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Life’s A Breeze-Movie Review 03/12/2015

Posted by Films to consider in Comedy, Galway Film Fleadh, Irish film, Irish Film and Television Awards, Movies, Newport Beach Film Festival.
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Life’s A Breeze (Irish) 2013

Written and directed by Lance Daly

Starring Fionnula Flanagan, Pat Shortt, Kelly Thornton

WINNER, Bingham Ray New Talent Award (Thornton), SECOND PLACE-AUDIENCE AWARD-Best Irish Feature, Galway Film Fleadh
NOMINATED, Best Lead Actress-Film (Thornton); Best Supporting Actress-Film (Flanagan), Irish Film and Television Awards
WINNER, Outstanding Foreign Film (Daly), Newport Beach Film Festival

To celebrate their elderly mother Nan’s (Flanagan) birthday, her five adult children surprise her by giving her home a  makeover. Problem is, they got rid of her old mattress, in which she had deposited all the money she had scrimped and saved for all her married life. Now everyone has to face the fact that they have thrown away a small fortune. What ensues is a moderately amusing and touching story, as the dysfunctional family frantically searches for the mattress.

A pleasant enough movie, not overly long, with somewhat predictable characters, but a funny storyline as the entire city of Dublin gets involved. I learned a new Irish slang word: “culchie” – someone from the countryside, often delivered in a disparaging way (as it was in this film).

83 min. Rated R.

Saving Mr. Banks-Movie Review *** 11/06/2014

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, American, Based on true events, Empire Awards, Golden Globes, Irish Film and Television Awards, Light Drama, Movies, Satellite Awards.
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Saving Mr. Banks (American) 2013 ***
Based on real events

Directed by John Lee Hancock
Starring Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Paul Giamatti, and Colin Farrell

Among other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Best Actress (Thompson), Empire Awards, UK
NOMINATED, Best Original Score, Academy Awards
NOMINATED, Best Actress-Drama (Thompson), Golden Globes
NOMINATED, Best Supporting Actor-Film (Farrell), Irish Film and Television Awards
NOMINATED, Best Actress (Thompson); Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Hanks); Best Motion Picture, Satellite Awards

In the early 1960s, Walt Disney (Hanks), at the helm of the successful Disney Studios, is determined to fulfill a promise made to his daughters: that he will make a movie of their favorite book, Mary Poppins. Used to getting his way, he sets out to convince the stubborn author, P. L. Travers (Thompson), to give him the rights, pledging that the musical he has planned will honor her story. As negotiations continue, flashbacks reveal the author’s less-than-perfect childhood that inspired the tale.

I was prepared to merely “like” this movie but found that I truly enjoyed it. Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson play off each other very effectively as Disney vs. Travers. Colin Farrell does well as Miss Travers’ charming but ne’er-do-well father, who encourages his young daughter’s flights of fancy. Note that the end credits have actual tapes from the negotiations and meetings that mirror what is shown in the film.

Highly recommended. ***

125 min. Rated PG-13.


Ondine-Movie Review 01/12/2013

Posted by Films to consider in Drama, Folk Tale, Irish film, Irish Film and Television Awards, Neil Jordan, Romance, San Diego Film Critics Society Awards.
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Ondine (Irish) 2009

Written and directed by Neil Jordan
Starring Colin Farrell, Alicja Bachleda, Dervla Kirwan, and Alison Barry

WINNER, Best Lead Actor (Farrell); Best Supporting Actress (Kirwan); Best Production Design; Best Sound, Irish Film and Television Awards
WINNER, Best Actor (Farrell); NOMINATED, Best Original Screenplay (Jordan), San Diego Film Critics Society Awards

An updated version of the Irish folktale of the Selkies, seals who transform into humans for a time.

Syracuse (Farrell) is a fisherman and a recovering alcoholic with a solitary lifestyle. His young daughter Annie (Barry), who lives with his ex-wife Maura (Kirwan), has kidney disease and must use a wheelchair. Syracuse does his best to help care for her.

One day, Syracuse pulls up one of his fishing nets and finds a young woman named Ondine (Bachleda). At first she seems to be drowned but comes back to life. Annie begins to believe that she is a Selkie, and she soon has her father and much of the town believing it, too.

Although not a big award winner, I thought this film was refreshing and not overly sentimental. Farrell shows an emotional side that makes his relationships with Annie and Ondine touching, and the ending, which is a bit of a stretch, easier to accept. Alison Barry, who plays Annie, hasn’t acted before this role.

Also check out The Secret of the Roan Inish, for another retelling of the tale.

103 min. Rated PG-13.