Sing Street – Review

Oh, John Carney. You are a brilliant mastermind! You can bring joy and humanity to your films and make us truly sing! You are the master of gloriously echoing music throughout this charming films such as Once and Begin Again. Indeed, it looks like you are back to take the world by storm again with the excellent Sing Street that features everything that makes your movies such rambunctious and infectious fun and broiling devastation..

Set against the backdrop of an economic recession, this Irish movie revolves around Conor, a young boy who is moved from his comfortable life in a private school and into an inner city Dublin school.  There, he discovers the super-cool Raphina and attempts to impress her by forming a band so she can star in their music videos. Bringing in random boys from the school, Conor – otherwise known as Cosmo – tries his hand at wannabe musician – emulating the likes of The Cure, Duran Duran, and Adam Ant!

“The Commitments for Kids!” – a few reviewers have been saying, likening Sing Street to Alan Parker’s seminal musical adventure and the familiarities may tarnish an almost impeccable feature. However, in the young collective, brimming with delightful kinetic joy and unbridled talent, the band takes form and becomes the vocal point for artistic expression and emotional puberty that populates the film so brilliantly.  Ferdia Walsh-Peelo allows Cosmo to come alive with his own brand of anarchism when life and love literally punch him in the face. Walsh-Peelo tackles the gravitas of visceral scenes alongside the boisterous band and their aims for freedom.

Helped by Jack Reynor’s outlandish “hippy” notions as an older brother Brendan guiding Cosmo to glory, and Lucy Boynton’s stunning Raphina marred by circumstance, Sing Street is a collection of young actors enlivening the film with youthful ambition and more!

As with Carney’s work, the songs are a collection of songs as compelling as anything.  Eighties odes and melodious originals are bountiful in the film. The soundtrack mixed with classic pop tunes and unique masterpieces such as The Riddle of the Model and Drive It Like You Stole It allow this “sort of musical” to brim with undeniably amazing songs.

Simply having a band churn out some guitar riffs and capturing the eighties music in a loving homage would be enough to sail Carney’s masterful comedy into a slick and entertaining film. But Carney is adept at juxtaposing emotional and difficulty in a human way. With his parent’s separation pending, bullying at school from teachers and pupils alike, and Raphina’s panache for older men, Conor is plagued by life that he escapes from in his music. Carney also delivers an accurate look at working class Ireland which is loving contrasted against that coming age notion to escape. It all mixes together to create a near-perfect musical adventure.

The energetic happiness that beams throughout you as you skip merrily from the screening is unparalleled in this year’s collection of gritty superheroes, damned dramas, and the misery in between.  Certainly, that spirituous effervescence that waves excitable and determined emotion through you way past the credit roll is unique to Carney’s cinematic portfolio. Not without the ebbs of devastation flowing underneath this inspirational ditty, Sing Street is power song, a fist pump, and a charge for something greater than the one life has given you. Its hope and courage; rolling with catchy tunes and a beating heart that makes the world a little bit brighter…


The Best Of…Oscar Isaac

Oscar Isaac is one of the best actors of our generation. Alongside James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, you cannot fault his performance (though you can fault his film choices.) The actor has come bounding into our lives and solidified a place at the top of the shelf. His work in phenomenal independents to the biggest blockbusters is always met with the same passionate performance.

Funnily enough, the aforementioned McAvoy and Fassbender fight Isaac’s latest villain in X-Men: Apocalypse, which is out today. TO celebrate its release, we take a look at Oscar Isaac’s essential movies.

Balibo (2009)

Portraying a real life character is always such a difficult task. The terrible story of East Timor and its struggle for independence, as well as the Australian journalists who lost their lives trying to uncover the truth should be done with sensitivity. Oscar Isaac had a trickier role to portray: The pivotal and integral activist Jose Ramos-Horta who would later become president of the country. Able to tackle the weighty and visceral elements of the real life figure, he intricately weaves determination to succeed over their oppressors.

