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The arrival of the first trailer for Cats back in July 2019 was one of those landmark occasions in social media history. In a time where quick and constant access to conversation is paired with a media machine designed to pile misery on all sides to leave us more divided than ever, the 2 minute trailer -its first glimpses of the uncanny combination of human faces and cat bodies, its clearly rushed special effects, the enduring brown note that blarps through the voice of James Corden – it all served as a brief and perfect moment of unity. Everyone was confused, everyone was upset. Everyone was transfixed. The sight of “miniature yet huge cats with human celebrity faces and sexy breasts performing a demented dream ballet for kids” was an Event Horizon for the terminally online, something that could only begin to be processed by the immediate and fervent application of memes. Yet the majority of those who had been cursed to watch the trailer were also united in another way: they were absolutely going to watch the film no matter what.

Cats is out in cinemas now, but it appears that the only ones going to see it are those who became unnervingly compelled t0 do so back on that wild summer day. And fans of the Broadway show maybe. Also furries. Still, opening during the busy Christmas period at the same time as a Star Wars (even a terrible one) is turning out to be a bad decision by Universal, with the film flopping at the box office so far. The reviews may be even worse, with critics lining up to skewer the film as if the writer with the most venomous take will be chosen by Old Deuteronomy to die blissfully and be reborn as a person blessed to have never seen Cats. It is “an abomination“. It is “what death feels like“, but also “surprisingly boring“, a film that “will haunt viewers for generations“. And yet, could this terrible nightmare film also serve as a landmark moment in cinematic history? Is Cats in fact a trailblazer in its unifying awfulness, the first Cursed Blockbuster?

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Director: Taika Waititi Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thomson, Jeff Goldblum, Mark Ruffalo, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins, Karl Urban  Running Time: 130 minutes


Thor: Ragnarok is fine. This might seem like a needlessly dismissive hot take on a movie that has been popular with critics and a hit at the Irish box office (the film was responsible for over 46% of the Irish 3-day weekend box office), but given the considerable talent involved in the film, both on screen and in the director’s chair, is it spoiled to come out of Marvel’s latest blockbuster? Let’s not be too much of a curmudgeon about this; Ragnarok is a frequently very funny film, one that meets the expectations of its audience, set firmly from that “he’s a friend from work!” trailer, more or less exactly. It is another Marvel movie, and much like pizza, even when they’re not amazing they’re still pretty good. It is what it is. It just could have been more than that.

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Director: Hany Abu-Assad Starring: Kate Winslet, Idris Elba, Austin the Dog, Raleigh the Dog Running time: 103 mins

The Mountain Between Us opens on Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) with a skilled American accent and an arsenal of questions, a complete contrast to Ben’s (Idris Elba) British stoic suave. They are total strangers, thrown together by bad weather and circumstance. They arrive at the airport to find out all flights to Denver are cancelled, but with Ben flying out to perform a surgery and Alex trying to make it to her wedding, they can’t wait until the next morning. Alex charters a plane, piloted by a sweet old man and his faithful dog, and having overheard his troubles, she invites Ben to tag along. Disaster ensues.

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Director: Justin Lin Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Zoe Salanda, Idris Elba Running Time: 122 minutes


How much you enjoy Star Trek Beyond may depend entirely on what it is you expect from a Star Trek film. Those looking for a fun night at the movies will likely leave satisfied. Those hoping for a hint of the depth or thematic resonance of the original series may feel short changed.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise. Beyond fittingly promises a story that returns that franchise to its roots, with the crew having finally embarked on their 5 year mission to “explore strange new worlds”.  While some credit is due for attempting to follow through on that promise, it doesn’t excuse the script’s over reliance on by-the-numbers plotting. The story is threadbare and largely recycled; riddled with plot contrivances and a few too many unlikely coincidences. What the film lacks in originality however, it makes up for with a renewed sense of adventure.Read more…