UPDATE, MAY 3, 4:07 P.M.: The full review of Songs for Amy from Jodi Coker:
Poor Sean O'Malley (Sean Maguire) just can't let go of Amy (Lorna Anderson). You grieve along with him as he works out his emotions through song. Meanwhile, Amy has moved on to a new boyfriend she's not really connecting with.
The rest of the band, and the drummer's "Yoko Ono" gypsy girlfriend, add enough humor to keep the film from becoming the Irish equivalent of crying into your beer. All cast members are pitch perfect, and though Songs for Amy ends predictably, it really could not end any other way.
Now I want a Guinness and malt vinegar crisps.
Bonus review, from Jodi's friend Kari O'Toole, who also attended Tuesday night's showing:
Very well done, good story line and believable characters. You felt their emotions, especially the two leads. Lots of humor, solid comedic timing and the addition of a second band was an an interesting and plausible twist. Great choice for anyone!
ORIGINAL POST, MAY 3, 2:51 P.M.: Newport Beach Film Festival officials were surprised to learn director Konrad Begg, writer/producer Fiona Graham, actors Sean Maguire, Lorna Anderson and Ross MacMahon and musicians Jim McKee and Ultan Conlon would all attend Tuesday night's world premiere of their Irish movie Songs for Amy at Big Newport.
The posse heads home Friday morning, but not before they make one last cinematic/musical/Guinness-soaked splash in Newport Beach tonight.
The festival's official closing night film is Shanghai Calling at the Lido, but because those screenings always sell out, popular films were programmed to catch the overflow. The darkly comic love story Songs for Amy is one of those movies, rolling at 7:30 p.m. at Islands Cinemas. (Visit newportbeachfilmfest.com for tickets, or just show up at the NBFF tent atop the Fashion Island parking structure.)
As was the case Tuesday, the cast and crew members will move the party to nearby Muldoon's Irish Pub and Celtic Bar, 545 Newport Center Drive. Music from the film will be performed live.
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Maguire plays Sean O'Malley, who writes and records songs for his lost love Amy (Anderson) despite wallowing in grief over the split. His bandmates provide comedic relief, and the rock band Alabama 3, whose song "Woke Up This Morning" opened every episode of The Sopranos, show up as themselves.
Now, the previous paragraph is based on what the movie's press person sent me, because I missed Songs for Amy Tuesday, instead going Scottish to see the wonderfully trippy Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy at Islands. However, my wife took and night off from sitting next to me and caught Songs for Amy. She tells me parts are similar to the 2006 Irish film Once, only she found Songs for Amy much funnier. And she absolutely loved the music. See if she's right.