Review: “The Post”

For the first time ever, Hollywood heavy weights, Meryl Streep, Tim Hanks and Stephen Spielberg come together on the big screen to tell the story that shook America to its core – the discovery of the Pentagon papers. The Papers that exposed a massive cover up by four US Presidents over three decades.

Streep, Hanks, Spielberg – when those names come together there is no doubt that a great cinematic experience awaits you. They could be reading articles from the newspaper and you would watch in awe. That said, they don’t rest on the laurels in this film. They deliver.

In true Spielberg style, it is the small things, and attention to detail, that build the drama and sense of urgency.

An angry Nixon appears in the film via the use of actual telephone recordings; Daniel Ellsberg’s original documents, that blew open the scandal, were used as props.

Spielberg has us on the edge of our seats as we are watching phone calls being made, with coins, on old style phone boxes; he manages to make the printing of a newspaper the most beautiful and exciting thing you will watch in a long time.

Add to that great dialogue and of course, the brilliant performances that Spielberg elicits from all of his actors and, even though it will be no big surprise how this film ends, Spielberg still manages to keep up the suspense and intrigue throughout the whole film.

It goes without saying that Streep and Hanks give remarkable performances. They embody the characters they play. Streep and Hanks are Katherine Graham and Ben Bradlee. They are wonderful to watch independently of each other but when they appear on screen together, they light it up (you can check out my interview with these Hollywood legends here).

It is not just the lead cast that are outstanding though. Under Spielberg’s direction, every single person who appears on screen brings their A game. Magnificent performances are delivered by the likes of the always amazing Sarah Paulson, “Better Call Saul’s” Bob Odenkirk, “The American’s” Matthew Rhys and “Glow’s” Alison Brie, to name but a few.

“The Post” could not be more relevant to today if it tried. It highlights, and continues, the conversations we’re having at the moment about the power of the press, presidential abuse and a woman’s fight to use her voice and to be heard.

The film also reminds you that you don’t need visual effects and high action for an entertaining film. At the heart of it all, cinema is about having a great story, telling it in an exceptional way and having the film stay with the audience long after they have left the cinema. “The Post” delivers all of that and more.

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Review: “The Commuter”

The Commuter

Stop the train – I want to get off. Not because something sinister is happening on the train but because I can’t believe what I am watching!

We all loved the fact that in his mid 50s, Liam Neeson reinvented himself as an action hero, thanks to his role in “Taken”. Thanks to that film, if you are ever in danger, Liam Neeson is the one you want to come and rescue you.

It looks like Liam has a ball playing these roles – he has said that he loves being the action hero because he feels like a “kid in a toy shop” (you can watch my interview with Neeson here). The problem is, just because he is having fun, it doesn’t mean the audience is.

Of late his choices of action films have been bad – “Taken 2”, “Taken 3” and now we can add “The Commuter” to the list.

It is the most ridiculous concept. Michael (Neeson), just having been fired from his job, takes his usual train home to break the news to his family. On his way home, he is confronted by a mystery woman (Vera Farmiga). She poses the question “If you could do something, not know about the consequences and get $100,000 would you do it?”

The answer to this question has a domino effect. In trying to find the person, there are many casualties along the way – including the audience.

The story line is ridiculous. Not even the action will keep the action fans entertained.

It is sad that this is the case because there is a great cast supporting Neeson – Jonathan Banks (Mike from “Breaking Bad”), Patrick Wilson, Sam Neill, Vera Farmiga and our very own Killian Scott makes an appearance. Seeing Killian on the screen was the only highlight for me. Sorry I lie, that and seeing the credits roll – signifying that I no longer had to endure this film.

“The Commuter” is like the worst commute you have had to endure. Stay away from this and choose another (cinema) line instead.

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Interview: Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks (The Post)

Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg team up, on the big screen, for the very first time in “The Post”.

As to be expected, when there is talent of this calibre, they deliver a fantastic film. One that is inspiring, thrilling and entertaining.

Getting the opportunity to actually sit down with these Hollywood legends to talk about their film and career to date was definitely a career highlight!

Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks talked about why this was the story that brought them together, the power of ‘No’, being record breakers and how they feel when they sign up for a film.

(*note at the start of our chat, we had no idea the cameras were rolling -we were talking about how reading a newspaper is very different to reading something online)

“The Post” is in Irish cinemas on January 19.

 

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Interview: Liam Neeson “The Commuter”

Liam Neeson is back to save the day in his latest action film, “The Commuter”.

Thanks to “Taken”, if I ever needed rescuing, it would be Liam Neeson that I would want to save me.

