The pick of the film festival fare
POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, USA (2011)
Morgan Spurlock put his body on the line and risked cardiovascular meltdown in 2004 when he ate only McDonald’s for a month and documented it for Super Size Me.
He’s back this year with his attack on the billion-dollar business that is product placement in
Tabloid Hollywood. The title itself should tell you how widespread product placement is and reportedly, Spurlock’s entire movie was funded by sponsorship.
The film-maker even managed to convince the city of Altoona, Pennsylvania (home of Sheetz, one of the movie’s major sponsors) to officially change its name to ‘POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Pennsylvania’ for 60 days to help promote the film.
Spurlock asks a simple question among all the marketing antics – backed by the right brands, could a documentary reach the same marketing success as Hollywood’s latest blockbuster?
A great satirical look at the widespread use of advertising in our everyday lives.
Screenings: Embassy (Aug 3, 6.15pm, Aug 4, 11am). Matt’s pick: The Guard, Ireland (2011) There are enough connections to In Bruges – one of 2009’ s best, funniest pictures – to put John Michael McDonagh’s The Guard at the top of my festival hit list.
Brendan Gleeson in an odd couple routine, Gaelic gallows banter and bursts of sobering violence – I’m sold. Not to mention, McDonagh’s brother Martin directed the Gleeson/ Colin Farrell hitmen-stuck-in-Belgium classic.
The Guard sees Gleeson as a bullish Irish guard posted to the boondocks of the Connemara region. It’s a quiet existence, where he can happily throw his weight around, that is until a body washes up and he’s forced to work with Don Cheadle’s FBI agent.
The buddy cop genre has been given some appalling treatment in recent times ( Cop Out anyone?), but the buzz is positive that McDonagh has crafted a refreshing, rollicking misadventure.
Screenings: Penthouse (Aug 6, 8.30pm), Embassy ( Aug 10, 3.45pm; Aug 12, 9.15pm). Ben’s pick: Tabloid, USA (2010) Its not often a film literally saves a life but that could be said of Errol Morris’ 1988 documentary The Thin Blue Line.
The evidence put forward in that film helped secure the release POM Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. from prison of a man convicted of killing a Dallas policeman in 1976.
Errol Morris’ latest offering is a more lighthearted affair. Tabloid shines a spotlight on the sordid antics of a former American beauty queen in 1970s England. Joyce McKinney found herself at the centre of a tabloid storm after being accused of kidnapping and imprisoning her Mormon ex-lover in the name of true love.
This is just the first of many riotous revelations the documentary serves up, many of them relayed with disarming candour by the somewhat delusional McKinney herself. Truth takes a backseat as this unhinged attention seeker collides with the gossip-hungry UK tabloids in this hilarious tale of how a scandal created England’s first Z-list celebrity.
Screenings: Penthouse (Aug 2, 9pm), Paramount (Aug 4, 4pm), Embassy (Aug 6, 9.15pm).
sensation Joyce McKinney.
Sell out: Morgan Spurlock puts the spotlight on product placement in Hollywood movies in
Pride of the Irish: Brendan Gleeson has his hands full in The Guard.