St. Patrick’s Day 2019 — Irish Movies for Families!

Posted on March 17, 2019 at 7:09 am

Copyright Republic Pictures 1952

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Here are some movies from or set in Ireland for families to enjoy.

1. The Quiet Man John Wayne plays American Sean Thornton (John Wayne), who returns to in Innisfree, the small, beautiful Irish village where he was born, to buy his family’s old home. He meets fiery Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O’Hara), courts her, marries, her, and then really has to win her as both must learn some lessons about intimacy, pride, and trust. Yes, there are some moments that seem sexist but the underlying story is as glorious as the spectacular landscape and as touching as the endearing characters.

2. The Secret of Roan Inish A little Irish girl named Fiona goes to stay with her grandparents and becomes convinced that her baby brother, whose cradle was carried off to sea years before, is alive and being cared for by Selkies, seals who can transform themselves into humans. This is a quiet film, filled with lovely images that convey the magic surrounding anyone who believes in it. It explores themes of loyalty and commitment to family and following your heart.

3. The Commitments A group of hardscrabble Irish musicians come together to firm an American-style soul band and perform songs like “Mustang Sally” and “Try a Little Tenderness.” Look for future Frames and Once performer Glen Hansard in the group. (Mature material)

Copyright 2007 Summit Entertainment

4. Once The best song Oscar went to this bittersweet film about an Irish musician (Glen Hansard) who meets a pianist and singer (Markéta Irglová) from the Czech Republic.

5. Millions The Oscar-winning director of “Slumdog Millionaire,” Danny Boyle, also shows his gift for working with children in “Millions,” the story of a young boy who finds a bag of money.

6. My Left Foot Daniel Day-Lewis won an Oscar for his portrayal of Christy Brown in this true story of a writer and painter who was paralyzed and could only use his left foot — and of his indomitable mother (Oscar-winner Brenda Fricker).

7. The Secret of Kells This quietly exquisite animated film was a surprise Oscar nominee. It is about an 11th century boy who lives in a monastery run by his stern uncle and the gorgeous illuminated manuscript that changes his life.

8. Circle of Friends Minnie Driver and Chris O’Donnell star in Maeve Binchy’s story of love and friendship in 1950’s Ireland.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV9sHAHGE5A

9. “Hear My Song” A fast-talking small-time promoter has to persuade a retired performer to sing again.

10. In the Name of the Father Day-Lewis again, in another true story, this time the story of a father and son who were imprisoned for an IRA bombing. Emma Thompson plays his dedicated lawyer and Pete Postlethwaite was nominated for an Oscar as the father who ends up in prison as well.

Related Tags:

 

Film History For Your Netflix Queue Holidays Lists Movie History Neglected gem
ir.gif

Movies for St. Patrick’s Day 2016

Posted on March 17, 2016 at 8:00 am

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Celebrate Ireland with some great movies.

1. The Quiet Man John Wayne plays American Sean Thornton (John Wayne), who returns to in Innisfree, the small, beautiful Irish village where he was born, to buy his family’s old home. He meets fiery Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O’Hara), courts her, marries, her, and then really has to win her as both must learn some lessons about intimacy, pride, and trust. Yes, there are some moments that seem sexist but the underlying story is as glorious as the spectacular landscape and as touching as the endearing characters.

2. The Secret of Roan Inish A little Irish girl named Fiona goes to stay with her grandparents and becomes convinced that her baby brother, whose cradle was carried off to sea years before, is alive and being cared for by Selkies, seals who can transform themselves into humans. This is a quiet film, filled with lovely images that convey the magic surrounding anyone who believes in it. It explores themes of loyalty and commitment to family and following your heart.

3. The Commitments A group of hardscrabble Irish musicians come together to firm an American-style soul band and perform songs like “Mustang Sally” and “Try a Little Tenderness.” Look for future Frames and Once performer Glen Hansard in the group. (Mature material)

4. Once The best song Oscar went to this bittersweet film about an Irish musician (Glen Hansard) who meets a pianist and singer (Markéta Irglová) from the Czech Republic (now a Broadway musical).

5. Millions The Oscar-winning director of “Slumdog Millionaire,” Danny Boyle, also shows his gift for working with children in “Millions,” the story of a young boy who finds a bag of money.

