Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.


Tag: streaming

Film review — The Executioner

I enjoyed this while I was watching it (Sonny Chiba bashing heads? What’s not to love?) but I’m not so sure about it now. Flashes of ultraviolence and arresting visual style don’t quite make up for the thin plot and wacky tendencies. (‘Wacky’ in this case meaning one character is a notorious pervert who persistently bothers the only woman in the ensemble.) More…

###

Film review — Robowar

Pound-shop Predator with too much walkin’ ’n’ lookin’, not enough swearin’ ’n’ shootin’. But I didn’t fall asleep halfway though like I would have if it were an Asylum mockbuster, so there’s that. More…

###

Film review — Stop Making Sense

Somehow I’ve avoided ever seeing this before now, maybe put off for years by the notion of people bopping among the seats at a cinema showing which sounds like my idea of hell to be honest. But the film itself is really something. More…

###

Film review — Gimme Danger

Serious case of déjà vu while watching this one; I must have forgotten to log it before. Anyway! Why not see in 2023 with a decent documentary about one of the greatest rock bands? Let’s be honest, the title is a misnomer: it’s the story of Iggy and the Stooges, and how the latter fit into the narrative of the former. Perhaps Jim Jarmusch let his Iggy Pop adoration shape things that way, I don’t know. It is what it is. There are little things that annoy me, such as how it lacks context for some of the later players involved in the band’s early 2000s reunification, like J Mascis and Mike Watt, but perhaps that feeling is shaped by my own Watt fandom. So there’s that. More…

###

Film review — Ocean’s Twelve

I guess you’d really want to have enjoyed these guys’ company considering this is a hangout movie with nearly all of the thrilling heist shenanigans of the original excised. This one ain’t for me, bro. More…

###

Film review — Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan

There’s enough autobiography in this hagiography to make this a worthwhile watch for anyone who doesn’t know much about the man behind the name, beyond the skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts. Don’t expect more than DVD-extra-level production values and you’re good to go. More…

###

Film review — Journey to the Center of the Earth

What a strange experience this is. For a summertime spectacle flick, it feels remarkably low-rent, and lacking in any of the requisite awe and wonder. It looks like it was shot on a iPhone, and the world it illustrates is as barren and threadbare as the story. The slim cast — only three people for the bulk of proceedings — give the distinct impression they’ve been left to their own devices without any direction. No one involved is bringing much effort to the party. I’m probably giving it more words here than it rightfully deserves. But I’m honestly fascinated how a film this thoroughly lazy not only got made but released and marketed (and got a sequel). More…

###

Film review — Knights

While Albert Pyun’s reach consistently exceeded his grasp, one can only admire his passionate ambition and imagine that, given the time and money he lacked throughout his career, he probably would’ve struck gold. Alas, with movies like this — rich in concept but deficient in budget and casting choices — he’s clearly panning for pyrite. More…

###

Film review — Radioactive Dreams

I admit I was only half-watching this as it’s really not my thing. Sure, Albert Pyun (RIP) had the huevos to shove in a blender a whole slew of ’80s gimmicks — post-apocalyptic fever, an overbearing new-wave soundtrack, crazes for retro fashion and dancing — in the hopes of a hit but the result is exactly the incoherent slurry you’d expect. More…

###

Film review — Disciples of the 36th Chamber

I’m not sure why you’d want to portray your legendary cultural hero as an immature dickhead, but hey. It’s a slog until the grand finale, but that’s what we’re all here for. Also, foreshadowing! More…

###

Film review — The Protector

The poster is a lie: Jackie Chan never wields that cannon in the movie. But Danny Aiello does use it to blast a henchman off the top of a crane. Bombastic stuff like that makes the sleaze and cheese elsewhere bearable. More…

###

Film review — Armageddon

Paris, a city of 19 million people, getting obliterated and instantly forgotten is the kind of perspective you need to understand that whole ‘freedom fries’ thing. More…

