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Movies With Michael Doherty

Friday, 13 February 2009

Michael will be reviewing:

. Bolt (John Travolta, Miley Cyrus)
. Pink Panther 2 (Steve Martin, John Cleese, Jeremy Irons)
. Friday the 13th (Jared Padalecki)

Also Michael Doherty discusses the IFTAs and The Jameson Dublin Irish Film Festival


Director: Byron Howard, Chris Williams
Starring: John Travolta, Miley Cyrus
Running Time: 103 mins
Rating: ****
Classification: G
Courtesy: Disney

Other Verdict: Of the three dog movies I've seen in the past two weeks (Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Hotel For Dogs being the other two) Bolt is far and away the best. The movie opens with an extended Matrix-influenced action sequence that sees super dog Bolt (Travolta) dodge bullets, jump over helicopters, protect his 'person' Penny (Cyrus) and generally save the day as he brings down evil villain Dr. Calico (Malcolm McDowell). But wait, this isn't real - this is just a TV show that Bolt is the star of. Bolt, however, isn't aware of this and thinks it's all real, which causes problems when he becomes separated from the studio and winds up lost in New York. With the help of alley cat Mittens (Essman) and hamster Rhino (Walton), a massive fan of the show, Bolt makes the long trek back to Hollywood. Even though it might smack of Lassie Come Home or Homeward Bound or a million other dog-on-the-road flicks, it's hard to fault this fun animation - the dog is cute, the cat is cuter but nothing tops Rhino the hamster, one of the funniest characters to grace animation in recent years. It even takes time to poke fun at Hollywood's emptiness and it's obsession with money and ratings.

Pink Panther 2

Directors: Harold Zwart
Starring: Steve Martin, John Cleese, Jeremy Irons
Running Time: 92 mins
Classification: PG
Courtesy: Sony Pictures

Other verdict:
Despite 2006's remake/reinvention of The Pink Panther stinking out the place, it made enough money to garner a follow up a green light. This time around Insp. Clouseau (Martin) has been busted down to parking tickets writing by boss Dreyfus (John Cleese) where he believes he's on a top-secret assignment. However, when a series of thefts of some of the world's most priceless treasures - including the Pink Panther diamond - is stolen by super thief The Tornado, a crack team (comprising of Garcia, Alfred Molina and Aishwarya Rai) is assembled to unmask the perpetrator, and Clouseau is asked on board. Why? It doesn't matter. Pink Panther 2 is not the kind of movie most people would hand over money to see in these tough economic times; it's more a movie that you'd watch if it came on TV some Sunday afternoon - and even then, you'd probably wish you were watching Peter Sellers. Despite odd moments of genuine hilarity (the wine bottle juggling being the best on show), they're so few and far between that those better moments can be deemed an accident. In between those high points, the eye candy (Mortimer and Rai) keeps interest alive until the next gag. Most of the humour is of a by-gone era and watching the once great comedian Steve Martin bumbling through tired old jokes is embarrassing.

Friday the 13th

Director: Marcus Nispel
Starring: Jared Padalecki
Running Time: 97 mins
Rating: ****
Classification: 18
Courtesy: Paramount

Other verdict: Another horror franchise gets a rebooting, as this 80's slasher flick is "reimagined" by the man responsible for 2003's Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Marcus Nispel. While it did spawn a bogey man very much of the iconic status, Friday the 13th was never a particularly strong film, and certainly doesn't rank alongside genre classics Halloween and Chainsaw, but it did exude a certain charm. Pioneering the killer POV, with that creepy echo-like soundtrack, were two of the things it was most known for; but Nispel barely utilises those innovative shock techniques here, and instead gives us a 'roided looking Jason Voorhees, with a concoction of weapons and mammy issues. The plot involves your 'typical beautiful, naked, college kids being slaughtered in various ways' scenario, that has more holes than one of the aforementioned recently slain teens, who's just had a run in with our pissed off psychopath. But, c'mon, for movies of this ilk we don't frown on stupidity, we damn well applaud it and, if there's an annoying character, we'll await their inevitable messy demise with baited breath. This isn't a particularly strong slasher flick, even for a remake, but it's slickly shot, and has cheap scares and gore aplenty. Cast wise it pretty much boils down to who was willing to take the most clothes off. There's no Jessica Biel nudity clause here, as the moderately explicit sex scenes are used almost as much as the jugular slicing. Our lean, perky heroes hump, drink, do drugs and then meet the business end of a machete. If the movie lacks anything it's a truly terrifying villain; Jason is no different than the masked assailant in the recent My Bloody Valentine 3D, and that had pointy stuff coming out of the screen. We hardly require a personality, but a foreboding presence would've been nice, compared to just a bulky stuntman in a hockey mask. When Nispel remade The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, purists bemoaned the sodomising of a classic, despite an enjoyable effort; this, ironically, isn't as good as that remake, but is still worth a gander for those in search of a brainless horror.

