State Magazine http://state.ie Ireland's Music Payload Fri, 31 Oct 2014 17:34:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 One Million Dubliners - When someone great is gone http://state.ie/film/one-million-dubliners http://state.ie/film/one-million-dubliners#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 17:28:38 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66511 Director: Aoife Kelleher
Certificate: PG
Running Time: 83 minutes
Release Date: October 31st

Collins is in there. Dev too. Constance Markievicz, Luke Kelly, Dermot Morgan and someone you knew personally, they’re in there too. That’s the myth, the legend; we’ve all got someone in there. One and a half million if records are to be believed. And each with a story to tell.

That’s what director Aoife Kelleher and producer Rachel Lysaght aim to do, shed some light on Glasnevin Cemetery’s inhabitants while exploring its vast history. You’re exposed to everyone and anyone who visits — a teenage daughter visiting her mother; French and Vietnamese ladies laying flowers at Michael Collins’ grave; Luke Kelly fans serenading his headstone. Shane MacThomais — author, historian and tour guide of the cemetery — leads you through the stories behind those that rest there. He’s a warm, gregarious and immensely knowledgable of the cemetery, but most importantly, he has a deep love for its history and what he does. As such, he’s the perfect entry point.

One of the beauties of One Million Dubliners, and there are many, is that it hooks you on the intrigue of all its residents but then shows its true story; Ireland’s relationship with death. Death is universal, knows no boundaries and holds no ledger; it’s chaos. As a nation, traditionally we don’t talk about until it’s unavoidable. Kelleher and Lysaght crack that right open. You meet grave diggers, cremators and funeral directors, all speaking about their experiences not just in the day-to-day but in their beliefs on what happens and what they want to happen when they die. Their candidness is both touching and refreshing.

Cinematographer Cathal Watters beautiful films the cemetery with haunting timelapses, shots drenched in the shadows of tombstones and silhouettes against the amber and purple skies. Being Dublin, it’s raining half the time but it still doesn’t take away from the care in framing.

It talks of a million but this could easily have been called One Dubliner. Shane is the shining light of the movie, who along with encyclopaedic appreciation, brings a light humour to what can be a tough subject, whether it’s cracking jokes for tourists or spooking kids with stories, he’s the light keeper who ushers you through the darkness.

It falters a little, moments seem to be included just because they were filmed, but it, like death, is imperfect, and that’s okay. It still resonates, serving as a fitting tribute to both the cemetery’s immense history and all that dwell there.

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The Guarantee - Paid in full http://state.ie/film/the-guarantee http://state.ie/film/the-guarantee#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 17:20:25 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66532 Director: Ian Power
Cast: David Murray, Orla Fitzgerald, Peter Coonan, Morgan C Jones

Certificate: 15A
Running Time: 75 minutes 
Release Date: October 31st 

On the night of September 29th 2008, the Irish Government took steps to ensure a banking collapse would be avoided by guaranteeing the banks using the Irish taxpayers money. In doing so they created a legacy that led to the country requiring a EU/IMF bailout that has resulted in a series of austerity budgets and tightening of the public finances. This is the story of how the decision to guarantee came about and the main players in making the landmark decision in Irish history. 

Based on the play Guaranteed! by Colin Murphy and produced by John Kelleher media (the former film censor), this documentary-come-stage play reenactment falls short in a number of areas.

The whole product comes across like a TV documentary with dramatic recreations, the main problem being the drama isnt all that dramatic. It consistently cuts to media reports and political commentary from TV3 (it was backed by TV3) that took place during the banking collapse as it happened. This would be fine if the drama was able to match the reality of what was happening, but oddly the drama steers clear of dialogue. Instead, the main dramatic scenes — taking place primarily in government buildings — choose to go for little or no discourse, merely showing people in conversation or briefings as financial information and data appears on screen. Failing to properly dramatise the moments that made history, in Irish banking and political circles, means the audience are left with a sense of wonderment as to exactly what happened. That is not a good thing, because the whole point was to tell the story of how this all went down. 

The characterisation of the main players is not shy in taking swipes at those who it clearly deems mostly responsible for being asleep at the wheel. Brian Cowen is consistently depicted as a vacant and uninterested country gombeen whose main interest seems to be football and rugby. The tension that exists between Cowen and Lenihan is mostly made to work by a strong performance from David Murray who continues to impress. Peter Coonan is undoubtedly a talented actor, but he is given very little to work with. His David Drumm and central banker seem to be the exact same character except with differing hairstyles and facial hair.

The support players are mostly irrelevant, but there is a definite finger being pointed at the boys club that wasnt listening to the only female in the Department of Finance. It is a suggestive context to place on the overall events that took place, but it fails to develop on the idea and bring it to any type of conclusion, which makes its addition pointless. 

With a running time thats more TV dramatisation than feature film and a lack of craft to make it all work, The Guarantee is a disappointing and ultimately failed attempt to inform the public on one of the most important moments in our collective memory.

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Nightcrawler - So I creep yeah http://state.ie/film/nightcrawler http://state.ie/film/nightcrawler#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 12:16:29 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66508 Director: Dan Gilroy
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo and Bill Paxton
Certificate: 16
Running Time: 117 minutes
Release Date: October 31st

“If it bleeds, it leads.”

Lou Bloom is many things. He’s driven, willing to work hard and highly motivated. He’s a self-taught and self-made man. He’s a gaunt parrot spewing TED talks and 12-step programmes. Mainly, he’s a weirdo. When we first met Jake Gyllenhaal, he was a weirdo too, chasing worms holes and talking to rabbits. Since then, for the most part, his good looks dictated him taking leading man roles, but deep down, he was always a weirdo. A one-two with Denis Villeneuve last year saw a return to his bugged out ways, impressing as a tetchy, tattooed detective with a penchant for buttoned-up shirts in Prisoners; and working overtime as an obsessive college lecturer and his charismatic doppelgänger in Enemy.

