Author Ronan Doyle

Ronan Doyle is an Irish freelance film critic, whose work has appeared on Indiewire, FilmLinc, Film Ireland, FRED Film Radio, and otherwhere. He recently contributed a chapter on Arab cinema to the book Celluloid Ceiling, and is currently entangled in an all-encompassing volume on the work of Woody Allen. When not watching movies, reading about movies, writing about movies, or thinking about movies, he can be found talking about movies on Twitter. He is fuelled by tea and has heard of sleep, but finds the idea frightfully silly.

Reviews Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 9.33.16 PM

There’s a marked irony to the way the traditional folk croon of “I Went Down in the Valley to Pray” opens After the Dance, distinctly downcast and far removed from the nostalgic sublime evoked in O Brother, Where Art Thou? for “them good old ways”. There’s little such feeling among the family Asquith as mother Pat travels to Ireland to . . .

Reviews Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 9.23.09 PM

“Everybody seems to be confused tonight,” a character coyly quips at a mid-point juncture of She’s Funny That Way, and it’s a wonder she doesn’t turn to wink at the audience as she does so. Proudly tossing more balls in the air than it—or, really, we—can ever really hope to juggle, this overdue return to the big screen from film-fanatic-cum-maker Peter …

Reviews Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 6.50.39 PM

Imagine an E.T.-Cliffhanger crossover with Samuel L. Jackson as the extra-terrestrial and a little Finnish boy as Sylvester Stallone and you might not be terribly far away from Big Game, Jalmari Helander’s endearingly unoriginal follow-up to the bonkers breakthrough that was 2010’s sadistic-Santa romp Rare Exports. Gleefully riffing on the kind of absurd action cinema since superseded by superheroes innumerable, this snow-set showdown between capital-T …

Reviews Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 6.27.00 PM

There’s a point in Burying the Ex, Joe Dante’s latest would-be horror-comedy romp, where Max, the genre-obsessed clerk at its centre, justifies his fondness: “It challenges us to stop accepting the world, and y’know, face our inner monster, and finds the strengths to conquer it”. There’s an unseemly cynicism to his girlfriend’s response when she labels this “a bit of a stretch”, but faced with a film like this it gets easier to agree. Whether intent on accessing that …

Reviews Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 2.00.54 PM

It’s not only the Lithuanian Department of Tourism that’s likely to take umbrage at Anarchy Parlor, debut directorial duo Devon Downs and Kenny Gage’s feebly familiar effort to cash in on the Hostel-inspired torture-tourism fad: this is a humdrum horror so bereft of wit or wile its tedium transcends all borders. This is the kind of horror whose sanguine sensibilities are often dismissed as pornographic, but that’s a gross misunderstanding both of the intrinsic intent of ….

Reviews Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 1.04.33 AM

Code Unknown, Michael Haneke’s masterpiece of miscommunication, concludes with the unsubtitled shot of a mute child signing, his half-minute gesticulations an evidently articulate evocation of a meaning to which the great majority of the audience, of course, will have no access. It’s the ideal bookend, together with the charades-centric opening scene, for a film fixated not only with the limits of language, but with the cinema’s capacity to transcend them too. That’s ….

Film Festival theworldismine_1-1

“This one’s for Ioana and Oana” goes the CRBL song which energetically opens The World Is Mine, an ironically-titled treat that speaks just as directly to the young women of Romania as that thumping track it uses time and again. It’s not just for an excess of aquatic imagery that debut director Nicolae Constantin Tănase manages to make something of a…

Film Festival thekingssurrender2_1-1

“Fearful is the last place of injur’d innocence,” goes the Goethe quote on which The King’s Surrender opts to open, an amusingly ambitious announcement of dramatic intent for a film that feels like a German The Sweeney. This is wholly naff nonsense that ought to know better, a perfectly passable tense thriller whose damaging drawback is never admitting it’s…

Film Festival melbourne_1-1

Much as their primarily pre-release publication and abundant embrace of scaling systems may seem to suggest otherwise, reviews serve a purpose beyond just audience guidance: its adjectival associations might have earned it a negative name, but criticism is—or at least ought to be—about a great deal more than whether or not a given film is any good at all…

Film Festival melody_1-1

From the overtly symbolic overhead establishing shot that captures the titular protagonist curled in the foetal position to the closing movement that ludicrously literalises the thematic trajectory of the film that falls between, Melody is a movie that haplessly tosses ideas and imagery at the screen in the futile hope they hold. They never do for more than a…

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