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Archive for the ‘ Top Fives ’ Category

Five Films That May Have Slipped Through Your Radar

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The most anticipated film of the summer, Guardians of the Galaxy, makes its debut this week. While Guardians will undoubtedly enjoy the same success as this year’s previous blockbuster hits such as The Lego Movie, X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the more recent Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, it is worth taking a look at some of this year’s lesser know cinematic entries.

The film industry currently churns out more big screen outings a year than ever before, which sadly means we have to trawl through mountains of sparkly vampire love stories and Michael Bay presents too-many-explosions-for-its-own-good movie fluff, to uncover the real diamonds in the rough. Fortunately, you don’t have to, because since the invention of the internet, others can do the trawling for you and tell you what’s hot and what’s not. Continue reading

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Goodbye Cruel World – Top 5 Doomsday Films

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If the silver screen is a mirror reflecting our darkest fantasies, then it seems we have a sly yearning for human extinction. Apocalypse films abound – those currently heading to World War Z will see trailers for three more before their Fanta has even warmed up. But while our culture’s obsession with catastrophe is interesting, the films we tend to feed it with are usually not – the destruction of mankind would seem like a small mercy to anyone sitting through Deep Impact

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Five Must See Irish Acts in 2013

The-Strypes-300x192The Irish music scene has become a diversified space in recent years. We’re famous for our traditional and country music, with the odd U2, Thin Lizzy or Westlife thrown in the mix. But recently a wave of new young talent has burst onto the music scene.

We look at the top five Irish acts you must catch this year. Move aside Bono… Continue reading

Top Five Irish Actors Taking Centre Stage In The US

Ireland is recognised for the art of storytelling; from folklore, to literature, to music, to acting. For years it has produced remarkable stage and screen actors such as Gabriel Byrne, Liam Neeson, Michael Fassbender, Colin Farrell and Cillian Murphy to name a few, and now it would seem that there are a number of up-and-coming young male and female actors following their suit and paving their own way with their own distinctive careers. With St. Patrick’s Day not too far away, it is worth taking a look at a few actors making waves across the Atlantic and hoping that this trend only increases as time goes on.

Irish Film And Television Awards - Arrivals

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The Top Five Football Moments of 2012

twSo December 21st came and went, the earth didn’t fold in on itself and the world didn’t end, though if you are an Aston Villa fan, one could be forgiven for thinking that way. But for the rest of us the planet has stubbornly continued to spin and instead of humanity’s untimely doom we look forward to another year of football – hopefully as full of surprises, ecstatic triumphs and memorable moments as its predecessor. And so, in no particular order –

5. Lionel Messi surpasses Gerard Muller

Messi finishes 2012 with a remarkable haul of 91 goals, in the process breaking the 40-year-old record of Gerd Muller who in 1972 scored 85 goals in the calendar year. What can you say about Messi that hasn’t already been repeated infinitely by thousands of misty eyed fans and pundits? This is yet another boundary smashed by the young Argentinean; one which will surely add another stumbling block to the path of Cristiano Ronaldo as he keeps chasing his Barcelona rival for the as yet elusive title of the best player in the world.

4. Manchester City become noisier neighbours

Despite the fact that they had hundreds of millions sunk into the club since their wealthy Arab owners took over, silverware was still proving somewhat elusive for the blue half of Manchester, particularly the Premier League crown which would, amongst other things, force their rivals at Old Trafford to finally reset their infamous banner, counting the years since City last won a trophy. The 2011 FA Cup triumph was only the beginning and City battled hard to take the throne from United, and due to a combination of resilience, a remarkable collapse from the red half of Manchester and some serious last day drama courtesy of a late winner from Sergio Aguero against QPR, the trophy which had eluded the club since 1968 was finally back in their hands.