At Nightcrawler‘s start, Bloom (Gyllenhaal) is running hustles that Bubbles from The Wire would pull, stealing and selling scrap metal, then looking for gainful employment. Driving his battered hatchback, he stops at a gruesome roadside accident, and, on a whim, decides that ambulance-chasing and crime-scene videography is for him. A pawned camera and a disregard for journalistic ethics see him rise the ranks at a local station whose ratings are tanking and are desperate for shock material.

Between Gyllenhaal and Dan Gilroy’s tight script, Bloom becomes an unlikely anti-hero. He’s scum but you want to egg him on, wondering just how far he can go to get what he wants. He’s so inherently unlikable that it’s impossible not to admire him — sociopathic tendencies aside, his work ethic is impressive. He’s the modern day personification of the American Dream, clambering his way to the top using his rival’s hair as rope and bones as ladders. An emaciated Gyllenhaal, eyes hollowed at the back of his skull, dives head first in the madness.

Gilroy’s wife, Rene Russo, is great too as the desperate news editor who initially holds power over Bloom before being despicably manipulated by him; she wonderfully handles the tightrope between cold, steely boss and a woman at the end of her tether. Bill Paxton is perfectly sleazy, like Simon the car salesman from True Lies dropped the secret agent schtick and started hunting down fresh roadkill. Riz Ahmed’s Rick is dopey, helpless and ultimately doomed as soon as he’s sucked into Bloom’s vortex under the guise of an internship — the JobBridge scheme will never look more appealing after.

Paul Thomas Anderson regular cinematographer, Robert Elswit, shoots LA in all its smoggy grime, its skyline is a pitch black tarpit that flicker with lighters cooking dope while James Newton Howard’s score pulses and vibrates in a queasy low-end hum. Nightcrawler is both appalling and tremendously funny, its shameless nihilism is a badge of honour, and with Gyllenhaal in world-consuming form, a must-watch. To terribly paraphrase Bloom, “if you want to see it, you’ve got to buy a ticket.”

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HamsandwicH – Apollo - A State exclusive http://state.ie/features/hamsandwich-apollo http://state.ie/features/hamsandwich-apollo#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 17:04:11 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66523 With a spring and summer behind them that saw an Olympia headliner, Arcade Fire support and an Electric Picnic slot which reduced us to tears of joy, HamsandwicH look forward to the release of album number three. The build up continues with the release of a new single, ‘Apollo’, of which State is delighted to bring you the exclusive stream. It will be available today (31st) only from the band’s website site until midnight; then for 99c on iTunes.

One hundred limited edition ‘Apollo’ CD singles will be on sale exclusively to Tower Records on Dawson Street, with five random copies containing a golden ticket to a special acoustic show at Dublin’s Unitarian Church on 7th December. Tickets for that, priced €20, are on sale now.

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Carrie Rodriguez - Austin City, limitless http://state.ie/features/carrie-rodriguez http://state.ie/features/carrie-rodriguez#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:13:20 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66468 Who are you and where are you from?

Carrie Rodriguez from Austin, Texas

Who are your favorite artists from home?

John Prine, Bill Frisell, Lucinda Williams, Calexico, Townes Van Zandt

What’s it really like touring?

Playing music every night in new places is always a joy…getting there, however, can be a challenge. Touring is: meeting new people every day, learning how to drive in different countries, understanding signs in foreign languages, asking the locals for help, and trying to take in as much as we can in a short period of time, since we are often only in each city for one day!

What’s your favourite city/town/venue to play?

Too many to pick just one. My hometown venue, The Cactus Cafe, is a favorite, though…The Catus has quite a long history of having fantastic singer-songwriters on their stage. Townes Van Zandt and Lucinda Williams, just to name a few…it’s always nice to come off the road and play a show at home in Austin. That being said, however, we are currently on the road in Italy and it is amazing! We played a small jazz club the other day on the Southern tip of Italy in Calabria. The audience was fantastic…clapped and sang along (even if they didn’t know the songs), and the swordfish pasta was unforgettable!

What’s your ideal festival line-up?

A diverse one: How about some space-age guitar sounds from Bill Frisell, Brazilian ballads by Caetano Veloso, classic songs from John Prine, Southwestern soundscapes from Calexico, and passionate singing by Mexican songstress Lila Downs. Sounds good….wish I could go!

What has been your biggest achievement of the year?

I produced an album for my touring partner and singer/songwriter Luke Jacobs. It is his debut album, and it was very exiting to be a part of it!

What do you do to relax?

I love to cook when I’m home. I also love reading cook books…puts me in a good mood!

What are you reading?

Empire of the Summer Moon (History of Quanah Parker and the rise and fall of the Comanches) by S.C. Gwynne

How about TV, anything good on the box?

Hard to keep up with many TV shows…especially when I’m on the move as much as I am. I did manage to watch the entire 1st 2 seasons of Orange is the New Black – which was great.

Do you have a favourite YouTube video?

Can’t say that I do…

What website do you visit most?

Yelp…I’m always researching where to eat in the places where I tour!

What is your favourite:

Record? Chet Baker Sings

Song? ‘If I Needed You’ by Townes Van Zandt

Lost classic song? Mexican songwriter, Agustin Lara singing his composition, ‘Noche de Ronda’. Gorgeous!

Record label? Nonesuch

Who is your favourite current artist?

Lila Downs

A new artist that you are most excited about?

Shovels and Rope

What was the last great gig you have seen?

