By Jack Shanley
‘Oppenheimer’ is a breathtaking masterpiece and perhaps one of the finest biopics ever made. Christopher Nolan manages to yet again skilfully combine the elements of action, audio, acting, direction, and scene design into an unforgettable cinematic experience, proving once again why he is one of the greatest directors of our time. Christopher Nolan’s visionary film making is mesmerising, with the movie taking audiences on an electrifying journey weaving together heart- pounding action sequences, exceptional performances, stunning visuals, and the very meticulous direction. Incredible performances from all including quite extraordinary performances from both Robert Downey Jr. and Emily Blunt. It’s one of our own in Cillian Murphy who truly steals the show with a mesmerising performance that is Oscar worthy. It is those big blue eyes, the stern look, you can really feel the stress that J. Robert Oppenheimer was put under. What makes the film so captivating is this story of a man with weight of the world on his shoulders and the idea that you either view J. Robert Oppenheimer as a hero or villain, it’s just fascinating. From the very very beginning, the film grips you with its captivating storytelling and seamless blend of the historical accuracy and cinematic artistry. The narrative unfolds chronologically, taking the audience on an enthralling journey through Oppenheimer’s early life, his academic pursuits, and eventually, his pivotal role in the development of the atomic bomb during World War II. The experience I had in the cinema was riveting, pure cinematic magic as It’s a film you must see in IMAX. I felt locked into the movie as if I was taken back in time to the 1940’s. The film score complements the truly emotional depth of the story, heightening every scene’s impact and leaving a lasting impression on the viewers minds. With ‘Oppenheimer’ being quite dense. I’d suggest perhaps maybe you watching a documentary before going to see it. Lastly, I’ll finish by saying ‘Oppenheimer’ isn’t merely a biopic about a renowned physicist; it transcends into a thought-provoking exploration of the human condition. In all truth I’d recommend checking out Oppenheimer and see what you think of it, I shall give it a score of five stars. Director: Christopher Nolan – Rating: R – Genre: Drama/Thriller-Run Time: 3h – Language: English. For more film content please follow @movies4fanatics on Instagram.
by Jack Shanley
Daunting disturbing and chilling Vertigo remains a masterpiece. 55 years after its original release and with it being shown later this month in the lighthouse Cinema Alfred Hitchcock’s mesmerising fascinating masterpiece still moves audiences today. Arguably Hitchcock’s best film it’s still fascinates me every time I see it. It’s the study of obsession that keeps the material so fresh and new. Its Johns (James Stewart) obsession that drives the story on and keeps us hooked from the second we see the dizzying spirals of the opening credits sequence. Although story was arguably the most important part of a Hitchcock film, with Vertigo its quite different. It’s the emotions, characters, themes that pull a story together. I’ve seen this work with many films and find it quite interesting, as a film it could have a basic story but it lives off its character development etc. This is the film that introduced the World to the famous sequence known as the Vertigo Effect which has gone on to be used in various other films. It;s basically a forward zoom with a reverse dolly meant to achieve a disorienting effect of shifting perspectives. Vertigo also happens to be Hitchcock’s most personal picture, burrowing deep into the directors own darkest wormholes: obsessions with women, the desire to control them, and to mould them into a personal ideal. The psychologically complex material is played off incredibly well by James Stewart who we sympathize with and a chilling Kim Novak performance. With the colours dazzling, and Bernard Herrmann’s extraordinary score as crisp and haunting as ever, its surely a must watch. In all truth I’d recommend checking out Vertigo as its screens in the Lighthouse Cinema on August 20th and see what you think of it, I shall give it a score of five stars. Director: Alfred Hitchcock– Rating: PG – Genre: Mystery/Thriller – Run Time: 2h 8m – Language: English. For more film content please follow @movies4fanatics on Instagram.
By Jack Shanley
The masterful A24 director Ari Aster is back on the big screen with yet another strange work of art, perhaps the strangest yet. “Beau is Afraid” from start to finish is about the long whacked out journey of an anxious man on his quest to visit his mother. Joaquin Phoenix stars picking up the role of a very abstract and complex character. Let’s just get it out the bag, this film is a dream like experience first and foremost. It’s quite overwhelming and even suffocating for its audience at times. This plays off so well, as not everything is meant to be taken literally! On the surface, there are generally many black comedy themes, with a melodramatic undertone. It’s been crafted meticulously by Ari Aster at 3 hours, making it feel richer and more detailed. Many of the films moments are left engrained into your thoughts well after the run time. With a bigger budget then his previous works “Hereditary” and “Midsommar” I thought helped with the landscape and wacky scenarios in the film. Overall, “Beau Is Afraid” is Aster’s most ambitious film to date. Although it’s the not raw and experimental horror we endured in his previous works, it still makes for an unforgettable experience and feeling that is often missed in Arthouse films these days.