6. My Left Foot Daniel Day-Lewis won an Oscar for his portrayal of Christy Brown in this true story of a writer and painter who was paralyzed and could only use his left foot — and of his indomitable mother (Oscar-winner Brenda Fricker).

7. The Secret of Kells This quietly exquisite animated film was a surprise Oscar nominee. It is about an 11th century boy who lives in a monastery run by his stern uncle and the gorgeous illuminated manuscript that changes his life.

8. Circle of Friends Minnie Driver and Chris O’Donnell star in Maeve Binchy’s story of love and friendship in 1950’s Ireland.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV9sHAHGE5A

9. Hear My Song A fast-talking small-time promoter has to persuade a retired performer to sing again.

10. In the Name of the Father Day-Lewis again, in another true story, this time the story of a father and son who were imprisoned for an IRA bombing. Emma Thompson plays his dedicated lawyer and Pete Postlethwaite was nominated for an Oscar as the father who ends up in prison as well.

Related Tags:

 

For Your Netflix Queue Holidays

Interview: John Michael McDonagh and Brendan Gleeson of “Calvary”

Posted on August 6, 2014 at 8:00 am

Brendan Gleeson in "Calvary"
Brendan Gleeson in “Calvary”

Writer/director John Michael McDonagh and Brendan Gleeson met with my friend John Hanlon and me to talk about “Calvary,” where Gleeson plays an Irish priest in an oceanside community that is filled with sadness, regret, and loss.

Some of the movie’s most important scenes take place on the beach. McDonagh spoke to us about the landscape and the way it helps to define the characters and tell the story. “I’m a big believer in the choice of locations when writing a script because I think you need to get the location right.  It’s an added character in the movie. And ‘The Guard’ was all shot in county Galway. My mum is really jealous, so I said, “When I shoot my next movie I’ll shoot it where you’re from in County Sligo. All those landscapes was where I used to go on summer holidays so I knew a lot of the places which makes it also easier when you’re location scouting because I can give the location guide ideas. I will say, ‘This is this space, this is that place’ and I already know what it looks like.”

“In terms of its use in the film, there was a much more brooding and somber atmosphere to the movie I realized, after getting all that footage; going up in the helicopter, going around those landscapes, around the mountain. You can imagine in screenplay, it says ‘Shots of the town’ but once you get that kind of brooding, somber feeling of Benbulben, the big mountain. I started to notice that every time we went to an exterior location with the mountains in the background it’s this looming presence over the whole thing. And I realize its meaning, and it’s only after seeing a rough cut of the film, I realized the mountain doesn’t care what we think or what’s going to happen to us. We’re all going to be gone and the mountain will still be there. There’s a lot of talk about detachment in the film, it’s that the spiritual quality of the earth that it will go on without us with all our concerns I suppose. But that only became apparent when we saw the footage. It just wasn’t in mind when I was writing the script.”

One of the characters in the film mentions that the waves are a big draw for surfers. “I wanted the surfers in the backdrop,” McDonagh said. “They are surfing all the time and all this terrible stuff is going on basically on the mainland and they don’t care either. It was actually in the script, I cut it but the confrontation on the beach in the end was going to have cut away to a character who had been introduced who was a surfer she doesn’t know what’s happening and she continues to surf unbeknownst to the terror that’s going on at the end of the beach but I cut that out. I was thinking it would be kind of a mythic backdrop. I’m a big fan of the John Milius film ‘Big Wednesday’ so I thought that gave it a mythic backdrop.”

McDonagh and Gleeson had just visited the Andrew Wyeth exhibit at the National Gallery.  “I was just going to see all the tourism sites; so we just passed the National Gallery and saw that it happened to have the Wyeth exhibition going on.  I used his work as a visual reference all the way through the film. He has a lot of frames within frames, looking through doorways, he has oil slickers hanging on the wall so we had the cassock hanging on the wall and all that kind of stuff. That was a big influence on the movie so yes that was quite strange coincidence to be at the Gallery. That’s almost the universe giving you a thumbs-up.”  He described the inspiration of Wyeth’s images.  “There’s one of  a man lying with his hat over his face in a field of barley with a dog and that became picnic scene by the split rock with Brendan and Kelly.  Wyeth often would have a symbol of mortality like a skull on a cupboard” and that also inspired a scene in the film.  He contrasted it with his previous film with Gleeson, “The Guard.”  That “was very colorful; lots of art popping colors in there. This is kind of a more somber movie and a lot of the scenes, there’s a lot of whites and blacks, obviously the cassock was black. But we still had big splashes of color. When I had the doctor telling his hellish story, it’s all red behind him.  And that pub is basically hell on earth.”

