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Filming of RTE's comedy series 'Damo and Ivor'

Ruth McCabe and Andy Quirke - Filming of the second series of RTE's hit comedy show 'Damo and Ivor' - Dublin, Ireland - Tuesday 15th July 2014

Ruth McCabe and Andy Quirke
Ruth McCabe and Lewis Magee
Ruth McCabe and Andy Quirke
Ruth McCabe

Special preview screening of 'Run & Jump'

Ciara Gallagher and Ruth McCabe - Special preview screening of 'Run & Jump' in association with the Irish Heart Foundation & National Stroke Week held at the Lighthouse Cinema - Dublin, Ireland - Sunday 6th April 2014

Will Forte, Ciara Gallagher and Ruth McCabe
Ruth McCabe

Philomena Review


Excellent

Based on a true story, this warm drama uses sharp humour to keep from tipping over into sloppy sentiment. It's still hugely emotional, but in a shamelessly entertaining way. And it gives Judi Dench and Steve Coogan characters they can really sink their teeth into as the twists and turns of the real events unfold.

In 2002, cynical London journalist Martin Sixsmith (Coogan) has just been sacked from his job as a government spin doctor, so his editor suggests he try a human interest story to get back to work. He hates the idea until he meets Philomena (Dench), a retired Irishwoman who was raised by nuns in a workhouse, where she was forced to give her baby son up for adoption some 50 years ago. She'd like to know what happened to him, so Martin accompanies her back to Ireland and then on to America, where the babies were sold. But their search doesn't go as expected, and what they discover is startlingly moving.

As he did with The Queen, director Frears gives the film a gentle, light tone that helps balance the intensely serious subject matter. He also encourages his cast to deliver understated performances, which is especially effective for the usually broad Coogan. And of course Dench is simply wonderful as a feisty straight-talker who isn't thrown by anything she encounters. Gurgling under everything is an astute look at religious heritage: Martin is a lapsed Catholic who can't understand why Philomena still has a devout faith, because of what the church has done to her. And as the story continues, he begins to understand the strength this gives her.

Continue reading: Philomena Review

Irish Gala Screening of 'Philomena'

Ruth McCabe - Irish Gala Screening of 'Philomena' at IFI Temple Bar - Arrivals - Dublin, Ireland - Friday 18th October 2013

Philomena - Teaser Trailer


Judi Dench stars as Philomena Lee in the emotionally moving and shocking true story based on Martin Sixsmith's novel: The Lost Children of Philomena Lee released in 2009. 

In a controversial pregnancy during the 1950's, Lee was sent to a Catholic home for unmarried mothers where she gave birth to her son before authoritarian, religious nuns forced the mother to give up her only child who was sent for adoption in America.

After 50 years of searching for her son she achieved very little but instead found political journalist Martin Sixsmith (Coogan) who would end up taking her to America to find the truth about her son in a heart gripping and extraordinary story that celebrates human love, loss and the celebration of life. 

Continue: Philomena - Teaser Trailer

Wake Wood Review


Excellent
With deliberate echoes of classic Hammer horror, this moody and inventive thriller gets under our skin with its deeply personal plot, which pays as much attention to horror as emotion. And if the low budget shows, the unsettling premise more than makes up for it.

After the tragic death of their daughter Alice (Connolly) in England, veterinarian Patrick (Gillen) and chemist Louise (Birthistle) relocate to the tiny Irish village of Wake Wood. While settling into rural life they stumble across a creepy local ritual that might reunite them with their daughter for three days. They talk to the village elder (Spall) and agree to the rules, but they have a secret that could be their undoing. Then when they get Alice back, they decide to keep her. Although there's a heavy penalty for breaking the rules.

Continue reading: Wake Wood Review

The Field Review


Excellent
Richard Harris's standout performance elevates this simple fable -- and a film I've resisted seeing for over a decade -- into a near classic. The battle is a well-known one: Harris is Bull McCabe, a simple rancher who rents a small plot of land to graze his cattle. But the owner decides to sell it, and a rich American (Tom Berenger) swoops in, intent on paving the thing. At first we side with Bull, but when things turn violent (that, we're told, is "the law of the land"), we wonder if we haven't been too hasty with our judgement. Quite touching though -- owing to its theatrical origins -- it's missing a sense of grandeur.

