Sitting Down With: Rika Argadireja, Metadata Team Lead

August 03

Next up in the ‘Sitting Down With’ series is Inflight Dublin’s Metadata Team Lead and expert, Rika Argadireja. She discusses the importance of high-quality metadata in the IFE industry, challenges faced, and predicted trends for the future of IFE metadata. Enjoy!

How much importance is placed upon IFE metadata when it comes to working with airline clients?

Metadata management for inflight entertainment is essential – without good metadata, content may never be chosen to watch! Any data that we put onboard will be seen by the client and most importantly, their passengers, so it is a core selling tool to entice passengers to view the content. At Inflight Dublin, we ensure that any information, synopsis, or images we provide are of the highest quality and are age and culture appropriate based on the airline’s requirements. Furthermore, we do a number of internal quality checks before signing off the metadata to be delivered to the airline.

 

What are the main challenges the Metadata team faces each cycle and how do you tackle them?

No two days are the same in the metadata department. We face a range of challenges during every update, from managing strict overlapping deadlines during busier months, to having to edit the content images we’re putting onboard so they’re SFW (safe for work). Fortunately, we can rely on our ever-improving time management and task planning, and there’s nothing a little Photoshop magic can’t solve!

Is there any unique processes or methods that IFD uses to ensure the delivery of accurate and timely metadata?

To ensure complete accuracy, we do thorough quality control for every airline client. Once we’ve completed the metadata entry on the integrator’s documents or portals, we would manually check the information we’ve uploaded, make any necessary changes, and double-check again after any corrections have been made. We also work with other internal departments in Inflight Dublin, such as the Account Management department, to do final metadata checks before signing off.

And to deliver metadata in a timely manner, we meticulously record and track all the deadlines we have for the month in our internal system. The Metadata team also work very closely together and keep a constant communication stream open to work as efficiently as possible – in some instances where there are tight deadlines, the team will work collaboratively with tasks so deadlines are always met without any delay.

 

Do you predict any changes or trends in the future of metadata in terms of what passengers expect or want to see on their seatback screens or personal devices?

Another responsibility of the Metadata team is the managing of our clients’ microsites. These have become even more popular to have as it allows airlines to provide an up-to-date and interactive content catalogue to excite their passengers before their flight and encourage engagement with the system.

The popularity of Wireless Inflight Entertainment systems is also growing rapidly. These require additional Metadata requirements that Inflight Dublin has extensive experience with, particularly with our own wireless IFE system, Everhub. I think passengers are starting to expect multiple ways to view and learn about the content on board, such as they do at home. This will result in more thought going into how the content and metadata is displayed and accessed by passengers to give them the most immersive and enjoyable inflight entertainment experience.

 

Want to learn more about Inflight Dublin’s services? Get in touch mail@inflightdublin.com

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What You Watching?: Current Trends in Film

February 28

2019 seems a long time ago, right? Back then, it was smooth sailing for the movie industry:

  • Audience numbers were up.
  • Records were getting smashed at the box office.
  • And fresh content was being greenlit left, right and centre.

Then a certain virus came on the scene and caused all sorts of trouble. Cinemas shut, productions stopped, and delays ensued. The world of movies – from creation to release to consumption – was turned upside-down.

Fast forward to today, some two-ish years later: where are we? Has the industry recovered, or is it stuck in the doldrums? Have any new trends emerged? What’s changed, and what’s stayed the same?

Let’s take a look.

 

The Return of the Blockbuster

2019 was a big one for blockbusters. Here are the top ten performers at the box office, according to Box Office Mojo:

What a time it was: nine titles broke the billion-dollar barrier, and the top two, Avengers: Endgame and The Lion King, are currently the 2nd and 8th highest-grossing films of all time.

As Variety reported here, the global box office return was a monstrous $42.5 billion – a new record that, I suspect, will last for some time.

Compare this to 2020.

The best-performing Hollywood title, Bad Boys For Life, brought in $42.5 million – less than a sixth of what the previous year’s number one (Avengers: Endgame) accrued. Tenet‘s return amounted to $36.3 million: Chris Nolan’s lowest since 2006’s The Prestige.

Overall, as per Deadline, the global gross dropped 71% to $12.4 billion from its 2019 heights. Ouch.

And 2021? The data certainly makes for interesting reading:

The year’s story was, of course, Spider-Man: No Way Home. The 6th highest-grossing movie ever (this could still improve: it’s still in the cinemas!), it outperformed its predecessor, Spider-man: Far From Home, by nearly $700K – despite the restrictions around the world. Excellent work, Spidey.

No Time to Die did very well too. The oft-delayed conclusion to Daniel Craig’s Bond stint was met with near-universal praise, and brought in the second-highest gross for an English language title.

Overall, it says something when the 9th best performing title of 2021 (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) brings in more than 2020’s number one. That “something” being:

  • The movie industry is gradually recovering.
  • Audiences are hungry for movies.
  • The pull of the Hollywood blockbuster remains strong.

 

Marvel’s Enduring Popularity

According to the 2021 data, four of the year’s top 10 performers were part of the Marvel canon:

  • Spider-Man: No Way Home
  • Venom: Let There be Carnage
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and
  • Eternals.

And then there’s the aforementioned Black Widow, which just missed out. Combined, the total gross for all five amounted to a princely sum of around $3.5 billion.

Evidently, fourteen years after Iron Man, the MCU still has immense pulling-power worldwide.

