Blog : Great Storytelling

The Cinema of Camaraderie – Howard Hawks and Good Gangs

The Cinema of Camaraderie – Howard Hawks and Good Gangs

I recently started watching The West Wing for the first time. It was one of those nights when we didn’t have a show to watch, and flipping through Netflix, we thought, why not just watch one episode of this.

Now 20 episodes later, I’m rather hooked, and delighted there are another half-dozen seasons to watch. Why am I enjoying it so much? Yes, Aaron Sorkin‘s fast-paced dialogue is sharp and delightfully witty, I am completely aligned with its humanist and liberal values and morals, it is fascinating to watch the inner sanctum process of the Oval Office, and Martin Sheen is the Irish-American President I’d be happy to vote for (if this Irishman was an American citizen). And that’s all part of it. But ultimately what keeps me coming back, what makes me gleeful about the show, is that it is essentially, moment-to-moment, a story about camaraderie.

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Nine Old Movies I Love to Rewatch at Christmastime

Nine Old Movies I Love to Rewatch at Christmastime

People who know me well know the rather embarrassing fact that ever since I became a budding cinema buff in my teens, I have had one very important Christmas tradition. I sit down somewhere very comfortable, not to be disturbed, with a hearty cup of tea and some tasty biscuits (let’s say a mint Viscount), a fresh highlighter, and the holiday double edition of the RTE Guide (Ireland’s version of the TV Guide) and proceed to go through all the movies on TV over the Christmas period, and highlight the ones I’m planning to watch.

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10 Theatre Companies That Inspire Me

10 Theatre Companies That Inspire Me

Today’s blog is a very fun one for me, because I will be talking about ten theatre companies around the world that have really inspired me. While I deeply admire the giants like the National in England and the Abbey in Ireland, and of course get a kick out of a fun spectacular on Broadway, I am most attracted to medium-sized theatre companies that develop and present engaging new writing or provide a bold, exciting take on classics and adaptations, and deliver a warm, welcoming experience for their audience.

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A Song of Lost Love One Spring – Learning Storytelling from Sinatra

A Song of Lost Love One Spring – Learning Storytelling from Sinatra

One of the things that drives me batty is watching people sing, when I don’t believe they believe what they are singing. Maybe it is the actor in me, but I want a singer to be a storyteller. I really don’t care how many “runs” or big notes you can show off with – what gets the hair to stand up on the back of my neck is when you carry me with the truth of the words you are singing. Because music can very easily manipulate our emotions, so when you marry soaring musical beauty to a genuine personal journey in a song, then something really special can happen.

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Grumpy Integrity: An Appreciation of Russell Crowe

Grumpy Integrity: An Appreciation of Russell Crowe

There is only one movie star currently working who I will watch in any movie just because he is in it, and that is Russell Crowe. But a lot of people seem to be kind of down on him, I think maybe because he’s a bit of a prickly pear in real life, a bit of a bear with a sore head in the china shop of celebrity. Having never met the man, I have no idea what he is like in real life, but I think he’s a terrific actor, who makes strong transformative choices, is willing to be unlikeable as a character, and is an extremely smart and generous storyteller.

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Errol Flynn – Underrated Hero

Errol Flynn – Underrated Hero

For some reason, when people talk about the great movie actors, they never mention Errol Flynn. They’re wrong but I think I know why. His reputation as the rascal, the “In Like Flynn” womanizer, the hard-partying drinker whose Hollywood Hills home was self-titled “Cirrhosis by the Sea,” the man who would title his cheeky memoirs “My Wicked, Wicked Ways,” goes before him, and at best people regard him as a good-looking chap, with a decent handle on a sword, who got lucky and had a great nightlife, occasionally turning up to play the same part in a bunch of swashbuckling hokum. Okay, he may not be as transformative with accents and physicality as Daniel Day-Lewis, as deep-digging as Robert De Niro or as plainly bold as Marlon Brando, but Errol’s a very fine storyteller, with surprising empathy and vulnerability, and there’s no film star who, when watching his movies, makes me smile more or who gets me as giddy at the prospect of a good time as when I see Errol Flynn appear in the starting credits. In short, he’s one of my faves, and I’d like to try and tell you why.

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