Tag Archives: Marin Ireland



by Hope Madden

Birth/Rebirth opens on two different women performing two different tasks in a hospital. Their paths will cross, but at the moment, Celie (Judy Reyes, Smile) and Rose (Marin Ireland, The Dark and Wicked) are revealing something of themselves to us.

Celie’s environment: chaotic, human. A prenatal nurse used to comforting and nurturing patients in need while navigating an emergency, Celie is a tight balance of empathy and control.

Rose – alone with a cadaver in a pathology lab in the bowels of the hospital – is a fastidious loner, cold, logical. She is pure science.

Their story, like Barbie’s, is about how impossible it is to be a woman. Director Laura Moss moves seamlessly from short to feature with this modern take on Frankenstein and motherhood.

Tragedy strikes early in Moss’s film. Overworked and under rested, Celie blames herself for her daughter Lila’s death. And now the hospital can’t even find the girl’s body.

But Rose can.

Little by little, with motives simultaneously opposed and identical, Celie and Rose become a duo. An odd couple, if you will, each with her own responsibilities, both with the same goal: bring Lila back.

Ireland’s Rose is an exceptional ghoul because her every behavior feels rooted in reality, which makes her both repugnant and sympathetic. However cold her behavior seems, there’s logic behind it. Her joy, those rare flashes, hit harder. She’s like a macabre Spock.

Reyes is her equal and opposite, compassionate but hard-headed. And as their relationship thickens, you see each woman changing thanks to exposure to the other. Rose slowly warms and becomes more human. Celie inches closer and closer to ghoul.

The film amounts to a profound parenting nightmare, and each actor takes on the role of parent to create an unnerving dynamic again guided by authenticity. All of it pulls the psychological scabs of exhausted parenting.

Moss can’t quite stick the landing, but their shoestring Frankenstein fable feels closer to the truth than most of them.

Bottle Feeding

The Empty Man

by George Wolf

Okay, so here’s the story: if you’re on a bridge at night and blow into an empty bottle, you’ll conjure the Empty Man. And in three days, he’ll find you.

Right, so it’s a bit of Candyman, some of The Ring, lots of jump scares and kills for Halloween, got it.

I don’t think you do…unless you’ve read Cullen Bunn’s graphic novels.

Writer/director David Prior adapts the series with James Badge Dale in the lead as James, an ex-cop still grieving from the loss of his wife and son. When the daughter of his good friend Nora (Marin Ireland) goes missing, James sidesteps the local Missouri cops for a rogue investigation of his own.

Prior, a video vet making his feature debut, lays down an atmosphere that gets plenty creepy, but seldom horrific. As James digs in, the film becomes a dark mystery, one full of freaky cult members with aspirations of total consciousness and malevolent chaos.

Dale keeps your interest with a terrific performance full of wounded determination, getting solid support from Ireland (plus Stephen Root in a memorable cameo).

But at nearly two hours and twenty minutes, it’s a bit too much of wandering slog in need of a leaner path.

Come in looking for a tidy little slasher, and you’re going to be disappointed. But if you’re down for a dark and moody rumination on grief, metaphysics and itchy brains, you could conjure up worse than The Empty Man.