Ray Lamontagne with his killer band at the Austin City Limits Music Festival

Worst show?

What should we expect from your Irish shows?

My touring partner, Luke Jacobs, will be playing acoustic guitar and a spooky lap steel guitar. I’ll be on the fiddle and tenor guitar. Vocals by both of us. Original songs written mostly in English…with a few in Spanish thrown in. You can expect a good amount of fiddling accompanied by my stomping…which is usually pretty loud…

You can catch Carrie Rodriguez in the Workman’s Club on November 12th, tickets are €15

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Video: Tim Wheeler – Vigil http://state.ie/news/video-tim-wheeler-vigil http://state.ie/news/video-tim-wheeler-vigil#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:33:05 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66519 Long a tireless campaigner around the issue of dementia, Tim Wheeler returns to the subject on his debut solo album Lost Domain – released next week. Inspired by his own father’s battle with Alzheimer’s, lead single ‘Vigil’ gives a sense of the emotion Wheeler has invested in the record. He plays the Oh Yeah Centre in Belfast on Friday 7th.

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Afghan Whigs start European tour in Dublin http://state.ie/news/afghan-whigs-start-european-tour-in-dublin http://state.ie/news/afghan-whigs-start-european-tour-in-dublin#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:12:50 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66516 Back in business after a fifteen year break, Afghan Whigs are following up their Do To The Beast album with a month long European tour, starting at Whelans on February 2nd. Tickets priced €23 inclusive of booking fee go on sale this Friday, October 31st at 9am from Ticketmaster outlets.

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Spekulativ Fiktion X Deviant & Naive Ted – Slave Labour - Irish hip-hop goes dark http://state.ie/features/spekulativ-fiktion-x-deviant-naive-ted-slave-labour http://state.ie/features/spekulativ-fiktion-x-deviant-naive-ted-slave-labour#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:39:55 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66513 The latest release from the collective that has already given us God Knows + mynameisjOhn, trio Spekulativ Fiktion (pictured) X Deviant & Naive Ted have just released the Slave Labour EP through Unscene Music and Bandcamp. A darker affair than what we’ve heard so far, it’s yet another addition to the ever growing Irish hip-hop cannon. You can also watch Paul Tarpey’s video playlist here.

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State Faces of November gig this Saturday - Last call http://state.ie/features/state-faces-of-november-gig-this-saturday http://state.ie/features/state-faces-of-november-gig-this-saturday#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:04:03 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66506 We’re back in live action this weekend, with the final Faces show of the year. As befits what has been a fantastic series of gigs – not to mention our memorable Electric Picnic slot – the Mercantile is set to feature three outstanding new acts.

The details are as follows:

9pm Florence Olivier

9.45pm Me And My Dog

10.30pm DVO Marvell

Entry is free and we’ll be back on December 23rd for the annual State Midnight Mass, details to follow.

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Royal Blood – Academy, Dublin - "They remain in equal parts delighted and shocked..." http://state.ie/live-reviews/royal-blood-academy-dublin http://state.ie/live-reviews/royal-blood-academy-dublin#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 11:04:11 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66504 Blink and you’ll miss it. There’s no prelude to Royal Blood’s set, as they emerge on stage with a billow of The Academy’s trademark choker smoke and the drum beat like gunfire of ‘Hole’. As the smoke fades, the image on stage bares no resemblance to the what we’ve heard – for two black-clad shy looking boys they sure can produce sound enough for a full band. Mike Kerr surveys the sweaty testosterone fuelled crowd with an unreadable expression, as he ramps and smashes simultaneously through bass and electric guitar chords. Ben Thatcher is on his feet walloping the drums with a slightly animalistic amount of ferocity.

Every corner, step and crevice is filled with bobbing gelled heads, ready to loose whatever hold they had on reality. The atmosphere intensifies with every guitar brawwwmp, with the crowd poised to jump, clap or chant simultaneously at the drop of a hat. During the more downbeat tracks off their self-titled album, ‘Loose Change’ and ‘Careless’ the crowd sizzle with energy with no outlet.

Interaction with the heaving living organism of the crowd is kept to a minimum as the duo feed off each other’s noise as though they were the only ones in the packed room. Even during tracks like ‘Little Monster’ and ‘Figure It Out’, which naturally set the crowd ablaze and gagging at every note, they remain in equal parts delighted and shocked. This reaction is understandable given their meteoric rise since the album’s release. Few recent gigs have been hyped to such a degree, with spare tickets being touted for a rumoured €200 in the lead up, but these blood brothers certainly deliver, serving up an hour of full bodied rock and roll into the mouths of their eager fans. They’ll be back and so will we.

Royal Blood photographed for State by Mark McGuinness

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Royal Blood – The Academy, Dublin – in photos - Bleed to love you http://state.ie/photo-gallery/royal-blood-the-academy-dublin-in-photos http://state.ie/photo-gallery/royal-blood-the-academy-dublin-in-photos#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 18:30:28 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66492 Royal Blood’s packed-out gig in the Academy was photographed for State by Mark McGuinness.

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My Brightest Diamond - Shine on http://state.ie/features/my-brightest-diamond http://state.ie/features/my-brightest-diamond#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 15:02:55 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66470 Who are you and where are you from?

I am Shara Worden from My Brightest Diamond. I live in Detroit, Michigan.

Who are your favorite artists from home?

The band A.D.U.L.T., the jeweller Tiff Massey, the DJ Waajeed.

What’s it really like touring?

23 hours of challenge. 1 hour of euphoric bliss.

What’s your favourite venue to play?

The Beacon Theater in New York. I saw Nina Simone there just before she died and it was absolutely huge for me. It’s an honor to step on that stage every time.

What’s your ideal festival line-up?