To paraphase his famous “Taken” line, I looked for him, found him and it turns out he is a sweetheart!

In our chat, he shared why he loves being the hero/action man, the need to do more to combat ageism in society (at both sides of the age spectrum), why teachers are superheroes and why he still gets a kick out of acting.

“The Commuter” is out in Irish Cinemas on 19 January.

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Interview: Kristin Scott-Thomas (“Darkest Hour”)

Kristin Scott Thomas stars as Clementine, Winston Churchill’s wife, in “Darkest Hour”.

I got the chance to have a quick chat with Kristin about why after declining the role so many times, this was the film she wanted to portray Clementine in; why she felt the need to press pause on her film career and recharge her batteries in 2014; the difficulties of getting a film off the ground, and whether or not she is back for good.

“Darkest Hour” is in Irish cinemas now.

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Interview: Lily James (Darkest Hours)

Lily James is brilliant as ‘Elizabeth Layton’, Winston Churchill’s (Gary Oldman) secretary and right hand woman, in “Darkest Hour”.

I recently caught up with Lily to talk about:

  • the responsibility she felt playing a character based on someone who existed.
  • working with Gary Oldman but not really ever meeting Gary
  • how she managed to get auditions immediately after leaving drama school
  • the moment she was finally felt she was able to call herself an actress.

“Darkest Hour” is in Irish cinemas on Friday 12th January, 2018.

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Help! Why is that word sometimes so hard to say?

 

Golden Globes pic

Pic: @IrelandAMTV3

The above picture is what people saw on their TVs this morning if they were watching “Ireland AM”.

It looks like things are all under control, just as we are about to go to air.

What no-one sees (or hears) is what’s going on behind the scenes.

Behind the scenes, in the lead up to this segment (which I love doing), was mental. None of that had to do with the professional sides of things, it was that way because of my personal life.

This morning, as well as trying to juggle getting myself ready and organised to talk about one of my favourite Golden Globes ceremony in a long time, I also had to wake the kids early, get them fed, dressed, and make a school lunch.

I am not good at asking for help. But on Friday, I decided that help is what I would need if I am going to be able to get any work done this week and also be there for my kids. You see, my husband is away for work at the moment so it is just me looking after them.

During working hours, it is fine, because I have the most incredible crèche that helps us mind our children and the kids love being there. The problem is what to do when the crèche isn’t available. That’s where asking for help has to come into the plan.

I am getting better at asking friends/family for help – and they are incredible at coming through with the support (taking my two when I work on a Saturday) but when it comes to colleagues I am not so good.

I realised that part of the reason I wasn’t so good was that for such a long time, I would never acknowledge, in the work place, that I had kids. I would almost apologise to those around me for having kids.

What was that all about? My work place never asked me to do that, yet I acted like they were my dirty little secret. I was afraid that if I spoke about my kids, people would deem me as not being committed to my job. I would be passed over for jobs. The day I realised that, I was so upset at my carry on.

My being a mum isn’t something to be ashamed about. It doesn’t lessen my worth or make me more worthy. My kids are little people I am so proud of.

Since that stark realisation, I have vowed to never again apologise for being a mum. I have vowed to ask for help (that one is a work in progress). I have vowed to make the work place a better place for all females. I have vowed to help us smash through those glass ceilings. We can have it all – whatever our individual “all” is.

So back to today. Instead of hiding the fact that I have a responsibility to my kids, I told the amazing Katriona (“Ireland AM” producer) of my predicament. I thought her response would be, “well you stay with the kids and I’ll find someone else”. But no. Katrina’s response was “Bring them in and I’ll mind them while you’re on air”.

Immediately I felt my load lighten and also felt that my contribution in the work place was worthy. I am worthy. My kids are worthy.

True to her word, this morning, Katriona came down from her very busy office and minded my kids while I was on air.

Before I went on air, the beauty magician that is Michelle, did my hair and make up while my one year old was on my lap and my six year old was admiring herself in the other make up chair and she never made me feel like a burden.

While on air I was able to do my job, and enjoy it, because I knew I had colleagues that have my back.

Many people will say this is an unfair situation to put my colleagues and my kids in but this is not not the norm. It’s an extraordinary situation.

While I don’t expect work to fix my personal life, I think in this day and age it is time for the work place to be more flexible. Flexible to all of its workers’ needs – not just parents’. We all have personal needs/wants that sometimes overlap into our professional life, and flexibility in the workplace would give us all a dig out and make for a happier place and workforce.

It’s also time for us to ask for help and to have each other’s backs because as we have seen, it is in fact our small actions that can lead to massive change.

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