Oscar-winning curmudgeon Russell Crowe’s directorial debut, The Water Diviner (April 3) hits the multiplexes this month.
The history-heavy plot follows Aussie farmer Joshua Connor (Crowe) whose 3 sons leave the farm to fight in the Great War. Alas, they are all killed during the disastrous Battle of Gallipoli in 1919 and are eventually followed by their mother who dies of grief, leaving Joshua all alone with his memories.
Joshua decides to put his water divining (which is when one searches for water with nothing but a forked stick and some psychic skill) skills to use, packs up and heads for Turkey, determined to get some closure. After an arduous journey, he arrives in Turkey and immediately begins battling military bureaucracy for the right to see his sons’ graves. His fatherly grief and determination to find his boys wins over the officers, both Turkish and Australian, who are scarred by the conflict themselves. Soon Joshua discovers that one of his sons may actually still be alive in a POW camp and with hope renewed, sets off to find him.
Though it won’t be to everyone’s taste, The Water Diviner is a plucky, proudly Australia epic commemorating the country’s losses during WWI.
Next up, some comparatively light-hearted, empty-headed fare in the form of Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (April 10). John Cusack is missing this time but don’t worry, it’s still terrible even without him.
The plot, if you can call it that, follows on from the last HTTM: obnoxious Lou (Rob Corddry) is a millionaire mogul (having invented the Lou-gle search engine) whose empire is crumbling, Nick (The Office’s Craig Robinson) is a successful musician passing off other people’s songs as his own (like Lisa Loeb’s Stay). Lou’s son Jacob (also from The Office) still hates him for being an asshole. Such an ashole that no-one is surprised when he gets shot in the penis(!), but since the movie has to last at least 90 minutes, Jacob and Nick decide to prolong Lou’s life and the film, by shoving him into the Hot Tub Time Machine. So, back in time they hurtle to save Lou from getting shot in the cock so they can continue on making HTTM sequels forever. Yay!
Yes, it’s terrible but so is everything, so why not?
Finally this month an Irish movie, Glassland (April 17). Bleak kitchen-sink drama following John (award-winner Jack Reynor), a young taxi-driver working his wheels off to look after his mess of an alcoholic mother, Jean (Toni Collette).
The camera follows John as he ferries depressed and depressing characters around the city and then comes home to vomit-covered mother who needs immediate medical attention. The doctor tells her she needs to give up the Lidl vodka, get herself into rehab and find herself a new kidney.
The task of the funding Muriel’s stint in rehab – which costs €8k – falls to John, as does the responsibility for everything else. Sad scenes explaining his mother’s slide into alcoholism – she couldn’t handle having a child with Downs Syndrome, husband left her, etc – are interspersed with quiet scenes of John ferrying the dregs of society, as well as his best friend Shane, (played by the excellent Will Poulter) to the various destinations in their weary lives. Oppressive, but well-acted stuff.
When the film debuted at Sundance critics were underwhelmed by the ambiguous, somewhat confusing ending. But will Irish audience feel differently? There’s only one way to find out!