TuneYards. St. Vincent. M.I.A.

What has been your biggest achievement of the year?

I put out a record I’m super proud of!

What was the worst piece of advice you were given?

“Turn down your guitar amp.”

What do you do to relax?

Walk into random massage parlors and get rubbed down.

What are you reading?

Leonard Bernstein’s letters.

How about TV, anything good on the box?

Nope. Never watch it.

Do you have a favourite YouTube video?

I just found the Jem cartoon theme song today which is killer.

What website do you visit most?

YouTube!

What is your favourite…

Record? Prince, Sign of the Times

Song? ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’

Lost classic song? ‘Dido’s Lament’

Record label? Asthmatic Kitty

Who is your favourite current artist?

Tim Fite

A new artist that you are most excited about?

Christine and The Queens

What was the last great gig you went to?

DM Stith. Absolutely gorgeous voice.

Worst show?

The first ACL festival I played. 2nd ACL was much better.

What should we expect from your Irish shows?

Laughing. Crying. Punking. Rocking.

My Brightest Diamond plays the Workman’s Club on October 31st with support from Youth Mass. Tickets are €17 and available here.

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Lucius – Whelan’s, Dublin – in photos - Double exposure http://state.ie/photo-gallery/lucius-whelans-dublin-in-photos http://state.ie/photo-gallery/lucius-whelans-dublin-in-photos#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 12:30:22 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66485 Lucius, photographed for State in Whelan’s, Dublin by Olga Kuzmenko.

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Lucius – Whelan’s, Dublin - Double trouble http://state.ie/live-reviews/lucius-dublin http://state.ie/live-reviews/lucius-dublin#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 10:34:41 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66463 Lucius, looking and sounding like they do – perfectly symmetrical, two nearly-identical lead vocalists – slink onstage, all smiles and waves, and slot neatly into position like Lego. It’s almost as if they’d rehearsed it. It has to be said, they look perfect on the iconic Whelan’s stage. In front of a heaving, sold out crowd, the band – to a woman and a man – look genuinely surprised at the response they’re getting and more than once find themselves taken aback at the crowd’s equally unexpected ability to sing back to them. “How do you guys know these songs?”, asks Jess… or Holly (or Agnetha or Anni-Frid).

It comes as no surprise just how formidable Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig are as a front paring. They look as though they absorb the energy from each other as much as they do the crowd and when guitarist Peter Lalish spoke to State a couple of months back, this was one element he couldn’t praise highly enough. “Their voices work so well together and as a creative force they are unstoppable. Even though our music is a kind of non-vocal arrangement… you just feel confident when you’re playing with them”. On the basis of this performance, he’s not wrong. They sound absolutely stunning from the moment they open their mouths and exude confidence and cool like nobody’s business. Their appearance, voices, keys and cowbells giving them everything they need to make you slightly less impressive than you thought you were.

Playing a fairly concise set, owing it’s austerity to no apparent reason (the band have released two albums and an EP so far), unfortunately their sound isn’t exactly as electrifying as you’d expect. With the exception of ‘Tempest’, ‘Genevieve’ and ‘Wildewoman’ among one or two others, the music seems at times to just drift into the ether without ever taking hold. Not always is that the case, it must be said. The songs are effervescent and bright but sometimes they have all the impact of a dying Glade plug-in above the din of a murmuring crowd. Maybe this is their aim, or maybe this is an oversight, but never let it be said that music doesn’t need bass. This, obviously, is a matter of opinion and not a declaration of fact, but it was far too conspicuous in its absence to be written off as obsolete or surplus to whatever aesthetic construct you find yourself in front of.

So, Lucius, a band to simultaneously make you feel nostalgic and forward-looking; previous comparisons to Fleetwood Mac and Haim are pretty close to the bone. They definitely look the part and have the tunes and chops to generate a certain type of gushing reaction from the crowd. Sometimes they may drift into weedy, reedy territory, but when they do pull it off they are never anything less than exciting to behold.

Lucius were photographed for State by Olga Kuzmenko

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DVO Marvell – Before We Started - Dublin MC stands tall http://state.ie/features/ep-premiere-dvo-marvell-before-we-started http://state.ie/features/ep-premiere-dvo-marvell-before-we-started#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 10:17:05 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66461 Just one of the artists bringing a fresh and vibrant angle to the Irish hip-hop scene, DVO Marvell has just released a new six track EP, Before We Started. Featuring collaborators such as Naomi Ekada, Seun ‘Songz’Olatunji, Damola, Sam Ojo, Sean Thompson and The Buff, it’s an impressive statement of intent. Download it here and see Marvell live at the State Faces of November gig this Saturday at the Mercantile in Dublin.

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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - Good kid, B.A.A.D day http://state.ie/film/alexander-and-the-terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-day http://state.ie/film/alexander-and-the-terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-day#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 16:25:50 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66458 Director: Miguel Arteta
Cast: Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Ed Oxenbould, Kerris Dorsey, Dylan Minnette
Running time: 81 min
Certificate: PG
Release: 24th October

Childhood is filled with moments of alienation deeply felt. Constant surveillance and total powerlessness breed self-pity; no wonder my inner child is a jerk. In the best art made for children – from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to Where The Wild Things Are to The Nightmare Before Christmas – this feeling has a greater significance than whatever joy or comfort family brings. Alice leaps down the rabbit hole without giving her boring sister a second thought, indeed “never once considering how in the world she might get out again.” And parents often die in Disney films, don’t they. In the 1973 picture book by Judith Viorst on which this film is based, only the hero is drawn in colour; everyone else is cross-hatched in dull grey. Alexander is grumpy, lonely and not so much misunderstood as ignored. He’s also self-centred and whiny, and if he’s having a no-good terrible day it’s mostly his own fault. The reader isn’t being looked down upon. Alexander the film, despite being raucous, knowing fun, is a great deal more patronising.