The scene where he is confronted with a field of bodies will haunt you.


Drive (2011)

Nicolas Winding Refn’s poetic noir thriller is very much Ryan Gosling’s film. The stoic and brooding Driver with no name is a slick, daring, and often brooding “protagonist” that gripped us in a frenzy of superb film making. Oscar Isaac, however, strides into the film and promptly steals the scenes he is in. Playing Standard, the ex-con husband of our Driver’s love interest, he is a slightly menacing and desperate neighbour who struggles to keep clean after he is released from jail. Isaac plays him well enough to feel somewhat sympathy and the actor allows a chilling wave of intensity to flow not far from the surface.


Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

For many, their introduction into the nuanced talents of Oscar Isaac came in the soulful and utterly compelling Coen Brother’s movie – Inside Llewyn Davis. Starring as the titular character, Isaac portrays a gruff folk singer who bounces from performance to performance and house to house barely scraping by. Resentful and bitter, in hands of any other actor, Llewyn would be an unlikeable oaf. But with Oscar Isaac, he enthuses the struggle, the pain, and the ache of trying but failing at every turn. Layering the character with emotion, he’s able to showcase his inner-turmoil that is hidden underneath the sarcasm and failings. Only a gifted performer could make a simpering artist, who curses the world and his friends at the same time, into a multi-faceted and earnest character.


A Most Violent Year (2014)

Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac have been bosom buddies since they first attend Juillard and the chemistry between them is clear in J. C. Chandor’s work about a businessman plagued by corruption and the police. As Abel Morales, Isaac heightens his levity with a redolent intensity that enhances the viewing experience. Addled with desperation as he is met with horrid situation after horrid situation, the film is made triumphant by Isaac’s understanding of every character he meets – complexities and all.  Even away from the crime and police pressure, Isaac gifts Morales with a revered yet penetrating stature that stands tall in many scenes.

Ex Machina (2015)

oscar isaac ex machina alex garland

Ex Machina is one of the best films of last year. No, scratch that. It’s one of the best films of all time. The layered structure of Alex Garland’s work allows the thrilling to meet the intellectual as two men and a robot collide in a battle of the wits. Unfolding twists and turns that slowly boil the tension, the film is an exquisite meld of themes and technological resonance. Isaac plays Nathan, the genius who creates an AI named Ava and the might of Nathan’s brain vanity is apparent in Isaac’s performance. As is the petulance, alcoholism, and general inflated ego that makes him a terrifying antagonist. Why? Because he is a prime example of men who can’t get what they want and chose nefarious methods to gain control.

Honourable Mention: He is the only good thing from Sucker Punch, he croons an amazing song for 10 Years,  and, of course, he’s Poe Dameron in The Force Awakens but I’m assuming that everyone on God’s Green Earth (or Jakku’s Red Desert) have seen the latest Star Wars movie.

Ooooo…there’s also The Two Faces of January! He’s pretty sweet in that! Damn, it’s hard to write about Oscar Isaac in just five entries….

What are your favourites?


Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping – Brand New Trailer!

Andy Samberg is a brilliant comedian, all-round talented actor, and hysterical activist. The smart and intellectual funny man has moved past his roles in Adam Sandler movies and continues to work on fantastic comedy within the likes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and his hysterical movie venture The Lonely Island.

Now he returns on the big screen for mockumentary Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. The film revolves around singer/rapper Conner4Real who’s popularity wanes after the failure of his sophomore album. Now he is no longer the “dopest of stars” Conner4Real has to regain his domination over the world…

Directed by Samber, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone (aka The Lonley Island), this on-point trailer looks to be an hysterical film that’ll capture the garish and hilarious side of popstarring.

What do you think?


The Colony – Brand New Trailer!

Humans are the worst. There are thousands upon thousands of history books to tell us that. When it comes to creatures on Earth, humans are the pits. A lot of movies focus on that. From the Holocaust to Slavery, we have been inundated with cinematic ventures into our shitty existence.

