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Nature, some might say, is healing. We have a long way to go before the Covid-19 pandemic can be described in the past tense – if ever – but here in Ireland, as time slowly starts to reshape into having the vaguest semblance of meaning, cinemas are set to reopen. Next Monday 7th June is the big date, with some chains taking bookings already, the IFI returning on the 10th, while the Light House Cinema will be back on the 25th.

 

If you’re feeling safe and ready to return to the cinema over the summer months though, the last year and a half of postponements and cancellations might have you wondering, what exactly is coming out anyway? We’re going to attempt to answer that, with a look ahead to some of the currently slated Irish releases in Summer 2021.

 

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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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Director: J.J. Abrams Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell, Kelly Marie Tran, Billy Dee Williams, Ian McDiarmid, Carrie Fischer, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Joonas Suotamo Running Time: 142 minutes

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If there is one thing we can surely all agree on, it’s that conversation around Star Wars has long since become exhausting. The most popular thing in the world seems destined to be endlessly divisive, drafted unwittingly into assorted sides of the culture wars, something that has gone from nerd fixation to an inescapable franchise conveyor belt. Surely we can all agree that a children’s movie about lasers and space goblins shouldn’t be taken too seriously one way or another. If you couldn’t care less about The Rise of Skywalker with all the baggage it has, it would be hard to blame you. If you watch it and enjoy the film’s spectacle and fan service, more power to you. But in trying to wrestle with the considerable backlash to The Last Jedi, while both concluding a nine film saga and keeping the franchise in good enough favour to continue into the future all while also also trying (one hopes) to be a functioning narrative and entertaining film in its own right, is all too much for one film to rise above. Instead, it falls down a bit of a pit, but has that ever been much of a problem where Star Wars is concerned? It never quite seems to kill things off the way it should.

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Director: Rob Letterman Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Bill Nighy, Ken Watanabe Running Time: 104 minutes


It’s 2000 and you’re nine and you’re waiting in line at the cinema for Pokémon: The First Movie. You’re loaded up on sugar and Burger King and immeasurable excitement. Pokémon is a global phenomenon in spite of how it baffles anyone who’s five years older than you or more, you’ve been freebasing a cocktail of video games, toys and cartoons for the last year or so and you think it’s the most amazing thing imaginable. As far as your nine year old understanding of art and culture goes, “: The Movie” of The Thing is the ultimate elevation, the crowning glory of entertainment and so you’re pretty sure this is going to be the biggest and best movie of all time. And imagine. It’s only the first one. You look at the poster and it has, like, every Pokémon on it. Incredible. Mewtwo and Mew square off in the centre and you can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like when they finally fight. Your brother looks like you must look, like he’s about to explode from the excitement of it all. Your mother looks like she’d rather be anywhere else. Philistine. And then the screen opens up. And you go in.

And it’s…fine.

It was fine?

…was it even fine?

You’re only nine and you are so ready and willing to love this movie and there were certainly fun bits, certainly moments where it seemed to be giving you exactly what you wanted, but now its over and all that anticipation and excitement has left you and there hasn’t really been anything left in its place. You don’t feel disappointed, exactly, but there is something nagging at you. Surely life isn’t so cynical that it would lure you into a cinema screen, distract you by having your favourite characters bounce around for two hours doing nothing of much importance, stick in a dumb, even contradictory moral at the end and shoo you out until they’re ready to show you The Next Movie? You may not have felt exactly like this in 2000. Or when you were nine. You may have felt like this at some stage though. Maybe even recently. We all get sold on the biggest and the best and the phenomenon and we all end up in that moment when the anticipation has departed. If you take these things too seriously you feel like you have to explain, in so many words, why something nagged at you or not, or your delight when the excitement pays off, or your sense of betrayal when it doesn’t. Before you know it you go into school one day and no one thinks Pokémon is cool anymore. Nobody gave you the heads up about this.

