Hollywood producers and executives treated the screenwriter as an indentured servant until a hirsute Hungarian started making a whole lot of Chicken Mole for Hollywood. As described in Hollywood Animal, Joe Eszterhas changed the dynamic of the relationship between producer and screenwriter.
‘Put your pants on, Chief!’. Hollywood hates Hippies. Misogyny, sexual exploitation, violence against women and empty hedonism are synonymous with Hippies in films such as Skidoo (1968), Medium Cool (1969), Forrest Gump (1994) and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019). The apogee of vitriol towards the Hippy movement however, is Don Siegel’s Coogan’s Bluff (1968) - a maverick Sheriff's Deputy, Walt Coogan (Clint Eastwood) is sent to New York City to extradite convicted murderer Jimmy Ringerman (Don Stroud). New York is an appalling landscape of violence and disease, its denizens driven mad by America’ murderous foreign policies - a civilization lost, unloved, and uncared for.The maniacal violence of the Metropolis is manifested in the character of Ringerman - a Hippy cult leader deranged by LSD and corrupted by power. Using the ‘far out’ argot and symbolism of the counterculture, his Svengali power over his Hippy followers is absolute: his docile and obedient ‘family’ are weaponised to serve their master’s deviant urges. One year after the release of Coogan’s Bluff, the Manson Family carried out perhaps the most infamous, bizarre and perverted murders in Post-War American history. Siegel’s preternatural depiction of the manipulation of a susceptible corps of the bewildered by an evil and ambitious charlatan is the auteur’s diagnosis of a psychotic superpower, where violence begets violence.The seemingly ad-hoc and indiscriminate violence of the Hippie is at odds with the sectarian and laconic violence of Coogan. Eastwood’s character embodies the etiquette of the ‘Old West’, the individualism of justice where Coogan is judge, jury and executioner. The outsourcing of Justice to the private realm foreshadows Harry Callaghan in Siegel’s Dirty Harry (1971) - the Criminal Justice system that fails to protect women and the most vulnerable leads Callaghan to vigilantism to exterminate the child murderer Scorpio (Andrew Robinson).There is a distinct political ambiguity in Siegel’s canon of work: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) is seen as both a parable of the dangers of Soviet style Communism and a critique of Red Scare McCarthyism; Coogan’s Bluff and Dirty Harry are casually portrayed as a ballad to the facistic values of the unreconstructed American cop, or are Coogan and Callaghan the sword and the shield of the weak and vulnerable in a dystopian United States of America?Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Coogan’s Bluff, and Dirty Harry, are available to borrow on DVD from Dublin City Libraries. Submitted by Tom in Drumcondra Library.
The second blog post written by Transition Year student, Aisling, on recent work experience in Pearse Street Library, all about her favourite films this time.Starting off with arguably one of my favourite movies from 2019 - Elton John’s biopic, Rocketman! With arguably one of the best performances I’ve ever seen by Taron Egerton as the Pinball Wizard himself, Rocketman led me through a rollercoaster of emotions I never expected to take as we peer into the life of Reginald Dwight, now known as Elton John. I can concede that the cast album is nothing short as amazing as the film itself - it’s on constant loop on my Spotify! It’s definitely a film I’d recommend, though keep in mind it’s for 16 year olds and up!Yet another film that see’s Taron Egerton as the lead, we next have Kingsman:The Secret Service, which is the first of the two films. The story is a perfect blend of ‘gentleman spies’, British comedy and Iggy Azalea references to keep you wanting more. One of the very best things I can note about this film is how its fight scenes are filmed. I can’t help but let my jaw drop each time the Church Scene is shown! Kingsman tells the story of Eggsy Unwin, a young man who grew