An Everlasting Piece Review


Good
The story behind An Everlasting Piece is more interesting than anything in the movie itself. The Irish screenwriter and star of the movie, Barry McEvoy, came up with the idea -- about two Irish barbers creating a toupee coup in Northern Ireland -- from his own experiences. According to the press notes, McEvoy grew up as the son of a barber who did his own stint as a hairpiece salesman, and McEvoy's character, Colm, is loosely based on his father, who told his son stories of his adventures selling wigs to both Catholics and Protestants, despite the tensions that almost made his own hair fall out.

An Everlasting Piece just feels good. It isn't a great movie; there is no deep, satisfying reward for watching it. But the characters, dialogue, and story form a charismatic relationship with the audience. This is certainly not Barry Levinson's best work to date. He does, however, direct McEvoy's script with the right attitude. Levinson doesn't take the circumstances too seriously -- these are hairpiece salesman after all -- but he doesn't go over the top in a quirky comic tone either. There aren't any corny bald jokes: The movie is smart enough not to waste it's time with lame humor about hair thinning.

Continue reading: An Everlasting Piece Review

The Closer You Get Review


OK
In Angela's Ashes, we got the impression that growing up a kid in Ireland really sucks. In The Closer You Get, we are made to believe that Irish adulthood doesn't get much better.

All right... so we don't have to wait till the sequel to see Emily Watson be cremated and we don't have to sit through two hours and twenty minutes of a film that make a suicidal lemming seem like a happy chump, but The Closer You Get isn't exactly a movie that sketches the Irish as progressing far into their adulthood. In store for Irish men in adulthood is a simple life of multiple pints of flat Guinness combined with a sexual desperation so great that the Irish men take out a want ad in the Miami Herald.

Continue reading: The Closer You Get Review

An Everlasting Piece Review


Grim

Catholic Colm and Protestant George are a pair of barbers who cut hair at a Belfast insane asylum "sometime during the 1980s" -- and based on that information alone you should be able to ascertain that "An Everlasting Piece" is supposed to be a comedy.

Add the fact that they've decided to go into the door-to-door toupee business (there is such a thing?), and this movie should have had me rolling in the aisles. Especially with a director like Barry Levinson ("Diner," "Liberty Heights," "Wag the Dog") at the helm. But while some members of the audience were laughing uncontrollably during a recent preview screening, about half of us were dead silent through the whole thing -- wondering what the rest of them found so amusing.

The plot of this screwball comedy is paper-thin: Colm (played by Barry McEvoy, the film's screenwriter) and George (Brian F. O'Byrne) are competing against a cross-town rug rival for exclusive rights to sell men's wigs in Northern Ireland. Why is the wig trade a monopoly-or-nothing business? Don't ask any logical questions of this movie because you won't get an answer. Such points shouldn't matter in a screwball comedy anyway, and had I been one of the laughers I probably would have forgiven such elements of nonsense.

Continue reading: An Everlasting Piece Review

The Closer You Get Review


Weak

An amusing but forgettable, light rural comedy from Ireland, the generically titled "The Closer You Get" is another aren't-men-adorable-dimwits satire, about the lonely lads of a craggy coastal hamlet who concoct a inept plan to import sexy American girls for courting.

With most of the local gals unavailable or uninterested, this desperate lot of paunchy, pasty, ruddy Irishmen (lead by Ian Hart, "Backbeat") buy a classified in the Miami Herald advertising for marriage-minded, "attractive girls 20 to 21." Then they smarten themselves up as best they can and start a daily stakeout at the bus stop just outside town, anticipating the arrival of interested parties.

Of course, its a foredrawn conclusion that none show up and the men will pair off with local lassies after all -- but only after becoming jealous when the likable village women conspire to mock them by romancing a gypsy-like band of seasonal Spanish fishermen.

Continue reading: The Closer You Get Review

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