And, looking at the upcoming Marvel movies in 2022, this isn’t going to change anytime soon: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of MadnessThor: Love and Thunder, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever are all on the way, with more in the pipeline for 2023 and 2024.

 

Movie Genres

A lot has changed over the last two years, but then again, some things have stayed the same: like our love of explosions, guns and car chases

Action is, by some distance, the most popular genre globally.

Nine out of ten of 2021’s best performers were action-orientated, and the likes of Dune, Ghostbusters: Afterlife and The Matrix: Resurrections all made the top 30.

It’s a similar story in 2022. Chinese blockbuster Water Gate Bridge leads the way, with a hefty gross of $480 million. Bucking the trend of video game movies underachieving at the box office, Unchartered has a gross of $140 million (so far), while The 355 sits comfortably in the top ten too.

Onto animation. 2019 was an incredible year for the genre: seven made the overall top 20, and two (The Lion King and Frozen II) accrued the 2nd and 3rd top grosses of the year.

2020 was challenging, but things are getting better. Raya and the Last Dragon, Encanto and Sing 2 did well in 2021, and with Lightyear, Sonic 2, Spider-man: Across the Spiderverse, Minions: The Rise of Kru, and Pinocchio on the horizon, 2022 could – whisper it – see a return to 2019 levels.

And what of the music biopic? So hot a few years back I even wrote a post about it (click here if you’re interested).

It does seem that demand has cooled lately. The Aretha Franklin movie, Respect, did decent business, but overall 2020 and 2021 were barren years for the subgenre. The heady days of Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody seem a while ago now.

However, there’s some in the pipeline for 2022: Austin Butler’s Elvis looks promising, and word is there’s an Ozzy Osboure movie on the way too. So you never know. Like Queen at Live Aid, a comeback could be on the cards.

Last but not least – horror.

With the likes of A Quiet Place, Midsommar, Get Out! and Hereditary, it’s been a vintage few years for the genre, both with the movie-going public and the critics.

The trend continued in 2021: A Quiet Place: Part 2 was the 14th highest-grossing movie of that year, and Halloween Kills exceeded expectations, bringing in $132 million.

However, most impressive (and perhaps surprising) of all is the confusingly-titled Scream: the 5th instalment in the self-referential slasher series, it’s the second best performing Hollywood film of 2022 so far.

 

The Rise of the Non-English Movie

When Parasite won the Best Foreign Language Golden Globe in 2020, director Bong Joon-ho memorably said this:

“Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

Bong Joohn-ho, Director of Parasite

So, two years on, did we, as an audience, get over the barrier? Was Parasite the watershed cultural moment that many thought it would be?

Well, sort of.

On the one hand, there’s little argument that Hollywood titles still dominate the global box office. For instance, in 2021, just three of the top ten weren’t in English.

Still, it’s an upswing when you consider that, in 2018 and 2019, every title was an English-language one.

Also, as mentioned, the Mandarin movie Water Gate Bridge currently sits atop this year’s box office rankings, while behind it in 2nd is another from China – Too Cool to Kill.

The signs for independent features are encouraging too.

Pedro Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers and Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari outperformed a number of big-budget Hollywood titles, while Das perfekte Geheimnis was the second highest-grosser in Germany, surpassing F9: The Fast Saga and Dune.

All positive signs, for sure. We mightn’t have clambered over the one-inch barrier just yet, but we’re getting there.

 

Final Thoughts

So, strange and exciting times in the movie world.

Some things have changed, like the increased popularity of non-English titles, while others have stayed the same: the dominance of the action genre and the demand for Marvel titles, for instance.

Also, although numbers aren’t what they were in 2018 and 2019, it’s still encouraging to see grosses recover significantly in 2021 from the miserable lows of 2020.

And there are more reasons for optimism in 2022.

Scream and Unchartered‘s unexpected box office triumphs are a welcome boost, and there are so many big hitters still to come: The BatmanDoctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Top Gun: Maverick, Jurassic World: Dominion and Lightyear, to name a few.

Whatever happens, one thing’s for sure: it’s going to be interesting!

If you’d like to learn how we source the most on-trend content for our clients – and how we can do the same for your airline – get in touch at mail@inflightdublin.com.

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ASKY partners with Inflight Dublin as its content and wireless IFE provider

October 07

ASKY, The Pan African airline, partners with Inflight Dublin for the provision of wireless Inflight Entertainment (IFE) and content services on its fleet of Boeing 737s New Generation aircraft.

Commencing this last quarter of 2021, the three-year partnership sees Inflight Dublin providing its wireless IFE solution, Everhub™, across ASKY airlines’ B737 fleet. Inflight Dublin’s market-leading Everhub™ software platform will excite passengers through a range of engaging features. The content catalogue consists of Hollywood movies, popular TV Shows, local African programmes and documentaries, music and games.

ASKY airlines will also be utilizing Inflight Dublin’s bespoke data analytics platform, IFD Insights™, where they will gain access to intuitive performance reports that will support the optimisation and expansion of their IFE service moving forward.