up in a dangerous part of England with his mum, baby stepsister and frankly horrible stepfather. He soon meets up with Harry Hart, better known through his codename of “Galahad” through yet another amazingly filmed battle scene, and eventually Eggsy finds out his father used to be part of the Secret Service of gentleman spies, and begins his journey to become one of them, despite being your stereotypical ‘chav’.I can’t go through this list without mentioning the most iconic of animated films I’ve ever seen, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse! Definitely my favourite film of 2018, Into The Spider-Verse completely changed my view on animated movies with its stylised 3-D look to its special effects, story, and spectacular soundtrack. This film tells the story of Miles Morales, a Afro-Latino fourteen year old boy who finds himself holding up his universe’s Spider-Man’s task of saving the multiverse. And let me tell you, there are plenty of Spider-Men to go around. My one and only love will always be Gwen Stacy, however. This film is definitely something I’d recommend if you’re interested in animation but want a more mature story.With its jaw-dropping stop-motion animation and beautiful story, I’m surprised no one has talked much about Kubo and the Two Strings. Kubo and the Two Strings tells the story of Kubo, a young boy, along with Monkey and Beetle (yes, that is their names), trying to find and wear his father’s legendary suit of armour in order to defeat an evil spirit. The movie also includes a chilling, more Eastern cover of The Beatles’ While My Guitar Gently Weeps by Regina Spektor. I can’t say much about the film due to spoilers, but I can say for certain that it was beautiful and stunning throughout. Alas, it’s probably one of the last feature length films the company, LAIKA Studios, will create due to low budgets.Now, call me childish, but you have to admit that The Lego Movie is actually the peak of film. I could go on and say that this film is a masterpiece, but I can already see you rolling your eyes from beyond the screen. Don’t you think I can’t. With it’s stylised CGI animation (yes! No stop-motion, minus the credits,) The Lego Movie told a timeless story behind a story through it’s fantasy world of Emmet, an ordinary individual prophesied to be the Special, and is entrusted with a huge responsibility of saving the Lego world from the cruel ways of Lord Business. And honestly? This movie is too quotable for its own good. I can’t count how many times in 2015 I found myself randomly yelling “SPACESHIP!” at the top of my lungs.
A Date for Mad Mary - The Latest in a Line of Great Irish Films
With the public release this Friday of 'A Date for Mad Mary', we thought it opportune to highlight the wealth of films produced in Ireland over the years, many of which can be borrowed in our branch libraries. But first a look at 'A Date for Mad Mary', the latest film to underline the current depth of talent in Ireland as Esther McCarthy put it in the Examiner newspaper recently. Esther goes on to say - "A Date For Mad Mary feels like a real game-changer — not just for its terrific young female cast, but for first-time film-maker Darren Thornton. He has fashioned a funny, moving and gritty story out of Mary McArdle, who returns home to Drogheda after a stint in prison to find many of those closest to her have moved on. Undaunted, she sets about finding a date for the wedding of her lifelong best friend, Charlene."'A Date for Mad Mary' (Element Pictures) was very well received at the Galway Film Fleadh last July where it premiered and where lead actress Seána Kerslake won the new talent award. Seána's exceptional performance has already been highlighted by many reviewers and media pundits; she was recently described in the Irish Times as "the hottest new name in Irish cinema", and The Irish Independent tell us she is set to become a household name and describes her as "the busiest Irish actress of 2016". Seána previously appeared in Dollhouse (2012), for which she was an IFTA Award nominee for Best Actress, and you will also see