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Founded in 2009 by Hannah Neurotica, Women In Horror Month is an international grassroots initiative that assists female genre artists in gaining opportunities, exposure, and education through various events, printed material, articles, interviews, and online support. The vision is a world wherein all individuals are equally given the opportunity to create, share, and exploit their concept of life, pain, and freedom of expression. Every February, WiHM supporters host events (blood drives, film screenings, art shows), write blogs and articles, conduct interviews, and create videos and podcasts for mass consumption, and over the last number of years has been a regular part of the calendar here in the fair city of film. Womxn in Horror Month Ireland are hosting a number of events this month.

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Director: Bong Joon-ho Starring: Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Lee Jung-eun, Chang Hyae-jin Running Time: 132 minutes

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The long anticipated Parasite from acclaimed director Bong Joon-ho has arrived on Irish big screens right at the end of what has turned out to be an incredible run of Oscar contenders. While in many ways the Academy Awards could well be regarded as an over inflated industry award, it is difficult not to get caught up in all of the fuss surrounding what is unquestionably the most notable event of the year in film. Similarly, while it might make more sense to maintain objectivity when reviewing films, it’s often challenging to suspend your own excitement for films that you’ve been personally routing for. On it’s own merit, I had been eagerly anticipating the release of Parasite for months. As someone who was first introduced to the now well-established perceptive craft of Bong Joon-ho since The Host in 2006, I was even more delighted that his latest work seemed to be getting the level of international traction that many South Korean films in the last year have undeservedly lacked. Casting memory back through the last couple of years, there seems to have been at least one highly impressive hit coming out of the country every year. In 2016 there was Train to Busan, a frantic and kinetic zombie movie tracking the desperation of a father and daughter to escape a lethal viral outbreak. In 2017 there was Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden, a stylish period thriller that picked up the BAFTA for Best Film Not In The English Language. Then there was Lee Chang-dong’s Burning in 2018, a slow burning psychological mystery. All of these features could more than match the weight of any Oscar winning Hollywood films in recent years, but many were regrettably limited to selected art house screenings.

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The 92nd edition of the Academy Awards took place last night, and amid much speculation and fanfare, ̶S̶i̶n̶n̶ ̶F̶é̶i̶n̶ ̶w̶e̶r̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶b̶i̶g̶ ̶w̶i̶n̶n̶e̶r̶s̶   Parasite was the big winner on the night, adding a surprise Best Picture win to victories in the categories of Best International Feature, Best Original Screenplay and Best Director for Bong Joon-ho. On a night where Ireland’s own Eímear Noone conducted the ceremony, there was the usual mix of overdue wins, rambling speeches and head-scratching choices, but the successes for Parasite will ensure that cranks like Film In Dublin’s head writer still talk about the Oscars while insisting they’re not important.

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Directors: Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence Running Time: 124 minutes

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It isn’t much of an exaggeration to call the Bad Boys series to date some of the most hateful films ever to make it to the multiplex. Bad Boys II was particularly repugnant; a cruel, homophobic, racist, cynical indulgence in all of the worst excesses of director Michael Bay, mindless and reactionary even by 2003 standards. That’s on top of incoherent action and grimly repeated buddy cop tropes, just about jolted into life by the chemistry of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Action movies have moved on, and most big budget blockbusters at least try to hide it when they have fascistic overtones or adolescent sensibilities. So seventeen years later and with its stars both in very different places in their careers, was there any good reason to resurrect these crass cops, besides their sworn oath to be bad boys til’ they die? Improbably, yes. This is very much the post Hot Fuzz vision of Bad Boys, its ludicrous macho bullshit has been exposed so thoroughly but so lovingly since by films like Edgar Wright’s that the only real way to move forward is to acknowledge and embrace the OTT tropes. Like a lot of aging franchises, For Life asks the question if it’s old gunslingers still have any gas left in the tank. Then, to raucous effect, it blows up that tank, doubling down on every excess and wallowing in something wonderfully wild.

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Directors: Josh & Bennie Safdie Starring: Adam Sandler, Eric Bogosian, Idina Menzel, Kevin Garnett, Julia Fox, Lakeith Stanfield Running Time: 135 minutes

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With a career littered by the likes of The WaterboyBilly Madison, and Happy Gilmore, it’s fair to say that Adam Sandler isn’t a name that’s been synonymous with the Awards season in film. It’s never been the case that lowbrow slapstick comedies have been the only thing that Sandler could come up with, but such films seem to be his career’s signature. There are parts of this that have always been endearing to me- for example, his loyal tendency to give his close friends consistent work, even through (at times) offensively rubbish pieces like Grown Ups 2. Notwithstanding this likable fidelity, Sandler has far too often had his name attached to horrendous, Golden Raspberry bait, with 2011’s Jack and Jill being a notable lowlight.

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Been working through our picks of international films you should watch and looking to add even more to your list? You’re just in time for the Subtitle Spotlight European Film Festival, taking place at the Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire this weekend, Jan 31st – Feb 2nd. A selection of European subtitled films will invite viewers to see cinema in a whole new way.

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There was much discussion about the jokes that Ricky Gervais made at the expense of Hollywood superstars at this year’s Golden Globes. However, what stood out for me was what should have won an award for the “golden quote” of the night. It came from the director of the highly anticipated South Korean film Parasite, Bong Joon-ho. He gave the much needed reminder that:

 

“Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films”.

 

This really spoke to me- and not just in English. If I could add one addendum to this brilliant insight, it would be that viewing international films also exposes you to different cultural fabrics, different challenges and, different experiences. Aside from that, they’re also very entertaining and remain such an underappreciated cinematic art by large chunks of Western audiences. So in order to help you get over the horrific inconvenience of subtitles, and in light of Bong Joon-ho’s golden quote. Here are 20 international films to watch in 2020.

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Director: Melina Matsoukas Starring: Jodie Turner-Smith, Daniel Kaluyaa, Bokeem Woodbine, Chloë Sevigny Running Time: 132 minutes

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The first thing I noticed about Queen and Slim was the theatrical poster. I was coming out of a cinema and was taken aback by the aesthetics of the gritty garage backdrop, contrasted with the glossy greyscale shine. While Daniel Kaluuya played a crime boss in Steve McQueen’s Widows, it was the first time he came off as a true “tough guy” to me. While intrigued as to the plot, I decided to keep prior research to a minimum and walk into Queen and Slim with a blind eye.

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The full programme for the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2020 was launched at the Light House Cinema in Smithfield this afternoon. VMDIFF Director Gráinne Humphreys announced details of this year’s programme, a 12 day extravaganza of cinema and an opportunity to see the very best of world cinema and film talent in Dublin.

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