“Introducing such an innovative inflight entertainment system on board our aircraft is something we are very excited about. Everhub provides ASKY airlines the opportunity to enrich our passengers’ experience and engage with them in a more tailored and personal manner. ASKY is introducing this service as part of its efforts to continuously enhance the services it provides to its passengers”- Mesfin Tasew, Asky Airlines’ CEO

“Everhub provides ASKY airlines the opportunity to enrich our passengers’ experience and engage with them in a more tailored and personal manner.”
“It gives us great pleasure to be chosen by ASKY Airlines to provide our Wireless IFE solution, Everhub, across its fleet of B737 aircraft. Our extensive expertise in the African region enables Inflight Dublin to provide the best level of service to ASKY airlines. The demand for Wireless IFE is as prominent as ever and with our pool of fantastic airline partners continuing to grow it is a testament to the strength of our product offering.” - Barry Flynn, Inflight Dublin’s CCO

About ASKY:

ASKY, The Pan-African Airline, is a 100% privately owned airline created by regional banking institutions in Africa that includes The ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID), The West African Development Bank (BOAD) and ECOBANK Group (ETI) in partnership with Ethiopian Airlines.

ASKY is a commercial company under private law and is managed by experienced African aviation professionals, with Ethiopian airlines as its strategic partner.

ASKY currently operates a fleet of ten aircraft: five (5) Boeing 737-800s and five (5) Boeing 737-700s, serving twenty-five (25) cities in twenty-two (22) countries within Africa.

ASKY’s focus is to develop a strong intra-Africa network that foster regional development, tourism, economic growth and regional integration as a major economic catalyst within the continent with its long-term goal of a sustainable business focused on profitability.

For more information, contact communication@flyasky.com, visit our website www.flyasky.com or our LinkedIn; Twitter Facebook and Instagram pages, @ASKY Airlines

 

About Inflight Dublin:

Inflight Dublin is a leading global provider of inflight entertainment (IFE) solutions with a 37-year history of supplying airlines with the latest Hollywood and international content, as well as wireless, digital, and design services. Everhub is Inflight Dublin’s touch-free, end-to-end wireless IFE solution consisting of Hardware, Software, Content and Ancillary Services to deliver a “one-stop-shop” for airlines to provide an engaging experience for their passengers, while also generating considerable revenues for the airline. With over 50 clients, including the flag carriers of 15 countries, Inflight Dublin’s content supply business is the market leader in Africa and Scandinavia, while also being dominant across Europe.

For more information, contact jane.boland@inflightdublin.com, visit our website www.inflightdublin.com or our LinkedIn and Twitter, @InflightDublin.

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Inflight Dublin chosen by Neos as its IFE Content service provider

September 08

Inflight Dublin has been awarded the contract for the provision of Inflight Entertainment (IFE) content services by Italian airline, Neos.

Commencing in November 2021, Inflight Dublin will be providing a broad range of content across Neos’ fleet of B737 NG, MAX and B787 aircraft. The content catalogue features the latest Hollywood blockbusters, Classic movies and International content.

“Neos consistently works to deliver the finest services to our passengers and this new partnership with Inflight Dublin to provide a new and exciting inflight entertainment offering will be a great enhancement on board. The Inflight Dublin team have already been extremely proactive whilst demostrating fantastic support and we look forward to broadening our partnership in the future.”

– Aldo Sarnataro, Neos’ Commercial Director

“Inflight Dublin’s extensive experience around Europe and dedicated teams are key factors that enable us to provide a unique and personalized experience to Neos and its passengers.”

– Barry Flynn, Inflight Dublin’s CCO

“We are delighted to be working with Neos to provide an exciting catalogue of content to its passengers in the coming months. Inflight Dublin’s extensive experience around Europe and dedicated teams are key factors that enable us to provide a unique and personalized experience to Neos and its passengers.”

Barry Flynn, Inflight Dublin’s CCO

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Inflight Dublin Favourites: Summer Movies

July 15

The hazy July days are upon us, so what better time to pick our favourite summer movies?

Check out Jane’s, Conor’s and Rika’s choices below – and make sure to let us know yours on LinkedIn and/or Twitter. 🙂

Jane Boland – Marketing Executive

The film that screams “summer” to me has to be Mamma Mia! The Movie.

Shot on the sunny Greek island of Skopelos, the backdrop of glistening ocean, steep cliffs and cobblestoned streets would convince anyone who’s watching to book a holiday to Greece ASAP.

 

 

The film is an adaptation of the theatre show of the same name which is written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, and of course features all the greatest ABBA hits.

The incredible soundtrack paired with the stellar cast is a match made in heaven that makes you overlook Pierce Brosnan’s questionable singing.

Meryl Streep is radiant from start to finish and I love her relationship with Amanda Seyfried, which shows the deep bond between mother and daughter and the fear of letting each other go.

“Meryl Streep is radiant from start to finish...”

However, supporting actresses Christine Baranski and Julie Walters steal the show for me with their quick wit and brilliant banter throughout.

The ending is as satisfying as a movie like this should be, with every little issue or dilemma resolved and tied up in a pretty bow.

To sum it up: a bubbly romantic comedy that will have you dancing in your seat while also making you want to leave your life behind and run a hotel on a deserted Greek island.

Conor Regan – Snr. Content Acquisitions Executive

Summer movies are usually light on their feet, upbeat and a bit nostalgic.

Families go on poorly planned road trips, while teenagers have wistful romances. Beer, beaches and barbeques.

It’s cheery, easygoing, undramatic stuff.

Independence Day is not cheery, easygoing, undramatic stuff.

So how does it qualify for this post?

Well, can you think of a better way to spend an August evening than in the company of Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum, as they nuke the alien mothership?

I sure can’t.

Because Independence Day is the definition of “summer blockbuster”: big, bold, and a whole lot of fun.