her in the soon to be aired new six-part female-centred RTÉ2 comedy-drama series, 'Can't Cope, Won't Cope'. You may have recently heard Seána and Yasmine Akram, on whose one woman show the movie is based, on RTÉ1's The Ryan Tubridy Show where Seána spoke also of her association with Dublin City Public Libraries! Onwards and upwards for our Seána!A Date for Mad Mary, on release 2nd September 2016, starring Seána Kerslake, Tara Lee, Charleigh Bailey. Directed by Darren Thornton.And while 'A Date for Mad Mary' may be the latest Irish production, let's remind you of many of the great films that have graced our screens over the years. The following list of course is not exhaustive, I'm sure you could probably think of some that you might like to share with others by way of a comment below?The Quiet Man (1952) starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, directed by John Ford.Cal (1984) (not in stock, sorry!) starring Helen Mirren, John Lynch, Donal McCann and John Kavanagh, directed by Pat O’Connor. Eat the Peach (1986) starring Stephen Brennan, Eamon Morrissey, Catherine Byrne and Niall Toibin, directed by Peter Ormrod.My Left Foot (1989) starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Brenda Fricker, directed by Jim Sheridan.The Field (1990) starring Richard Harris, directed by Jim Sheridan.The Commitments (1991) starring Robert Arkins, written by Roddy Doyle, screenplay adapted by Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais and Roddy Doyle.The Crying Game (1992) starring Stephen Rea and Forest Whitaker, directed by Neil Jordan.Into the West (1992) starring Ciarán Fitzgerald, Rúaidhrí Conroy and David Kelly, written by Jim Sheridan, directed by Mike Newell.In the Name of the Father (1993) starring Daniel Day-Lewis.The Snapper (1993) starring Colm Meaney and Tina Kellegher, writer Roddy Doyle.Michael Collins (1996) starring Liam Neeson Julia Roberts, Aiden Quinn and Alan Rickman, written and directed by Neil Jordan.The Van (1996) starring Colm Meaney and Donal O’Kelly, directed by Stephen Frears.The General (1998) starring Brendan Gleeson, Adrian Dunbar and Jon Voight, directed by John Boorman.Angela's Ashes (1999) starring Emma Watson, Robert Carlyle, Joe Breen, Ciaran Owens and Michael Legge, directed/co-written by Alan Parker, based on book by Frank McCourt. The Magdalene Sisters (2002) starring Anne-Marie Duff, Nora Jane Noone and Geraldine McEwan, directed by Peter Mullan.Intermission (2003) starring Cillian Murphy and Colin Farrell.Veronica Guerin (2003) starring Cate Blanchett.Inside I'm Dancing (2004) starring James McAvoy, Steven Robertson, Romola Garai and Brenda Fricker, directed by Damien O'Donnell.Breakfast on Pluto (2005) starring Cillian Murphy, Morgan Jones, Eva Birthistle and Liam Neeson, directed by Neil Jordan.The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006) starring Cillian Murphy and Orla Fitzgerald, directed by Ken Loach.Once (2007) starring Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová.Garage (2007) starring Pat Shortt, Anne-Marie Duff and Conor J. Ryan, directed by Lenny Abrahamson and written by Mark O'Halloran.The Secret of Kells (2009) French-Belgian-Irish animated fantasy film. Animated by Cartoon Saloon, directed by Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey.The Guard (2011) starring Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle and Mark Strong, directed by John Michael McDonagh.What Richard Did (2012) starring Jack Reynor, Roisin Murphy, Lars Mikkelsen and Lorraine Pilkington, directed by Lenny Abrahamson.Dollhouse (2012) starring Seána Kerslake, Johnny Ward, Kate Stanley Brennan, directed by Kirsten Sheridan. Song of the Sea (2014) Animated film from Cartoon Saloon, directed by Tomm Moore.Calvary (2014) starring Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly and Aidan Gillen, directed by John Michael McDonagh.Brooklyn (2015) Irish-British-Canadian romantic drama film starring Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen and Domhnall Gleeson. Directed by John Crowley and written by Nick Hornby, based on Colm Tóibín's novel.
