Tag Archives: Liam Neeson

The Force is Forced Upon me

It was only a month ago when I took in my first Star Wars movie, ever (The Force Awakens). The original trilogy was a big deal to Sean, as a kid, but he failed incite the same domnic-west-star-warspassion in me. Lucky for him, I underwent a hefty back surgery a couple of weeks ago and ever since then have been a) trapped in bed b) under the heavy influence of drugs. So it was under these influences that Sean took advantage of his poor, sickly wife, and we tackled the first three movies in the series, Episodes I, II, and III.

The Phantom Menace: Watching these movies turns out to be like playing peekaboo with celebrities. I may be in and out of consciousness, but I’m pretty sure I’ve spied Dominic West (of The Wire) as a guard, and handmaids greatly resembling Keira Knightley and Sofia Coppola. I like Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson together, but almost everything outside of those two feels a bit silly. I’m definitely not a fan of Jar Jar Binks and while I’m not sure he was intentionally meant to be a racist caricature, he does make me cringe every time he talks. Interesting to see Darth Maul in action – I’ve long heard this DotF_TPM.pngvillain praised, and am disappointed that he turns out to be over and done with so quickly. Definitely digging his double-bladed light saber, though his fight with the two Jedis was uneven for me, sometimes thrilling, other times downright implausible. What I find most unforgivable in this movie are the cheesy screen wipes. Shouldn’t we, as a society, be above those by now?

Attack of the Clones: This one feels familiar when it opens – maybe a little The Fifth Element-ish? I also spent way too much time wondering – is that Rose Byrne? (yes, it is) and – that’s not Joel Edgerton, is it? dorme-star-wars(again, it is). Again I’m finding Ewan McGregor to be the best thing about this movie, and am missing Liam Neeson. Hayden Christensen isn’t great but mostly I’m stuck on why a photos-star-wars-attack-of-the-clones-23124364-1600-1200Queen and Senator would be attracted to such a whiny kid (last movie there was an 8 year age difference between the actors; this movie there’s none). I’m having a hard time keeping track of good guys and bad guys. I’m very WTF about Jimmy Smits appearing – um, really? Jimmy Smits? And same with The Phantom Menace, the very evident over-usage of green screens is tiring and flat. Also I’m wondering how it is that every time someone fights, they’re either on a very narrow bridge, or on the rim of a very big hole. Seems unlikely.

Revenge of the Sith: Whoa, this one’s got quite the body count. There’s a lot of beheadings\behandings\beleggings going on. And Anakin catching on fire? Brutal. And it star-wars-episode-iii-revenge-of-the-sith-hd-movie-2005-4goes on a for a LONG time. I was really feeling that Anakin’s back story was insufficient to explain why he’d gone over to the dark side but he might just be crispy enough to warrant it after all. As a fan of the original trilogy, Sean had a lot of problems with the prequels, not least of all because everything is so damned shiny and new in these movies. CGI makes everything look sleek and sparkly. All the ships and robots are rendered flawlessly, a huge contrast to the more practical effects used in the original movies, but chronologically, it makes no sense that 30 years later, the technology looks so much clunkier. I noticed that things like R2D2 and Vader’s mask are also so sleek that they end up looking like cheap plastic. But I’m having an even harder time justifying Padme’s death scene. Lost the will to live? Oh, is that an official medical diagnosis now? Look, lady, I’m sorry your first marriage didn’t work out and your husband turned out to be a bit of a dick (although let’s face it: Darth Vader is much sexier than joel-edgerton-star-warswhiny, emo Anakin, an entitled millennial from another millennium) but you can’t just check out. She was a fighter this whole time, politically savvy and a better shot than any of her male counterparts, but she can’t face raising her babies alone? Come on! So the babies get split up, to be raised by Jimmy Smits and Joel Edgerton. Is that weird? Yes it’s weird! Almost as weird as creepy little Hayden Christensen somehow morphing into James Earl Jones. That’s the kind of math that only George Lucas can account for.


So what did I think? I was as underwhelmed as I always suspected I’d be. These movies aren’t shitting all over my childhood since I still haven’t seen the original trilogy, but at no point was I glad that there were 3 whole movies to sit through. I never cared to see more. I never felt really attached to the characters, although Yoda grew on me. What did the prequels do for you?

Where does that leave me on the original trilogy? I suppose I’ll have to see them. And seeing how I’m still bed-bound, I’m sure Sean will have plenty of opportunity to foist them upon me. I am defenseless against The Force.