“Independence Day is the definition of 'summer blockbuster.'”

Now, to be fair, the movie isn’t perfect. It has its share of implausible moments.

Like, how did Jeff transfer the virus to the mothership from his mid-90s Mac? Was there Wi-Fi onboard? Did he use Bluetooth? A USB?

And how did Will knock out that massive alien with just one suckerpunch? Maybe he had already started training for “Ali”. Who knows.

 

 

But there’s a lot to like here. So much in fact, that I’m happy to overlook the occasional, logic-defying plot hole. For instance:

  • The cast is excellent, and has real chemistry (special mention to Judd Hirsch – I love his performance).
  • The practical effects have held up very well.
  • The action scenes, especially the dogfights, are tense and exciting.
  • Bill Pullman’s iconic “today is our Independence Day” speech.
  • The aliens are mysterious and scary.
  • It’s surprisingly funny for a disaster film.
  • The whole goddamn thing is just magnificently enjoyable.

So there you have it. Independence Day: perhaps an unlikely candidate for a favourite summer movie, but what can I say? It goes down easy.

Not unlike the alien ships, once their shields are down.

Rika Argadireja – Metadata Team Lead

My favourite summer movie would be the teen comedy What a Girl Wants.

Loosely based on The Reluctant Debutante, a 1955 play by William Douglas Home, it tells the story of Daphne Reynolds (Amanda Bynes), a 17-year-old New Yorker who embarks on a trip to England to find her long-lost father (Colin Firth).

In contrast to her free-spirited musician mother Libby (Kelly Preston), her father, Henry Dashwood, turns out to be a wealthy Lord and a prominent politician hoping to eventually become the prime minister.

He met her mother in Morocco, and they got married in a Bedouin wedding ceremony. When Henry brings her home to meet his family, Alistair, Henry’s aide, plots to drive them apart.

 

 

He tricks her to conceal her pregnancy from Henry and tells Henry that Libby is leaving because she was in love with someone else, leading Henry to be unaware of Daphne’s existence.

To make matters worse, Henry is currently engaged to Alistair’s daughter, the snobby Glynnis, who has an equally snobby teenage daughter, Clarissa.

They feel threatened by Daphne’s presence, since they think that a love child would negatively influence Henry’s political aspirations.

Undaunted, Daphne dives into a schedule of social events, determined to prove that love and proper etiquette can conquer all.

But as hard as she tries to reunite her parents and make a bid for “Debutante of the Year,” Daphne cannot conceal her irrepressible personality or hide what a girl wants.

Coming-of-age has always been my favourite genre, and in my opinion, this movie provides a good example of what growing up feels like – the struggles, emotions, and the desire to find ourselves.

“'What a Girl Wants' provides a good example of what growing up feels like.”

Furthermore, the sentimental story is well-supported by the superb cast, Colin Firth’s charming acting and the lively chemistry between Firth and Bynes. Sweet and funny, this heart-warming movie never fails to put a smile on my face!

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Inflight Dublin selected by Sunclass Airlines as its Content and Wireless IFE provider

June 16

Inflight Dublin has been awarded the contract for the provision of content and wireless Inflight Entertainment (IFE) services by Sunclass Airlines.

Commencing in August 2021, the agreement sees Inflight Dublin providing its wireless IFE solution, Everhub™, on board Sunclass Airlines’ A321 aircraft, while also providing content services across their A330 fleet. The content catalogue consists of Hollywood movies, TV Shows, Boxsets, Music, and Publications. Also included is Inflight Dublin’s revenue-generating gaming platform, Gladi8tor Gaming, through LXM.

Sunclass Airlines is a Danish charter airline that operates a fleet of 10 A330 and A321 aircraft to over 30 destinations across Scandinavia, Europe, South America, and Asia.

“Broadening our partnership with Inflight Dublin is a reflection of our commitment to further engage with our passengers and to create exciting new revenue streams. The quick turnaround time and the utilization of one supplier for both our content and wireless IFE requirements will ensure an efficient and flexible setup, rollout and future expansion of this innovative service. As we emerge from the Covid-19 crisis, we are delighted to have Inflight Dublin’s continued support and to avail of their Wireless IFE solution, Everhub™. It will be an exciting addition to our inflight service for our loyal passengers.” – Christina Pedersen, Sunclass Airlines’ Customer Experience Manager

“The quick turnaround time and the utilization of one supplier for both our content and wireless IFE requirements will ensure an efficient and flexible setup, rollout and future expansion of this innovative service. ”

– Christina Pedersen, Sunclass Airlines’ Customer Experience Manager

“Sunclass Airlines’ decision to continue our partnership for content services while also introducing Everhub™ on their narrow body aircraft gives us great pride and further validates that Everhub™ is the leading Wireless IFE solution in the market. With the endless possibilities our scalable solution offers, Sunclass Airlines and Inflight Dublin will be building on the initial rollout with a range of engaging features to delight passengers and generate additional revenues in the near future.” – Barry Flynn, Inflight Dublin’s CCO


For more information about Everhub™, click here.

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Good Call: Nine Times the Academy Got it Right

April 26

We all know the Academy gets it wrong sometimes.

Like when Shakespeare in Love won Best Picture over Saving Private Ryan, or how The Shining wasn’t even nominated, or when Dances With Wolves cleaned up in 1991 (I mean, c’mon, it’s good, but not that good).

