CAPSULE REVIEWS: The third annual Irish American Movie Hooley
The third annual Irish American Movie Hooley is happening this weekend at the Gene Siskel Film Center from September 29-October 1st. This very writer and website was both lucky and honored to cover this event last year and has again been granted coverage access this year.
The Irish American Movie Hooley is comprised of three feature films, two of which are directorial debuts, all of whom are making their Chicago premieres. All screenings and events are at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Tickets are available through the Gene Siskel Film Center’s website or through the individual films’ web links.
The event is organized by local radio personality Mike Houlihan, Hibernian Transmedia, and Siskel Center program director Barbara Scharres, and is presented by the tasty sponsorship of 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey. Here are my capsule reviews of the three films. Get your Irish on at the Siskel Film Center this weekend!
THE DUNNING MAN
The Dunning Man is the film adaptation of a series of short stories from Kevin Fortuna. Directed by Michael Clayton and starring James Carpinello (TV’s Gotham), the film is an up-and-down slow boiler looking at the sunny and seedy side of Atlantic City bookended often with nostalgic callbacks to the gambling city’s former hey-day. Carpinello stars as a broke condo superintendent looking to manage his one income-earning property and shoveled problems of its wide range of residents, ranging from rap stars and saintly single mothers to Chechen fetishists and mobsters. Crime mixes with karma for a film that can be terse one moment and exaggerated the next. Very good ensemble acting and location atmosphere is on display.
I’m going to quickly call this the gem of the event. Colin Broderick directs and calls his own number as the near-autobiographical lead, a struggling actor/writer hoping to get his work noticed while working construction to make ends meet. He is joined by a rich ensemble of John Duddy, John McConnell, John Keating, and Rachel Broderick as either fellow aspiring talents, their boss, or the love interest that urges him to keep pushing. Cheeky humor combines with stiff drinks and stiffer doses of reality to paint a poignant and poetic slice-of-life for proud heritage, big dreams, and working-class values.
THE YOUNG OFFENDERS
The revelations of this road movie and miniature coming-of-age story of two derelict teens are the two leads, Alex Murphy and Chris Walley. This is the debut feature for both and they are a riot and a wealth of energetic talent. The two, with their pubescent wannabe mustaches and tough talk, are petty kids that steal bikes and raise hell for their single parents in Cork City. When millions of dollars of cocaine bales wash up on the nearby shores, these boys see dollar signs, even with a gung-ho cop on their tails. Zany hijinks fill The Young Offenders, the directorial debut of TV vet Peter Foott, from top to bottom. You know the sarcastic dialogue is deliciously thick with brogue when the English dialogue needs subtitles.