Henning Mankell, that giant of Swedish, indeed European, crime fiction writing, has sadly passed away at the age of 67. He had been suffering from cancer. Though not exclusively a crime writer, his Kurt Wallander (pronounced vahl lahń’ der) crime series are known the world over and are must-reads for all fans of the crime fiction genre. The Wallander TV series has also proved a big success, viewers in this country may have been lucky enough to view the series on BBC 4.Mankell is a wonderful storyteller, his writing faultless. Though now passed, I shall continue to think of him in the present tense as he will live on in his books and in his characters.The main character in Mankell's crime novels, Inspector Kurt Wallander, lives and works in Ystad in southern Sweden where he solves crimes with his team of detectives. His daughter Linda follows him into the police force and her uneasy relationship with her dad, and the fact that she works with him on some of the cases, makes for added interest. Central to the series also is Swedish society, and I for one love to see a society and culture portrayed and commented upon through the characters and storyline by native writers in particular. Kurt is a bit of a loner, separated from his wife, with a dad who disapproves of his career choice, and he likes his tipple while listening to classical music. Kurt is a troubled man, his years dealing with crimes having taken its toll on him.There are twelve titles in the Wallander series, and whereas there is some difference in the publishing (in English) order and the chronological order (events timeline), my advice to you is to read them in the following order: Faceless Killers The Dogs of Riga The White Lioness The Man Who Smiled Sidetracked The Fifth Woman One Step Behind Firewall The Pyramid Before the Frost An Event in Autumn The Troubled Man'The Pyramid' is a series of short stories, 'An Event in Autumn' is a novella, while' Before the Frost' in fact features his daughter Linda in the lead role.In terms of Wallander on TV, there were three separate series done, two by Swedish TV and one by the BBC. The first Swedish series stars Rolf Lassgård, while the second stars Krister Henriksson: whereas all the Lassgård episodes are based on the books, most of the Henriksson ones were written for TV. The BBC series stars Kenneth Branagh and consists of six episodes. All three play the character differently, which makes for interesting comparisons if you are a Wallander aficionado. I have to say I loved in particular the Swedish series, I had a little difficulty with the strong English accents in the Swedish countryside in the British production. Though I would watch them again, that be said!Check out the availability of the Wallander DVDs in our online catalogue (yes, you can borrow!).Read also:Henning Mankell Obituary (The Guardian)Henning Mankell, writer - obituary (The Telegraph)Henning Mankell, Writer Whose Wallander Patrolled a Gritty Sweden, Dies at 67 (New York Times)
January, eh? It’s dark, it’s cold, we’re all broke and under pressure to give up something we enjoy. Apparently it’s the worst time of year to make resolutions, and I second that. So leave those resolutions till the spring, and grab your poison, be it chocolate, single malt, or rasher sandwiches, then curl up on the sofa and watch some films that’ll give you a warm cosy feeling inside. Good VibrationsA hippie dreamer in 1970s Belfast: what could possibly go wrong? Mashing inspiring humour with genuine news footage and some great music, this is the story of the legendary Terri Hooley, of his soul-saving record shop where Hank Williams meets punk, and of his discovery of That Song – you know the one I mean! Whale RiderMaori leader Koro has problems: he is the leader of a tribe coming to terms with the 21st century, and his son isn’t interested in taking up the role after him. His only other heir is his granddaughter, Pai, and who ever heard of a female leader? Pai’s mind is both fresher and older than her grandfather’s, however. A beautifully shot tale of identity, transition, and spirituality. Son of RambowThis coming-of-age film sees two boys strike up a very unlikely friendship and decide to create their own film version of Rambo. A little bit cheesy towards the end, but a bit of cheese isn’t so bad: it’s also funny and uplifting, with a brill (cough) 80s soundtrack. The WayA man tries to make sense of the death of his son by completing his son’s walk along the Camino de Santiago. Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez have made a film that deals in an honest and unsentimental way with grief and redemption, and with the joy of the journey rather than the destination.
