Saturday, June 1, 2013

In Cinemas: May 23 - June 5

Well, we've both been flat out lately and writing about what's playing has taken a back seat to watching what's playing. Thought I might crash through a quick catch-up though, as I feel bad having missed things like SUMMER DAYS WITH COO (河童のクゥと夏休み) as the Japanese Monthly Screening last week and the DOCTOR WHO episodes that screened yesterday (S07E01 & S07E05). Lemme bullet-point;


* FAST & FURIOUS 6 - I dug the fifth, so I'm excited! The Rock, Vin Diesel, Statham or whoever...
* EPIC - CG kids' flick from the ICE AGE crew. Girl gets shrunk down & fights with the leaf people.
* SHOPPING - NZ bleakness in a shitty coastal town, 1981. Young brothers caught up in thieving.
* THE LAST SENTENCE (DOM ÖVER DÖD MAN) - Swedish newsman vs. Fascism. True story.
* YEH JAWAANI HAI DEEWANI (THIS YOUTH IS CRAZY) - Bollywood coming-of-age rom-com.


* POLICEMAN (השוטר‎) - Young Israeli radicals vs. the anti-terrorist unit. Rather exciting!
* THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST - Mira Nair's thriller about racism & the American Dream.
* JATTS IN GOLMAAL - Punjabi comedy about...a gangster in need of a heart transplant??
* THE HANGOVER PART III - John Goodman & Melissa McCarthy join the gang for a third round.
* THE FALL GUYS - NZ crime comedy about three dopey mates finding a bunch of heroin. Hmm.


* Finishing Monday; Rialto Channel 48 HOURS Heats - Screenings of all the competition entries.
* Finishing Monday; THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) has been playing at the Vic Pic Palace.
* Finishing Tuesday! OUT TAKES 2013 Queer Film Festival - Haven't even read the brochure yet; so far behind...
* 6:30pm Tuesday (for a change); Film Society: DREILEBEN Pt.1: BEATS BEING DEAD (ETWAS BESSERES ALS DEN TOD) - Young lovers and an escaped killer. On blu ray at the Academy.
* Wednesday morning; MY FAIR LADY (1964) - Monterey Classics are back with Audrey Hepburn.
* Long Weekend; Bridgeway has preview screenings of BEKAS - Two homeless kids in Kurdistan plan to move to the US to live with Superman.
* $20 11PM Sunday Triple! - FAST & FURIOUS 6 / OBLIVION / JURASSIC PARK (3D).
* $20 11PM Sunday Triple! - THE HANGOVER Trilogy.

All sessions above are accurate at the time of publication. Your best bet would be to check Flicks or the theatre website before attending. Please let us know in the comments if you spy anything we've messed up/missed out!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

In Cinemas: May 16 - 22


* From stuntman Ric Roman Waugh comes the direct-to-DVD-looking SNITCH, starring The Rock as a loving father busting drug dealers to keep his son out of jail. Alongside 'stellar' titles like G.I. JOE: RETALIATION, FAST & FURIOUS 6 and Michael Bay's PAIN & GAIN, this somehow looks to be Dwayne Johnson's most B-grade flick of the year. Also featuring Susan Sarandon, Barry Pepper, Omar from THE WIRE, Rey from LAW & ORDER and Shane from THE WALKING DEAD.

* Speaking of B-grade, the acting in the KON-TIKI trailer reminds me of the white folks that sometimes appear in Asian films. But NZIFF deemed it worthy to premiere at The Mighty Civic, so perhaps I'm way off base. This true story of six scientists travelling the Pacific Ocean in a homemade balsa wood/hemp raft is already a book and a doco, but is now also Norway's most expensive feature film ever. Playing at The Capitol, Rialto Newmarket and some of the other arthouses.

* Rialto Newmarket also has BROKEN, about a young girl witnessing a violent beating. A coming-of-age / loss-of-innocence drama featuring Cillian Murphy and Tim Roth.

* Bridgeway has a preview of Maria Nair's THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST at 8 PM Wednesday 22nd. With Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber, Kiefer Sutherland, et al...

* And then we have TWO new Bollywood films out this week; crime-thriller AURANGZEB and action comedy RANGEELAY.