Enter The Colony to provide us with yet another look how horrid we are

Starring alongside Daniel Bruhl, Colonia mixes Cold War antics and cults to provide a rich and chunky story. It revolves around flight attendant Lena whose boyfriend Daniel is kidnapped by the Government for creating images in support of President Salvador Allende. Helping find him, Lena travels to the colony to offer herself to fascist sect and sinister minister Paul Schafer who’s holding him captive. There, a battle of wits and determination ensures.

Previously called The Colony, Emma Watson takes on yet another dramatic role to shed her Hermione affiliations. Can the actress, alongside the brilliant Daniel Bruhl succeed?


The Childhood of a Leader – Brand New Trailer!

It’s not uncommon for actors to move their talents behind the camera. Often thespians acquire the bug for directing and chose to take to the camera with varying results. The likes of Ryan Gosling, Angelina Jolie, and Al Pacino have all tried their hand at directing.

Now Brady Corbet of Thirteen, Mysterious Skin, and Funny Games is trying his hand at directing!

Corbet’s film, loosely based on the writings of Jean-Pal Sartre and Margaret MacMillan, the film revolves around President Woodrow Wilson as he signs the Treaty of Versailles and a young choir whose father is assisting it.

Billed as a powerful, beautiful, and unique coming of age story, The Childhood of a Leader does look exquisite. Met with acclaim at film festivals and starring Liam Cunningham, Berenice Bejo, Stacy Martin, and Robert Pattinson, this film could be one of the best of the year!



Looking Back…X-Men: First Class (2011)

I am on an X-Men high at the moment. While I may still be recuperating from the disappointing affairs of X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse, I can’t help but delve into the back catalogue of superhero goodness that revolves around the mutated genomes and a mutton chopped gruff Jean Valjean. Nevertheless, despite not truly loving the latest affair, the one film slotted in beforehand was incredible. Kicking off from some terrible movies beforehand, First Class came with fresh (and gorgeous) faced cast and an awesome story arch from the makers of Kick-Ass and Stardust. And this article has nothing to do with the fact I believe James McAvoy is one of the most important actors of our time.

Ok, maybe a little.

X-Men: First Class was aimed to be an origin story similar to that of Wolverine. What departed it from that series was ingenious content, comprehensive plot and stellar acting. After all, the only two mutant’s we really want to learn more about is Xavier and Magneto, especially on how they became the greatest frenemies of all time. Played by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, First Class tells the first story of how the evil band of mutants and the X-Men initially formed as well as the tense and wrought past of both leaders.

One of the important things for X-Men to work is chemistry. Placing a relationship such as Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart’s visceral and intelligent one into new hands was always going to offer up trepidation. Yet Fassbender and McAvoy present a new energetic look on the pairing that mirrors the original and develops on it. As Magneto and Xavier, they clash and unite, mixing up different levels of emotion in a magnificent way.  Add this to plight of Mystique, played superbly by Jennifer Lawrence, plus brand new mutants, and there are characters here that you are truly invested in.

Matthew Vaughn then manages to balance this content extremely well. With a villain as manipulative as Shaw, the clashes between the first collective group of youths with misshapen hereditary, the bubbling resentment lying in Eric plus the threat of nuclear attack AND the rise of resentment from the human species, you’d think it would all get muddled up. What Vaughn does is combine all these elements to an adrenaline-charged ride is both enthralling to watch and full of high octane action sequences (beautifully set up too.)

It’s a shame because Vaughn had been attached to direct Last Stand and openly hated the final result. With the intense work he did with First Class proves that he is vital as  Superhero director and it’s a shame to see him step down, leaving the franchise in a lesser position again. Alongside some stellar writing, First Class is one of the better episodes in the X-Men cinematic world. With a story arc that mixes different elements together while still being wonderfully coherent. It rivals the other tremendous effort with X2 and in many ways extends it. Exhilarating action, exciting acting and extensive content, X-Men is excellent.

And I hate to say this, but X-Men: First Class is….well.. first class.