7 films that one way or another delve into reality of the Northern Irish Troubles

Across the globe in nearly all major western cities people are gleefully wearing green and parading in a celebration of their Irishness. Drinking, dancing, dressing up, what’s not to love… Though, where I’m currently at, the 17th of March always brings a very contrived atmosphere with it. A quick look at the BBC News website will immediately give it away, as at the very top right next to a piece about the parade in Belfast, you’d find two articles about security alerts (read as bomb threats) in north and south parts of the city. That shows that despite our best wishes there are still people out there, who would like the past conflict to rear its ugly head again.

Well, it’s no surprise that the Irish Troubles and the IRA form a bottomless pit of film material, though it’s all too easy to warp it into a laughable cliché you’d see in films like “Patriot Games”, “The Devil’s Own”, “The Jackal”, or even recently in “Non-Stop”, where it didn’t take too long to draw a parallel between Neeson’s Belfast-born character and the IRA. I know there are countless documentaries out there that are worth checking out and I might at some point compile a list of them, but if you’d like to have a look at the Northern Irish conflict through the lens of a feature film, here is a list of seven titles I believe you should start with: Continue reading

6 films to (re)watch and keep the “Non-Stop” genre fever nice and high

If, like me, you had a fun time watching Liam Neeson scratch his head, beat the poop out of random strangers and in the end save the day, then why not stay in the genre bubble for a little while longer?

Here are the six titles my mind immediately raced to when I was walking back home after watching “Non-Stop”: Continue reading

2013 so far…

While working on something I had been wanting to write up for a long time now, it occurred to me that with June clocking out we are now halfway through the year 2013. And on this glorious evening, whilst over across the pond the Americans celebrate their stars and stripes, I figured I might have a look at the past six months and summarize it a little. I had the pleasure of seeing some really outstanding films, as well as a bunch of terrible ones – so you might say it has been… diverse. Probably at some point in time, I will try and summarize the summer as well (when it’s finished, duh, but over here where I live I think the summer is already gone for good…), but meanwhile I figured I could break down the ‘2013 so far’ in terms of cinema-related goodies.

I have seen and reviewed a good crowd of films, but if I had to choose the best 2013 releases so far (that I have seen), I have no other choice but to point out five:

 

5. “Trance” – Danny Boyle’s latest opus that I will sure go back to at some point in time.

4. “The Iceman” – Michael Shannon’s take on the mind of a murderer

3. “Behind The Candelabra” – Soderbergh’s fantastic swan song

2. “Good Vibrations” – the ultimate feel-great movie

1. “The Place Beyond The Pines” – The only film this year so far to have left me nearly speechless.

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As much as I would have liked to include a couple more in the list (“Side Effects” or “Stoker”) I think keeping that little list short makes it a bit more meaningful. I normally don’t score films in any way, but it does provides a challenge to make up my mind about certain thing… finally. And it was a hard nut to crack, I have to admit.

On the other hand, if you asked me what the biggest duds this year so far were, I would immediately stand up and recite the following trio of shame:

 

3. “Oblivion”

2. “Iron Man 3”

1. “A Good Day To Die Hard”

 

All of them terrible films… two of them sequels… All of them made more money than they should have… Really… The fact I even mention them makes me feel uneasy, because I might just be giving them unnecessary attention once more, so there…

I could sure mention more titles that ended up mild-to-horrendous disappointments that I haven’t given any thought in writing before, like “Jack Reacher”, “The Last Stand”, “Jack The Giant Slayer” (that I refused to finish watching by the way), or “Bullet To The Head”, but I think I should try and end this little article on a good note instead.

To that end, I think I should admit that a couple of titles managed to slip through my sausage fingers, like “Mud” with a career-defining performance by Matthew McConaughey, or “No”, so I deem it appropriate to wrap up the first half of 2013 with a vow to catch up with these gems of cinema that have eluded my sight so far.

As it is usual every year, the remaining half of the year can only get more and more exciting with the awards season slowly making its way our direction and the summer popcorn-munchers gradually dissipating into nomen omen oblivion… Good luck to us all…