###

Film review — Die Another Day

Y’know, when the Fast and Furious movies got this silly in the 2010s, it made them arguably more entertaining. With Bond in 2002 it’s just sad. More…

###

Film review — The World Is Not Enough

This has the most entertaining intro to any Bond movie to date, and boasts some of the series’ most ludicrous set pieces (that helicopter circular saw thing is chef’s kiss) but the rest is meh: a convoluted yet humdrum plot with an un-engaging villain. This Bond is not enough. More…

###

Film review — GoldenEye

Many moons ago, while on Transition Year work experience with my press snapper uncle, I was on the set of a Pierce Brosnan film in Roundwood in Co Wicklow. I remember there was a lunch at one of the village pubs (because there’s always more than one, isn’t there?) with one of Pierce’s sons (Sean I believe) and the PR guy Gerry Lundberg, who incidentally grew up around the corner from my childhood home. I was too chicken to go right up to the man himself for a photo op but nevertheless it’s the closest I’ve been to an actual James Bond. It’s a shame he’s one of the bad Bonds, but still. Anyway, there’s a reason why the N64 game of his 007 debut is much more fondly remembered than the movie itself. More…

###

Film review — Licence to Kill

Bond meets Scarface Lite as the franchise misses the boat on both the killer-shark trend and the ninja craze. Timothy Dalton’s 007 feels at odds with the kind of forced antics that plagued the Roger Moore movies, even if this one does feature a death scene worthy of the decade’s gnarliest horrors. Also, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa would’ve made a pretty good Bond in his prime, wouldn’t he? More…

###

Film review — The Living Daylights

This is the one where Bond beats Rambo to aiding the Afghan mujahideen so naturally it’s aged well, ahem. It’s bogged down by some overly convoluted plotting yet this is a decent outing for a new kind of Bond. They wouldn’t really pull the trigger on it till Bourne forced their hand in the Daniel Craig era, but Timothy Dalton brings the believably rugged charm the franchise desperately needed. More…

###

Film review — The Horror Show

Sean Cunningham produces his take on Freddy but aside from Brion James’ outrageously unhinged phantom killer and the always watchable Lance Henriksen, this is a poorly conceived mess. (And a poorly marketed one, too, as it was shoehorned into the House franchise post-release.) Wes Craven would get his own back by nicking the premise for Shocker, a much trashier yet relatively straight-forward and therefore far more entertaining affair. More…

###

Film review — Live and Let Die

Yaphet Kotto brings a modicum of dignity that almost, but not quite, raises this above the level of racist nonsense. Expensive boat chases notwithstanding. More…

###

Film review — The Sound of 007

Recency bias means there’s way too much guff about Billie Eilish but this is a pretty entertaining, if ultimately slight, overview of the stories behind Bond themes both unforgettable…and not so memorable. More…

###

Film review — Constantine

My SO was convinced this had its edges sanded down for a PG-13 because it’s so tame but it actually got an R rating. For what I have no fucking clue. Personally I rate it S for slow; swap out all that self-conscious moodiness for pulse-quickening action and we might have the makings of something worth remembering. More…

###

Film review — AlphaGo

If this film has a significant flaw, it’s that it’s made from the perspective of the AI team. A deeper human story exists in Lee Sedol and how he comes to terms with a machine that seems to know him better than he knows himself. More…

###

Film review — The Last Matinee

It’s very pleased with itself, despite its depressingly obvious influences. All sizzle and no steak. Also, when will modern horror film-makers realise that gruesome does not equal fearsome? More…

###

Film review — Psychic Killer

It’s got a creepy premise that would get a more effective, evocative twist a few years later in Aussie shocker Patrick. So maybe watch that instead of this cheap and lazy TV-movie-level schlock. More…

###

Film review — Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge

This boasts a Honda Gold Wing with a sidecar and a phantom who busts out a sweet-ass spin kick that almost makes me re-evaluate my feelings about what’s very much an also-ran in the slasher stakes. Almost, but not quite. It sucks. But surprisingly, Pauly Shore is not the worst thing about it. More…