* 6 PM Saturday 18th, NZIFF's Autumn Events has the fourth and final in their Farhadi retrospective - FIREWORKS WEDNESDAY (چهارشنبه سوری). Set at New Year's, it's about a cleaning agency girl stumbling into a domestic, but like his other films, I'm sure it contains a lot more than that one line'd suggest.

* And rounding out NZIFF's Autumn Events is Godard's PIERROT LE FOU (PETE THE MADMAN, 1965), in which Belmondo & Anna Karena go on a crime spree, chased by gangsters. Kind of. Playing at the Academy, 4:30 PM Sunday 19th.

* Paul McCartney fans can see a restoration of the 1980 concert film ROCKSHOW (FROM THE WINGS OVER AMERICA TOUR) this Thursday 16th at Queen St, Albany & Westcity Event. Says one night only, but we'll see...


* Film Society won't be at Academy Cinemas Monday, because they're playing an actual print of Leos Carax' THE LOVERS ON THE BRIDGE (LES AMANTS DU PONT-NEUF, 1991). SkyCity Theatre has the means to screen that, so be up there 6:30 PM Monday 20th.

* The Writers & Readers Festival runs from Wednesday 15th until Sunday the 19th. The reason we're mentioning it in a list of filmic events? At 4 PM on Sunday, local filmmakers Alyx Duncan (THE RED HOUSE) & Annie Goldson (BROTHER NUMBER ONE) will be having a chat entitled FACTION at Aotea Centre.

* The 63rd annual (seriously?!?) ski film put out under Warren Miller's name is currently touring NZ and will be in Auckland Thursday 16th - Sunday 19th. With six screenings at EGGS off Gillies Ave in Epsom, FLOW STATE will set you back $26.

* The Monterey's weekly Monterey Abroad slot is taken by Susanne Bier's IN A BETTER WORLD (aka REVENGE / HÆVNEN) this week, playing for $15 at 6:30 PM Friday 17th. A Danish drama dealing with things like looking weak in front of your kids, it gets the thumbs up from one - and probably only one - of your Cinephile contributors.

* Feel like driving North for an hour? The Vintry are having something called Nostalgia Night on Tuesday 21st at 7 PM, with wine, nibbles and an old film. This time 'round, it's the Robert Redford / Mia Farrow version of THE GREAT GATSBY (1974).

* Screen-related - The Planetarium has another musical extravaganza; some tacky-looking retro animation set to all your U2 favourites! Tuesday 21st at 8 PM;

All sessions above are accurate at the time of publication. Your best bet would be to check Flicks or the theatre website before attending. Please let us know in the comments if you spy anything we've messed up/missed out!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

In Cinemas: May 9 - 15


* SPRING BREAKERS marks provocateur Harmony Korine's big-time break, grossing more in its opening weekend than all his features from GUMMO to TRASH HUMPERS did in their runs combined. It's almost like there's a market for ex-child stars wearing bikinis and getting debauched or something.

* REBELLE was released as WAR WITCH overseas, such as in the US where it got a Best Foreign Picture nomination in the Oscars. The story of a 12-year Congolese girl who's kidnapped and enmeshed in war takes some unexpected turns amidst its more predictable social drama concerns, apparently. Exclusive to the Academy.

* And file under "probably terrible but absolute catnip for Incredibly Strange fans": GO GOA GONE is a Bollywood zombie comedy with Russian mafiosos, now playing at Event Manukau and Queen St. You can probably get everything you want to know from the trailer:

* Also: GAMBIT is a remake of a 60s Michael Caine film with a Coen Brothers script, but rumour has it that it carries the charm of neither; SONG FOR MARION (aka UNFINISHED SONG) looks to fulfill that gaping void left by BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL in the bankbooks of certain cinemas, with Vanessa Redgrave attempting to coax a curmudgeonly Terrence Stamp out of his shell; and you may have heard there's a new STAR TREK film on the scene.

* The latest Met Opera - Verdi's RIGOLETTO - is kicking off in selected arthouses this week; there're previews of The Rock's SNITCH next Wednesday at select Event cinemas; it appears that there may be a $5 Monday night preview of KON-TIKI at Rialto; and there is a tonne of other films continuing this week - Johnnie To's DRUG WAR (毒戰), BARBARA, MAORI BOY GENIUS, WEST OF MEMPHIS, ANTIVIRAL, THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, etc...

