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The MonsterVerse is a Hollywood franchise and shared fictional universe focusing on giant monsters duking it out, an impactful visual statement on how division wreaks inherently destructive and grotesque consequences and also an impactful visual statement on how cool it is when big monkey punch dinosaur.

Produced by Legendary Entertainment and co-produced and distributed by Warner Bros, the series most prominently features two of the most famous monsters in popular culture: Godzilla and King Kong, culminating in the recent release of Adam Wingard’s Godzilla vs Kong, pay-per-view knockout / Hollow Earth conspiracy propaganda. A fun, proudly stupid monster beat em’ up that knows exactly what it is trying to be, the film nevertheless prompted a lot of questions, including ‘is Eleven from Stranger Things in QAnon?’, ‘if Kong Kong can learn sign language, can Godzilla learn sign language?’ and ‘did they get the idea for this film’s climax from The Simpsons?’. One particular question grew and grew in this writer’s mind though, like an ancient sea monster awoken by nuclear radiation: Is Fungie the Dolphin a Titan?

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A winner of the Audience Award for Best Short at this year’s DIFF, the Spirit of the Festival Award at the Catalyst Film Festival, and the Best Cinematography Award for the Irish Region of the Royal Television Society Awards, To All My Darlings continues to make an impression whenever it gets eyes in front of it. A graduation film for students of IADT, To All My Darlings impresses and inspires, both in screen and behind the scenes in the success of its young and diverse crew.

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

With a storied career in theatre, television and film, writer, director, producer and performer Róisín Kearney is no stranger to those familiar with the Irish film scene. Her latest short film is Paddy, a story of identity soaked in 70s London Punk scene sweat. Funded by Creative Ireland and Clare Co Co, the short premiered last year at the Galway Film Fleadh and is one of the home-grown films currently available as part of this year’s Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival.

During DIFF, Film In Dublin got onto Róisín for a quick chat about her latest film, how her background in theatre has helped her in film and more.
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A hard-hitting short film recently released offers a sobering response to the 2018 Papal visit to Ireland. God Given Opportunity is a short film by Anne Marie Kelly, made in response to the Papel visit to Ireland in 2018 and Kelly’s experience at the Stand 4 Truth demonstration which coincided with Pope Francis’ mass in the Phoenix Park.

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artwork by Amy Lauren McGrath

It has, somehow, been a year. And while this year hasn’t allowed us to seek refuge in front of the big screen as often as we might like, and though many of the most anticipated releases of the last twelve months have been deferred to 202-dot-dot-dot-question-mark, we still have been able to enjoy some truly exceptional films at a time when we really needed them. Using Irish release dates, the Film In Dublin team have come together to pick out ten of the best of 2020. Films that helped us to escape. Films that served as a funnel to feel through *all this*. Films with pet hyenas in them. So a broad spectrum as always.

What films made your own personal Best of 2020 list? As ever, we’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below or hit us up on Twitter and Instagram and let us know what movies moved you over the last year, and let us know what you make of the list below.

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From ‘what is Rosebud?’ to ‘what is the Matrix?’, film has a long tradition of using compelling questions to hook in audiences. An air of fascination and mystery, well harnessed, can be as strong a pull into theatre seats as any dazzling movie star or cutting-edge technology. But in our modern world, where more jaded viewers can have most of their questions answered at the press of a button – correctly or otherwise – and where the sheer saturation of information at all times means we are up to speed with all major media whether we ever intend to watch it or not, a new question is increasingly successful at hooking in potential movie viewers:

 

“What the fuck was that?”

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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.

An award-winning actor, writer, director, and producer, Maureen O’Connell is a recognisable name to anyone with an eye on the Irish film scene. Her short films, wide ranging comedies like Meitherhood or the 1916-themed Proclaim! are regular selections for any solid Irish festival programme. More recently, the director’s comedy feature Spa Weekend has been a hit at festivals home and abroad, screening in British and Irish festivals and last year winning the ‘She Is On Fire’ Award at the Female Filmmakers Festival in Berlin.

Keeping that fire lit, Maureen O’Connell is now organising the first Dublin International Comedy Film Festival. Taking place online from December 3rd and 4th, the festival promises to offer some much-needed winter levity with a selection of short and feature films.

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A Halloween spent in lockdown is the perfect time to feast upon the quintessential horror classics that we all love to fear. Whether it’s the head spinning experience of re-watching The Exorcist or binge watching the good, the bad, and the very ugliest of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, we all know how to tell a safe bet from a dodgy Netflix choice just as well as we can tell a good piece of chocolate from an unwanted apple in a trick or treat bag.

 

But what about the films that have slipped through the cracks? There are many reasons why certain horror films haven’t received the attention they deserve. A lack of advertising, coming out at the wrong time of the year, or maybe because for lots of cinema goers one or two scary films a year is more than enough. For the films on this list however, the reason why you’ve probably never seen them has nothing to do with their quality. These are some of the lesser known but  better placed fright fests to satiate your Halloween sweet tooth on this spooky stay at home weekend. This list is not to be confused with an “underrated horror films” selection. That’s an interesting but separate discussion. The films on this list were generally well received critically, but they unfortunately just never seemed to get the reach that they deserved. So sit back, relax, and prepare to be bombarded with a universe of existential horror you probably haven’t yet heard about.

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The Cineworld cinema chain is set to close all Ireland and UK sites. The Cineworld Dublin cinema on Parnell Street in Dublin city centre had already been closed due to Government restrictions in the county but will nowgo into an indefinite closure along with all UK and many US based venues owned by the company. In the UK, Cineworld is understood to have writen to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden describing the exhibition sector as “unviable” due to studios delaying tentpole releases such as the latest James Bond film: a result of enforced local closures and audiences steering clear of cinemas during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Cineworld closures will put up to 5,500 jobs at risk in the UK and Ireland.

Cineworld has not given any further information on when its cinemas may reopen, however they could remain closed until 2021. Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger has said, “We did everything in our power to support safe and sustainable reopenings in all of our markets.”

The UK-based Cineworld Action Group, formed in March in response to staff mistreatment following the initial closure of cinemas as a result of Covid-19, have criticised the company’s lack of communication with staff throughout the pandemic, including consistently receiving news about their jobs via the press and social media.

The Parnell Street cinema location, which has changed hands between cinema chains on several occasions since first opening in 1995, became Dublin’s first IMAX cinema location in 1998. Due to its size and IMAX screen it has frequently been a venue for film premieres and the Dublin International Film Festival, while films from Poland, India and other countries screened in the cinema frequently sell out and hold firm in the Irish box office rankings, as Dublin-based international film fans take the opportunity to reconnect with their local culture. While its potentially permanent loss would be sad for the city, the priority concern is unquestionably the staff who have been left in limbo.

Film In Dublin spoke to a member of staff from the Dublin branch to receive their account of communications with the company over the last six months and their position following the confirmed closure. The staff member agreed to interview on condition of anonymity.

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