Vietnamese representation. Because Lara Jean and her sisters just exist as American-Vietnamese people, it’s there but it’s not signposted constantly because it’s just part of who they are, an aspect of their experience – which is how whiteness and white characters relationship with race is always portrayed.

A great opportunity for film pros in Ireland to connect, Film Network Ireland is having the last of their Film networking events next week, a Christmas table quiz set to get to film pros scratching their heads as they get them together.

FNI have been busy throughout 2018 with events, several seminars and more bringing the Irish Independent Film community together. We now run classes on a wide variety of topics and have so many ambitious inclusive plans for FNI’ers in 2019.

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Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, John Mulaney, Nicolas Cage, Liev Schreiber Running Time: 117 minutes


The suggestion that we have hit a saturation point with superhero movies has become an increasingly pointless gesture in film criticism. One might as well say that Hollywood has hit a saturation point with making money, and the idea has always carried a degree of ignorance, or arrogance; a dismissive view of a form of storytelling whose domination of the comic book medium is closer to reaching a century than a saturation. The people are here for superhero movies, and the future for the genre isn’t to die out but to make sure they speak to all the people; growing and changing and embracing the vast potential of the medium to show superheroes, their powers and their capacity for good in exciting new ways. Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse does all this and more, with a confidence, enthusiasm and joy, all of which put it firmly in the conversation for best superhero movie of the year.

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In Direct Line, Film In Dublin cuts to the chase, asking 20 questions of Ireland’s directors to get a brief look into their outlooks, influences and inspirations.


Short film The Observer Effect is a dark thriller with vivid imagery, telling the story of a man and a woman with a mysterious connection whose paths, when crossed, are destined to lead to a violent end. An impressive debut from director Garret Walsh, with an immersive feeling of dread and remarkable production design, the short has had considerable success on the film festival circuit, showing at the likes of the Richard Harris International Film Festival, the Silk Road Film Festival and more, picking up award nominations and wins along the way.

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A love letter to Irish mythology with a feminist twist, short film TETHERED  is an intriguing project currently seeking crowdfunding. takes a look at two different women harshly punished for being young. TETHERED is a dark, bittersweet and supernatural Irish fantasy film that promises to explore the power of folklore, family and friendship. The short is inspired by Irish mythology and our nation’s traditions of storytelling, as well as serving as an homage to 1980s genre films like Poltergeist, Cocoon, Labyrinth and The Watcher in the Woods – but all with a stridently feminist twist. 

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13 isn’t always an unlucky number, and so it has proved for Kinopolis, Dublin’s Polish Film Festival which will be hosting it’s 13th edition at the Irish Film Institute this December. For years the Kinopolis Polish Film Festival has been one of the highlights of the IFI’s international programming, packing out audiences with a celebration of one of the hallmarks of European cinema. With seven films and an enticing animation showcase on offer, Kinopolis 2018 is shaping up to be a can’t miss event at the end of Dublin film fans’ calendars.

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