Culture Journal Ireland

Maze – A sad tale with a disappointing ending

|*If you have not seen this film please be aware that this review contains slight spoilers* Maze, shown on television recently, tells the story of one of the biggest prison breakouts in Europe when in 1983 thirty eight IRA prisoners breakout of a prison which the film takes it’s name from. This is a film which this particular reviewer wanted to like, the premise is interesting, the plot and the synopsis builds the film up as a tense, Hitchcock-esque exploration of two characters in particular. The plot focuses on Larry Marley, played as ably as ever by Love/Hate‘s Tom Vaughan-Lawlor and prison warden Gordon Close, played by Barry Ward, who…

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Fargo – You have to go a long way to beat it!

One of the good things about the current situation and the isolation that goes on with it is the great films that are being shown. ITV4 in the UK showed one of the modern day classics recently and it’s only when you see it; after perhaps not having seen it for a while, that you realise just how good it is. The thing about the Coen brothers and the sort of films that they make is that they speak of an America that very few had seen up until then. The film sees amateur kidnappers Carl Showalter, played by Steve Buscemi and Gaear Grimsrud, played by Peter Stormare, leave a…

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Haunting Tribute to Canadian Great by Irish Stars

Leonard Cohen is thought of as one of the 20th century’s greatest musicians. He has a string of hits in his own right and has had his songs covered by countless artists. Recently a group of Irish artists accompanied by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, it was on radio last week and was finally shown on television last night (Saturday 25th April) Among those performing were Lisa Hannigan, Phelim Drew (son of Dubliner Ronnie) Mick Flannery, and Suzanne Savage. To start things off Suzanne Savage and Phelim Drew took to the stage to perform Democracy, a song from the 1992 album The Future. This was a slightly more stinted version, however…

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Gerry Ryan: A Legacy

He could be both controversial and compassionate, funny and frantic all in one go. Above all else Gerry Ryan was a unique broadcaster, often pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable in Irish broadcasting. Born into the leafy suburbs of Clontarf, Gerry lived with his Father and Mother who, as the programme states, was a member of the theatrical Bourke family and who’s sister was married to Eamon Andrews, she was also related, on her grandparents side to non other than Brendan Behan. Also when the young Gerry Ryan went to school he would become best mates with the nephew of one Mr Charles J. Haughey, with connections like this…

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A Woman’s Heart with the RTÉ concert orchestra

More than thirty years after its initial release the RTÉ concert orchestra, together with two of the singers who featured on the original album, along with a new addition, namely Eleanor McEvoy, Maura O’Connell and Wallis Bird gathered before a live audience at the opera House in Wexford to perform a selection of songs. Some from the original album, some a personal selection of newer songs from each of the artists. First on stage was Eleanor McEvoy with I Hear You Breathing In, a song McEvoy originally recorded in 2001 and which appeared on the album Yola. This time round it was just as abley performed and got the audience…

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Romero: an underappreciated biopic

Some of these films can be off the wall and zany, others are more straightforward and serious. It is the latter treatment which most biopics are treated including, in this case the life of Oscar Romero the archbishop of San Salvador from 1976? until his death in 1980. The film stars Raul Julia in what is perhaps his most unusual, yet nonetheless, one of his most powerful roles as an actor. The film follows Romero shortly before his installation as archbishop of San Salvador, he is seen as an influential figure and one which the people respect. When he becomes archbishop it is hoped that this will lesson his influence…

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The Lobster

The Lobster, Yorgos Lanthimos’ dystopian, surreal comedic drama is set in a world where single people are made to find a partner otherwise, within forty five days, face the bizarre prospect of being turned into a wild animal. Anyone who has been a single person at a wedding: being told, “you’re next”, or asked “do you have a girlfriend these days”; almost as if there’s something wrong with you if you are single can relate to this one. Set in a non-descript world (but actually filmed in the serene surroundings of The Park Hotel in the picturesque Co. Kerry town of Kenmare, is something that anyone who has faced an…

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Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds and the art of fake news by A. Brad Swartz

The broadcast is famous; or for some infamous. It was October 30th, 1938, the second world war was yet to break out, however, it is important to remember that fascism was on the rise in Europe, people also had a fear of ‘reds under the beds’ and had suspicions against many both within the public and private realm that they might indeed be communists. It was against this backdrop that an as yet unknown actor called Orson Welles and a small band of colleagues recorded their adaptation of H.G. Welles’s War of the Worlds. Little did they know at the time that the recording would seem so realistic to some…

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I Went Down – An 90’s Irish classic

Long before there was The Gentleman, or Snatch or even Lock, Stock et al, there was I Went Down. Featuring a relatively young and unknown Brendan Gleeson and Peter McDonald, who was recently seen in RTE’s Dublin Murders, I Went Down is an off the wall relatively light-hearted (if such a thing exists) modern Irish gangster flick. Long before Dublin and other parts of Ireland, (aside perhaps from “the black north”) were riddled with the scourge of gangland violence, before even Nidge and co arrived on our screens with Love/Hate, I Went Down tells the story of “Git”, played by McDonald who has just been released from jail. He is…

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