But what about when they called it right? When tradition was defied with a surprising choice, or an overlooked creative was finally given his or her due?

We don’t hear about those moments as much.

Here are some of the wisest, most surprising, just plain best decisions ever made at the Oscars.

Parasite Wins Best Picture

It was assumed that Parasite would take home Best International Feature in 2020.

A turn up for the books so, when it was awarded Best Picture too.

It’s even more surprising when you consider the stacked card from that year: The IrishmanMarriage Story1917 and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood… All great films, all more classic, Oscar-y, choices than the winner.

But, win it did, becoming the first non-English film to take home the night’s biggest prize.

Hopefully it opens the door for many more.

Roger Deakins Wins Best Cinematography

It was fourteenth time lucky for Roger Deakins at the 90th Academy Awards.

One of Hollywood’s most celebrated cinematographers, his filmography speaks for itself – The Shawshank RedemptionPrisoners, and No Country For Old Men, to name a few – and although oft nominated, he’d never won the big one.

That was until 2018, when he was rewarded for his depiction of the brutal, beautiful dystopia of Blade Runner 2049.

He wouldn’t have to wait as long for his second, winning in 2020 for his innovative work on 1917.

Frances McDormand Wins Best Actress

Of all the films nominated in 1997, Fargo is the one that has passed the test of time (and with flying colours, I might add).

However, it underperformed on the night, winning only two of its seven nominations.

At least Frances McDormand won Best Actress. I’ll leave it to writer Dan Jackson to sum up why (you can read the full article here):

The Coens have worked with some incredible actors -- Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Holly Hunter, and The Jesus, to name a few -- but they've never had a collaborator who feels so keyed into their peculiar view of the human experience like Frances McDormand.

Oh, you betcha!

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King‘s Record-Equalling Haul

Fantasy movies: the only genre less popular than Horror and Sci-fi at the Oscars.

It’s rare to see one nominated, let alone win. So it was nice to see the Academy go against tradition in 2004.

Besides cleaning up with a massive 11 awards – equalling Ben-Hur and Titanic‘s record – The Return of the King was also the first bona fide Fantasy to win Best Pic.

A well-deserved victory lap for a staggering cinematic achievement.

Trent Reznor and Atticus Finch Win Best Original Score

Career pivots don’t come more successful than Trent Reznor and Atticus Finch’s foray into movie music.

The Social Network would be the first of many, and what a way to start.

It’s a fantastic score. All moody synths and twitchy rhythms, it’s atmospheric, anxious, and haunting, and key to why the film works so well.

Hans Zimmer was nominated that year too, for his awesome Inception soundtrack. Any other year, he probably would have won – but Reznor and Finch deserved it.

The Academy doesn’t often go for newcomers, but I’m glad they did in 2011.

Martin Scorcese Finally Wins Best Director

The Academy hasn’t been kind to ol’ Marty.

Not only has he missed out on Best Director for some absolute masterpieces, but he wasn’t even nominated for some of his best work – I’m talking Mean StreetsCape FearKing of Comedy and Taxi Driver.

Still, at least he won for the ludicrously entertaining The Departed.

Almost makes up for him not winning for Goodfellas. Almost…

Adrien Brody Wins Best Actor over Daniel Day-Lewis

It was expected, for his scene-stealing Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York, that Daniel-Day Lewis would win his second Best Actor statue.

But Adrien Brody, as Władysław Szpilman in The Pianist, took it in the end – and deservedly so.

It’s a wonderful performance. See for yourself:

While a lesser actor may have gravitated towards theatrics and melodrama, Brody wisely opts for subtlety, restraint and understatement. His physical transformation, while shocking, is incredible too.

The menacing Bill or the dignified Władysław. A tough call between two very different, and two very great, performances – but the Academy was on the money.

Spirited Away Wins Best Animated Feature

Pixar and Dreamworks have generally dominated this category, but this Studio Ghibli wonder was an exception to the rule.

It would have been a crime if it hadn’t won, really. Delightful, charming, moving, stunning to look at… All those things and more. Spirited Away is timeless.

Should have won Best Picture that year, too.

La La Land Wins Best Picture Over Moonlight

No, wait… Moonlight won over La La Land. Damn, it is easy to mix them up!

Seriously though. #Envelopegate was unfortunate for all involved. The La La Land team were stranded onstage holding an award that wasn’t theirs to hold, and everyone assumed it was poor Warren Beatty’s fault (it wasn’t).

Most unfortunate of all, I’d argue, for Moonlight, whose win has been a bit overshadowed by the controversy on the night.

This shouldn’t be.

A stunning piece of work, it’s also one of the Academy’s most unexpected Best Picture decisions; remember it wasn’t just La La Land that year, but big hitters like Hidden FiguresArrival, and Manchester By the Sea too.

Definitely one the Academy got right.

After they got it wrong. 😉

Written by Conor Regan.

Inflight Dublin provides a range of fantastic movies to airlines, including all your Oscar favourites. If you’d like to learn more, contact us at mail@inflightdublin.com.

 

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What’s da Craic?: 14 Fantastic Irish Films for St. Patrick’s Day

March 16

Ireland has a brilliant reputation in filmmaking today, but this wasn’t always the case.

Back in the early and mid-20th century, as the U.S., India, UK, Italy and France redefined cinema, the Irish were focused on other mediums, like writing, painting and music.

This started to change, however, in the latter half of the century.

