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September 2014

My Letterboxd Review of American Movie

Reblogged from my Letterboxd list:

Can’t remember when I watched this one before, but I remembered much of the film. American Movie kind of marks the beginning of the obsessive geek documentary, affectionate rather than exploitative (though that charge is still made), which would reach different but similarly remarkable peaks with The Devil and Daniel Johnston, The King of Kong and Anvil! The Story of Anvil, each expressing in their own way that geekery is passion.

My Letterboxd review of Bloodsport

Reblogged from my Letterboxed list:

Definitely one of the better Cannon martial arts flicks, and it’s easy to see why it was such a springboard for Jean-Claude Van Damme’s career (and maybe even Forest Whitaker, who features as a bumbling military cop). The fight scenes are snappy and exciting, which is surprisingly a rarity in these kinds of movies, and the whole thing wisely keeps plot to a minimum; it knows it’s about kicking ass and nothing more. Plus, those faces!

Weeknotes #680

So I got my bicycle back from the shop on Tuesday, and on Wednesday I crashed on the way home from a morning ride. Slipped on something, didn’t see what, coming up to the roundabout that marks the last turn before home. But the bike went sideways and flattened under me (buckling the rear wheel slightly; I can feel it drag when I wheel it) and I fell hard chest-first on the end of my handlebars. Yes, it left a mark. No, you don’t want to see it. At least it hit my sternum and not my ribs. I don’t think anything’s broken, though it hurt like a mofo and I was winded for a few minutes after. Oh yeah, and I scraped up my left knee pretty bad; it’s bruised black and there’s numbness above my kneecap. But I can walk if I keep my leg straight, though stairs are a bit tricky.


My Letterboxd review of The Innkeepers

Reblogged from my Letterboxd list:

Slow moving, they said it was. And they were right about that. Indeed, it’s a good half hour too long; so many extraneous establishing scenes meant to make us care more about the main characters, but it’s just banter. They also said it was properly old-school scary, but it’s nothing of the sort. Poltergeist? Rosemary’s Baby? The Shining? Now those are haunting movies. The Innkeepers is so tame by comparison, it’s almost a category error to call it a horror.

My Letterboxd review of A Most Wanted Man

Reblogged from my Letterboxd list:

This John Le Carré adaptation courtesy of noted photographer-turned-filmmaker Anton Corbijn (Control) gets off on the wrong foot, with the frame lingering in fixed position on waves lapping lazily against a dock wall at first light. It’s a strong, stark, photographic image reflecting, perhaps, the maker’s bias for aesthetics over substance? Or maybe it’s the photographer exorcising that side of himself before driving into new territory, for the film thereafter is indeed a film, not an art installation.

Not that it doesn’t have a look; Corbijn (and cinematographer Benoît Delhomme) capture a cold, hardened Hamburg filtered through hues of blue and tints of grey. That reflects the steely natures of its characters, not least the gruff-but-good super-spy played by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in his final lead performance (and what a performance!).

As an espionage thriller, this is indeed a work of character and plot, of shady deals, troubled alliances and double crossings, haunting and moving without submitting to the image of it all. Could it have made better use of actors like Daniel Brühl who are relegated here to bit parts? Probably; there’s no real need for Rachel McAdams or Willem Dafoe other than market appeal. But it still works exceedingly well, and it’s a more than fitting tribute to Hoffman, the actor’s actor.

Weeknotes #679

I’m currently without my bicycle as I’ve left it into the local shop for a service, and won’t get it back till Monday afternoon. I’ve got so used to pottering around the neighbourhood on Ol’ Greenie (as I’ve just named it; it probably won’t stick) that I’m at somewhat of a loss. What am I supposed to do now? Walk?


My Letterboxd review of The Bride of Frankenstein

Reblogged from my Letterboxd list:

Despite the near-universal judgement that this sequel is superior to its predecessor, I found its see-saw mix of humour and horror a little too imbalanced for my liking, at least in the first half. But when it settles down to business it’s easy to see why people prefer it. The performances are even more strange and heightened. And James Whale was way ahead of his time with the weird angles, close-ups and flash cuts that make the ‘creation’ sequence such a delight. I wish the whole film was as good as its final scenes, but those scenes are very good indeed.

Weeknotes #678

Lots of bicycle commuting this week: to the office, to the cinema, to the shops. My thighs are feeling it, but in a good way. Here’s hoping that (and not stuffing my face with Nando’s on Wednesday night) reflects in my WeightWatchers weigh-in next week.

One new review online from me this week — my thumbs-down of amnesia-themed psychological thriller Before I Go To Sleep — and two press screenings, one of which (way out in Dundrum, at a multiplex furnished like the Overlook Hotel) I attended with Bee so it was more of a date night than work. Still took some notes, mind.