For much of the film, Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbould) has an OK day. It’s his 12th birthday, and, after blowing out the candle on his birthday cake, Alexander wishes that, just once, his happy-go-lucky family would experience the sort of horrible day that he’s used to. The Coopers are a positive bunch – it’s a bit of a family romance, actually. Alexander even mistakes his brother’s nighttime coos to his girlfriend for expressions of filial affection, making for one of the film’s rare tonal lapses. Everyone’s got a big day coming up – Dad’s (Steve Carrell) job interview, sister Emily’s (Kerris Dorsey) school play, brother Anthony’s (Dylan Minnette) driving test and prom night. Mom (Jennifer Garner), a publisher of kids’ books, even has an appointment with Dick Van Dyke, for God’s sake. So it’s all set up; we’re strapped into the rollercoaster, about to speed along a classic redemptive arc, with a whole amusement park’s worth of pratfalls spread out beneath us. The film is very well-structured, with the family moving from setpiece to disastrous setpiece at a clip and the spoonfuls of Disney saccharine merely occasional. The script is sharp and smart and the incidental characters get all the best lines.

Still, Alexander patronises, insults, even. It’s not usual for a child to be so beloved, or for parents to be so patient and stoic in the face of terrible, horrible disasters. And, worst of all, the film goes to great lengths to impress upon us just how unusual it is for a father to be unemployed and to stay at home with his children. Steve Carrell as house-husband (execrable phrase employed for effect) is an overweight, emasculated, buffoonish half-man, passive and likeably meek until he can re-enter the workforce and become aggressively alpha again. Dad remaining unemployed would be the worst bad horrible terrible thing to happen of all. Getting Dad a job eventually becomes the plot’s prime motivator, and the film is all the worse for it.

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This Is Where I Leave You - When the Levy breaks http://state.ie/film/this-is-where-i-leave-you-2 http://state.ie/film/this-is-where-i-leave-you-2#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:58:19 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66456 Director: Shawn Levy
Cast: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne and Corey Stoll
Certificate: 15a
Running Time: 103 minutes
Release Date: October 24th

Meet the Altman’s.  They’re a bland, privileged, white family whose apparent dysfunctional nature somehow means that you should take interest in their problems for an hour and forty-five minutes. Brought together by the death of the family patriarch, This Is Where I Leave You can be essentially summed up as being August: Osage County for dummies.

Every member of this family happens to be suffering from separate issues. Judd (Jason Bateman) is radio producer who is going through a divorce after catching his wife sleeping with his shock jock boss. Wendy (Tina Fey) is trapped in a loveless marriage. Oldest brother Paul (Corey Stoll) and his wife have been desperately trying to have a child for the longest time and baby brother Phillip (Adam Driver) is an immature screw-up. While their father was an atheistic Jew, his dying wish, according to their mother (Jane Fonda), was for the family to sit Shiva, forcing them to spend a week together.

As you can tell, there is a very impressive cast at work here. However it becomes clear very early on that a good cast does not make a good movie. One problem is that none of the actors are given anything that takes them out of their comfort zone. So you have Bateman playing the straight man. Driver is the irresponsible hipster. Fey is fussy. Stoll is underdeveloped. The film might as well have been called Typecast! – The Movie!

One big issue is that it’s completely overcrowded with a huge array of subplots. So not only do we have the main family plot but we also have Judd rekindling a relationship with a woman (Rose Byrne) and finding out his estranged wife is pregnant, Wendy trying to cope with her feelings towards her ex Horry (Timothy Olyphant) who still lives with his mother across the street after suffering brain injuries from an accident. There is also the fact that Paul’s wife used to date Judd and Phillip inviting his older girlfriend over while also fighting the temptation to sleep around with old girlfriends. While normally this amount of plot would usually be completely overwhelming and hard to follow, the film lacks anything resembling tension or engagement with these characters that it seems that the seer amount of subplots is actually a challenge to the audience to find any kind of emotional involvement with the film.

This lack of emotion can be attributed to its director Shawn Levy. Looking at his filmography, which includes the Night at the Museum films, The Internship and Date Night, it is pretty clear that Levy is one of the most risk averse directors working in Hollywood today whose style contains fewer note than John Cage’s “4’33”. Nothing about the film is subtle; to the point that characters openly express their character flaws, saying lines like “I’m a fuck-up”, “What happened to me? I used to be fun” and “I never liked to take chances”. That last line, spoken by Bateman’s character, could apply to Levy and the film in general.

This Is Where I Leave You is one of those rare films; it is so bland and dull that it doesn’t even do enough to leave you angry at it. The film doesn’t do anything to allow any emotional reaction. In the end I’m reminded of the running gag of Wendy’s toddler son, who throughout the film is seen carrying a plastic portable toilet and sitting down to have a shit. Not only is this a good metaphor for the film, it also seems to be a better use of your time.

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B. Dolan - Bow down http://state.ie/features/incoming-b-dolan http://state.ie/features/incoming-b-dolan#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:00:45 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66441 Who are you and where are you from?

Starting with the heavy stuff right away, eh? I like it. I am B. Dolan. I’m from America.

Who are your favorite artists from home?

I live in a city called Providence, RI. It’s small by American standards but there’s an incredible density of great music coming from there. Some bands worth checking out from there are Roz & The Rice Cakes and Dropdead. Two rappers worth checking out from there are Sage Francis and Prolyphic.

What’s it really like touring?