* The Resene Architecture & Design Film Festival 2013 has already started! Boy oh boy, I'm running behind...20 features (and six shorter films paired into double features) all started Thursday 9th and run for two weeks. I'd like to try catch these first four;

- CARTOON COLLEGE - A peak inside the school for comic books in Vermont.
- MY PLAYGROUND (2009) - People + buildings = Parkour!
- EAMES: THE ARCHITECT & THE PAINTER - One screening only! James Franco narrates this look at the works from the Eames office and the Renaissance studio in Venice, CA.
- 16 ACRES - The clashes and differing opinions over rebuilding NYC's Ground Zero.
- 43 COLUMNS ON SCENE IN BILBAO (43 COLONNE IN SCENA A BILBAO) - Building the new cultural centre in the Basque city.
- (AMONGST THE RUINS...) UNFINISHED ITALY - 34mins of Italy's ruins. Playing alongside...
- (THE ARCHITECTURE OF) CARLO SCARPA (1996) - A look at the man, revived in hi-def.
- INDEPENDENT LENS S12E02: ART & COPY (2009) - Genius advertising creatives.
- DESIGN & THINKING - A chat with folks who've changed the world with their designs.
- DILLER SCOFIDIO + RENFRO: REIMAGINING LINCOLN CENTER AND THE HIGH LINE - The design firm in the title does exactly what the title suggests.
- FALLINGWATER: FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT'S MASTERWORK - a restoration of the 1994 film, chatting with Edgar J. Kaufmann's son about the titular building and architect.

- FORTUNY AND THE MAGIC LANTERN (FORTUNY I LA LLÀNTIA MERAVELLOSA) - The 19th century Oriental design found in the photos, sculptures and textiles of Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo.
- FROM NOTHING, SOMETHING: A DOCUMENTARY ON THE CREATIVE PROCESS - Game designers, screenwriters, chefs, Tegan's Sara & others discuss creative thinking.
- BIOPHILIC DESIGN: THE ARCHITECTURE OF LIFE - Architecture + nature. Plays with...
- PASSIVE PASSION - 21mins of energy-conscious architecture.
- LIFE ARCHITECTURALLY - Husband & wife design team in Aussie.
- LINOTYPE: IN SEARCH OF THE EIGHTH WONDER OF THE WORLD - The near-extinction of the machine Edison called the 8th wonder.
- MILTON GLASER: TO INFORM AND DELIGHT (2009) - The work of the I Heart NY guy.
- EYE OVER PRAGUE (OKO NAD PRAHOU, 2010) - the National Library's design grief.
- UTOPIA LONDON - Modernist architects rebuild London after WWII.
- VOLUME ZERO: THE WORKS OF CHARLES CORREA (2008) - India's most famous architect.
- HELLA JONGERIUS: CONTEMPORARY ARCHETYPES (2009) - Half an hour with the Dutch designer. Plays alongside...
- STUDIO GANG ARCHITECTS: AQUA TOWER (2009) - That buzzy building pictured above.
- WOMAN IN THE DIRT: LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS SHAPING OUR WORLD - Follows seven female landscape designers in LA.


* NZIFF's Autumn Events is now in retrospect mode; at Academy Cinemas, Sun 12th 4:30 PM, the Godard films continue with BANDE À PART (BAND OF OUTSIDERS, 1964), the 'story' of Anna Karena helping two crooks to rob her aunt, before things go pear.

* There's Farhadi, too; at Rialto Newmarket, Sat 11th 6 PM, 2004's THE BEAUTIFUL CITY (شهر زیبا) sees a kid kill his girlfriend and go to juvie, only to have his sister and some thief try save him from execution. Also at Rialto, Wed 15th 6:15 PM, DANCING IN THE DUST (رقص در غبار)(2003) is about a guy made to divorce his wife and go on the run from debt, eventually winding up with a snake hunter in the desert, or something.

* Auckland Film Society is back to their Claire Denis screenings this week, with 35 SHOTS OF RUM (35 RHUMS, 2008). Academy Cinemas 6:30 PM Monday 13th.

* DIRTY DANCING (1987) in back again on Sunday 12th 2:30 PM at Takapuna and Mission Bay Berkeleys. It's repertory, so I should mention THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA (2006) will be playing at The Vic Saturday 11th 8:40 PM. And I forgot to mention last week that Disney's PETER PAN (1953) plays Hoyts and Berkeley cinemas on weekend mornings this month.

