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


Tag: streaming

Film review — Greta

That bit where the cop says Greta has the right to haunt Frances from across the street with a telephoto lens if she wants to? Kayfabe broken, fuck this movie. More…

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Film review — Spandex Sapiens

This almost-documentary follows the exploits of a man who straddles multiple worlds. Michael Majalahti grew up in Canada but lives in Finland, the homeland of his preacher father. He’s got the kind of career kids sometimes imagine for themselves: a rock singer by day and pro wrestler by night (or is that the other way round?). He’s a nifty comic artist in the Jerry Lawler school, too. Oh, and he’s also a sexist jerk with really narrow-minded if not toxic ideas about masculinity. More…

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Film review — New Order

It’s bleak because each of these horrors has happened somewhere in the world in my lifetime and will probably continue to happen. Because power corrupts. More…

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Film review — Battle Royale II: Requiem

Not that it makes up for the superficial, uninspired plot, but the blatant anti-US sentiment — with straight references to Afghanistan — make this one a real “oh daaaaamn” watch in 2021. More…

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Film review — G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Zero recollection of my previous viewing a decade ago. Mind you I can barely remember it now a mere two hours after seeing it again. My main takeaway is that it somehow looks cheaper than a mid-’90s IP flick like Street Fighter despite being made in 2009. More…

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Film review — Bob and the Monster

This is a a personality profile rather than a rockumentary, and on the face of it there’s nothing particularly unique about the subject. He’s the frontman of an LA band who got big into smack and decided he was the centre of the universe. Big whoop. More…

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Film review — CODA

My tolerance for Glee-esque contemporary vocal gymnastics is low. Thankfully that’s only a garnish on what’s at root a pleasingly old-school family drama, and one that centres the challenges faced by the Deaf community in a hearing world that all but ignores them. It’s tied up a little too neatly at the end, but not cynically so. More…

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Film review — Jolt

This would’ve worked for me if they’d just set it in London instead of some bizarro version of America where Brits fake it with terrible Yank accents — and if nearly everyone in it weren’t such a thoroughly obnoxious arsehole. More…

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Film review — Jungle Cruise

Both a pale shadow of its influences (almost entirely absent the ‘mild peril’ that makes them so memorable) and so close to the Platonic ideal of a theme-park movie. The blatant artificiality of the environment even helps in regard to the latter. More…

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Film review — Sister Street Fighter

She’s a street fighter, alright, and also a house fighter, a dungeon fighter, a mountain fighter, a rope-bridge fighter…there’s never a dull moment. And it’s ridiculously well composed for what’s essentially an exploitation cash-in. More…

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Film review — First Cow

I was so not in the mood to watch this; my attention waned from time to time and it took me a while. Some stories require the right mindset more than others. Nevertheless it’s a beautiful film in its appreciation of nature, in its raw simplicity (that invites multiple readings), even in its agonising sadness. More…

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Film review — The Tomorrow War

Half this movie is dreary combat porn for FPS heads. The other half’s a bunch of cut scenes to spout dodgy totalitarian philosophy. Threaded through it is a plot that rips off everything from the Alien prequels to Arrival, of all things. The whole endeavour’s calculatedly cynical, without an ounce of wit to it. More…

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Film review — Greenland

Gerard Butler’s penance for Geostorm. It holds too close to the small-scale family drama for such a cataclysmic premise and its plot beats are laughably predictable, but in a weird way that makes it work better for watching at home. More…

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Film review — Old Joy

Yo La Tengo are objectively great, but why would you get them to soundtrack your film when Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy is…right there? Anyway, this is a deceptively simple piece that’s ostensibly about two used-to-be-closer friends hanging out on a weekend in the woods. One (Will Oldham) is a free-spirit type who’s found himself cast adrift while the other (Daniel London), and most everyone else he knows, has settled down. It smartly plays on the stereotype of the social misfit who sells out and conforms to society’s expectations — getting a job and a house, starting a family and all that — when it’s really Oldham’s Kurt who is trapped playing his own role and has condemned himself to a lonely, transient existence, while London’s Mark hasn’t so much changed his philosophy as found a different way to express it and be fulfilled. There’s no message of hope or grief to take away from it; it just is what it is. More…

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Film review — Sputnik

This Russian sci-fi horror has a decent premise and appropriately bleak setting and all that, but the execution is half-baked, full of logic holes and worst of all terrifically dull. More…