It’s unlike anything else, and difficult to relate to people who haven’t experienced it. Some people think it’s like being on vacation and they’re wrong. Some people think it’s hell and they’re wrong too. For me, it’s a special privilege to travel the world and perform for people who care about my music. At times it can also be punishing, uncomfortable, maddening and lonely. But then you leave France and it’s awesome again.

What’s your favourite city/town/venue to play?

That’s impossible to answer. I love a lot of cities and venues. Since this will run in Ireland I’d like to namecheck Belfast, where the kids were so hype they actually managed to crowd surf a 320 pound rapper for the first time ever… and Derry, where the city itself and the people I met made a lasting impression on me.

What’s your ideal festival line-up?

To be honest, festivals have never made much sense to me as a performer or a fan. There’s only a few acts I think I’d like to see with 60,000 other people, and they have a specifically huge sound. People like Radiohead, James Blake, or Rage Against the Machine are kinda who I’m thinking of there. For 99% of the artists I enjoy though I’d rather see them in a club with 300-400 other people. Where they’ve had time to soundcheck and can communicate with the people who are present. As an artist, the festival experience is often a rushed line-check, getting hustled onto a stage in front of a massive amount of people, making only big physical gestures that can be seen from way the hell in the back, playing a shortened set, etc. I’ve never felt the same connection at a festival as I do at a club.

What has been your biggest achievement of the year?

We’ve started rolling out some of the songs from House of Bees 3 in the past month, one of which was the single “THE DEVIL IS ALIVE,” which tells the story of the real Freeway Ricky Ross, whose identity the rapper Rick Ross stole. Freeway Ricky’s story is an important one, which ties into the history of how the C.I.A. helped sell guns and drugs to American gangs in the 80s, essentially creating the crack epidemic.

While we were creating that song I wasn’t sure how it was going to be received, as it addressed some very specific street shit that involved real people. I received a call a day after the song came out from Freeway Rick Ross himself, and was informed that he loved the song and was down to help us promote it in any way possible. That felt good.

What was the worst piece of advice you were given?

“if you shake it more than twice, you’re playing with it.”

What do you do to relax?

I’m currently on tour with Atmosphere and during downtime we’ve been record shopping, which has been a really fun way to sample the local flavor. I’ve also come up on some really exciting records on this trip which I’m excited to start messing with when I get home.

What are you reading?

Generation of Swine by Hunter S. Thompson.

How about TV, anything good on the box?

Been watching NBC’s Hannibal, which is pretty dope. I also highly recommend people go find Black Mirror from Channel 4 if they haven’t seen it.

Do you have a favourite YouTube video?

‘Drinking out of Cups’. Also David Blaine doing a magic trick for Harrison Ford has been making me laugh a lot lately.

What website do you visit most?

That’s none of your goddamn business.

What is your favourite:

Record? Unanswerable. I’ll choose randomly from the iPod. ‘Black Gladiator’ by Bo Diddley.

Song? ‘Everything She Wants’ by Wham, obviously.

Lost classic song? ‘What Good is a Castle’ by Joe Bataan

Record label? Cadet Records. For years I’ve been buying every record I can find from that label, and am never disappointed.

Who is your favourite current artist?

Werner Herzog inspires me all the time.

A new artist that you are most excited about?

Kanye West. Yep. Deal with that.

What was the last great gig you were at?

I saw Erykah Badu DJ at SXSW last year, and I absolutely loved that set. I’d had a lot of edibles though, so I’m not 100% sure it was as awesome as I thought it was? But she played “I Can’t Wait” by Nu Shooz at exactly the right moment for me, and it sort of shot my mind into space.

Worst show?

Mine or others? Either way, KRS-One at Harper’s Ferry in Boston. I’ll tell you that story another time.

What should we expect from your Irish shows?

Bedlam, baby. Bedlam and furious anger. That’ll be the tail end of my tour with the full band and Scroobius Pip, and we’ll be leaving every last bit of energy onstage, Bob Seger style.

Don’t miss your chance to see B. Dolan live featuring Scroobius Pip on the Speech Development in Dublin’s Workman’s Club on November 20th. Tickets are €14 and are available here

Photo by Michael Brown

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Love, Rosie - Modern love http://state.ie/film/love-rosie-2 http://state.ie/film/love-rosie-2#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:52:32 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66454 Director: Christian Ditter
Cast: Lily Collins, Sam Claflin and Jamie Winstone
Certificate: 15a
Running Time: 103 minutes
Release Date: October 24th

Can a man and a woman be friends or will sex get in the way? In the real world the answer to that is of course they can. Platonic friendships between men and women can exist without sex even being an issue. However this is movie world and Love, Rosie, based on the novel Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern, continues the tradition started by the late Nora Ephron in When Harry Met Sally… that sex will definitely get in the way, it is just a case of when.

The friends in question here are Rosie (Lily Collins) and Alex (Sam Claflin), BFF’s since they were five who have clearly started to grow romantic feelings towards each other as they grow older. We first see them as 18-year olds as they plan to leave their homes in the Dublin part of North London in order to attend college in the Toronto area of Boston, Massachusetts. However after becoming pregnant on the night of their school dance by her date Greg, she decides to stay put. This pregnancy turns out to be the first of many obstacles and cases of bad timing over the next decade that get in the way of Rosie and Alex’s will they or won’t they relationship. (Spoiler alert: they do.)

Of course the conclusion of the film is obvious, there is no way that a film like this would leave its main couple alone and miserable. So it is very important that in order to hold our interest we have to have characters that we can route for. Sadly the characters of Rosie and Alex are just not that interesting for the film to rise above the familiarity of the plot. While Lily Collins is perfectly likeable in her role and does the best that she can, unfortunately Sam Claflin and the character of Alex is never anything more than a little bland. While he has the stammer of a young Hugh Grant, he has only a fraction of the charm.

