Gosling, Carell, Pitt and Bale in Adam McKay's The Big Short

The Showreel | 34 [Featuring The Big Short & Angry Birds]

Our weekly round-up of film news and trailer reviews features more Room, a lot of odd hair in The Big Short and 5 Films to catch over the weekend on the TV… It’s The Showreel!

Film News

Room  Wins Big At Toronto

Room - HeadStuff.org
Jacob Trembley and Brie Larson in Room. photo credit rte.ie

We here at HeadStuff are big fans of the films of Irish director Lenny Abrahamson and we have been, unapologetically, promoting any bit of news we hear about his latest film, Room, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and just looks feckin’ great. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Irish author Emma Donoghue and tells the story of a young boy who is raised by his mother within a single room and knows nothing of the world outside. The story is partially influenced by the horrific story of Josef Fritzl.

However this week we heard super news… Room won the top prize at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival, the coveted People’s Choice Award. The reason there is such hype about this is the fact that previous winners include the likes of 12 Years a Slave, Slumdog Millionaire and The King’s Speech, all Oscar winners. So do we have a contender for an Irish Best Picture nominee? Can Lenny Abrahamson be the first Irish director to win a Best Director Oscar? Exciting times. Room is now regarded as a front runner for picking up the main awards during Oscar season.

Trailer Watch

The Big Short  – Release date: 26th December 2015

The men who made millions from a global economic meltdown.


Directed by Adam McKay. Starring everyone!

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So this cast is pretty great, right? It stars everyone basically; Ryan Gosling (sporting an odd haircut), Brad Pitt (sporting an odd haircut), Steve Carell (sporting an odd haircut) and Christian Bale (also sporting an odd haircut). What’s odd about all these haircuts is that 2007-2008 was not that long ago… this is not American Hustle or Boogie Nights era haricuts. Anyways, they all look great, kinda. The rest of the cast includes Selena Gomez, Marisa Tomei, and Melissa Leo amongst others.

It’s invigorating to see some big films tackling some of the finer details of the biggest economic collapse of our generation. The likes of the brilliant J.C. Chandor film Margin Call from 2011 and the Oscar nominated 2010 documentary Inside Job from Charles Ferguson have been important takes on the trials and tribulations of the economy. The cast here is stunning, and with the source material coming from the author of Moneyball and The Blind Side, you feel that it all rests on the shoulders of director Adam McKay, who is really in a different league in terms of genre, subject matter and gravitas. McKay has previously brought us Step Brothers, Anchorman and the screenplay for Get Hard, which are all very good for what they are but they are not Oscar material, which it seems The Big Short may be targeting. Wait and see.

Angry Birds – Release Date: Summer 2016

Directed by Clay Kaytis, Fergal Reilly. Starring Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride.

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Well, this is happening. Whether we like it or not. It’s hard to believe that a rudimentary mobile game app could be converted into (what will inevitably be) a franchise of films starring many of the leading comic talents in Hollywood. But it has happened.

Something tells me that Angry Birds is just a couple of years too late. The app itself was, for years, the most played game on the mobile platform but over the past 2-3 years it has really fallen off the radar. In the swiftly changing world of mobile apps, 2-3 years is practically a lifetime, so it is hard to know who exactly this film is targeting. Is it the people who are currently playing Angry Birds, because they are now few in numbers? Was it the kids who played Angry Birds 2-3 years ago, because they now think Angry Birds is, like, soooo stooopid? Or is it the adults, because they have the money and secretly loved everything that Angry Birds represented… trying to justify the physics and logic required to pass each increasingly difficult level? Or was that just me? There is no doubting the voice cast though. It’s great.

5 Films on Your TVs This Weekend

The Box  (2009) – BBC1 – Friday 25th 11.55pm

A small wooden box arrives on the doorstep of a married couple, who know that opening it will grant them a million dollars and kill someone they don’t know.

Coming from Richard Kelly, the director of Donnie Darko, and Richard Matheson, the author of I Am Legend and What Dreams May Come, this odd sci-fi “predicament” film is low key but deeply seeded with unique and out-there concepts throughout. The ending may not be for everyone but if you just go with it, The Box is a really great film.

Toy Story 2  (1999) – RTE1 – Saturday 26th 6.30pm

When Woody is stolen by a toy collector, Buzz and his friends vow to rescue him, but Woody finds the idea of immortality in a museum tempting.

Probably the weakest of the three Toy Story films, it is still full of great animation and wise jokes that will make both adult and child laugh out loud, mostly for different reasons. It was the Toy Story franchise that really nailed this type of humour that appeals to all ages and Pixar have been the best proponents of it since.

Kingdom of Heaven  (2005) – Film4 – Sunday 27th 9.00pm

Balian of Ibelin travels to Jerusalem during the crusades of the 12th century, and there he finds himself as the defender of the city and its people.

Ridley Scott has made a number of epic historical dramas and none have really reached the heights of Gladiator back in 2000. Kingdom of Heaven, along with the likes of Robin Hood and Exodus: Gods and Kings suffer somewhat from being too long and visually impotent. While it all should be good… it just lacks any sort of spark. It’s like a chili with no hotness, it tastes fine but you want it to do something to you.

Contagion  (2011) – TG4 – Monday 28th 9.30pm

Healthcare professionals, government officials and everyday people find themselves in the midst of a worldwide epidemic as the CDC works to find a cure.

Coming from Steven Soderbergh, the director of Traffic, Erin Brokovich and Ocean’s Eleven, and featuring a frankly ridiculously good cast, Contagion just didn’t spread amongst the film critics who found the realistic approach hindered much of the dramatic narrative throughout. While it is an interesting look at how the world would honestly react to a serious epidemic, Contagion just lacks a cohesive storyline.

Serenity  (2005) – Film4 – Tuesday  29th 11.25pm

The crew of the ship Serenity tries to evade an assassin sent to recapture one of their number who is telepathic.

This sci-fi/western/comedy genre mash comes from the mind of Buffy and Avengers creator Joss Whedon and is a feature length movie based on his own (cancelled) TV show Firefly which was just great. Nathan Fillion is delightful as the captain of the group of outlaws who face deadly foes while trying “to do the right thing”. It is funny, and visually impressive and features many of the Whedon-isms littered throughout all his work.



Featured image credit: newsapi.com.au