Tag Archives: Chris O’Dowd



A lot of dark secrets can be revealed during confession. But what if you’re a priest and someone confesses they are about to commit a murder – yours!

During a confession an unknown parishioner confides to Father James (Brendan Gleeson) that he was abused as a kid by a priest who has since died. He then tells Father James he will kill him in a week’s time as he is a good man and that will upset the church more than killing a bad priest. Over the following week we see Father James deal with his parishioners, have a visit from his estranged daughter and contemplate his place in the village.

Written and directed by John Michael McDonaugh whose previous film The Guard also starred Gleeson, Calvary is a dark drama with a very black sense of humour. The subject matters that the film deal with-child abuse by the church and suicide among others is well explored but doesn’t go into melodrama or offer quaint sentiments. Instead it’s a character-lead drama about a village with dark hearts in most of its parishioners.

I’m mostly familiar with Gleeson for his Golden Globe nominated role as a hitman in In Bruges, and again Gleeson is excellent in the lead role. His Father James is a good man, but he is also flawed. A former alcoholic, neglectful father, these characteristics makes him more interesting than an all round nice guy and makes his character more believable too. You really feel for him as he wrestles with his conscience, does he tell the police who he suspects is the would-be-murderer, or should he face the man to try to talk him round. While it seems obvious that he should head straight to the police, you understand why Father James is reluctant to do so (and besides the police seem involved in illegal activities themselves).

While it’s Gleeson’s film he has good support from his fellow actors including Dylan Moran, Aidan Gillen, Chris O’Dowd and in particular Kelly Reilly is brilliant as Father’s James daughter Fiona. Watching Father James and Fiona try to reconnect after years of hurt is one of the few positive interactions in the film, and knowing Father James could be dead soon makes their conversations more poignant.

It may be a bit too dark and depressing for some, however for me this is a smart movie that can be bleak at times but also offers small glimpses of hope in between.

Rating 4/5 – a well crafted drama with compelling performances



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This year has already given us one great animated film in the hugely enjoyable The Croods, and we still have  Monsters University and Despicable Me 2 out this summer. So can new movie Epic compete at this level?

Epic introduces us to M.K (Amanda Seyfried) a teenage girl who is forced to move back in with her scientist dad Professor Bomba after her mum dies. Her relationship with her father is strained, not least because of the fact he believes there’s an advance civilisation of tiny people living in the nearby forest. However a series of events make M.K shrink in size and find her father isn’t so crazy after all. Now she has to help the Leafmen protect a pod and save the forest from the evil Boggans.

Epic has an admirable pro environment message and the animation is lovely but the story and design lacks that memorable punch to keep you interested in the film. Compared to The Croods which had dazzling colours and designs in its creatures and plants, Epic lacks something as spectacular in its visuals to make it as memorable.

As for the characters M.K is an agreeable enough protagonist. However the Leafmen, while they may be very noble and all are so dull. Colin Farrell as  leader of the Leafmen Ronin and Josh Hutcherson as rookie Leafman and M.K’s love interest Nod, try their best but the characters fail to register interest. They are also stuck with delivering lines such as “Many leaves but one tree”. The baddies the Boggans are initially intriguing, covered in the carcass of dead animals but unfortunately that’s about as interesting as they get.

The best thing about this film is the double act of Mub (Aziz Ansari)a slug whose in love with M.K and Grub (Chris O’Dowd), a snail who wants to become a leafman instead of looking after pods. They provide most of the jokes and are welcome comic relief from the boredom of the mission. But my favourite character is Ozzie,  Bomba’s three-legged dog who runs around in circles and gives slobbery kisses to everyone. Unfortunately he is not in it enough.

Rating 2/5- It tries hard but in the end Epic fails to live up to its title


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