It’s 2019 and you spend your own money on movies that are only fine now so at least your mother is less disappointed. It turns out that life actually is so cynical, sometimes, but mostly you’re still pretty ready and willing to love movies. You’re the one who gets baffled by the weird things they try to sell kids these days, and then you see them announce a pretty baffling thing: a movie where Pikachu is a detective. And he talks. There’s a part of you, somewhere in the place where that anticipation and excitement used to be, that knows that it’s just a regular Pikachu with a stupid, cheap hat. He still embodies all the awful commercialism he did before.

But he’s got a new hat!

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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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Sometimes you go to the Light House Cinema for well-curated programmes and the chance to celebrate the classics all over again . Sometimes you go for the great film festivals hosted there, showcasing diverse international cinema. And sometimes you go cos you wanna see big ol’ sharks chomp down on some fools on the big screen. If that third group includes you, you’ll be swarming to the Smithfield cinema next week like a shark that’s smelled blood in the water.

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Director: Christopher McQuarrie Starring: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Sean Harris, Vanessa Kirby, Angela Bassett, Alec Baldwin Running Time: 147 minutes


A preface: When Tom Cruise found out that a member of the Spielberg family was seeing a psychiatrist, he had faithful Scientologist acolytes, who hate psychiatry, picket the doctor at their home. Scientologists assigned the actress (and member) Nazanin Boniadi to be Cruise’s new girlfriend post Penelope Cruz, pre-Katie Holmes, dumped her for a perceived sleight to Scientology honcho David Miscavige and when Boniadi expressed her disappointment, the church punished her with months of menial labour, digging ditches and cleaning toilets with a toothbrush. He publicly criticised Brooke Shields for using anti-depressants when she had post-partum depression. He had Nicole Kidman’s phone tapped, and after divorcing Kidman (whom Scientology never approved of because her father was a well-known psychologist back in Australia), Cruise turned their two children against her with the help of the church, to the point that they now call her a ‘Suppressive Person’ and Kidman doesn’t count the two when thanking her children in speeches…it’s just worth keeping in mind sometimes that Cruise is a highly-wound maniac in deep with a cult that manipulates and abuses members and neglects children, before launching into effuse praise of his work. It might well be the intense ethic that Scientology has developed in Cruise, or his eagerness to have people forget his off-putting mid-00s energy, that sees him so heavily devoted to making the Mission: Impossible series go from strength-to-stength as one of Hollywood’s most innovative action franchise. The latest installment Fallout, breaks new ground for the series, pushing it to the most berserk heights yet. Really berserk.

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Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo Starring: Everybody. Running Time: 149 minutes


Ten years ago now, there was an idea. To bring together a group of remarkable characters and see if they could become something more. There was a time, unbelievable as it is now, that having a ‘shared universe’ of various franchises seemed like a massive risk rather than the movie studio holy grail. A time when people wondered how the first Avengers film was possibly going to manage a story with six superheroes. Infinity War has twenty. Plus sidekicks and supporting cast members, absentee Avengers, love interests, a few surprise appearances, the army of an entire country, and a new mass of villains. And Stan Lee. The Universe has grown and grown, developing an enormous, enamoured audience along with it. Marvel know they have most every blockbuster-loving film fan in the palm of their hands at this point, so to keep them captivated, what’s the best thing they can do at this point? Make a fist. Or snap their fingers.

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Once a year, Dublin’s Cineworld showcases its centrepiece: its IMAX theater, with the ‘IMAX Film Festival‘. The selection of blockbusters, well suited to the biggest of big screens, is coming back this March, offering films fans the chance to see some popular blockbusters of the past year once again.

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Dunkirk is one of those films that sets very high stakes for itself before the trailers are even released. Christopher Nolan took a risk tackling a subject that is still holds significance in the collective memory of so many. That said, the technical brilliance of the film is clear from poster to trailer to the film’s opening moments, so it’s to be expected that the Film In Dublin team would all end up watching Dunkirk on the big screen. We found that our opinions varied from Luke’s “all-out immersive assault on the senses” to “spectacle over emotion” and so we decided to collect some of our team’s reactions to one of the summer’s biggest films. Nolan has always been a divisive director and reactions to Dunkirk have been no different, so check out what our writers had to say.

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