Father-Daughter Movies

TMPFathers and daughters, a topic rife with the opportunity for Hallmark sap, hard to get right, but so rewarding when it strikes just the right chord. Thanks to Wandering Through the Shelves for hosting another great Thursday Movie Picks theme, from two guys who are neither fathers nor daughters, and one fatherless daughter…because who better to judge?



lethalweaponLethal Weapon – awarded to the whole series as a body of work. These movies are up-and-down but they are fun stupid films that keep adding more and more extraneous characters as sequelitis sets in. Luckily for me this week, Murtagh has a daughter that factors into the secondary drama of almost every movie, from possible love interest for Riggs in the first one, condom ad star in one of the middle ones, and baby mama to Chris Rock in the last one! And possibly more that I have forgotten. So on the list they all go just to be safe.

Taken – Liam Neeson’s tough old guy shtick started right here as far as I can tell, as the tough old dad of a coed “taken” by European gangsters. And like Liam says in the most awesome phone call ever made to a kidnapper, he uses his skills to track down all involved and kill them good. Spoiler alert: it seems that except for saving his daughter’s life he really hasn’t been a good father, but luckily there are sequels where as far as I know he saves her again, or saves his wife, or something. As usual, they should have stopped after the first one but instead really ran this concept into the ground and made me not care at all anymore.

Star Wars – so we don’t actually know at this point that Leia is Darth Vader’s daughter, and I’m pretty sure George Lucas did not have that plan or even the idea at any point when making this movie. As far as I can remember, though, this movie is the only one of the original 3 films in which this father and daughter “team” share a few scenes, so that’s why it makes the list over Return of the Jedi (where Leia actually learns who’s her daddy). Plus it’s such a classic movie! Even the terrible prequels couldn’t ruin it for me. So it makes the list. Can you tell I struggled this week?


Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner- Back in December, I wrote a post describing Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner as Matt Drayton (Spencer Tracey)’s conflict with his own values. He raised his daughter (Katharine Houghton) right- no race is superior to another and anyone who thought they were was foolish and ignorant. Matt realizes he may have done a little too good a job when she brings home a charming black doctor played by the great Sidney Poitier whom she wants to marry. While this unexpected situatGuess who's Coming to Dinnerion may expose some hidden bigotry on Matt’s part, mostly he can’t help but admire his new son-in-law to be and mostly objects to the union because of the unimaginable challenges his daughter will surely be facing. Although he’d hate to look into those eyes and see an ounce of pain, he eventually learns to let go and trust his daughter to be strong enough to face the world. The movie can’t help but show its age a little nearly fifty years later but not in the ways that count.

American Beauty- Lester and Jane Burnham (Kevin Spacey and Thora Birch)  aren’t as close as they used to be. In fact, she asks her boyfriend to kill her father in the first scene. Lester’s a little too busy with his middle-aged angst and Jane with her adolescent angst for the two to really connect and Lester only starts taking interest in her life when he develops an obsessive crush on her best friend. He may not deserve a World’s Best Dad mug but I love that his dying thoughts are of her and happy that she thinks she’s in love. Tragically, his last words to her are “You’d better watch yourself or you’re going to become a real bitch just like your mother”.

Kick-Ass- I have serious reservations about Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage)’s parenting style but, unlike Lester, at least he never forgets to tell his daughter (Chloe Moretz) that he loves her. It helps to have common interests. In this case, taking down the D’Amico family and enjoy the sweet taste of bloody revenge with their hot chocolate. Big DKick-Assaddy has turned Hit Girl into one foul-mouthed ass-kicking 11 year-old who knows how to take a shot to the chest.  Marcus may feel that Big Daddy owed his father a childhood but at least he died leaving his daughter the two most important things: the ability to take care of herself and the knowledge that her Daddy loves her.


The Descendants – This movie is so emotionally loaded and frought, it shreds me to pieces to watch it. Matt’s wife has just been fatally injured in a boat accident. She’s in a coma, waiting to die, while Matt runs around picking up all the pieces. Two really big pieces are his darling daughters who Matt bewilderingly tries to care for though he identifies only as the “back-up parent, the understudy”. The older daughter initially seems to be pretty hostile toward her father, but we soon see she’s really just covering for a secret she’s keeping from him. Turns out coma wife has been unfaithful. So Matt’s already confused and complicated relationships with his daughters become even more so, leaning on the elder for support and understanding, while trying desperately to shield the younger from the ugly truth about her mother as they all struggle to say goodbye amid the complications of anger and blame. Meanwhile, there’s another father-daughter relationship at play: that of coma wife, and her own dear dad, who copes with grief by putting his daughter on a pedestal and lashing out at all others, blaming not just Matt, but his own granddaughters, for his daughter’s not-quite-perfect life. It’s frustrating for we, the viewers, who know that his daughter is far from blameless, and even more difficult for Matt and the oldest daughter who manage to keep the truth to themselves in a show of compassion, allowing him to kiss his little girl goodbye with only the tenderest of feelings.

