Birthmarked (2018)

Director: Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais
Writer: Marc Tulin, Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais
Cast: Matthew Goode, Toni Collette, Andreas Apergis, Jordan Poole, Megan O’Kelly, Anton Gillis-Adelman, Michael Smiley, Fionnula Flanagan, Suzanne Clément
Seen on: 5.6.2021

Catherine (Toni Collette) and Ben (Matthew Goode) are scientists. It seems to them that their careers were pretty much fated, which gave them an interest in studying where the line between nature and nurture might lie. To that end, they are planning an experiment with their own unborn child and two other children they mean to adopt to raise them against what their nature seems to be. Rich science aficionado Gertz (Michael Smiley) agrees to fund that experiment. But 12 years in, just when the kids Luke (Jordan Poole), Maurice (Anton Gillis-Adelman) and Maya (Megan O’Kelly) are getting really difficult, Gertz suddenly demands more conclusive results and fast. This tips the balance of their household and the entire experiment into dangerous directions.

Birthmarked is an incredibly weird film, but unforunately not in a particularly charming way, more in a disturbing way. I kept turining it over in my head, but ultimately I have to say that I didn’t like it.

The film poster showing Catherine (Toni Collette), Ben (Matthew Goode), Luke (Jordan Poole), Maurice (Anton Gillis-Adelman) and Maya (Megan O'Kelly) in winter gear, standing outside.
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Trash Fire (2016)

Trash Fire
Director: Richard Bates Jr.
Writer: Richard Bates Jr.
Cast: Adrian Grenier, Angela Trimbur, Fionnula Flanagan, AnnaLynne McCord, Sally Kirkland, Matthew Gray Gubler, Ezra Buzzington
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 28.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Owen (Adrian Grenier) has been estranged from his family and hasn’t been home in a long time. Now his girlfriend Isabelle (Angela Trimbur) is pregnant, she feels it’s important that Owen makes peace with his past. Reluctantly Owen agrees to bring Isabelle home to his grandmother Violet (Fionnula Flanagan) and his sister (AnnaLynne McCord) who was badly burned in a fire that killed their parents. Despite Owen’s warnings, though, Isabelle is completely unprepared for how awful Violet is. But she’s not one to give up easily.

Trash Fire is an appropriately trashy comedy with great dialogues and an even better cast. I thought it was fantastic.

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Song of the Sea (2014)

Song of the Sea
Director: Tomm Moore
Writer: Will Collins
Cast: David Rawle, Lucy O’Connell, Brendan Gleeson, Lisa Hannigan, Fionnula Flanagan
Seen on: 6.1.2015

Ben (David Rawle) and Saoirse (Lucy O’Connell) live with their father Conor (Brendan Gleeson) in a small lighthouse. Their mother Bronach (Lisa Hannigan) disappeared after Saoirse was born. When Saorise finds a pelt that belonged to their mother, she discovers that she’s actually a selkie. After spending a night in the sea with the seals, she washes up on shore where her grandmother (Fionnula Flanagan) finds her. Gran decides that the kids should come to the city to live with her. But there is a mission Saoirse as a selkie has to fulfill.

Moore’s first film The Secret of Kells completely enchanted me. Following that up is tough, but with Song of the Sea, he is more than up to the taks. It’s a sweet story that easily incorporates Irish mythology. Above all, it’s the beautiful imagery again that makes the film what it is.

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The Guard (2011)

The Guard
Director: John Michael McDonagh
Writer: John Michael McDonagh
Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Liam Cunningham, Mark Strong

Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson) is a cop in a small Irish town. He has carved himself his niche, where he can ignore everything he doesn’t want to deal with at his leisure. His cynic routine is only interrupted when he meets with his dying mother or prostitutes. But all of this is threatened when FBI agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) comes to Ireland to investigate an international drug smuggling ring. Reluctantly, Gerry teams up with Wendell. If only to get his peace back.

The Guard is funny, well-written and has an excellent cast and a pretty subversive sense of humor. In the end it’s a mean film, but in a very good way.

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