This is definitely Ari Asters most complex and allegorical film, everything in this film is strange, the interpersonal relationships, the way the story is told, the dialogues, the universe of the film, everything is very strange without any logic, and in my understanding, all this represents the unbalanced and paranoid mind of our protagonist Beau. I feel the movie is essentially a look at the world through the eyes of a man terrified of his own existence.
In all truth I’d recommend checking out Beau Is Afraid at your local cinema today and see what you think of it, I shall give it a score of three stars. Director: Ari Aster– Rating: 16 – Genre: Horror/Comedy– Run Time: 2h 59m – Language: English. For more film content please follow @movies4fanatics on Instagram.
By Jack Shanley
A fresh instalment in one of the most entertaining horror franchises out there, Evil Dead Rise hit our screens in mid-April and left a great impression for the most part. The much-anticipated film left an unsure impression on me, for it being an entertaining film I felt it lacked a little in direction. I did feel that the acting at times was a little poor, characters were boring along with the dialogue that could have been better. I felt it was dark and hard to see the film, I’ve noticed this with a lot of films that have been released over the last while a darkness when watching it as if the cinematographer decided to put a dark filter over the lenses. I felt early on that the movie took a while to really kick in, but once it did it was quite gruesome. The end of the film in particular left a good impression on me and feel now it could be the beginning of many more films in the engrossing Evil Dead series. Besides all the negativity I spout over the movie, I did feel entertained and would be interested in giving it another watch, for I found the cinematograph, art direction and costume design to be of an enormous quality.
I loved the references throughout the film to the original Evil Dead trilogy, got this sense of a love and passion that Dublin Born director Lee Cronin has not just for the horror genre but the Evil Dead franchise too. This excites me for future Evil Dead films as not only do we have one of our own at the helm of a massive horror franchise, but he has a passion and love for the Evil Dead movies and just the overall craft for movie making. In all truth I did leave the theatre disappointed that my favourite horror movie franchise could potentially be on the down swing of its existence, but it happens to the best of them, does it not? If it can happen to horror legends like Jason, Freddy, Michael Myers, Pinhead, and countless others, then the Evil Dead series is not immune, and Rise could potentially mark the beginning of the end for this amazing franchise.
In all truth I’d recommend checking out Evil Dead Rise at your local cinema today and see what you think of it, I shall give it a score of three stars. Director: Lee Cronin– Rating: 18 – Genre: Horror/Fantasy – Run Time: 1h 36m – Language: English. For more film content please follow @movies4fanatics on Instagram.
By Jack Shanley
Exhilarating, jaw-dropping and hugely entertaining, ‘John Wick 4’ is simply a spectacle from start to finish. Above all, it’s a love letter to action film making and every action cinema lover’s greatest dream. I feel that it could potentially go down as one of the finest action films of our time. From the cinematography that is Oscar worthy, the neo-noir genre that has never looked so amazing on screen, the colour coordination framing blocking, you name it: it was all spectacular. How exactly does three hours of wham-bam noise and fast paced action, unmitigated by any meaningful plot, work as well as it does? Well, the action choreography had to be top class in which it utilitises 100 per cent of each set design used to incorporate drama, thrill and comedy. This movie pulls you in as you get lost in the coolness of Keanu Reeves and has everything you could ever ask for, from guns, knives, nun chucks, katanas, martial arts, cars, flamethrowers, bare hands etc.The stunt work is jaw-dropping and adrenaline inducing. I saw the film on opening night and with my excitement hitting a high I wasn’t let down. In the opening scene we are hit with a wonderful match cut influenced by the great Lawrence of Arabia of 1962 as Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) blows out a cigarette cutting to the sun rising over the Arabian desert. When watching all the John Wick films, I can’t help but see the influence of some of cinema’s greatest films and genres.Never has it been more evident than in the fourth instalment of the series. I couldn’t help but see through the film straight into its core as influences of the spaghetti western sprung bright alongside Japanese Kung Fu films of the ‘70s, the likes of which the great Bruce Lee would be proud of. With the price on Mr Wick’s head ever increasing, the legendary hitman takes his fight against the High Table global as he seeks out the most powerful players in the underworld, from New York to Paris to Japan to Berlin.I really enjoyed this film and would recommend people give it a watch. I give it a score of FOUR stars. •You can watch ‘John Wick 4; at your local cinema today. Director: Chad Stahelski – Rating: 16 –Genre:Action/Neo-noir– Run Time: 2h 49m – Language: English. For more film content please
follow @movies4fanatics on Instagram.