IFTAs Build-up

. George Morrison - Lifetime achievement award
Veteran documentary maker George Morrison will be honoured with an industry lifetime contribution gong at the Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTA), it emerged today.Morrison is best known for Ireland's first Irish language feature film - Mise Eire - which was compiled 50 years ago and recounted the events surrounding the Easter Rising.
President Mary McAleese will present the accolade at the IFTA's on Saturday evening.Aine Moriarty, IFTA chief executive, said Mr Morrison's work was of major importance and significance.
"Irish people need to know this man behind the scenes, who persevered as a filmmaker and archivist through harsh periods of Irish history, times when an Irish film and television industry barely existed," Ms Moriarty said."We are proud to put the national and international spotlight on George Morrison."

. Best International Actress nominations

Angelina Jolie for

Meryl Streep for
Mamma Mia!

Kristin Scott Thomas for
I've Loved You So Long Emma Thompson for
Brideshead Revisited

. Best international Actor nominations

Casey Affleck
Gone Baby Gone
Josh Brolin
Robert Downey Jr
Iron Man
Ralph Fiennes
The Duchess

Best Film

Tommy Weir (Janey Pictures)
A Film With Me In It
Alan Moloney, Susan Mullen (Parallel Film Productions)
The Escapist
Alan Moloney, Adrian Sturges (Parallel Film Productions / Picture Farm)
Laura Hastings-Smith, Robin Gutch (Blast! Films)
Macdara Kelleher, Lance Daly (Element Pictures Distribution)

Film Festival Build-up

Irish actors Liam Neeson, James Nesbitt, Brendan Gleeson along with a host of international talent have been confirmed to attend the 2009 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (12-22 February 2009). Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt have been confirmed to attend the screening of new feature 'Five Minutes of Heaven' along with the film's director Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall) on Saturday 21st.

Colin Firth (Bridget Jone's Diary) will attend the screening of his new film 'Genova' on Friday 20th, while on Sunday 22nd, the Irish animated feature 'The Secret of Kells,' will be attended by IFTA nominated actor Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges) along with the animators from Cartoon Saloon. Irish director John Crowley will also be in attendance at the festival as two of his films the BAFTA winning 'Boy A' and 'Is There Any Body There?' starring Michael Caine are to screen.

Other guest to attend include comedian Armando Iannucci who will be bringing his Sundance hit 'In the Loop' to Irish audiences; Director Paulo Sorrentino will be presenting his epic film 'Il Divo' based on Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti; writer Michel Houellebecq's will be in attendance with his own adaptation of his novel 'Possibility of an Island' and writer Neil Gaiman will attend 'Coraline 3D'.

Special events as part of the festival include a retrospective on acclaimed Belgian Director and Artist Chantal Akerman; public conversations with Hugh Hudson and Frederic Raphael; the Jameson Film Experience with actor Clive Owen (Sin City) and a public interview with Thierry Fremaux, Artistic Director of the Cannes International Film Festival.

The Festival will present the first season of Turkish films to be screened in Ireland, a season of French films, the Real to Reel documentary season and archive presentations of 'Mise Éire' and of 'The Seasons', which will have a live accompaniment by Rossa and Colm O Snodaigh and harpist Cormac de Barra.

Commenting on the programme, Festival Director Grainne Humphreys said: "The festival's primary remit is to screen the best of cinema from across the world from the last year, and we are delighted to say that we have been lucky enough to entice some of the best European filmmakers of our time to Dublin. However, great new films wouldn't be made today without the archives of the world, and this year we celebrate the art of filmmaking with a combination of rare films as well as screenings of a selection of favourite films by a range of people from Camille O'Sullivan through to Dennis Hickie. It is my greatest hope that this year's programme will transfix audiences during the eleven days of our festival, and that maybe you will find your new favourite film!"
Chief Executive Joanne O'Hagan said: "With such a vast programme of screenings and events, there really is something for everyone in this year's festival. We are delighted to welcome such a high calibre of industry guests to Dublin, and we are really looking forward to an action packed 11 days in February (12-22). Our ticket price is the same as last year, nearly all films at 10 euro - which is great value in these challenging times. The Dublin audience loves going to the cinema and this year we hope to give them more variety and selection than ever before."