(2004, US, 102 min) Dir Roger Bertle. Cast Michelle Rodriguez, Treat Williams, LL Cool J.
Ghost Ship knock off. Rodriguez is hard-ass extreme sailing champ Mickey Valdez whose one-woman boat is torn up in a freak mid-Atlantic storm while she’s trying to break a circumnavigation record. Then, from amid the howling winds, appears the titular Hell Boat. Rescued from the wreckage by a rope ladder thrown from the ship, she climbs aboard to find it deserted. After a period of exploration and some routine jump scares, company arrives in the shape of Williams and LL Cool J as hi-tech modern day pirates who, with their anonymous cannon-fodder flunkies, are searching for the legendary treasure that is supposedly stored on the damned vessel. Suddenly Alien becomes Aliens when the boat begins to fight back and within no time the heads of said anonymous flunkies are rolling in fine style. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves bar Rodriguez in this one – an effective roller-coaster until the inevitable CGI excesses of the final five minutes.
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(1932, Ire, 32 min, b/w) Dir Seamus de Pascal.
A kind of realist/surrealist documentary that suggests Buñuel on holiday in Sligo, the mysterious (and pseudonymous) de Pascal serves up a horse’s lucky gold shoe (he won’t plough without it), a village of blind crones stitching frocks for cigar smoking clergy and – in the most astonishingly realised vignette – a family using a beached Spanish galleon as a house complete with their washing strung between the masts to dry and children sleeping in the barrels of its long abandoned cannons. Despite the fancy on display de Pascal – here helming his only film – never shies from the squalor of rural Ireland in his time. The film ends with a hilltop family, scanning the horizon for the flock of loaves suggested in the title but doesn’t reveal whether this is a hunger fuelled delusion or whether this is an Ireland so poor that even the bread migrates to warmer climes.