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Film review — The Doors

This is not a knock on Val Kilmer or the rest of the cast, but two hours of Jim Morrison’s insufferable bullshit is just too much. Still, was nice to see Michael Wincott who is a gentleman and a scholar. More…

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Film review — No New Kinda Story: The Real Story of Tooth & Nail Records

DVD extra-standard hagiography of the pioneering US Christian rock label. I would have preferred a deeper examination of its place in the indie label environment and how it straddled the worlds of ‘Christian music’ (as a distinctly US phenomenon) and ‘secular’ rock, punk, hardcore, etc. That it doesn’t even bother to explain what the Cornerstone festival was shows the level we’re at here. I know more now than I did before, sure, but there’s another film to be made here. More…

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Film review — Piercing

You can’t just slap on the themes from Tenebre and Profondo Rosso like it’s the seasoning that makes your dish. Maybe work on the ingredients and their preparation first. More…

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Film review — Billy Liar

My 1,500th film logged on Letterboxd, and perhaps not the wisest choice for Sunday night viewing. I feel alienated somewhat from the small-town ennui as Bradford is hardly a small town; I’ve been to smaller places than that in England’s Midlands and there’s a distinctly more connected-to-the-outside-world feel than what you’d often find here in Ireland, even nearly 60 years after this was made. But the world is what you make of it, I suppose. More…

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Film review — Rawhead Rex

This is genuinely great stuff. Way ahead of its time in being a horror movie that’s set in contemporary Ireland, and which nods to our genuine pre-Christian folklore, without selling to the Yanks with backwards stereotypes. The accents are all over the shop, mind, but I think we can let that slide. More…

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Film review — In Search of Darkness: Part II

Maybe I was just in a better mood, but this feels decidedly superior to how I rated the first instalment. Perhaps it’s the more grab-bag choice of second-string ’80s horrors that prompts more enthusiasm here, or maybe it’s what feels like a stronger selection of talking heads who are more engaged with the material at hand. I enjoyed it, anyway, and it makes me want to give Part I another shot. More…

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Film review — Anti-Life

It’s probably not the wisest choice to take the time in your zero-budget Alien rip to directly reference (okay, I’m being too charitable…lift) dialogue from its influences when it only makes one contemplate how much I’d rather be watching one of those decades-old movies. Also, I’m pretty sure Thomas Jane was paid more per minute of screen time than Bruce Willis, despite the latter’s top billing. More…

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Film review — A Hard Day’s Night

What a strange film. In hindsight I can understand the choices made (the artsy black-and-white cinematography when colour was all the rage, the dry humour et al speak to the band’s interests in and around music) but I can’t conceive of how teeny-boppers comprehended any of it. Perhaps they were simply satisfied getting to see the Fab Four on the big screen and didn’t care about the medium itself, although they did get ripped off on the songs: only a handful of full performances, and one of them’s done twice. More…

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Film review — Class of 1984

Right-wing vigilante fantasy meets grade-A ‘the kids are outta control!’ panic-sploitation. Featuring a gang that vacillates unnervingly between the toothlessness of childish pranks and out-and-out rape and murder. The payoff is truly something. More…

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Film review — The Brood

Forty-two years later and The Brood is still a shocker. Cronenberg’s transgressiveness is all the stronger here for its groundedness; the most thrilling moments are in the realm of the mundane rather than the obviously grotesque body horror. It’s also about more than the maker’s messy divorce, but let’s not get too academic: it is very much about that, too, and the parts where Cronenberg sublimates his anger into imagery are uncomfortable in the worst way. More…

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Film review — Run

Run is far too slowly paced to work as the taut chiller it wants to be. When it most needs to quicken, to ramp up that tension, it shifts down to a jog and begs for the skip-forward button. And by the time it’s ready to sprint for the finish, it’s already chosen the wrong line. Shame…I quite liked Searching and all. More…

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Film review — Raw Deal

The lone ’80s Arnie movie I’d never seen before, and it’s a live one. The plot is a mess but there’s always something going on so there’s no time to worry about it. Suffice it to say, Arnie swaggers around murdering people and dialogue for an hour and 45 minutes. What more do you want? I think my favourite part is near the end, after our man shoots up the bad guy’s holdout and he comes upon a snivelling Frank from Murphy Brown trying to top himself with an empty pistol. It just sums up what a sheer force of nature we had here, crappy one-liners and all. More…

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