From the 80s on, popular and acclaimed movies started to make waves globally while actors and directors – like Saoirse Ronan, Cillian Murphy and Jim Sheridan, to name a few – became household names.

Fast forward to today, and filmmaking is as integral to Irish culture as Guinness, Father Ted and Thin Lizzy.

And, being Paddy’s Day, what better time to celebrate this?

Here’s a list of some of the fantastic movies from Ireland, many of which, by the way, Inflight Dublin has put onboard planes as part of their inflight entertainment offering.

If you represent an airline, we can do the same for you: send a message to mail@inflightdublin.com to learn more.

Wolfwalkers

Song of the Sea, The Secret of Kells, Give Up Yer Aul Sins… The Irish have a real flair for animation.

Wolfwalkers, by renowned studio Cartoon Saloon, is the latest masterwork.

Recently nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the Golden Globes, it has, just this week, made the Oscars category for the same.

And rightly so. From the mysterious, engaging story, to the stunning artwork, to the charming voice acting, this is a serious achievement.

A must-see!

Michael Collins

One of Ireland’s highest performers at the Box Office, both at home and abroad, Micheal Collins is arguably the country’s most well-known film.

Directed by Neil Jordan and starring Liam Neeson, it’s both a big-screen blockbuster, and an absorbing account of a key point in Irish history.

Some questionable accents aside, it’s still a great film. 😉

The Young Offenders

The Young Offenders is the definition of a breakout hit.

Made on a meagre budget of €50,000, it brought in almost fifteen times that at the Box Office, and has since become a hit TV series.

A spin on a real news story, it’s follows Conor and Jock, two teenagers from Cork, as they embark on a 160km road trip, on bikes, in the hopes of finding a bale of cocaine. Seriously!

A movie packed with warmth and wit, and great one-liners. For example: “There are two things you need for an adventure: a treasure map and someone dumb enough to go with you”.

Vivarium

Directed by up-and-comer Lorcan Finnegan, and starring Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots, Vivarium is an intriguing mix of social commentary and psychological horror.

It’s about a young couple who buy a new house in a neighbourhood full of identical ones. Problem is, as they soon find out, they can’t leave. Things only get weirder from there.

A distinctive film with a pertinent message, as well as some impressive, and very creepy, set and sound design.

Sing Street

Who doesn’t love Sing Street?

About a boy who starts a band to impress a girl he likes, it’s touching, very funny, and loads of fun.

With tunes from The Cure, Duran Duran, The Jam, Joe Jackson and Motörhead, and some fantastic original music, the soundtrack is on point, too.

My Left Foot

Daniel-Day Lewis’ Christy Brown is what we all think of when we think of My Left Foot.

Understandably, of course. it’s a masterclass, and bagged him his first of three Oscars.

But the movie wouldn’t be what it is without the exceptional cast: Brenda Fricker, as Bridget, deservedly won Best Supporting Actress, while Ray McNally’s portrayal of Christy’s dad is outstanding.

Twenty-two years since its release, My Left Foot remains one of Ireland’s most acclaimed and respected films.

Brooklyn

Ok, as you might guess, Brooklyn isn’t set in Ireland for much of its runtime. But there’s enough here to consider it, at least partly, an Irish film.

Directed by John Crowley (IntermissionThe Goldfinch), and based on the novel by Colm Toibín, it’s a moving, bittersweet, and ultimately uplifting, story.

Saoirse Ronan, in a role that cemented her reputation as a major acting talent, is wonderful as Eilis. 

The Camino Voyage

Ireland produces some excellent feature-length documentaries. The Camino Voyage is one of the best.

Released in 2018, it’s about a crew of five (one of whom music fans may recognise) attempting to sail across the 2,500 kilometre stretch of sea between Ireland and Spain – otherwise known as the Camino.

It’s inspiring, special, and for reasons I won’t go into lest I spoil it, more than a little heartbreaking.

The Commitments

Film critic Renee Schonfeld had this to say about The Commitments:

 

 

Decades after its release, Alan Parker's joyous film is still filled with musical excitement, memorable characters, hilarious comedy, and a heartfelt portrayal of working-class Dublin.

I couldn’t agree more.

About Jimmy Rabbitte, a music-obsessed lad who gets a soul group together, The Commitments is one of Ireland’s most loved and enduring films.

If you haven’t seen the performance of “Mustang Sally” from the movie, you’ve been missing out:

A Date for Mad Mary

What a charming film this is!

It’s about “Mad” Mary McArdle, who embarks on a series of disastrous dates as she tries to find a plus-one for her best friend’s wedding. Things start looking up, though, when Jess appears on the scene…

The recipient of Best Film at the 2016 IFTAs, A Date for Mad Mary is a hilarious, kind-hearted movie about friendship, love and growing up.

Martin

One of the best shorts I’ve seen, Martin is a mini-documentary about a man who lives under a bridge in Dublin.

He doesn’t consider himself homeless though, and is, according to director Donal Moloney, “probably the happiest man I have ever met”.

But this isn’t just a character study or a social critique: it’s also about the friendship that develops between director and subject.

Insightful and inspiring.

Handsome Devil

Handsome Devil is one of those that anyone can enjoy, and everyone should see.

Fionn O’ Shea and Nicholas Galitizine are Ned and Conor, two opposites who develop an unlikely bond while attending a rugby-obsessed school.