Crash – You may remember there are a kajillion intersecting plot lines in this movie, most involving some kind of racial prejudice, but I’ll always be thankful to this movie for introducing me to Michael Pena. He plays Daniel, a locksmith who gets cut absolutely no slack by any of his customers because he’s Hispanic, and this makes the white folk (like Sandra Bullock) jumpy. Even the Persian shop owner gives him hell, misunderstanding a bit about a broken door that needs to be replaced, assuming that the locksmith is trying to screw him over. After a hard day’s work, he goes home to a rough neighbourhood where his crazy-cute daughter is hiding under her bed, frightened by the gunfire overheard. He soothes her with a story about an invisible, impenetrable cloak that will keep her safe. When the Persian shop is re-vandalized, the owner gets himself a gun and blames the guy on the work order. He shows up at Daniel’s house and opens fire – just as the little girl jumps into her father’s arms. For a very long moment we – and they – fear that the girl has been shot, but actually, she has saved the day with her heroic magic cape. Okay, not actually true. The real saving grace? Another daughter – the Persian’s – who protected her father the only way she knew how – by loading his gun with blanks.

Beasts of the Southern Wild – Not a straight forward relationship by any means, it’s still clear that father Wink and daughter Hushpuppy have a relationship central to this story. His treatment of her sometimes seems neglectful, even brutal, but is actually pretty typical within the context of their fictional community where children are encouraged to roam free among the livestock and wildlife. In fact, her father’s occasional disappearances seem to be related to his ill-health more than his disinterest. His ways are rough, but he’s really just preparing her for a time when he’s no longer around, and she seeks his approval by being strong and independant – at the tender age of 6. When the big storm comes, he’s there, with a pair of water wings and a shotgun that he fires at the clouds, trying to chase them away and make his daughter feel better. When Wink’s time is almost up, he tries to find her a safe place to go, but she insists on returning to his side, witnessing his remaining heartbeats.

My father-daughter picks IN OUTER SPACE can be found here.

Run All Night: An Ode to Aging Action Stars

It’s not going to take a whole post to tell you I didn’t like Run All Night. I mean, it’s fine. It’s exactly what you expect. It’s a movie capitalizing on Liam Neeson’s strange turn as an elderly run-all-nightaction star. It doesn’t bother to be particularly good, not even as good as Taken or The Grey, which didn’t set the bar high to begin with. Liam Neeson plays a retired goon who gets pulled back into the biz when threats to his estranged son force him to kill his best friend’s (and ex-boss’s) son. Father and son “run all night” to avoid the bullets they both know are coming.

Now, I’m not one to talk shit about Liam Neeson. That man’s just got sex appeal (Liam agrees, by the way – “I never did think of myself as handsome–terribly attractive, yes, but not handsome.”) Plus, I’d be worried he’d tape shards of tiny bottles of liquor to his hands and wake me up from sleep with his heavy breathing. Once upon a time, he was known as a “serious” actor, garnering an Oscar nomination for his role in Schindler’s List, and a couple of Tony nominations as well. Steven Spielberg was anxious to re-team with him for the Lincoln biopic but after several delays of the project, Neeson felt he was getting too old for the part and let it go to Daniel Day-Lewis. Apparently he’s not too old to run around the streets of New York, shooting cops and robbers though. He’ll be 63 this summer, and has somehow been rebranded the thinking man’s action hero (note to Liam: another movie like this, and we’re retracting the thinking part). He’s almost as surprised by this turn of events as we are: “I thought it was going to be a straight-to-video release (he’s talking about Taken). That is actually one of the reasons I did it, to be honest. I felt like spending three months in Paris, I’d get to do all this physical stuff that no one would think of me for, and that the film would go straight to video. Then it became this big success. I was a tiny bit embarrassed by it, a tiny bit, but then people started sending me action scripts.”

