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Closing gala of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2013

Arthur Lappin, Proinsias DeRossa and Joe Costello - Closing gala of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2013 with a screening of 'Blood Rising' at the Savoy Cinema - Dublin, Ireland - Sunday 24th February 2013

On the Edge (2000) Review


Grim
Paddy, interrupted.

This rather bleak entry into the rapidly expanding genre of "mental institution" movies (a la Girl, Interrupted) has newcomer Cillian Murphy sent to a clinic after driving a convertible off a cliff... and ending up with a broken pinky.

Continue reading: On the Edge (2000) Review

In America Review


Extraordinary
There is a scene early in In America where a young Irish immigrant girl sticks her head out of the car window she is riding in to soak in the sights and sounds of New York City for the first time. The background music is The Lovin' Spoonful's "Do You Believe in Magic," which not only sums up her arrival in America, but also foreshadows events to come. What follows is a magical and uplifting tale that boosts the human spirit and proves that small miracles do exist.

Written and directed by Jim Sheridan, and based on his own experiences as an Irish immigrant in America, the film chronicles the first year struggles and triumphs of an Irish couple, and their two young daughters. Johnny (Paddy Considine) is out of work and while he struggles to find parts as an actor, his wife Sarah (Samantha Morton) must take a job at a nearby ice cream parlor until she finds employment as a teacher. They must scrounge every penny and sell their car, to pay the rent on their shabby, rundown apartment in a building inhabited mostly by vagrants.

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The Boxer Review


Good
What kind of boxer doesn't have a killer instinct? Well, after 14 years in prison for IRA-related crimes, you might lose your taste for violence too. And that's exactly what Daniel Day-Lewis's Boxer does -- he can't finish a fight, and when called upon by his old IRA buddies, he can't work for them either. This gets our Irish friend in a heap of trouble, making for a reasonably good movie, no matter how creepy Emily Watson is. (Which is to say: pretty damn creepy.)

Agnes Browne Review


OK
I'm always skeptical when I see a Hollywood diva trying to look haggard, poor, and malnourished in a film. Everybody knows that in real life they all have personal trainers and special diets along with the best technology has to offer in keeping themselves looking young and beautiful. So in the first five minutes of Anjelica Huston's latest production, Agnes Browne, when her husband has died and left behind seven young children in a poor area of Dublin, Ireland, the first thing I said to myself was, "There's no way that a woman going through this kind of hardship can look that good."

Set in the year 1967, the film follows the struggles of Agnes Brown, (Anjelica Huston) a recent widow battling to keep her irregularly large family intact (six boys and a girl, ranging in age from 2 to 14). In order to give her husband the funeral he deserves, Agnes must borrow money from the menacing loan shark Mr. Billy (Ray Winstone). As she attempts to pay him back in weekly installments, he terrorizes her and her small children at every street corner. To make ends meet, Agnes sells fruit and vegetables on the street along with her best friend Marion Monks (Marion O'Dwyer). The two are inseparable and Marion is, ironically enough, Anjelica's guardian angel, as she brightens Agnes life and helps her in times of desperate need. When Pierre (Arno Chevrier, a Gerard Depardieu look-alike) comes along in the form of a neighborhood French baker and takes an interest in Agnes, sparks fly as she tries to forge a personal life of her own with the possibility of newfound love, all while dealing with the nuisance of seven hellion children.

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Borstal Boy Review


Excellent
Irish filmmaking has always resonated with an urgent sense of political forethought. Filmmaker Jim Sheridan diligently championed the determined spirit of tortured protagonists in gutsy pictures such as My Left Foot, The Boxer, and In the Name of the Father. In the uplifting Emerald Isle melodrama Borstal Boy, Jim's brother Peter Sheridan effectively explores the trials and tribulations of a 16-year old boy's exploits behind the unbearable confines of a British World War II borstal, a reformatory center for boys, based on charismatic Irish writer Brendan Behan's memoir. Provocative and resoundingly crafty, Borstal Boy is a solid and refined piece of moviemaking imbued with passion and attitude.

Thanks to his heavy involvement in IRA-related activities, the film opens with Brendan (Shawn Hatosy, Anywhere But Here, John Q) in jail in East Anglia, England. Among the prison-camp personalities that the overwhelmed Brendan encounters are a thieving gay sailor named Millwall (Danny Dyer), whom he eventually. He also finds a love interest in the lovely and supportive Liz (Eva Birthistle), who happens to be the daughter of the facility's presiding Governor (Michael York). Consequently, Brendan begins to shape his outlook on life, challenging what was once a rigid belief system entrenched in his conservative shell.

Continue reading: Borstal Boy Review

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