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When Once was first released in cinemas ten years ago it was an unlikely contender to be a hit. Filmed on a shoestring budget, with scenes shot on Dublin’s streets without a permit and starring two non-actor in then-teenaged Markéra Irglová and the divisive Frames frontman Glen Hansard, John Carney’s film ended up making millions at the box-office, placing high on many critics’ end-of-year lists for the strong cinematic year of 2007 and winning the Best Original Song Academy Award for Falling Slowly. It’s a film that has been entered into the canon of Irish favourites, and a great choice to watch on a (hopefully) bright summer evening on a nice cosy blanket. So with that in mind, Happenings in association with 7Up have picked out Once to be the next film for their Open Air Cinema.

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Director: Damien Chazelle Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone Running Time: 128 minutes


 

Having been subjected to months of hype and subsequently inevitable backlash, it has been almost impossible to go into La La Land without expectations being shaped one way or another. Is it truly the greatest thing since sliced bread, is it a musical for people who don’t like musicals, does it deserve the onslaught of accolades or is it merely the dreaded “Oscar Bait”, to be forgotten as soon as everyone files out of the Dolby Theatre on February 26th? That label and the associations that go with it, that La La Land is deliberately designed at every level to take home Academy Awards, are cynical accusations to make, but we live in cynical times. That is what makes La La Land such an appealing throwback, an abandonment of reality that shows its beautiful stars pursuing and achieving their dreams in the brightest light possible. There’s not much of our real world in struggling actress Mia’s massive apartment decked in classic film posters, or on the various, impossibly romantic dates she shares with jazz fanatic Sebastian. Reality is the antagonist of La La Land, right from the opening where dozens and dozens of motorists abandon an LA gridlock for a showstopping musical number, through Mia’s numerous, disastrous auditions and Seb’s jazz dogmatism setting him back over and over, reality is what the characters are trying to overcome to find happiness.

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Directors: John Musker & Ron Clements Starring: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jermaine Clement, Nicole Sherzinger, Alan Tudyk Running Time: 113 minutes


From the release of Mulan in 1998 onwards, Disney animation has aimed for a more proactive set of Princesses, girls who take a more active role in their own story without having to be rescued by a handsome, strong-chinned hero. While refining that process, Disney has still stuck to the same basic structure for the Princess side of their animation department, with songs, animal sidekicks and heroes who just need to believe in themselves. Moana undoubtedly follows that same Disney formula, but if the songs are good, the animal sidekicks are funny and the heroes are worth believing in, who cares?

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