Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival – Top Ten Picks
20 Feb – 3 Mar 2019
The wonderful Dublin International Film Festival is set to return in only 6 days time, so we decided to have a look through the massive line up and pick out just ten that we’d recommend. There are two ways to do it, pick something mainstream and you’re just seeing it a few weeks before everyone else. Pick something oddball and you’re risking a limb, but potentially can talk about it for years to come! See our choices below…
Papi Chulo – John Butler – Wed 20 Feb/6:30PM/ Cineworld
Writer and director John Butler’s (Handsome Devil) latest comedy/drama sees the filmmaker return to the themes of empathy and unlikely friendship. In this case, the bond forms between a well-heeled, gay presenter and an older, straight, labourer from Mexico.
Set in modern-day Los Angeles, it tells of a down-on-his-luck weatherman (Matt Bomer) who is shaken by the end of a relationship. He has an on-air meltdown, prompting concerned bosses to persuade him to take some time out. To fill his days, he employs a Latino migrant worker (Alejandro Patiño) to paint his home but also to keep him company. Despite their cultural, age and language differences, they connect in this affecting culture-clash comedy. Butler’s intimate, moving and thoughtful film looks at all the big stuff through the little prism of their growing connection – friendship, class, ethnicity and economic migration.
The Wedding Guest – Michael Winterbottom – Sun 24 Feb/4:00PM/ Odeon Point Village
This propulsive, globetrotting thriller from acclaimed director Michael Winterbottom is a breathless tour through the shadowy underworlds and hidden realms of Pakistan and India. Jay (Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel) is a man with a secret who travels from Britain to Pakistan to attend a wedding—armed with duct tape, a shotgun, and a plan to kidnap the bride-to-be (Radhika Apte). Despite his cool efficiency, the plot quickly spirals out of control, sending Jay and his hostage on the run across the border and through the railway stations, back alleys, and black markets of New Delhi—as all the while attractions simmer, loyalties shift, and explosive secrets are revealed. Pulsating with the sights and sounds of the Indian subcontinent, The Wedding Guest conjures a colorful world where danger lurks at every turn and nothing is as it seems.
To the Ends of the World – Guillaume Nicloux – Sun 24 Feb/6:00PM/ Light House
Guilliame Nicloux’s gritty, evocative conflict film, selected for Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes, centres on Robert, a French solider who is the sole survivor of a massacre that sees hundreds of his colleagues killed, including family members, in 1940s Vietnam. On recovering, he reenlists and vows to take revenge all the way to the leader who ordered the killings. But his belief system risks being challenged by a meeting with a young local woman.
Loro – Paolo Sorrentino – Mon 25 Feb/6:00PM/ Cineworld
Acclaimed filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino trains his eye on Silvio Berlusconi and his political camp in his latest feature. A blend of drama, comedy and satire, a returning Toni Servillo (Il Divo) plays the larger-than-life, bombastic leader in this portrait of the media mogul and former Italian prime minister. Prostitution, sex, drugs and those infamous parties all feature in Sorrentino’s biopic about one of the most colourful characters in Italy’s recent history.
My Foolish Heart – Rolf van Eijk – Tue 26 Feb/6:30PM/ Light House Cinema
When a detective is called to Chet Baker’s hotel room to investigate the circumstances of his fatal fall, he becomes immersed in and moved by his unconventional life and music. The detective, Lucas, is so touched that he strives to learn more about the legendary jazz musician. In doing so, he crosses paths with significant figures in Baker’s life. Irish musician and actor Steve Wall plays the jazz legend.
The Sisters Brothers – Jacques Audiard – Tue 26 Feb/8:30PM/ Cineworld
Acclaimed filmmaker Jacques Audiard (A Prophet) takes on the American western, bringing his own flair to the genre. Based on the novel by Patrick DeWitt, it sets out to reimagine the western as a witty and moving exploration of what it means to be a man. Set in 1851, it tells the story of Charlie and Eli Sisters, two tough criminals surviving and thriving in a savage, lawless and hostile world.
An Elephant Sitting Still – Bo Hu – Wed 27 Feb/1:45PM/ Light House Cinema
In the northern Chinese city of Manzhouli, locals speak of an elephant who just sits there, never moving or responding. The story becomes a fixation for the characters in this film, who long to escape from the lives in which they find themselves. Chinese filmmaker Bo Hu’s ambitious and critically acclaimed debut feature takes place over the course of one day and focuses on various people left behind in China’s reach towards ongoing economic advancement. The story centres on a group of disaffected young people living in a city where the prospect of career or personal fulfilment seem remote. The political is always the personal in this epic tale of the need for security and redemption. Tragically, Bo Hu’s stirring first film is also his last – he ended his own life at the age of 29.
Fantastic Flix: Eighth Grade – Bo Burnham – Wed 27 Feb/6:15PM/ Cineworld
Bo Burnham’s critically acclaimed comedy drama is a thoughtful and provocative account of how we live now.
Thirteen year old Kayla is navigating a difficult and hormonally charged time in her life as she prepares for the giant leap into teenage years and high school. Social media and modern technology are front and centre in this contemporary account of suburban adolescence, which breathes new life and real truths into the coming-of-age story.
Dark Lies the Island – Ian Fitzgibbon – Wed 27 Feb/8:30PM/ Cineworld
Written by Irish author Kevin Barry and based around characters he created for his own short story collection, Ian Fitzgibbon’s (Death of a Superhero) pitch-black comedy centres on a small Irish town over a week-long period. If you’re going get involved with men in a small Irish town, they might as well be the Mannions – and Sara is involved up to her neck. The Mannions are a feuding family in the town of Dromord who are all set at each other. Sara is married to Daddy Mannion but holding a candle for her first love, his son Doggy. When she also gets involved with his brother, trouble looms. An impressive Irish cast including Peter Coonan, Charlie Murphy, Pat Shortt and Moe Dunford flesh out this unique, dark, comedy which offers on-the-nose observations about Irish life.
The Merger – Mark Grentell – Sun 3 Mar/2:00PM/ Omniplex Rathmines
There’s not a lot to do in Bodgy Creek, a struggling small town where the drought is making its presence felt and jobs and a decent way of life are hard to come by. It’s affected the dwindling fortunes of the town’s football club, which is struggling to field a team, until one former football star comes up with an inspired idea – to recruit the hamlet’s newest arrivals – in this charming Australian comedy.
So, that’s ten films! One final one for good measure?
Surprise Film 2019 – ?? – Sun 24 Feb/6:00PM/ Odeon Point Village
2017 Get Out
2016 Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot
2015 Good Kill
2014 Muppets Most Wanted
2013 Welcome to the Punch