###

Film review — Rich Hall’s Countrier Than You

Rich Hall’s celebration of the roots of country veers into territory as cantankerous as he appears (he really doesn’t rate Taylor Swift) so file this one under ‘fan indulgence’ rather than ‘insightful essays on American culture’. He throws in enough ‘well I’ll be damned’ factoids and anecdotes to keep it interesting, though. More…

###

Film review — Rich Hall’s The Dirty South

I’m gonna go ahead and say I’ve watched this one before, as it’s vaguely familiar, but it was worth getting reacquainted. Rich Hall (who grew up in North Carolina) is as ever fine company as he essays his take on ‘The South’ as a concept refracted through the prism of Hollywood and hardly reflective of any real place, yet to the extent that the people of that region might only identify themselves through it. More…

###

Film review — Girls Nite Out

It technically counts as a slasher on account of the kills, but this is much more of an oddball mashup of a saucy campus escapade with a particularly gory police procedural. Interesting note from my related Wikipedia surfing: the college at which this was filmed closed in 1995 when racist donors pulled the plug but it’s survived by its campus radio station, WFMU. More…

###

Film review — Everything Everywhere All at Once

After making one of the worst films I’ve ever endured in Swiss Army Man, Daniels come back with something I actually like just fine. It’s overrated, for sure; the core theme of family and its complications is a well trodden path, even if it’s never been walked before with hot dogs for fingers. And it ultimately reaches for profundity in banality where there in fact is none. It’s also too damn long, by a good 30 minutes at least. But the director duo’s wackier tendencies are much more refined and focused here for the most part, and it makes for a more cohesive and inviting story. Michelle Yeoh is great in it, like everyone says, but she’s but one of a whole cast that lifts it beyond its weirder trappings into something with genuine feeling. More…

###

Film review — Candyman

I didn’t like this at first; the opening act feels slick and facile and all too typical of the ‘elevated horror’ trope. But there’s a point where it pulls together its frayed thematic threads and weaves something new from the fabric of its predecessor, with an interesting Faustian twist to boot. It does work better to accept a level of dream logic in operation here, mind you. More…

###

Film review — Flight/Risk

I’ve already seen Air Crash Investigation’s take on the 737 Max disasters, and this doesn’t add much to the table other than putting more names and faces on those who were sacrificed to the hubris of America’s industrial complex. The sentiment is impossible to fault so this can only be judged as a piece of work in itself, and it falls short for me in that respect. More…

###

Film review — Predestination

Un-dynamic direction lends this already talkative character-study-with-sci-fi-trappings a decided stagey vibe. However, its drama is far more the ‘let this simmer in your head for a while’ variety, rather than in bearing witness to something important in the moment. I liked it more than I didn’t. But that’s damning with faint praise, isn’t it? More…

###

Film review — Fallen

Take a by-the-numbers police procedural mystery, slap the Dave McKean Sandman font all over the titles and suddenly you’ve got an edgy occult thriller, I guess. More…

###

Film review — Doctor Mordrid

I suppose after putting all that money and effort into the production design only to lose the rights to the actual Doctor Strange, one can understand Charles Band going “fuck it” and slapping this half-hearted knock-off together to justify the sunk cost. Jeffrey Combs is not in his element here, alas, but that’s more to do with the fact that Band is no Stuart Gordon. More…

###

Film review — This Is GWAR

I figured there’d be hidden depths here, but I’m still surprised at how affected I was. It’s not shy about the unhealthier aspects of the dynamic within this performance art project turned OTT metal act. But I have to weigh that in my head with the weirder omissions, like not even mentioning the Kramer connection with their debut album. It’s not so much This Is GWAR as This Is What GWAR Wants You to Know About GWAR. More…

###

Film review — Seve

The infomercial-like presentation may be too much to stomach for a few revealing morsels of substance. The story of Seve Ballesteros deserves a more fitting treatment than this. More…

###