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Movies, Movies, Movies!

Friday, 23 November 2007

Michael Doherty is movie manic and today he's got the yay or the nay on the movies hitting Ireland this week!


Courtesy: Entertainment Films
Starring: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Keri Russell, Robin Williams
Director: Kirsten Sheridan

Looking at the scenario of this drama would lead one to suggest that this could be the naffest movie imaginable. After all, we're talking about a story involving a child prodigy, two separated lovers and Robin Williams.

To Kirsten Sheridan's credit, however, she has managed to successfully juggle all the elements so that the emphasis is on the magic rather then maudlin.

Young tyke Freddie Highmore hopes to find his birth parents through the medium of music. His father is singer and guitarist Jonathan Rhys Meyers (our man makes an impressive fist of both), while his mum is classical musician Keri Russell.

Initially falling under the Fagin-like spell of musical hobo Robin Williams, Highmore eventually finds himself in the hallowed Julliard halls, getting ever closer to his dream.

In addition to fine performances from the leads, August Rush works well as an examination of how music connects people and indeed how the musically inclined can find rhythms in their everyday audio experiences.

Robin Williams' performance as "Wizard" was reportedly inspired by rock star Bono.


Courtesy: Pathe Distribution
Starring: Christian Bale, James Oliver
Director: Werner Herzog

Powerful Vietnam drama in which Bale excels as a fighter pilot who shot down over Laos, captured by the Viet Cong but then escapes. Based on the true story of one of only seven men to escape from such a camp and live to tell the tale, this is a powerful and thought-provoking tale, shot entirely in the jungles of Thailand. Bale deserves an Oscar nod for his portrayal.

Christian Bale lost 55 pounds for his role.

Courtesy: Buena Vista
Starring: Lindsay Haun, Jack Huston
Director: Paddy Breathnach

Having tackled a variety of genres, Paddy Breathnach turns his hand at the world of horror/gore but the result is distinctly uneven. The story follows a bunch of American college pals, led by Jake Huston (grandson of), who travel to Ireland in search of wild mushrooms and end up in a nightmare scenario involving inbred brothers, homicidal monks and feral children. Though atmospheric in parts, Shrooms is neither scary or original enough to really fire the audience's imagination, though Don Wycherly and Sean McGinley steal the show as the slobbering siblings compared to whom, the hillbillies of Deliverance appear quite sophisticated.

Director Paddy Breathnach previously brought us Irish favourites Man About Dog and I Went Down

Actor Jack Huston is John Huston's grandson and Anjelica Huston's nephew and was most recently seen in Factory Girl

Courtesy: 20th Century Fox
Starring: Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody
Director: Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson is something of an acquired taste and I must confess to never having acquired real taste for the likes of The Life Aquatic or The Royal Tenenbaums.  This is another quirky tale following the fortunes of three brothers as they share a train ride across India. Strictly for fans, though the cast do give it their all.

Natalie Portman, who appeared in a cameo, travelled to the film's location in Jodhpur, India, to shoot for about half an hour and then spent 10 days exploring India afterward.