3. Fabrice Muamba unites football

Everyone’s heart went out to the former Bolton player when he suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed during the first half of a cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. Bolton’s club doctor later revealed the severity of the situation; Muamba’s heart having stopped for 78 minutes. But two weeks later, pictures emerged of the player sitting up in hospital smiling. Though all Muamba wanted to do was get back on the pitch and start playing again, it wasn’t to be and on the 15th of August 2012 he announced he was retiring from the game, based on the advice of his medical staff. What we can all remember, however, is the reaction from fans and players alike all around the world; an immediate and immense outpouring of concern for the player which united football on a truly global scale.

2. Abramovich’s dream comes true

2012 was a year for big wins under somewhat surprising conditions, as Manchester City proved in early May and Chelsea highlighted not too long after. The latter stage of the blues’ journey to the Champions League final was quite impressive; beating Barcelona is no easy feat and Chelsea formed a wall around their goal as solid as concrete. Skip forward to the Allianz Arena on the 19th of May 2012 and their opponents were an impressive Bayern Munich side, on home turf, in the Champions League final. Bayern had control for much of the match and it appeared as if it was going to be just another one of those days for the blues, Muller taking the lead in the 83rd minute. Against the run of play, Didier Drogba scored just five minutes later, taking the game first into extra time, then to penalties, where all of Bayern’s hard work was undone, missing two key penalties and handing the initiative back to Chelsea as Drogba, taking his final touch for Chelsea, sent Manuel Neuer the wrong way to finally seal Roman Abramovich’s dreams of European glory.

1. Glory for the Bhoys

It’s not really surprising that Barcelona feature, in one way or another, three times in this list. But once again (sorry Barcelona) it is to highlight the impressive nature of any team which manages to beat their particular brand of flowing football. Mankind loves nothing better than an underdog. It’s why countless films are full of lesser people rising up and overcoming the odds stacked against them, why on shows like Survivor those who seem unlikely to win often receive a lion’s share of the support. These are people we can relate to, people like us, on our level, and we love them for trying for a share of the spoils. Football is no different. Which is why, when Celtic faced off against Barcelona, so many of us were silently or not so silently willing the Bhoys on. The stage had been set perfectly. Their first meeting with the Catalans in October had ended in a 2-1 defeat; Celtic had played with fire and heart, having taken the lead in the 18th minute through Samaras, though an equaliser on the stroke of half time and a late, late goal from Jordi Alba broke Scottish hearts. And in early November they faced Barcelona once more, a day after celebrating their 125th anniversary, and still hurting from a defeat in which they gave so much and took so little. The result, now, is emblazoned in history. But for a 91st minute Messi goal which briefly threatened another bitter disappointment, Celtic were 1-0 up and looking quite equal to arguably the greatest club team in the world, taking everything which was being thrown at them with verve and aplomb, and looking every bit as threatening each time they took their chance to break. And then, from a Fraser Forster kickout, that next bit of European magic happened, as Xavi missed his attempt at putting the ball back in Celtic’s half, as 18-year-old Tony Watt latched on to the ball and fired his way into the back of Victor Valdes’ net and Celtic’s history books. The stuff of legend.

*As with any football list there will be much arguing over what was and wasn’t included and why in particular this list is so very wrong. Please not this is a list rather than the list. Though 100 per cent correct all the same.

Top 5 Genre Redefining Horror Films

Horror movies are churned out at a fast pace, rarely does a forth night go by in the cinema without a new one being released. They normally slip by our consciousness without much notice. Disposable entertainment to never be looked at again but on occasion the genre strikes gold. It makes a film that rewrites its own rules, causing a slew of copycat films made to cash in on its success. The films in this list might not be in your opinion the best of the genre but they most certainly helped redefine it. They breathed new life into a failing facet of cinema, helping horror live strong for many many decades.  So turn off the lights, lock the door and ignore that clawing sounds coming from the window outside….

1.  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Tobe Hooper made a little low budget horror film called The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for $300,000 in the summer of 1974. It went on to gross over $30 million in the American box office. Not only is there a raw rushed energy about the movie that will shake your central core (the dinning room scene must be one of the most terrifying pieces of cinema ever) but it basically invented the slasher movie genre. An iconic masterpiece that is as flawed as it is perfect.

