Irish Eye on Hollywood


Also at Tribeca, Dublin-born filmmaker Alexandra McGuinness turned the camera on London’s young and feckless for her film Lotus Eaters. Alice, in the film, is a former model trying to maintain a living standard she grew accustomed to during her heady days on the runway. She dates Charlie, though neither of them seem mature or stable enough for any kind of commitment. The same can be said for a number of the well-dressed, hedonistic youths who populate this dark and revealing fable, which was shot in black and white.
Other Irish-themed shorts at Tribeca include Dublin-based writer/director Thomas Hefferon’s Switch, as well as Pentecost, about a conflicted altar boy in 1970s Ireland written and directed by Peter McDonald, the veteran actor known for films such as The Damned United, I Went Down and Felicia’s Journey.

And after all of this, the Tribeca fest was closed out by the latest romantic comedy from Brothers McMullen writer/director Ed Burns. Entitled The Newlyweds and starring Caitlin Fitzgerald, The Newlyweds is set in Tribeca itself, and looks at a newly-married couple hoping to survive their honeymoon.  The film supposedly cost a mere $9,000 to make and is expected to be released in theaters later this year.
What’s next for Belfast thespian Kenneth Branagh, now that his big budget comic book epic Thor has been released? After a summer spent promoting the film about the hammer-wielding Norse god, Branagh is set to return to his native Belfast and appear in a play entitled The Painkiller, by Rob Brydon, at the Lyric Theatre.

For now, Branagh has no movies on his radar. Instead, he will be returning to Sweden to film a third season of his acclaimed detective series Wallander, which has proven to be a hit among the Masterpiece Theatre set.

Another Irish actor dabbling in comic book movies these days is Michael Fassbender. Born in Germany but raised in Kerry by his Antrim-born mother, Fassbender will star in what is being dubbed as a prequel to the X-Men movies.  He is set to play Magneto in X-Men: First Class, directed by Matthew Vaughn. Fassbender will stay on the sci-fi action beat for his next movie, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, which is currently shooting.
In October, Irish veterans Brian Dennehy and Anjelica Huston are among the big names slated to appear in The Big Year, set in 1998. Also starring Owen Wilson, Jack Black and Steve Martin, this offbeat film will look at amateur ornithologists – bird watchers – who are expecting a magical year bursting with sightings of exotic species. That’s because the phenomenon known as El Niño has changed weather patterns so drastically that migratory patterns have been affected. Expect lots of quirky humor and awkward silences.
Finally, Ciaran Hinds will star alongside Helen Mirren and Tom Wilkinson in the August thriller The Debt. The film follows three decades of spies and espionage, with a focus on a team of Mossad agents for Israel who hunted down Nazis in the 1960s. What they did to complete their mission, however, still haunts them, and they have yet to come to terms with their past by the 1990s, when the film unfolds. Hinds plays one of the agents in the present day, as does Helen Mirren, though given her agelessness, it’s surprising director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) didn’t manage to have Mirren play the same female agent in the 1960s as well as the 1990s.