Also starring Andrew Scott as the boys’ inspiring teacher, the strong cast is matched by a screenplay that skillfully blends comedy and drama.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Directed by Ken Loach and starring Cillian Murphy, this historical drama, about two brothers fighting on opposite sides of the Irish Civil War, is gripping and hard-hitting.

Wonderful to look at, too; Barry Ackroyd’s cinematography is excellent.

It won the 2016 Palme D’Or and, with a return of over earning €2.7 million on its theatrical run, became the most popular independent Irish film ever released in Ireland.

The Quiet Man

Ok, so it’s heavy on the clichés (I almost expect a leprechaun with a pot o’ gold to jump out at some point), but park the cynicism, and you’ll find a lot to enjoy in The Quiet Man.

The setting, for instance. Filmed in beautiful County Mayo, and expertly shot by celebrated cinematographer Winton C. Hoch, it all looks exceptionally lovely.

It’s also fun to see two pioneers of the Western, John Forde and John Wayne, do their thing in a very different environment. Best of all is Maureen O’ Hara’s performance as Mary Kate Danaher, which is simply iconic. 

Ok, so Citizen Kane it is not; but what list of Irish films would be complete without The Quiet Man?

Written by Conor Regan.

Inflight Dublin prides itself on providing the highest quality content to our clients, and this includes the best that Irish cinema has to offer. If you’d like to learn more, contact us at mail@inflightdublin.com.

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A Brief History of the French New Wave

February 17

What is the French New Wave?

The French New Wave, or Nouvelle Vague, was a film movement that started in the late 1950s in (you guessed it) France.

Origins

Of the opinion that cinema had become dated and out of touch, a group of French filmmakers and critics – influenced by Italian Neorealism and directors like Hitchcock and Welles – proposed a new vision for the medium.

Through a series of essays, they laid out their manifesto in influential movie journal, Cahiers du Cinema.

The critics had four main points:

  • Cinema must be considered an important and significant artform.
  • Filmmakers should experiment, and develop new formal techniques.
  • Films must address themes and issues that relate to modern audiences: existentialism, memory, love, childhood and friendship – to name a few.
  • A film’s director had full control over all elements of the film, from script to cinematography and everything in between. This is known as auteur theory.

These critiques were revolutionary for their time, and became the foundations for the French New Wave.

Notable Directors

Generally speaking, the movement’s directors were split into two collectives: Cahiers Du Cinema or the Left Bank.

The former, which included luminaries like Claude Chabrol, Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and Jacques Rivette, produced several outstanding films that, for many, define the New Wave.

At the time, the Left Bank was less associated with the medium than the cinéastes of Cahiers. 

However, this looser relationship had its advantages. Free from the formal constraints and expectations of traditional filmmaking, the Left Bank incorporated other forms – like literature, poetry and documentary – in their movies.

This cross-disciplinary approach led to some of the era’s most unique and interesting films.

Some names you might recognise from this group include Agnès Varda, Chris Marker and Alain Resnais.

Key Characteristics

These directors used techniques that were bold, new and experimental.

Two famous examples are Jean-Luc Godard’s rapid-fire jump cuts in À bout de souffle, which give it its unpredictable, energetic, “breathless” feel, and Francois Truffaut’s iconic tracking shots in Les 400 Coups:

 

 

Others developments include shooting on location, the use of direct sound and natural light, and filming with handheld cameras. 

In terms of themes, filmmakers focussed on the personal, philosophical and political concerns of mid-20th century France.

Agnes Varda’s Cléo de 5 à 7, for instance, is a powerful look at existence, illness and fame, while Truffaut’s Jules et Jim and Jacques Rozier’s Adieu Philippine capture the anxiety, confusion and liberation of the post-war years.

Another notable feature was the use of ironic and sarcastic humour, rhetorical devices used to great (and often hilarious) effect.

Must-Sees

It’s a tough ask listing all of the great New Wave films! There are so many worth watching. Nevertheless, here are some absolute must-sees.

In no particular order:

  • Hiroshima Mon Amour (dir. Alain Resnais)
  • Les 400 Coups (dir. Francois Truffaut)
  • Jules et Jim (dir. Francois Truffaut)
  • Cléo de 5 à 7 (dir. Agnes Varda)
  • Claire’s Knee (dir. Eric Rohmer)
  • À bout de souffle (dir. Jean-Luc Godard)
  • Les Bonnes Femmes (dir. Claude Chabrol)
  • Lola (dir. Jacques Demy)
  • Paris Nous Appartient (dir. Jacques Rivette)

Take your pick; they’re all fantastic.

Influence

In this excellent article, Miss Rosen describes how auteur theory changed cinema forever:

 

Rejecting the established language of cinema, it placed the power with the director, who would stamp their personal signature on the work so that the hand of the artist was felt from start to finish.

We can see the impact of this on the many stylists (or auteurs) of today. 

Tarantino, Scorcese, the Coens and Nolan, for instance, have created bodies of work that are unmistakeably their own; this is a direct influence of the New Wave’s insistence on directorial autonomy.

Also, the movement’s storytelling and filmmaking techniques, so bold and adventurous back then, are now ingrained in cinema.

Take handheld cameras, as just one example. Used in everything from 28 Days Later to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to Saving Private Ryan, you can’t imagine contemporary movies without them. 

But if I haven’t convinced you, maybe Marty Scorsese himself will. Check out the below vid, where the huge influence the French New Wave had on his work:

 

 

Concluding Thoughts

Is it a stretch to say that the Nouvelle Vague created modern cinema?