Christmas is a good time to take out DVDs from the library, as you get some extra time to watch them instead of the usual week. So you can stock up on films to keep the kids occupied. Ideally, you want a film that you can watch as well without going crazy – so that rules out Barney. There are plenty to choose from, though, with great animation and top-notch humour, besides the obvious ones like Toy Story and Shrek. Here’s a few suggestions that appeal to both children and adults alike. Despicable MeCartoon villain supreme Gru faces competition from newcomer Vector, and needs to get rid of this upstart. Aided and abetted by his sidekicks Dr Nefario and the minions (there’s a band name waiting to happen!), he hatches a plan to steal the moon, picking up three orphans along the way. Great fun. Kung Fu PandaThe Karate Kid meets Hong Kong Phooey in this tale of Po, an overweight panda who works in his dad’s restaurant - he suspects he may be adopted! – and spends his days dreaming of becoming a kung fu warrior like his heroes, the Furious Five. Out of the blue he’s chosen as the Dragon Warrior, with a mission to defeat the baddie Tai Long. Can he do it? Of course he can! Free BirdsThis is a bit of a strange one, and it might be an idea to watch it after Christmas dinner, rather than before. Reggie is a turkey who joins the Turkey Freedom Front, and goes back in time to the first Thanksgiving with the aim of getting turkey off the menu. The kind of plot you just have to run with, really. It covers a couple of big issues, but with plenty of humour. Fantastic Mr FoxFree Birds from the fox’s point of view. Stop motion animation, hillbilly music, and a fairly dark sense of humour combine in Wes Anderson’s tale of Mr Fox, trying to stay true to his nature in the face of family responsibilities, accountants, and feral farmers. The eating scenes are hilariously accurate, and the show is pretty much stolen by Kylie the opossum. The IncrediblesSuperheroes struggle to stay valid in the modern world in this very funny story of the Incredible family who, along with other superheroes, are banned from using their powers. An offer of a secret mission lures them back into crime fighting, and the adventures begin. Lots of sendups of other films, and great supporting characters Iceman and the fashion designer Edna Mode being especially funny. UPThis is a really lovely film – quirky and adorable without being twee. Carl, a retired balloon salesman, takes off in an airborne house for one last great adventure, in the company of a small Wilderness Scout called Russell, a giant bird named Kevin, and Dug the talking dog. He runs into his childhood hero, the renowned explorer Muntz, but let’s just say the meeting doesn’t go well. An uplifting homage to the spirit of adventure.
Ok, I stole that heading, but in a blog about piracy, a bit of thieving is only to be expected. Of course, the romance of piracy is very different from the reality, which usually meant an outlaw life of hardship and brutality – and still does; nevertheless the romantic view lives on, and is especially celebrated every year on September 19: International Talk Like A Pirate Day. This is a convention that’s been going on for a good few years now, and has a substantial following, replete with costumes, grog, and pretty much every cliché going. Say arr. Treasure Island by Robert Louis StevensonThe original and best pirate story, and the source of most of the clichés we have today: peglegs, parrots, and yo-ho-ho. Jim Hawkings finds himself aboard the Hispaniola with a crew of murderous pirates bound for an island holding buried treasure. Adventure abounds, and Jim finds himself amidst cut-throats in a quest for treasure, learning quite a few lessons along the way about greed, entitlement, and lust for life. Irish Pirates and Privateers by Michael J. Carroll looks at Irish pirate activity from the Spanish Main to Bantry Bay. Activity in Irish waters flourished for a time between around 1603 to 1625, aided and abetted by the English Admiralty which was supposed to repress it, but actually benefitted from the trade because it kept 50% of every seizure. Eventually the trade moved to the more profitable Caribbean waters, and the Irishmen went with it. This book includes little biographies on the many Irishmen – and a surprising number of women – in the records, such as the Cullen Brothers from Cork, ‘Redlegs’, and Darby Mullins. Granuaile: The Life of Grace O'Malley. Granuaile lived in radically changing times, and stood on the cusp of two worlds: the old Gaelic life of tribalism was dying out, and Ireland was being forced to catch up with England and with renaissance Europe. Granuaile took full advantage of the flux , taking the law into her own hands, and seizing for herself a life of adventure and chaos. While it has to be said that this book concentrates more on life ashore than at sea, providing a huge amount of background detail on the customs and lifestyle of Gaelic Ireland, if ever anyone abided by the pirate maxim ‘No prey, no pay’, it was Grace. Pirates of Barbary. This book