One of the ways the film tries to differentiate itself from others of its ilk is to include a surprisingly large amount of bawdy humour. While there is nothing wrong with this approach, the problem with the humour in this film, apart from the fact that it is not particularly funny, is with its tone. Pretty much all the jokes are at the expense of Rosie herself and after a while it just starts to feel cruel, as if the film is deriving some kind of pleasure from her misfortunes, which kind of leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

One strange aspect of the film that might bother some people is the fact that for anybody who is familiar with Dublin, the use of locations around the city and passing them off as middle class London can become quite distracting.

Love, Rosie certainly doesn’t break any ground and in the end it feels just like yet another fluffy romantic comedy that never overcomes the familiarity of its generic conventions. That perhaps will probably work for its target audience, it certainly won’t leave any real lasting impression.

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The Book of Life - You're dead! http://state.ie/film/the-book-of-life http://state.ie/film/the-book-of-life#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 08:59:09 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66445 lDirector: Jorge R. Gutierrez
Cast: Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Ron Perlman, Kate de Castillo and Diego Luna
Certificate: G
Running Time: 95 minutes
Release Date: October 24th

Primarily set around the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico where family and friends gather to pray and remember loved ones, who have died, The Book of Life sees two gods; La Muerte, the ruler of the Land of the Remembered (Kate del Castillo); and Xibalba, the ruler of the Land of the Forgotten (Ron Perlman) decide to place a bet on who will rule the Land of the Remembered. After seeing three young kids playing, Manolo (Diego Luna) and Joaquín (Channing Tatum) who are both in love with María (Zoe Saldana), they each bet on one of the boys to marry María when they become adults.

While this set up would seem simple enough, the film adds in the background for the boys. Manolo is from a family of bullfighters but really has a passion for music while Joaquín, who wishes to be a brave adventurous hero like his deceased father, is giving a medal by a disguised Xibalba that will make him immune from harm. Added to that is a bandit Chakal (Dan Navarro) who lays siege to their town upon learning that Joaquín, who grew up to be a famous hero, has the medal, and Manolo’s journey in the Land of the Remembered when he is tricked by Xibalba into sacrificing himself in order to save María. Another layer to it all is the fact that the film is structured as a story being told by a tour guide to a small group of kids at a museum who occasionally interrupt to comment on what is happening. I think it would be understandable if any kids watching the film would ask, “Wait. What?”

Unlike last year’s Free Birds, made by the same animation studio Reel FX, whose stoner influenced writing of time traveling turkeys proved that narrative is extremely important in kids animation, that the animation itself isn’t enough to hold the interest of children, The Book of Life does at least give its characters a clear goal in what they set out to do. Throughout everything we never forget that all the Manolo and Joaquín want to do is to win the heart of María and that María in turn won’t be won over that easily. The characters are given enough charm and likability to hold our interest.

There is also the animation itself that is lively through and at time simple gorgeous to look at. The characters are very nicely designed to resemble wooden puppets and when the action goes to the Land of the Remembered the film uses the skull imagery that synonymous with the Day of the Dead festival to create at place that is spooky but at the same time fun to watch.

One aspect that lets the film down is that it is not as funny as it needs to be. A lot of the jokes fall flat, and its pop culture references, from Mariachi versions of Radiohead’s “Creep” and that Mumford & Sons song that sounds like all the other Mumford & Sons songs, to Ice Cube’s character telling us that it really was a good day, don’t really work.

But while the story is a bit cliché and a bit muddled, The Book of Life just about gets away with it thanks to its colourful charm. It also deserves a lot of praise for talking about death to children in a way that is light-hearted enough to not upset them while being at the same time fully respectful of the issue itself. It’s a tricky balance that it just about pulls it off.

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PolyGlove – Dialler - Irish electronica steps up yet again http://state.ie/features/ep-premiere-polyglove-dialler http://state.ie/features/ep-premiere-polyglove-dialler#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 22:03:59 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66448 We’ve come across a number of sub-genres in electronic music but we have to admit that baroque house is a new one on us. That’s what Dublin duo PolyGlove term their mixture of richly harmonic textures, throbbing bass lines and syncopated drum patterns – all of which can be found on their debut Dialler EP. Released today on Trout Records and mixed by Solar Bears’ Rian Trench, the band launch the record at the Bernard Shaw on November 6th, click here for more details.

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The Hold Steady – Dublin - "A fight against irrelevancy, ageing and disruptive technology.." http://state.ie/live-reviews/the-hold-steady-dublin http://state.ie/live-reviews/the-hold-steady-dublin#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 22:00:45 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66428 It’s kind of appropriate that The Hold Steady land in Dublin on a Saturday night.
The US band’s uncomplicated classic rock and lyrical themes act as both a paean and a celebration of boozy nights out filled with old-fashioned social interaction. What we all did, say, in the 1990s. They have songs that allude to this: ‘Massive Nights’, ‘The Weekenders’ and ‘Sequestered In Memphis’ – a tale of a great night gone wrong – all of which get an outing tonight. Craig Finn – the bespectacled, feverishly animated front man with the Brooklyn-based five-piece refers to this shifting social paradigm early in the gig. He appreciates the effort we made to come out to see them, as nights like these will become rarer, smaller, and less important in coming years. Like a sizeable chunk of the audience, Finn and his band are of a vintage that remembers real human interaction, back when Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat weren’t even proper words and Twitter was what birds did. In a way, it’s already happening – the Academy is only about two thirds full.