By Jack Shanley
Benoit Blanc, the celebrity detective with the Poirot-esque French name and the inexplicable Southern accent, is becoming truly lovable as one begins to accept him as he is.Yes, the second instalment of the thrilling Knives Out series hit Netflix over the last few months and it was quite a fun watch. ‘Glass Onion’ director Rian Johnson proves yet again to be an important film maker in modern cinema as he peels back the years to audiences with this thrilling mind-boggling puzzle that shifts and shapes up to be more ambitious and arguably more entertaining than the previous Knives Out film. You’re not really sure where this murder mystery is taking you, and just when you start to have an idea of where it’s going, it throws you off track, sending you in a completely different direction. This is a unique and effective way of storytelling that we don’t see enough of these days, especially in this genre.With the Knives Out films being extremely well written, there is a bit of everything in them for everyone, to a thrilling detective story that unfolds gradually over time, to the fantastic characters and even on to the comedy between the lines. You’re sure to be entertained. ‘Glass Onion’ is fast-paced with a brilliant soundtrack, several storylines and a lot of wonderfully interesting characters. It’s amazing to see all of them intertwine for one amazing finale. The Knives Out films have this classic film noir essence about them that I can’t help but love. As they are part of modern cinema, they don’t hide away from the classic detective films of the ‘40s and ‘50s. They seem to have this longevity to them. I feel they’re entertaining films now and will only get better in time. They’ll be among the films that will be watched again in years to come, as there is so much
depth to the material.I really enjoyed ‘Glass Onion’ and would recommend people give it a watch. I give it a score of 3 and a ½ stars. •You can watch ‘Glass Onion’ on Netflix. Director: Rian Johnson – Rating: 12A – Genre: Mystery/Crime – Run Time: 2h 19m – Language: English. For more
film content please follow @movies4fanatics.
By Jack Shanley
Outrageous, fascinating, dazzling and wild are just a few words to describe Damien Chazelle’s new film ‘Babylon’. The big extravaganza follows the rise and fall ofmultiple characters in the early days of Hollywood. I managed to catch a late screening on the night of its release and had mixed emotions at first. For the most part I was in awe but had a slight feeling of disappointment. A messy, chaotic blast from start to finish, it has everything from romance to comedy to even a dark horror sequence. ‘Babylon’ takes you on a journey, a cinematic experience that pays quite a wild tribute to the Hollywood Golden Age and the birth of the ‘talkie’. I felt it lacked direction, though. At times it just felt like a bunch of scenes thrown together, some necessary and others unnecessary. The scale is enormous, reflected in the size of the cast, thousands of extras and more than 100 speaking parts. The three-hour epic boasts an impressive cast and a wonderful soundtrack by Justin Hurwitz, not to mention the amazing costume design taking us rightback to the glamour of the late 1920s. But over everything I liked and disliked about ‘Babylon’, there was something at the forefront of the material, a deep passion for cinema which rises above all the criticism. Chazelle brings us into his heart and leaves everything on the screen. His passion, not only for the craft of moviemaking but cinema in general, carries a breath of fresh air into the cinema, shining a light on the impact of movies on his life. As soon as the lights go down and the opening shot fills our screens, we are bewildered as to what’s about to occur, perhaps a wild journey through cinema. Who knows? It’s that unknowing that creates a story slowly unfolding into joy as our eyes are transfixed for such a magnificent ending. I really enjoyed ‘Babylon’, would recommend people go see it, and give it a score of FOUR stars. You can watch ‘Babylon’ at your local cinema today. Director: Damien Chazelle – Rating: R – Genre: Drama/Comedy– Run Time: 3h 9m – Language: English, Spanish. For more film content please follow @movies4fanatics on Instagram.
By Jack Shanley
‘8½’ is a strange title but one appropriate for the 1963 classic. Approaching its 60th anniversary, we look back as fondly as ever at the Federico Fellini masterpiece. Gaining its title simply from the number of films in which the Italian maestro had made to date, it really is a must-watch movie. It follows a troubled Italian filmmaker, Guido (Marcello Mastroianni), who struggles with the creative stasis of his next project. Overwhelmed by his struggles, he retreats into a world of fantasy, both past and present, resulting in his next project being very autobiographical. This bonafide classic is a study of male fantasy and fear of the creative mind. Throughout, we are constantly struck with wonderful dream-like imagery from Guido’s mind overlooking the past and present, most of which involves his association with women, the impact of women on his life and his true feelings for them. We also study the true horror of one suddenly losing their creativity for their craft. Fellini at his very best tended to bond a balance between fantasy and reality and never has it been more evident than in ‘8½’. The film is a messy ball of confusion as our hero (Guido), a self-regarding man, finds himself lost and utterly empty as the film itself. Midway though, a friend of Guido turns to him, speaking the true essence of the film when saying: ‘I’ve figured out what your story is about. It’s a man’s inner confusion.’ This speaks volumes not just for ‘8½’ but for the majority of Fellini’s filmography, films like ‘La Dolce Vita’, ‘La Strada’ and ‘Nights of Cabiria’ which all fall into the themes of fantasy, dreams and desire. ‘8½’, still regarded as one of the finest films ever made, is on many lists and polls as one of the greatest and most influential films of all time. It is truly an astonishing, masterful and electrifying spectacle of optimism as we step into the dreams and world of Fellini. As the material is still so fresh, it’s only right to give it a score of FIVE stars. •You can watch ‘8½’ on Prime Video or buy it on Blu-Ray for €21.37 on Amazon. Director: Federico Fellini – Rating:15 – Genre: Fantasy/Drama – Run Time: 2h 18m – Language: Italian English. For more film content please follow @movies4fanatics on Instagram.