examines the background of piracy: how James I wanted peace with Spain and so withdrew the sanctions enjoyed in the Elizabethan age, and also reduced the status of the Navy, making it no longer a viable career option. Suddenly sailors were disempowered and disenchanted, and decided to forge their own careers. The Barbary Coast of North Africa was where piracy flourished in the 1600s, as these European sailors clashed with Turkish corsairs, looking to fill a thriving slave market (including a raid on Baltimore). The last great corsair was killed in 1815 by a US ship, spelling the end of an era. The Pirate Hunter. The story of Captain Kidd, ostensibly a pirate hunter, but accused of piracy himself. Was he or wasn’t he? This book says not. Along the way, it debunks a lot of our cherished pirate myths: they were democratic; they never flew the skull and crossbones, but they did often fly a blood-red flag known as the ‘Jolie Rouge’. On the other hand, they did love fancy clothes and wore the most outlandish costumes, thumbing their noses at the Sumptuary Laws which were still in place; they were ‘mostly young, foul-mouthed men on stolen ships on a constant search for liquor, money, and women’. Celtic tiger, anyone? Pirates of the Caribbean (DVD)Johnny Depp channels Captain Blackbeard via Keith Richards. This is the romantic side of piracy with no apologies. Pure escapism and very good fun. Pretty much what ‘National talk like a pirate day’ is all about. Lots of derring-do, ingenious escapes, and the whole ‘live fast, die young’ ethos. Treasure Island - the drama (DVD)A two-part production of Stevenson’s tale. They’re all here: Jim, Silver, Billy Bones, Ben Gunn, and a realistically multi-national crew. It does take the odd liberty with the plot but mostly stays true. It’s rollicking, fast-paced, but not romantic, and it does show what a murderous, dirty world this was – very much a man’s world, which makes you wonder how any of the female pirates could cope in it. Still, makes me want to set sail and head for the Spice Islands. Arrrrr!
DESERT ISLAND PICKSSo. If you were marooned on a desert island, and could have only one book, one film, and one cd with you, what would they be? Frankly I’m doing well to get it down to five of each: choosing just one is incredibly difficult, and, in a couple of months time, I’d probably give completely different answers. It all depends on what mood we’re in, and where we are in our lives. So I’ve simply gone with: which ones do I keep coming back to over time. Feel free to post your own up. BOOKWatership Down by Richard Adams. I was given this as a present when I was 9. I ignored it for a few months, because, despite the picture of the rabbit on the cover, I assumed it was something to do with ships: eventually I read it, and a love affair was born. I still have my original copy, held together with sellotape, and with my name and address written on the edge in marker (the full address, ending in Earth, The Universe). I read it every 3 or 4 years, and I still get completely involved each time, even though I know it backwards.These are no Beatrix Potter bunnies, dressing up in trousers and going off to work in the office. There has to be some element of anthropomorphism, obviously, or there’d be no story, but Adams keeps it to a plausible minimum, and portrays them as authentically as possible within that frame, while giving them distinct, rounded personalities: the visionary Fiver; intelligent Blackberry; macho Bigwig; crazy Woundwort; and peevish Hawkbit, the only rabbit I’ve ever wanted to slap.It can be read as an allegory, I suppose, with Woundwort and Efrafa representing totalitarianism, but that’s turning it into too much work for my liking. I read it as a story – exciting, sad, scary, inspiring, engaging, and very very imaginative. FILMI’m not really much of a film person, I lack the attention span for them, but there are a few that make it through my lack of visual awareness. Harold and Maude turns the idea of love on its head, and manages to be simultaneously dark, light, daft, clever, quirky, and sweet. It covers the big themes – love, fear, death, freedom – in a very low-key and flaky way that’s beautifully humane and life-affirming. Cat Stevens provides the soundtrack that catches the mood perfectly. MUSICGuitar legend Richard Thompson proves his versatility in 1000 years of popular music. Literally what it says on the tin. Alongside Thompson are Judith Owens (Mrs Harry Shearer) on keyboards, and the magnificent Debra Dobkin on drums; and between the three of them they take us through the centuries, beginning with some seriously catchy medieval songs and covering pretty much every genre along the way, including ballads, music hall, honky tonk, a glorious version of The Easybeats’ ‘Friday on my mind’, before delivering a very tongue-in-cheek rendition of Britney’s ‘Oops I did it again’. The box set comes with 2 CDs (perfect for singing along to in the car) and a DVD of the gig, which includes all the between-song banter. Rich, versatile, educational in the best sense of the word.