I asked Gleeson where he learned to listen as sympathetically as the priest character he plays does in the film.  His answer was one word: “Marriage!”  But then he talked about the importance of listening for an actor.  “It’s like a fundamental thing, part of our craft for a start is that. And another few actors don’t really kind of wise up to it and a lot of young actors instinctively do, that you’ve got to listen, you’ve got to be present enough to listen and it’s quite a hard thing to do if you’re young and you are learning your lines and you’ve got your lines banging away in your head and you’re intensely trying to know this one, to remember that this is actually a interaction. Some actors are quite greedy in that way and it’s very dull working with people like that, it just is. And it’s amazing when you work with young actors who haven’t really taken on board or haven’t had the experience of when they realize that actually listening is a huge part of what’s involved and that it informs everything you say. And if you are properly prepared, then you actually can answer anything no matter what the other person says. If your character is rooted then you can respond to that pretty much even if your lines are set in stone, you could still use them to respond in a different way depending on how everything comes. So for a start, I know from working with actors over the years, the generous actors listen. And what was great about this particular cast was that everybody who came in was worth listening to. All the lines were exquisitely written but also the commitment of the actors and the generosity of these like right through to generation in the way of mostly Irish actors but like obviously Marie-Josée Croze and Isaach De Bankolé. There was this common thread among them all, they were wonderful actors but also generous to a fault and understood the notion of listening themselves. So it’s joyous to work on something like that where you feel there is proper interaction and it’s the way, it’s the only way to work actually when it comes down to it. You can get efficiency the other way but to have a proper sizzle between what’s actually going on and that human kind of connection is really important.”

McDonagh added, “And also visually, on ‘The Guard,’ it’s mostly sort of medium shots. This was all going to be driven by big close-ups, getting a lot of close-ups right from the very first scene. And there are lots and lots of close-ups all the way through the movie. I don’t know if I spoke to the actors about that but I think it became apparent; we are only going to do a couple of takes and a big wide and then we’re going to go in quite close to it.

Gleeson said “this is earned by the nature of the dialogue, by the intensity of the scene, by what we know or don’t know already about the person so there is an intrigue in what’s going on their faces. But you’ve got to learn it. If people take shortcuts to that, it’s such an assault to have too many close-ups where there is no real truth behind it. So I guess yeah, even though it was good and it felt intimate too in the way that John took all the shots but there was an intimacy. And I suppose in a way once someone is communing with his God or attempting to or failing to, that kind of intimacy, that notion, that you are slightly inside somebody’s head instead of looking from the outside, can be hugely valuable.”

McDonagh said,”We were talking about it yesterday; one of my favorite scenes in the movie is with Brendan and Marie-Josée and the crows in the chapel and that’s a very simply shot sequence. It’s just low angle, blind angle close-ups basically but if the actors are great and the dialogue is pretty good, it becomes cinematic.”

“It is a tilted shot too,” added Gleeson. “Her husband’s dying, it’s very gentle and even the music over the top of it; there is a feeling of sanctity and there is a feeling of maybe refuse in that church but the tilted shot means the world’s misaligned. They are two low angle shots and there is an odd diagonal that goes across. We shot it to the other ways but it was too obvious in a way. You want it slightly skewed.”

Related Tags:

 

Actors Directors Interview Writers

A St. Patrick’s Day Tribute to Some of the Greatest Irish Actors

Posted on March 17, 2013 at 8:00 am

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with movies starring some of the greatest stars in movie history.  If you haven’t seen all of these, you deserve a pinch!

1. Maureen O’Hara — the fiery red hair was made for technicolor and she was ideally cast opposite John Wayne in films like “The Quiet Man” and “McLintock.”  I especially loved her as the mom in “Miracle on 34th Street” and “The Parent Trap.”

2. Colin Ferrell — he is electrifying as a bad guy but willing to go all out in a comedy like “Horrible Bosses.” I especially loved him as a sensitive gay man in “A Home at the End of the World,” and his appearance with Elmo on “Sesame Street.”

