Category: Film

Ebony-ivory bonding in the segregated south

Green
 Book
(PG)   Dull would he be of soul who could fail to warm to the black and white communion of Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali)  and Tony Lip (Viggo Mortenson) in this feelgood road movie. As a treatise on racism, though, it’s hackneyed. Likewise as a buddy-buddy feature, the tropes are overly familiar. I didn’t admire…

Surprise hits, tired conventions – another film year to remember

Satires, rom-coms, sitcoms, documentaries, cartoons, blockbusters, art movies, actioners, screwball comedies, retro noir dramas, earnest social issue statements, experimental failures and sleeper successes…the year was the usual mixed bag of surprise hits and tired conventions. Two papal films were released: Pope Francis: A Man of His Word and John Paul II in Ireland: A Plea…

Orphan bonds with alcoholic in tragicomic mish-mash

The
 Belly
 of
 the Whale
 (15A)   He dresses like a homeless person. He grunts as if he’s just climbed a mountain. His face bears the scars of 101 bad dawns. Yes, it’s Pat Shortt giving us the flipside of his comic persona in yet another of those down-at-heel roles that have become disarmingly familiar for him in recent years.…

Prodigal daughter returns to world that spurned her

Disobedience
 (15A) Head Orthodox rabbi Rav Krushka (Anton Lesser) stands on the altar of his London synagogue speaking about “the beasts of the flesh”. Then he collapses and dies. His estranged daughter Ronit (Rachel Weisz), a photographer living in New York, is informed of the news by her friend Esti (Rachel McAdams). She had an affair…

Entrancing portrait of exemplary sporting ambassador

Katie
 (12A) Why does the woman who put Irish boxing on the international map receive relatively little attention from the media? Is it because she doesn’t disgrace herself enough in public like Conor McGregor? Or, more ominously, because she tends to mention the dreaded ‘G’ word, i.e. God – society’s latest taboo  – in interviews? Imagine…

Pope portrayed as catalyst for end of violence

Pope
 John
 Paul 
II 
in 
Ireland: 
A
 Plea 
for 
Peace 
(12A)   Did the 1979 visit of Pope John Paul II to our shores eventually impact on the Good Friday Agreement that saw “the force of argument”, as this fascinating documentary puts it, replacing “the argument of force”? Or as Seamus Heaney said, helped “hope and history rhyme”? It frames his visit in the context…

Spouse’s creative influence too close for comfort

The 
Wife 
(15A)   Glenn Close has been labouring away in the Hollywood vineyard for many moons now without too much to show for it. She’s been a bridesmaid at the annual Oscar ceremonies so often, ‘Close’ isn’t just her surname – it’s more like a career description. Some poor editorial decisions haven’t helped. In Fatal Attraction,…