St. Patrick’s Day Flix Spotlight: Circle of Friends

Hello readers, are you wearing green today? I’m not the least bit Irish but hey, everyone’s Irish on March 17, right? At least that’s what this Guinness Storehouse sign in Dublin says 🙂

Well, I was going to post a clip of a movie with the word ‘green’ on the title, as there are quite a few: How Green Was My Valley, Green Acres, The Green Mile, Green Card, Fried Green Potatoes, and the one playing in the theater right now, Green Zone. Well, the only one I’ve seen and liked out of these is Stephen King’s prison drama The Green Mile, but given the subject matter, it might be a bit too morose to celebrate this day.

CircleOfFriends_photo
So instead, I picked this one set in Ireland that happens to be one of my favorites: Circle of Friends. I’m a big fan of Minnie Driver, and this is her first lead role in a feature film after numerous TV work in her native England. Set in the 50s, it centers on only child Benny Hogan (Driver) and her childhood friends Eve Malone (Belfast-born Geraldine O’Rawe) and Nan Mahon (Saffron Burrows) as the three begin college life in Dublin. It’s there that she meets the handsome rugby star Jack Foley (Chris O’Donnell) and she falls for him … hard. It’s a touching movie that speaks about friendship, love, family, betrayal, and ultimately forgiveness.

I just saw this again for the second time not that long ago and I just realized Colin Firth plays the cad Simon Westward and another Belfast native Ciaran Hinds as Professor Flynn whom every female student has a crush on.

This fan-made video features the song is You’re the One sung by Shane McGowan and Maire Brennan, which played during the film’s credits:


Alan Cumming
is also pretty memorable (not exactly in a good way) as the creepy slime-ball who has the hots for Benny. The location is definitely a star in its own right here, with the lush Irish hills and the ever-so-charming small Irish towns. Oh and the music definitely puts you in a Gaelic mood.

Dear readers, whatever you’re doing today, may I leave you with this Irish blessing:

May there always be work for your hands to do.
May your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine on your windowpane.
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

(courtesy of IrishPath.com)

Conspicuous Trailer of the Week: The Eclipse

When I first saw a glimpse of the poster and the name Eclipse, I kind of brushed it off thinking it was just another installment of Twilight. It turns out this one is as far away from the teen vampire flick as it comes, thank goodness! The only thing it has in common is the supernatural theme, which in the case of The Eclipse, it looks like more of a psychological thriller than a out-and-out horror flick.


Here’s the full synopsis:
THE ECLIPSE tells the story of Michael Farr (Ciarán Hinds), a teacher raising his two kids alone since his wife died two years earlier. Lately he has been seeing and hearing strange things late at night in his house. He isn’t sure if he is simply having terrifying nightmares or if his house is haunted. Each year, the seaside town where Michael lives hosts an international literary festival, attracting writers from all over the world. Michael works as a volunteer for the festival and is assigned the attractive Lena Morelle (Iben Hjejle), an author of books about ghosts and the supernatural, to look after. They become friendly and he eagerly tells her of his experiences. For the first time he has met someone who can accept the reality of what has been happening to him. However, Lena’s attention is pulled elsewhere. She has come to the festival at the bidding of world-renowned novelist Nicholas Holden (Aidan Quinn), with whom she had a brief affair the previous year. He has fallen in love with Lena and is going through a turbulent time, eager to leave his wife to be with her. But all Lena is trying to do is extricate herself from this mess and just get through the next few days. As the festival progresses, the trajectories of these three people draw them into a life-altering collision. Embellished by the supernatural, THE ECLIPSE is a film about the challenges of love, fear of the unknown and release from the burden of grief.

Irish actor Ciarán Hinds won Best Actor award at Tribeca Film Festival last year. He first caught my eye in The Phantom of the Opera, but he’s the kind of chameleon-like character actor like Mark Strong who’s actually been in many movies I’ve seen before. In fact, he’s always delivered solid performances in films like Veronica Guerin, Munich, Miami Vice, There Will Be Blood and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Not to mention his outstanding portrayal of Julius Caesar in HBO’s Rome. His death scene in that miniseries really gave me the chills.

The actress looks so familiar to me I swore I’ve seen her in something recently. Sure enough, Danish actress Iben Hjejle was John Cusack’s girlfriend Laura in High Fidelity. I haven’t seen Aidan Quinn in anything since Legends of the Fall, but he’s apparently been keeping busy in a variety of movies and TV work.

The trailer looks really spooky and intriguing, the seaside Irish town location adds to the eerie and somber tone that’s perfect for the story. According to FirstShowing, Magnolia Films is bringing the movie to theaters starting March 26th.