November 12, 2014

An inarticulate TED talk meets Goldilocks in Christopher Nolan’s ludicrous and slackly scripted sci-fi, which rips off elements of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Danny Boyle’s Sunshine, all under the guise of homage. Yet its execution bares all the subtlety of a schoolyard flasher, with twists and turns tit-taped together like stand-alone episodes of Star Trek- minus the quality acting and well-developed characters associated with said show.

Earth, as ever, is hurtling towards extinction, a blight wiping out most of humanity’s crops and leaving the United States looking like a TV adaptation of the Grapes of Wrath. History is being rewritten, the government claiming that the Moon landings were staged to bankrupt the Soviet Union, while society has regressed away from technology and back to nature, all be it too little, too late.

A last ditched attempt to save us all is undertaken by a (supposed to be defunct) NASA, who hope to fire a band of underdeveloped characters through a wormhole out by Saturn, to find a hospitable incubator for the future of our species.

So Matthew McConaughey is a former pilot turned farmer, whose genius daughter is given the co-ordinates of this top secret NASA facility by a friendly ghost(?!?), where he just so happens to run into Michael Caine, his former professor and employer, who is heading up the aforementioned project.

Caine asks him to join his scientist daughter (Anne Hathaway), a sass sprouting robot called TARS (which is shaped like an arachnid KitKat) and two other non-entities in retracing the steps of a team of possible martyrs, to figure out which of the three potential planets in this new star system is just right for the relocation of the species.

An offer he accepts, immediately, with no time spent building a relationship between the astronauts so that we can care a fig about them later. As he blasts, deafeningly into space, he leaves behind not just his family, but the only half-way engaging (if equally underdeveloped) story line, about the dangers that awaits mankind if we carry on upon our environmentally ignorant way.

There are some fantastic visuals of space travel, almost balletic movement of star ships and at least one genuinely edge of your seat thrill ride, as we fly into wormholes and black holes and whoosh about atop of tidal waves. The differing planets and their perils set up the potential for great danger and intrigue.

But the movie quickly becomes submerged in scientific gobbledygook, articulated flatly, without the passion of argument or the excitement of realisation, before capsizing beneath the weight of its multiple poorly constructed sub-plots.

‘Surprise’ cameos are revealed, then discarded, with one confined mainly to intergalactic Skype and the other burdened by a reveal Helen Keller could feel the glare off.

Meanwhile, back on earth McConaughey’s genius daughter grows up to be Jessica Chastain, a sullen scientist Caine has enlisted so she can help him set up another underwhelming twist, before running about like the lead in an antiperspirant commercial, shouting inanities, as her story is clumsily spliced with her fathers.

The Nolan brothers simply cannot write. As with the Dark Knight Rises, they draw on terrific sources of inspiration, then bury their ideas in turgid set pieces totally deprived of stakes. The characters more resemble Top Trumps than human beings, their back stories and traits trotted out disinterestedly, with exposition cuckolding personality.

Even in terms of spectacle, while certainly impressive, the movie lacks the sense of imagination it bemoans mankinds loss of, so dully grounded is it in what’s actually possible so that it fails to compensate for the appalling gaps in its plot, the corny dialogue and the persistent emoting that explodes out of characters like a bad case of the trots.

The narrative payout stinks like a trampled on turd, the potent pong of it’s hideousness lasting long after the movie ends, undoing any good that comes from Hoyte van Hoytema’s cinematography, while Hans Zimmer’s score apes the Phantom of the Opera before face planting into the keys, drowning out the actors during key moments.

If what you want is non-stop action, where plot and character are not important and their consistency and construction is less of a requirement then big bangs, Interstellar is the Wham Bar to further rot your mind. But if you are prone to pull at narrative threads, the whole thing will unspool, so lacking is it in concise plotting, common cop-on or original and long lasting thrills. It’s a multi-million dollar fan made video of genre tropes lacking an emotional pay out.

The bravest piece of programming by Fiach Mac Conghail since he doused the Abbey in Amyl Nitrate (via Alice in Funderland) and his most successful artistic achievement since Mary Raftery’s No Escape, Our Few and Evil Days is a masterpiece of ‘Don’t Move’ theatre. Afraid to flinch for fear you miss a breath loaded with meaning, Mark O Rowe’s new play has you by the bollocks for its entire second act.

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Gone Girl

October 28, 2014

Gillian Flynn’s novel Gone Girl contained a twist that had readers either throw the book across the room in a fit of pique or lap it up for all it’s bat shit bananas plotting. David Fincher’s movie has a separate twist in store for those lured in by the creepy, atmospheric trailer. No pulp thriller this, but a literal laugh out loud, black as soot comedy that satirizes the occasional misandry of some elements of the media when it comes to abuse, domestic or sexual. Think the Wayan Brothers spoofing Alfred Hitchcock while trolling the feminist sounding board Jezebel and you get an idea of what the final product is like. But is it any good?

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Spinning at Smock Alley

October 28, 2014

Conor is not the only one ‘spinning’ in this Jim Culleton helmed original play from Deirdre Kinahan. All the disparate elements seem to be slightly out of control in a production that is admirable, involving but ultimately un-fulfilling.

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Northern Soul

October 27, 2014

As half-formed and full on as a teenage romance, Northern Soul may prematurely ejaculate when it comes to its plot but it’s endearing enthusiasm for its subject makes it an enjoyable, if forgettable watch.

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Something’s gone awry in the transfer of the DruidMurphy double bill Brigit and Bailegangaire from the Mick Lally Theatre to the Olympia stage. The intimacy and immediacy I’d imagine were provided by the small Galway venue are lost in the cavernous playing space of a location best known for its rock gigs, and the soulful grace and piercing refrain of Murphy’s text is replaced by a performative drum solo.

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Hamlet at the BGET

October 4, 2014

The plays not really the thing, in Thomas Ostermeier’s Hamlet, which opened the Dublin Theatre Festival at the BGET last Thursday night. Rather it’s the titular Dane himself whose madness takes centre stage in this fast, furious and extremely funny take on the Bard’s most acclaimed work. Spoilt, fat and balding Lars Eidinger’s self-indulgent fits of insane indignation are the most marvellous end result of a society gone to shit, a non-stop rollover of excess, where beer is sprayed, guns fired and food drooled onto ones clothes as the Court of Caligula welcomes the vacuous self-appraisal of Andy Warhol’s factory.

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Reiltin at The Peacock

September 30, 2014

Writer/Director Paul Mercier leaves his ‘star’ adrift in this staged concert charting the duality between a young artist and her demonic stage persona. Better suited to a pub setting, but underdeveloped regardless, it has no characters, no clear plot and little direction as Cliona Ni Chiosáin spins about to a backing track of aped Britpop, keening over her failed love affairs with her music and with her man.

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Begorrah at Smock Alley

September 30, 2014

Most comedy acts are lucky if their show contains one uproarious laugh that unites the whole audience. This Irish troika are good for one per sketch, in a fifty-minute performance that’s greased with charm.

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Rushing off your tits, after ingesting the candyflip of Emmet Kirwan’s words and Ian Lloyd-Anderson’s performance, the heart, soul and yearning reverb of Dublin’s dancefloors will stick to you like a sweated-through t-shirt, in this wildly entertaining, touching two-hander.

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