But no one seems to mind and, for now at least, the band are determined to party like it’s 1999. There’s a sense with opener ‘I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You’ that we are in for a night when the foot will rarely be taken off the pedal. And why not? Life is too short for a potential mid-set dip in momentum. There are a few tracks from recent sixth album Teeth Dreams but the biggest cheers are reserved for older cuts like the aforementioned ‘Sequestered in Memphis’, ‘Stuck Between Stations’ and ‘Constructive Summer’. They churn out a generous twenty songs or so in quick succession, smoothly segueing from one to another like a great mixtape, ending with a rabble-rousing and appropriate ‘Stay Positive’. There’s no studied cool here, just unfussy rock ‘n’ roll played with joy and without pretense.

The encore ends with a boisterous cover of ‘American Music’ by the Violent Femmes where they are joined by support act the So So Glos, one last sing-along before closing time. It all feels like a defiant party, a fight against irrelevancy, ageing and disruptive technology. Many in the audience will trundle on home to tweet that the Hold Steady are still one of the great live acts around. The band, though, will undoubtedly settle into a pub somewhere for a potential lost night in Dublin, providing Finn with lyrical fodder for the next album. Long may they party.

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Polarbear – Dublin - Word up http://state.ie/live-reviews/polarbear-dublin http://state.ie/live-reviews/polarbear-dublin#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:16:37 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66436 Sometimes it’s good to push your own boundaries. For some, the idea of a spoken word gig is a daunting one. It’s a unique medium, offering perhaps the most direct relationship between performer and artist. There’s nowhere for either party to hide – no music to get swept up in, no wall of noise, not even a guitar to shelter behind. Even a comedy gig, when it’s going well, ebbs and flows as a communal experience. When it’s all about the words, however, the experience is laid bare. There are plenty who are happy to open themselves up, though, if the success of the inaugural Lingo Festival is anything to go by. For three days, a variety of venues are buzzing to the sound of people speaking – from David Norris to Temper-Mental MissElayneous. The big show of the weekend is a rare live appearance from Steven Camden, aka Polarbear, at Smock Alley.

What follows is simply astonishing. We get a ten minute preamble that tells how he went from performing his first piece at an open mic night in his native Birmingham to playing Glastonbury in the space of three gigs, before we’re into the heart of the matter. An hour listening to stories largely based on the same subject – one man’s life – might sound a potential trial but there is not one second that isn’t enthralling. Veering from childhood to the present day, often within the space of one poem, he can make you laugh and then cry with just one well crafted sentence.

Ironically, it’s also a very musical evening. Finding his way into a record shop job after being caught shoplifting a Clash album, a listen to Midnight Marauders by A Tribe Called Quest opened him up to a new world, one where hip-hop would become his guiding light. You can hear it in his delivery, a natural flow forming from the the rhythm of speech. Reminiscent of Mike Skinner before he lost his way in a mess of celebrity, these are tales of the real streets. Highlights include a tale of how NWA’s Straight Outta Compton helped him through the news that his parents were to celebrate (complete with his mum taking the part of Dr Dre), his eight year old son’s own attempts at rhyming and his first kiss at 15 – with the girl who is his partner to this day.

We emerge, if not with our lives changed, then certainly having experienced a moment of clarity. One man, a few sheets of paper and a series of stories have opened our eyes to something new. Perhaps it’s all that we’ll ever need.

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Kormac – Doorsteps - "One of the most inventive releases this year..." http://state.ie/album-reviews/kormac-doorsteps http://state.ie/album-reviews/kormac-doorsteps#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:48:11 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66438 They may only be two little letters, but the title DJ (or rather lack of it) when it comes to Kormac and his studio work is a crucial one. Always as much a musician as a player of other people’s records, his move from the cut and paste sampling approach of debut album Word Play to his all singing, all dancing Big Band – en route taking in his AV show – indicates an artist with a genuine vision. Doorsteps backs up that theory and then some, a record that will surely emerge as one of the most inventive releases this year.

This time the approach has shifted to a collection of guest vocalists performing against a backdrop that mixes live and sampled sounds. The guest list is varied, from Speech Debelle and Micah P Hinson to Irvine Welsh and Vyvienne Long, the mood of the record shifting accordingly. Hip-hop is clearly a major influence but Kormac never lets himself be painted into a corner, equally as happy providing a subtle soundtrack to Welsh’s lecture on modern life and a quiet / loud / quiet dynamic for Long’s ‘Drown Me’ as he is a cheery big beat riff on ‘Superhero’.

The album stands out, however, due to Kormac’s masterful use of the resources at his disposal. When lovely opener ‘Wake Up’ breaks down midway through, the last thing you might expect to hear is a tuba yet that’s just what you get and, what’s more, it sounds completely natural. Those brass flourishes throughout give Doorsteps an energy and life all of its own, driven by the perfect combination of humans and machines. Clever enough to sound dumb in parts, the record builds layer upon layer – with each listen revealing a new dimension. A traditional DJ he may not be, Kormac nevertheless is a superstar in the making.

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Onra live show & Nas documentary double bill at Sugar Club http://state.ie/news/onra-live-show-nas-documentary-double-bill-at-sugar-club http://state.ie/news/onra-live-show-nas-documentary-double-bill-at-sugar-club#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:39:24 +0000 http://state.ie/?p=66430 Taking advantage of the long weekend, Choice Cuts are hosting a interesting night at the Sugar Club on Sunday. It kicks off with a showing of Time Is Illmatic, a documentary telling the story of Nas and the making of his classic album, followed by a live set from Onra – the globetrotting producer who has staked his claim as one of the most exciting beat-makers of the past few years, thanks to releases like his Chinoseries collections (made from scratch with samples found while traveling Asia) and the acclaimed Long Distance album.

Doors are at 9pm and it runs till 3am.

Dogfish presents, ONRA in Norwich. from SpindleProductions on Vimeo.

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