3. Saoirse Ronan — one of the most talented young stars working today, she will soon be seen as the lead in “The Host,” from “Twilight” author Stephanie Meyer.  She first gained international stardom in “Atonement.”

4. Liam Neeson — an Oscar winner for “Shindler’s List,” Neeson is equally at home in serious drama and action films like “Taken.”

5. Pierce Brosnan — possibly the most elegant of the James Bonds, Brosnan also played a very different kind of spy in “The Matador” and sang (or tried to) in “Mama Mia.”

6. Peter O’Toole — best known for “Lawrence of Arabia,” but his most endearing performance is probably the swashbuckling movie star guesting on a live television show in “My Favorite Year.” And don’t miss him as a movie director in “The Stunt Man” and an art expert turned thief in “How to Steal a Million.”

7. Jonathan Rhys Meyers — he was Henry VIII on HBO’s “The Tudors” and the soccer coach in “Bend it Like Beckham.”

8. Chris O’Dowd — Kristin Wiig could not resist him in “Bridesmaids,” and he was equally appealing in “Pirate Radio” and the British sitcom “The IT Crowd.”  He plays the manager of a girl group in this week’s release “The Sapphires.”

9.  Daniel Day-Lewis — he played Abraham Lincoln last year, but he has also played real-life Irish icons Christy Brown (“My Left Foot”) and Gerry Conlan (“In the Name of the Father”).

10. Pat O’Brien — this dependable character actor starred as Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne.

Related Tags:

 

Actors

Movies to Celebrate Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day

Posted on March 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm

St. Patrick’s Day is this weekend and one way to celebrate is to watch one of these great movies from or set in Ireland:

1. The Quiet Man John Wayne plays American Sean Thornton (John Wayne), who returns to in Innisfree, the small, beautiful Irish village where he was born, to buy his family’s old home. He meets fiery Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O’Hara), courts her, marries, her, and then really has to win her as both must learn some lessons about intimacy, pride, and trust. Yes, there are some moments that seem sexist but the underlying story is as glorious as the spectacular landscape and as touching as the endearing characters.

2. The Secret of Roan Inish A little Irish girl named Fiona goes to stay with her grandparents and becomes convinced that her baby brother, whose cradle was carried off to sea years before, is alive and being cared for by Selkies, seals who can transform themselves into humans. This is a quiet film, filled with lovely images that convey the magic surrounding anyone who believes in it. It explores themes of loyalty and commitment to family and following your heart.

3. The Commitments A group of hardscrabble Irish musicians come together to firm an American-style soul band and perform songs like “Mustang Sally” and “Try a Little Tenderness.” Look for future Frames and Once performer Glen Hansard in the group. (Mature material)

4. Once The best song Oscar went to this bittersweet film about an Irish musician (Glen Hansard) who meets a pianist and singer (Markéta Irglová) from the Czech Republic.

5. Millions The Oscar-winning director of “Slumdog Millionaire,” Danny Boyle, also shows his gift for working with children in “Millions,” the story of a young boy who finds a bag of money.

6. My Left Foot Daniel Day-Lewis won an Oscar for his portrayal of Christy Brown in this true story of a writer and painter who was paralyzed and could only use his left foot — and of his indomitable mother (Oscar-winner Brenda Fricker).

7. The Secret of Kells This quietly exquisite animated film was a surprise Oscar nominee. It is about an 11th century boy who lives in a monastery run by his stern uncle and the gorgeous illuminated manuscript that changes his life.

8. Circle of Friends Minnie Driver and Chris O’Donnell star in Maeve Binchy’s story of love and friendship in 1950’s Ireland.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV9sHAHGE5A

9. “Hear My Song” A fast-talking small-time promoter has to persuade a retired performer to sing again.

10. In the Name of the Father Day-Lewis again, in another true story, this time the story of a father and son who were imprisoned for an IRA bombing. Emma Thompson plays his dedicated lawyer and Pete Postlethwaite was nominated for an Oscar as the father who ends up in prison as well.

Related Tags:

 

For Your Netflix Queue Holidays Lists Movie Mom’s Top Picks for Families Neglected gem
THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2024, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at Rogerebert.com, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

Website Designed by Max LaZebnik