It sounds like hyperbole, but it’s fair to say the likes of Pulp Fiction and Goodfellas arguably wouldn’t exist without it. Or, if they did, would certainly be very different.

Cultural and artistic significance aside, the films still hold up.

The best are funny, smart, profound, exciting and fun. In terms of visuals, style and themes, they don’t feel or look dated; which is quite something when you consider that some are close to seventy years old.

So, there you have it! The French New Wave.

It took the rulebook, ripped it up, wrote a new one, and, in the end, changed cinema forever.

Inflight Dublin prides itself on providing the best International titles to our clients, from the French New Wave and beyond. If you’d like to learn more, contact us at mail@inflightdublin.com.

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Inflight Dublin Favourites: Christopher Nolan

December 21

To coincide with Tenet hitting inflight entertainment screens this month, we thought it’d be a nice idea to write a few words about our favourite Christopher Nolan films.

Hope you enjoy, and keep an eye out for more “Inflight Dublin Favourites” – coming your way soon.

 

Jamie Baker – Audio Services Lead

Prior to the release of Batman Begins in 2005, live-action Batman films had garnered a reputation for being campy, tongue-in-cheek, and often silly representations of the comic book icon and his Gotham City escapades.

The franchise was in dire need of an overhaul, but few people could have expected the dramatic shift in tone once Christopher Nolan took the helm.

Batman Begins is built on foundations of realism and grit. For the first time on the big screen, it tells the origin story of Bruce Wayne, the son of a billionaire who tragically loses his parents to one of the many criminals churned out by the sinister streets of Gotham City.

“Batman Begins is built on foundations of realism and grit.”

It takes relatively lesser-known villains from the Batman universe and magnifies them, creating complex characters with interesting motivations and unique relationships with Batman.

But what truly sets Nolan’s film apart from all the Batman films before it is its determination to focus in on Bruce Wayne as a character, adding layers of intrigue to the man behind the mask.

 

At its core, the film is a character study which follows a broken and brooding man’s search for purpose, fuelled by trauma, rage and an unwavering need for revenge.

While often overshadowed by the incredible narrative and mammoth Heath Ledger performance featured in the sequel, Batman Begins is my favourite Christopher Nolan film because it is the first movie to truly get Batman right.

It set up one of the most memorable and consistently brilliant trilogies in film history, and significantly raised the bar for all superhero movies that followed it.

Rika Argadireja – Metadata Executive

The Christopher Nolan movie I like the most is Interstellar. An epic sci-fi set in a dystopian time in the future when the earth is dying, it follows a group of astronauts who attempt to find a new home for mankind through interstellar travel.

The combination of time relativity adventures, space exploration, exceptional acting (I personally think that Matthew McConaughey’s acting is Oscar-worthy), an unpredictable cameo appearance, and aesthetically pleasing visuals perfectly compliment the story about humanity.

The other thing that I really like about the movie is the ending – I don’t want to say too much but the last five minutes are emotional, tear-jerking, and it made me realise how valuable family and time are.

I can’t recommend it enough, Interstellar is definitely high up on my most favourite movies list!

Conor Regan – Snr. Content Acquisitions Executive

Inception has all the hallmarks we’ve come to expect from a Nolan film: beautiful cinematography; thrilling action; a non-linear narrative; mind-bending visual effects; a pulsating Hans Zimmer score, and ruminations on philosophy and metaphysics.

But for me, one thing in particular gives it an edge over his other work, and that’s how moving it is.

“... one thing in particular gives it an edge over his other work, and that's how moving it is.”

Because if you take away the talk of extractions and projections, what we’re left with is a man, who’s exiled from his family, doing anything it takes to get home. And it’s this simple narrative strand that anchors the movie, and gives it its emotional heft.

Key to the film’s power is Dominick Cobb, Inception‘s brilliant, yet troubled, protagonist.

Like the director’s best characters, he’s a bundle of contradictions, and far from the “good guy” archetype of way too many action flicks. He mightn’t always be likeable, but, as we learn more about his backstory, we come to understand his motivations and empathise with his situation.

The closing scene, in particular, packs a serious emotional gut-punch. Without giving too much away, it’s a rollercoaster of excitement, tension, release, and ambiguity that stays with you long after the credits have rolled.

Inception isn’t just my favourite Nolan, but one of my favourites full stop. An awesome film.

Jane Boland – Marketing Executive

My favourite Christopher Nolan film has to be The Dark Knight, the second film in his Batman trilogy.

Although I am a big superhero film fan, I love how Nolan steers clear of the supernatural elements that make up a large part of most Marvel plots and presents to us a very relatable and realistic superhero story.

Although the problems faced were not as catastrophic as saving the universe, they seemed bigger and more impressive to overcome knowing the hero had no supernatural powers contributing to the outcome.

The casting was 10/10 with an outstanding performance from Heath Ledger as the Joker, which for many people carried the entire film. However, Christian Bale brought two great characters to life; the strong crime-fighting Batman and the wealthy yet troubled Bruce Wayne.

Intense action scenes such as the opening bank robbery scene and the car chase/truck flip are iconic still to this day.

I think I need a Batman trilogy movie marathon now!

Tenet will be available for inflight entertainment systems from January 2021. At Inflight Dublin, we pride ourselves on providing the best film, TV, audio and innovative content to our clients – and that includes Christopher Nolan films! If you’d like to learn how we can do the same for your airline, make sure to get in touch; you can contact us here.

All images property of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.

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