Theatre Review: Best Man in the @ProjectArts Theatre

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Performances in the Project Arts Theatre can be hit and miss. The very experimental nature of the space means that I’ve seen some amount of self-indulgent tripe mixed in with some brilliantly innovative, insightful plays. In the past two weeks, I’ve had a lot of luck. Last week, I finally caught Mark O’Rowe’s Howie the Rookie, a two-act two-monologue play of an urban Dublin odyssey. The Howie starts the story and the Rookie finishes it out. Both parts are played by Love/Hate’s Tom Vaughan-Lawlor and it truly was an acting masterclass. That’s how it’s supposed to be done. This week, the Project was transported to boomtime Ireland for Carmel Winters’ Best Man. Actually, it’s something of a cliched tale, where the suburbanite couple (one breadwinner, one stay-at-home spouse) bring in a hot, foreign nanny to look after their emotionally neglected children, leading to sexual tension and the re-evaluation of all … There’s more

Movie Review: Man of Steel, AKA Superdull

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It should have worked. But it didn’t. It should have been the best Summer actioner. Directed by Zack Snyder, who drove the excellent 300 and The Watchmen, this movie had the full package on paper – Russell Crowe playing Jor-El (taking over the reigns from Marlon Brando); Kevin Costner and Diane Lane playing the very human Jonathan and Martha Kent, Clark’s earthbound parents; the lovely Amy Adams taking on the hardened Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane; and the genius Michael Shannon playing the big-bad, General Zod. And that’s before we even look at the reliable presence of Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer. And yet, there wasn’t an ounce of the innovation we saw in the relatively recent The Dark Knights or Inception. I’m not going to give much of the story away, but there’s very little I could spoil anyway. It’s the usual Superman tale – in order to save him, Jor-El sends his … There’s more

A Good Day to avoid Die Hard

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This will be short. The film was so poor, it doesn’t deserve many words. However, I do feel the need to warn you off it. Bruce Willis’s latest visit to John McClane’s insane life is A Good Day to Die Hard. Presumably they couldn’t fit Sam Jackson or Justin Long into the budget, so this time McClane is joined by his son, poorly acted by Jai Courtney. There is no plot. No really, I looked and couldn’t find one. I did however find plenty of explosions and car chases and explosions and fire and jumping through CG windows and explosions. There was also a shed load of awful dialogue. If McClane said “I’m on vacation” one more time, I was going to hurl my overpriced Maltesers at the oversized IMAX screen. Life of Pi belongs in IMAX, The Dark Knight Rises belongs in IMAX, Prometheus, The Hobbit, Ghost Protocol, they … There’s more

Album Review: Bat For Lashes – The Haunted Man

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Generally in life, the things that we least understand are the things that intrigue us the most – some of us anyway. David Lynch’s films, Lee Evans’ popularity, Paul Galvin’s dress-sense. I came upon Bat For Lashes – aka Natasha Khan – after the release of her second album, Two Suns. Lead single Daniel received some airplay on Irish commercial radio, providing some welcome respite from hearing Sex On Fire fifty times a day. So, having never been one to ‘wait til I hear the next single’ before deciding to buy an album – a policy which has seen me amass quite a number of duds over the years (The Hives, I’m looking at you) – I rushed out and bought Two Suns, along with its fellow Mercury-nominated predecessor, Fur And Gold. I wasn’t disappointed. Of the above, Two Suns was far more accessible and several tracks (Pearl’s Dream, Daniel, … There’s more

Album Review: Cat Power’s Sun

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We live in a world where even the most minor celebrity ‘crisis’ is blown up out of all proportion. I recently spotted the cover of Heat, or some similar publication, fretting about Cheryl (Cole or Tweedy, whatever you’re having yourself) and her 3am dash to McDonalds. Viewed through any prism, Chan Marshall’s story is one of bona fide tragedy and turmoil. Marshall – Cat Power to you and me – has endured a tumultuous life for almost all of her forty years. She grew up with a family heavily immersed in alcoholism, while still living in her native Atlanta in the mid-1990s, her then-boyfriend died. This was the first of a number of setbacks for the some-time actress, model and charity worker. Drug and alcohol addiction and on-stage meltdowns followed. An achingly honest 2006 interview with Spin, done just after Marshall had emerged from a spell in a psychiatric ward, … There’s more

Games Review: Rocksmith (on XBox 360)

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My first draft of this review was a huge long post giving details of all the features, what I liked and what I didn’t. But really it boils down to this…. If you want to learn to play guitar, go buy yourself a basic electric guitar and a copy of Rocksmith on Xbox 360, it’s cheaper than most guitar lessons and you’ll be playing tunes in no time. If you want to pretend to play a guitar then grab yourself a copy of Guitar Hero or Rockband, but why go to the effort of learning to play a plastic guitar when Rocksmith makes learning real guitar as easy and fun? Yeah I could pick holes in the included tracklist, it’s easy when there’s no Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallagher, Metallica, Satriani, Vai, ZZ TOP or Guns ‘n’ Roses included. Yup, the “No Stairway” rule is very much … There’s more

Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

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Perhaps the best way to start is to tell you to block the last decade of Spider-Man movies from your mind and treat The Amazing Spider-Man as it is, a complete revamp of the Spider-Man franchise. In 2005, Christopher Nolan started a new wave of films with Batman Begins, where the story is as important, if not more important, than the superhero and his trials. We get strong characterisation, drama and a full story and this theme has run into the reincarnation of Marvel’s most famous superhero, as directed by Marc Webb (And I can’t not say something about how awesomely apt his surname is!). If anyone has heard of Spider-Man, they know the story of his origins. Peter Parker, a high school student who lives with his aunt and uncle, gets bitten by radioactive spider and develops super powers. This awkward teenager gains the ability to crawl up walls, … There’s more

Theatre Review: Improbable Frequency @ The Gaiety

Having debuted in 2004, Rough Magic’s Improbable Frequency is by no stretch a new production but its current run is our first time to see it. Although it was new to us we heard many good things before settling into Thursday night’s performance at The Gaiety. Set during World War Two, the production which describes itself as ‘a pulsating cabaret-style musical’ features a cast of characters imagined and real (John Betjeman and Myles na gCopaleen are written liberally for the stage) and tells the tale of a British spy in Ireland. With Peter Hanly reprising his original role as Faraday (the British spy), we open on the scene of the crossword enthusiast being recruited for his mission to Ireland. There he is to investigate O’Dromedary (Rory Nolan), a radio presenter whose song choices appear to be alerting the Germans to the weather conditions and aiding their air raids over Britain. … There’s more

Movie Review: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists

At last Hugh Grant plays a likeable character! The Pirate Captain is on a quest to win the Pirate of the Year Award with the aid of his motley crew of pirates that includes Brendan Gleeson and Martin Freeman. They are as adventurous and plunderous as any pirate crew worth its salt and they think they’re in with a good chance. Their confidence starts to waiver however when rivals Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and bad-to-the-bone Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek) ride in on a wave of booty with their steels flashing. The Pirate Captain and his crew take to the high seas in an effort to get some serious pirating done to catch up with his competitors. Along the way they plunder a science ship where they find no gold but manage to pick up Charles Darwin (ooh David Tennant) and his very clever butler monkey. Darwin points out that there … There’s more

Movie Review: Bel Ami

Between Twilight and period drama, we’ve never seen Robert Pattinson with normal hair. Perhaps, like Sampson, his hair is the source of all of Pattinson’s power. But whether long, sideburned and flopsy for period drama or styled to unnatural perfection for his role as vampy heartthrob Edward Cullen, it is just as well Pattinson’s hair shows some personality because it’s the only thing that distinguishes him from role to role. Of course, it’s not all his fault, his naturally fanglike teeth make it difficult to look beyond his vampiric outings as Edward Cullen as well. And, just like Hugh Grant’s flopsy do of the ’90s, Pattinson’s teeth are the physical manifestation of typecasting. He’s got a look and it’s difficult to stray from thinking of him as the vampire adonis. In the opening scenes of Bel Ami we are whisked immediately into 19th century Paris, where the girls flow and … There’s more

Pop Culture Show Pilot: The Format

Over the past week we’ve been trying something new. The Format, our pop culture web TV experiment, is the result of many hours of planning, filming and editing. As it is a pilot, filmed in Culch Towers (AKA Darren and Sinéad’s apartment), we would really love to hear your feedback. How did we do? What works? What would you change? Should we keep it up? What would you like to see us covering if we do? Any and all thoughts would be appreciated – we’re on a learning curve and we want to be better able to produce a show that viewer’s can have input on and look forward to. Oh, make sure you look out for the great viewer competition from Meteor. We wanted to bring together all of the many topics we cover on Culch.ie, present them to you in a different way, show you what we look … There’s more

Theatre Review: Bookworms in The Abbey Theatre

I went along to see Bernard Farrell’s Bookworms in The Abbey Theatre on Wednesday. Check out my thoughts on it below. Bookworms plays from February 9th until to March 17th in The Abbey Theatre, Dublin, and here’s a few links I mention in the video:

Album Review: Camille O’Sullivan’s Changeling

This is my first video review for Culch.ie, so I would appreciate any feedback you have, not just on the review but also on my irritating voice and awkward looking face. Camille O’Sullivan’s Changeling is a superb album, featuring a wonderful artist in her prime. Check out what else I have to say about her below. Changeling is available tomorrow in Dublin shops and will be on general release and on iTunes from 10th February. The excellent single Revelator is available now on iTunes, alongside Camille’s cover of Nick Cave’s The Ship Song. If you want to see her in person, she will be doing an in store appearance in Celtic Note, Nassau St, Dublin, singing few tunes and signing CD’s from 1pm tomorrow. If you are nearby, pop in before the match. She will also be on a tour of Ireland and the UK from 18th February. Check out … There’s more

Movie Review: Polanski causes Carnage

When a collage of Oscar winning stars and an Oscar winning director get together for a project, you know the results are going to be good.  Renowned director Roman Polanski’s latest comic clash of manners cuts through the everyday boundaries of civility to show us what really goes on when the walls come down. Carnage, based on Yasmine Reza’s hugely successful French play titled ‘God of Carnage,’ Polanski’s latest effort is a sharp satire that encompasses everything from marital strife to class values in one.