I bet he’s not so embarrassed now. He earned a nice 5 million dollar paycheque for Taken, but 020812sly_arnoldfor Taken 2 he demanded 15, and he got 20M for Taken 3. So he’s not just a bankable action star, he’s making serious bank doing it. Liam Neeson is only the latest incarnation of the aged action hero, he’s not the first and I have a feeling he’s not the last. For some reason we have an obsession with old, grizzled action stars and The Expendables series is all over it like a donkey on a waffle.

There is no young hot new action star. There just isn’t. A young man’s action movie has been taken over by the super heroes and that’s created a vacuum where the old guys have been allowed to stick around, and in fact, have been brought back, resurrected. These are action ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????movies for Baby Boomers, the generation THAT WILL NOT RETIRE. Arnold Scharzenegger (67) has a new Terminator movie in the works. Sylvester Stallone (68) has a new Rocky movie. Bruce Willis (turns 60 later this month) is working all kind of action franchises, Die Hard certainly, and Red, and has even more in the works. You cannot kill these men, or the characters they originated before I was born.

Speaking of invincibility: the most pervasive action star is Tom Cruise. He’s “only” 52, a young man in this crowd, but this ageless wonder has somehow kept his body in vintage form. It’s very possible that he sleeps in a large pickle jar and only comes out to run very, very fast on camera, pumping his little arms in a $2000 wind breaker, or else to flash his whitewhite teeth on the red carpet. And I’m sure he pays handsomely for a crack team of Scientology “doctors” to pull very , very hard on his strings to keep everything where it should be: a fine specimen. No wonder he’s in better shape than he has any right to be. In the next few months we’ll see him in Mission Impossible 5, Top Gun 2, and Jack Reacher 2. It’s guys like Cruise who make guys like Colin Firth (54) think they should give it a chance too – hit the gym, do your own stunts, the works, which Mr. Darcy does rather well in Kingsman.

Hollywood is bending over backwards to tell boomers what they want to hear: you’re not irrelevant! We still need you! You’re still capable! “Retirement is for sissies!” as one of Sly’s posters for The Last Stand so succinctly put it. Not only are we reassuring boomers that they’ve still got it, the narrative is that they’re actually better than the young men trying to push them out of the way. In Taken, and in Red, and in countless others, the opponent is much younger (almost as young as the action star’s wife – gross!). In The Expendables 2 (SPOILER ALERT!) there’s only one young guy on the team, and he’s the one who dies. Because boomers are so much better than everyone. Because they have all this valuable life experience, and even if their bodies are a bit droopier, and their reflexes a bit duller and their instincts a bit slower they can still magically make the young dudes disappear. As always in life, the old white man is king.



Movies on Airplanes

Watching a movie on an airplane isn’t exactly optimal viewing conditions. No director plans a scene thinking “But how will this look on a teeny tiny screen located approximately 15 inches TheGrey_800afrom your face?” And putting the volume control on a shared arm rest is just asking for trouble. But you persist, because flights are long and seats are uncomfortable and for the love of god you’ve got to do something to block out the noise coming out of that baby. Of course, you must choose your movie well. I know someone who watched The Grey on a plane: not a wise choice. Weird of the airline, I thought, to even offer it, but apparently it did come with the too-mild warning of “not suitable for nervous fliers.” In The Grey, Liam Neeson barely survives a horrific plane crash only to have his life further threatened by a really spiteful pack of wolves.

Here were by recent choices, for better or worse:

The Skeleton Twins: Estranged siblings played by Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader reconnect after one’s attempted suicide interrupts the other’s. Comedies are good choices for planes and boththeskeletontwins1 Wiig and Hader give really strong performances although beware, this one is rife with family drama. They have an ease and charm together that’s really engaging, though the movie does suffer from the worst aspects of SNL – a tendency for a skit to go on way too long. So if you find Bill Hader lip-synching to an 80s power ballad, you’re in it for the full 3m48s and you’ll cringe through every second.

