Screen Shot 2018-08-30 at 8.31.30 AM.png

Philadelphia's independent voice
for film criticism.

I Still Have 5 More St. Patrick's Day Movies For You To Watch

I Still Have 5 More St. Patrick's Day Movies For You To Watch

Every year I like to watch a few movies about Ireland or the Irish diaspora in the weeks leading up to St. Patrick's Day- and share them with you. The tradition continues!

Grabbers (Dir. Jon Wright, 2012)

This is a fun alien monster flick for the horror fan trying to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Grabbers is set on a small island off the coast of Ireland, where a meteor lands off the coast- and soon, bodies start dropping. The culprit is a big blood sucking tentacled space monster, or a "grabber" as an elderly island resident refers to it (and the name sticks, clearly).  Officer O'Shea (Richard Coyle), a raging alcoholic, discovers that his weakness may be his new strength, when he finds out that the Grabber has an intolerance for alcohol in the blood. As long as the townspeople are as wasted as can be while they wait for help to arrive, they should be fine...right? What follows is a fun hangout horror comedy, which knowingly references multiple of your favorite monster movies from the last 40 years. 

In The Name Of The Father 2.jpg

In The Name Of The Father (Dir. Jim Sheridan, 1993)

Here we are with the second film of Jim Sheridan's Daniel Day Lewis trilogy (the third of which, The Boxer, was part of last year's list). It seems like ancient history when the greatest living actor would choose to star in productions that were so middling compared to him, and this one is no different. This is yet another 90's dramatization of events from The Troubles- the trial and imprisonment of Gerry Conlon, an Irish hippie living in England who along with four others was falsely accused of plotting and carrying out the bombing of the Guildford Pub. Like The Boxer, it is absolutely worth watching for Day Lewis alone. Like that film as well, it sidesteps a real analysis of The Troubles and what they were about, in favor of telling a story of ordinary people who were swept up in it completely against their will. Pete Postlethwaite gives a fantastic leading performance as Conlon's father, who joined him in prison. 

Some Mother's Son  (Dir. Terry George, 1996)

This one is so similar to In The Name Of The Father, the screenwriter and director for that film simply swapped roles here. Terry George (Reservation Road, Hotel Rwanda) had a personal history himself as a part of The Troubles, having been imprisoned in the infamous Maze Prison on suspicion of IRA activities, where this film is set. If you have seen Steve McQueen's 2008 film Hunger, then you know the story this tells- of the 1981 hunger strike led by Bobby Sands, where IRA prisoners fought to be recognized as political prisoners instead of criminals under the rule of Margaret Thatcher. While Hunger is a far superior masterpiece in its spare brutality, this has plenty of stirring moments throughout, and features a young Aiden Gillen as a lead. Not to mention Dame Helen Mirren as the titular mother. 


The Cured (Dir. David Freyne, 2018)

You know by now that Ireland has a rich and fraught history when it comes to socio-political turbulence- the kind of thing that makes it totally ripe for an excellent zombie movie. David Freyne's The Cured puts a juicy spin on what is by now a potentially tired formula- what if the Zombies could be cured and reintegrated into society, despite the fact that most of them murdered and ate people? The genre continues to serve as a perfect metaphor for how society treats its undesirables, almost ensuring that the cycle of violence will continue. While this never directly references the island's history of conflict as a powder keg of potential sectarian violence, it haunts the whole story- the outbreak itself is even referred to as the "Maze Virus." 

The Secret Of Kells (Dir. Tomm Moore, 2009) 

Created by Cartoon Saloon (the studio responsible for The Breadwinner and Song Of The Sea), this animated fable tells a rather dense story of a young boy coming to live in his strict uncle's Abbey, sometime long ago. While there, the boy befriends a friendly priest (monk?) be honest I don't really have a clue what happens then, aside from him befriending a forest fairy, working on a mystical book, and escaping near death during a sudden Viking invasion. What I do know is that the visuals, art, and music all make this a delightful sensory experience. All of those things, plus the sweet running time of 75 minutes. 

The Wedding Guest is a cool character thriller

The Wedding Guest is a cool character thriller

New Double Dragon Blu-Ray celebrates the weird artifact 25 years later

New Double Dragon Blu-Ray celebrates the weird artifact 25 years later