2.  Scream (1996)

After The Texas Chainsaw Massacre the slasher genre began a slow decline. Lots of straight to video releases and trashy movies caused the Horror industry to loose its appeal but in 1996 a pop culture referencing, quick talking, tongue in cheek movie called Scream came out. It played all the right cards, a nostalgic throwback to the likes of Halloween and Friday 13th while never taking itself too seriously. The 90’s had found their horror icon in the shape of Ghost face.

3.  The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Spawning too many copycats to count (see Paranormal Activity) The Blair Witch Project helped pave the way for Mockumentary filmmaking. Using hand held cameras and the premise of a “True Story” it gave an added fear factor to the market. Playing on the idea that we associate home movies with real life it made the scares much more real, much more tangible. To really see this movies impact all you have to do is look at the amount of movies made using the same technique.

4.  Saw (2004)

Welcome to torture porn. Its gonna be graphic, its gonna be nasty, its gonna be about as gory as you can imagine and then maybe add another 10 gallons of blood. Saw uses the gross out technique to give the viewer a good scare and judging by the box office figures and numerous sequels it seems to have done the job. This franchise opened the door for the likes of Hostel and Captivity.

5.  28 Days Later (2002)

28 Days Later brought the scares in the form of zombies with the ability to run fast, very very fast. Gone were the days of the stumbling, doddering brain eaters, Danny Boyle had replaced them with sprinters ready to hurdle any obstacle you put in their way all just to spread their virus. Low budget cameras gave the film a gritty home hitting feel that brought the audience right into the middle of the action. Maybe not the best zombie movie of all but definitely one that broke a good few boundaries.

Top 5 Movies You’ve Never Seen

We’ve all seen them, those DVDs sat on the shelf in Xtra Vision that you’ve never heard of, or the oddball yarn you come across when you’re channel surfing late at night (or even early in the morning!) But we have a tendency to ignore these movies through lack of recognition and unfortunately this can lead to missing out on some real gems. Below is the Irish News Review Top 5 Movies You’ve Never Seen:

5 – Orange County
Ok so this one isn’t entirely under the radar. With a cast that includes John Lithgow, Jack Black and Colin “Son of Tom” Hanks, but it has unfairly disappeared without a trace after an underwhelming release. OC however stands as one of the finest coming of age comedies since John Hughes nailed the genre in the eighties.

4 – 52 Pick Up
First things first, if anyone watches this on my recommendation, it hasn’t aged well! Made in the eighties, it let’s you know this fact all the time! That aside though it’s a gem, Roy Scheider is excellent as the LA rich kid being blackmailed into coughing up cash for his wife’s safe return, who decides to take the situation into his own hands. A classic.

3 – Eden Lake
Like Orange County, Eden Lake wasn’t exactly under the radar but were it not for Michael Fassbender’s meteoric rise it would’ve been much smaller. Fassbender and Kelly Reilly star as a young couple who’s romantic day by the lake gets turned upside down by a group of psychotic Chavs. Not one for the squeamish but solid proof that for psychological horror, nobody does it better than British filmmakers.

2 – Right At Your Door
Released when the TV show 24 was at its peak, and made by the same production crew, Right At Your Door is for taut thrillers what Star Wars is for sci fi. A dirty bomb has detonated in downtown LA and residents are told to seal themselves on their houses. Brad does so extremely efficiently but when his wife Lexi makes her way back to the house he is left with the worst possible moral dillema. For one of the finest twist endings ever seen this sits proudly at second place.

1 – I Went Down
Believe it or not, there was once a time when Irish cinema looked like it would be able to consistently stand up to its American and European contemporaries. The finest example of this is this gem which is more than admirably held together by Conor McPherson’s razor sharp writing. Brendan Gleeson and Peter McDonald star as two debtors sent on assignment to Cork, and from there the greatest Irish movie,and arguably best ever road movie, made unfolds. Thankfully it has finally hit DVD, watch it and love it!

So hit up YouTube and check out the trailers and you won’t be stuck for something to watch next movie night!

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