X-Men: Days of Future Past: This one mostly confused me. Sean really liked it and I’m sure a X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-Reviewsglowing review is imminent. He’s explained to me that this one was basically correcting a crappy previous film, but I struggled to keep up not just with the fast pace, which is appropriately engrossing for a plane ride, but with mutants I wasn’t familiar with interacting with mutants who I was pretty sure had already been killed off. I know this movie is time-warpy and rule-bendy, but does it also have to be a complete mind fuck? I’m suffering from super-hero fatigue (probably have been for at least a decade), but I really liked James McAvoy. And really hated Peter Dinklage, as usual. But the bits where Quicksilver is doing his thing almost make the movie worthwhile on their own – this is Bryan Singer at his best.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day: I had the feeling that I’d already seen this family feature like half a dozen times. I’ve never seen this one before, but it feels like a pretty uninspired copy, so you try telling it apart. Lots of horrible\”funny” things happen to a alex-carell-roofamily on what I hope is an atypical day. You know it’s supposed to be funny because Steve Carrell is flailing about on fire, but it doesn’t quite evoke out-loud laughter. I happened to be watching this on the very same day that Carrell would walk the red carpet as an Oscar nominee and it’s kind of nice to see that it hasn’t gone to his head. He’s still making room for bad movies. Well okay, it’s not terrible. It’s horrible and terrible and no good. But it’s also Steve Carrell (and a game Jennifer Garner) doing physical comedy with full gusto. Steve Carrell doing goofball antics just plain goes down easily so while you know this movie is mediocre at most, you just can’t bring yourself to hate it. A pirate accent forgives a lot.


The Lego Movie

The only thing anyone needs to be special is to believe that you can be. I know that sounds like a cat poster, but it’s true. -Vitruvius

Sometimes movies try too hard. Sometimes the effort to be meaningful or say something important is so obvious that it overwhelms the entertaining parts of the movie. That did not happen here.

This movie is gleefully insane but in the smartest possible way. It strikes a very difficult balance – it makes me laugh at the same silly things as my nieces and nephews. It feels made for all of us at once. And it makes me feel good about watching it with them, not only because it makes them laugh, but also because it has something really good to say. It has a great heart, and I think I want them to grow up to be like Emmet. Except not plastic.

Everything this movie tries, works. I just love this movie. And if you read my Big Hero 6 review, you know how much I loved that movie. But Matt was right. This is the best animated movie of 2014. Hands down. Everything truly is awesome here. You can see the love put into this in every single glorious frame. Everything is little bricks, everything looks like Lego and feels like Lego. It is unique and wonderful. See this movie and you are sure to find something to love too.

Love Actually

I’ve actually started packing away my copy of Love Actually with my Christmas decorations every year, which limits my viewing of it to just once, annually. This is a necessary precaution because it’s way too easy for me to get swept away in this movie.Love_Actually_movie

It feels like the ultimate romantic movie, possibly because in this movie Hugh Grant AND Colin Firth both get the girl. But for every frenzied makeout session, there’s also a cold, awkward peck on the cheek. Your heart breaks as much as it soars. There’s grand gestures, and well thought-out lingerie, slow dancing cheek to cheek, and enough first kisses to charm even the more cynical hearts.

But for me, this movie excels not in its romantic tropes, but in the darker corners. You don’t need this movie to tell you that Emma Thompson is superb, but it does confirm it. The scene when she’s in the bedroom, having just unwrapped Joni Mitchell instead of jewelry, is moving and real. Only a few moments (and even fewer tears) are devoted to her broken heart and we watch her pull herself back together to give her children a smiling, overbright Christmas. Only an extended hug for brother David belies just how much she’s hurting. This movie happens to take place in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and while the magic of the season seems to heighten the romantic aspects, and give courage to those who need it, it also highlights the loneliness, the forced joviality, the false cheer.

There’s probably some sort of personality test about which couple your root for in this movie, but I must confess, I also adore the non-romantic-couple bits: the sweet and silly bromance between Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) and his fat manager, the sacrifice of Sarah (Laura Linney) for her institutionalized brother, the shared grief and renewed bond between Daniel (Liam Neeson) and his young stepson.

I’ve been watching this movie for a decade and I still squeal at all my favourite parts: the papier-mache lobster head, the Rowan Atkinson gift wrapping, the Beatles sendoff, Hugh Grant dancing unselfconsciously, the falling in love by subtitles between Jamie and Aurelia, Martin Freeman warming up his hands for “the nipples,” Rick Grimes taking a break from zombies. This movie has it all, and I’ve certainly heard it criticized for being over-stuffed, but personally I wouldn’t know which subplot to cut. Sure it’s self-indulgent, but watching this movie every year is a gift I give myself.



The assholes will be reviewing their favourite holiday movies all December long, so stay tuned!


Catherine is a gynecologist, successful and assured. Her home is beautiful, her teenage son accomplished, and her husband, David, a respected professor. But there’s a crack in all this perfection, one that gets exposed when David (Liam Neeson) misses his flight home, and thus, the perfectly executed surprise party thrown by his wife (Julianne Moore). Catherine quickly suspects there’s more at fault than just bad timing – can her husband, an incorrigible flirt, be having an affair?