By Jack Shanley
Seventy years on and ‘Roman Holiday’ is still inspiring rom-coms of the 21st century.
It’s a fun, heart-warming and deep film with quite a basic story, starring Gregory Peck as the cool masculine news reporter and the wonderfully elegant Audrey Hepburn as Princess Ann. Overwhelmed by her suffocating schedule, touring Europe, Princess Ann (Hepburn) decides to take off for the night while in Rome. When a sedative she took earlier from her doctor finally kicks in, she falls asleep on a park bench and is later found by an American news reporter, Joe Bradley (Peck), who takes her back to his apartment for safety. At work next morning, Joe discovers Ann’s real identity and bets his editor that he can get an exclusive interview but romance quickly gets in the way. ‘Roman Holiday’, made in 1953, is the reason we love cinema. It’s a film that ages like fine wine and is still as entertaining as ever. Great American screenwriter Dalton Trumbo urges us to commit to life’s simple pleasures - money and status alone cannot create meaning and happiness. The classic steals our hearts, from the amazing scenes in which we see Ann get her haircut, to the iconic Vespa bike scene and on to the thrilling barge fight scene. We are ever poised for the next scene to capture our hearts once again, and with the ending being so beautiful, it will make your heart peel like an orange. The amazingly graceful Hepburn lights up our screen for the first time, her beauty, elegance and sense of fashion, making her an instant icon and one of Hollywood’s brightest stars. She didn’t just win our hearts in the end but also the Academy Award for Best Actress. This is a magical film the likes of which I don’t think we’ll ever see again and is still so fresh after all these years. I can’t help but give it FIVE stars. You can watch ‘Roman Holiday’ on Sky Cinema or buy it on DVD for €9.99 at Tower Records. Director: William Wyler – Rating: PG – Genre: Romance/Comedy – Run Time: 1h 58m – Language: English/Italian. For more film content please follow @movies4fanatics on Instagram.
By Jack Shanley
With Christmas just around the corner, I thought it would only be right to review ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’.Thirty years since its original release, it hasn’t aged, only grown better in time. This beautifully crafted heart-warming adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel is an amazing film which offers so much, from the wacky screwball comedy of the Muppets to the seriousness of Michael Caine as Scrooge. In my opinion this is the best adapation out there, for its fun wacky comedy aspect, seriousness and its lack of shyness for the true horror and essence the story holds. As dark as the material can be, we still must go to those dark places for the ending to be as joyous. Dark in periods, especially with the three ghosts, makes it far more memorable and interesting than any of the ghosts from other Christmas Carol movies. The film focuses on not just Scrooge’s life but his whole perspective of life too. We see examples of this in the introduction. We don’t see Scrooge’s face, only low shots emphasising his monstrous visage, and tilted shots to show his twisted view of the world. Something this movie does that I really appreciate is it really hits the serious tone hard during the third ghost. They remove the comic relief that’s kept our spirits up this whole time and force us to witness the horror that awaits Scrooge in the future thus making the ending strong, joyful and that bit more special. Apart from being vastly entertaining, the acting is also superb. Caine’s fantastic performance - changing from a menacing man to a warm, charming man who’s joy is so infectious - arguably carries the film. The songs throughout are fantastic quality too as they’re fun, catchy and will leave you humming the tunes for quite a while. I’d highly recommend watching ‘The Muppets Christmas Carol’ this Christmas with the spirit of the season shining through in every frame. For that I can’t help but give it FIVE stars. You can watch ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ on Disney Plus or go see it at the Lighthouse Cinema on December 19th. Director: Jim Henson – Rating: PG – Genre: Family/Fantasy – Run Time: 1h 25m – Language: English. For more film content please follow @movies4fanatics on Instagram.