Paranoid, Catherine hires Chloe, an escort, to get to the truth. She asks Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) to approach her husband and see what happens. Already we’re all groaning. Such a bad idea, a terrifically bad idea. The minute you start deriving tests of loyalty orMV5BYmFhZGQ2ODYtNTg0NC00NzQwLWE0MjYtMTY1OThlZWMwNThlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDY2NzgwOTE@._V1_ faithfulness for your loved one, you have a problem, and – spoiler alert! – it’s you. Although, guess what? The minute you start hiring prostitutes, you have a problem. Now Julianne Moore has two problems, and they’re multiplying like rabbits at a problem convention.

Atom Egoyan made Chloe in 2009: it was a good year to be Amanda Seyfriend, a bad year to be Liam Neeson (his real-life wife died during while this was being filmed – he took 2 days off), and a confusing time to be Julianne Moore, a woman at the top of her game, apparently reduced to making Fatal Attraction knock-offs. Chloe is supposed to be a psycho-sexual thriller, but there are at least 2 problems with that. One: it ain’t sexy. I mean, Moore’s character tries her very best to convince you that it is. She has Chloe describe her encounters in every lascivious detail, then rushes home, nipples taut, to masturbate in the shower. But the chemistry, which must have dripped off the page for these actors to consider it, is not evident on screen. Two: neither are the thrills. We see Egoyan’s twists from a mile away, because they’ve had their blinker on the whole time. Not only do I know where we’re going, I know exactly how we’ll get there. So yeah, both the sexual and the thriller in the psycho-sexual thriller are lacking. But at least there’s the psycho! Oh man, the manipulation is firing on all cylinders. It’s so forthright you might not even find it believable, or remotely plausible. I’m so glad that a movie veering off into left field doesn’t spoil its watchability for me AT ALL.

Moore and Neeson are very good actors, and they’re very good in this. Sometimes you even forget you’re watching a piece of shit. But not for long!

A Christmas Star

A Christmas Star has some charms, I’ll admit to that.

MV5BMTU3NjQ1MzcwNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTk5NTg2NTE@__V1_UY1200_CR196,0,630,1200_AL_It’s made entirely in Northern Ireland, a Cinemagic project for young people to get experience in the film industry, the amateurs working alongside industry experts, training up the future of Irish film, which is a cool idea and a bit of a Christmas present in and of itself.

The script borrows heavily for typical holiday fare, so you won’t find originality in between the stilted dialogue, but there is a lot of heart.

The children of a small town take on capitalism when the primary industry – the manufacture of snow globes – is being threatened. Led by Noelle, a little girl born on Christmas day who believes she can “do miracles,” the cast of kids is surprisingly adept. James Stockdale, who plays Noelle’s best friend, is a particular stand-out for me. As you know, I am always happy to see different A_Christmas_Star_1_444_288abilities on-screen, especially when the disability is not treated as a novelty. His character just happens to be different but is still 100% part of the group. He isn’t there to be “the disabled one” and Stockdale is a bona fide actor. Christmas miracle? You tell me.

But it’s not just the cast that’s peppered with youth. Over 40 trainee crew aged 18 – 25 were mentored by industry professionals as they worked together on this film, gaining experience in all areas of filmmaking. Mentors included director Richard Elson (M.I. High, Steffi), award-winning film composer Patrick Doyle (Brave, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), music supervisor Maggie Rodford, (The King’s Speech, Anna Karenina), casting directors Hubbard Casting, (The Commitments, Dracula Untold), camera operator, Ian Fox, (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man), producer Iain Smith, (Children of Men, Mad Max: Fury Road) and production manager, Terry Bamber (The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Skyfall), who all took time away from their own shooting schedules to mentor the trainees.

eLib_3309377Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson show up in small roles to add a little credibility to the ensembles, with sprinkles of star power from the likes of Kylie Minogue.

Cinemagic is an international film and television festival for young people and counts Neeson and Brosnan among its patrons. It’s clearly putting its money where its mouth is in putting on productions like this, and I’ll be glad to see more from them in the future.

A Christmas Star will be playing on television this week:

Thurs 24th Dec 4.25pm: UTV Ireland: A Christmas Star
Fri 25th Dec 10.55am: UTV Ireland: A Christmas Star

And I found it on Netflix!