* Monterey Cinema has kicked of its Monterey Abroad nights again; at 6:30 PM Friday 10th, you can have a drink and watch Israel's FOOTNOTE (הערת שוליים) for $15 out in Howick.

* The Film Archive on K Rd is playing the 2010 film essay THE FORGOTTEN SPACE for FREE, two or three times a day?? Not sure how that works...The Dutch National Ballet brings Cinderella to St. Lukes, Albany & Westgate Events on Sunday 12th at 11 AM and 2 PM. Technically a screening - Stardome has PINK FLOYD'S THE WALL and DARK SIDE OF THE MOON in the planetarium on Tuesday 15th 8 PM.

All sessions above are accurate at the time of publication. Your best bet would be to check Flicks or the theatre website before attending. Please let us know in the comments if you spy anything we've messed up/missed out!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

In Cinemas: May 2 - 8


There's a lot on this week, but really it's all about Johnnie To's DRUG WAR. More on that in a moment...

* If you missed ANTIVIRAL at Autumn Events and are wondering what a film by David Cronenberg's son is like, or just enjoy seeing icky things on camera, it's returned unexpectedly quickly and is playing in Rialto's e-Cinema.

* It's been a much longer wait for the return engagement of JURASSIC PARK 3D, but hopefully its accoutrement of 3-dimensionality has made that wait worthwhile. Now playing all over the place.

* THE COMPANY YOU KEEP seems to be crossing over the mainstream and arthouse cinemas - it's a Robert Redford-directed tale centered around The Weather Underground. Personally, we reckon it's going to have a hard task living up to the fantastic documentary on the group, even if its bombing-related subject matter is unexpectedly timely...

* More in the "returning from film festivals department"; HAUTE CUISINE opened the French Film Festival and will undoubtedly turn over crowds eager for inoffensive filmmaking for months, whilst the locally-produced documentary MAORI BOY GENIUS may have a shorter lifespan but augurs to be the more substantial of the two. The latter has a Film Talk at Rialto with filmmakers Pietra Brettkelly and Joanna Paul on Thu 2nd May at 6 PM.

* But, seriously, seriously, SERIOUSLY: if you can see one film this week, make it Johnnie To's DRUG WAR (毒戰), screening exclusively at Hoyts Sylvia Park. Johnnie To is one of the living masters of Hong Kong filmmaking, having brought us such titles as EXILED, BREAKING NEWS, ELECTION, THROWDOWN, MAD DETECTIVE...the list goes on and on. And whilst his last few films have mined romantic comedy and drama, DRUG WAR could be a return to vintage To mayhem, and if you've ever loved a Hong Kong action film, you owe it to yourself not to miss this.

Is that all? No, it's not all: there's the heartwarming Korean comedy MIRACLE IN CELL NO. 7 (7번방의 선물) at Hoyts Wairau Park; this week's Bollywood offering, the action-crime drama SHOOTOUT AT WADALA at Hoyts and Event; MANET: PORTRAYING LIFE, an up-close look at the artist's works, plays at Rialto Newmarket; and there's a preview of GAMBIT, the Coen Brothers-penned remake of the Michael Caine film, sneaking into select Event cinemas at 10:30 AM Mon and Wed... not convenient for us, but maybe for you?


* NZIFF's Autumn Events continue this week, and in addition to such returning titles as THE HOUSE I LIVE IN, WHERE THE CONDORS FLY, AFTER MAY, THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, GREGORY CREWDSON: BRIEF ENCOUNTERS, and THE DEEP, there are a few extra additions; in Jean-Luc Godard's VIVRE SA VIE: FILM EN DOUZE TABLEAUX (MY LIFE TO LIVE, 1962), Anna Karena ditches her family to act, but instead becomes a prostitute with pimps fighting over her. Playing once only, this Sunday at Academy Cinema.

* From Asghar Farhadi, the director of 2011's Iranian 'hit' A SEPARATION (جدایی نادر از سیمین), NZIFF also brings us 2009's ABOUT ELLY (درباره الی‎) as part of their Autumn Events selection. Drama, conversation and panic as 'friends' scour the beach for a missing girl's body. It's only playing once, next Wednesday at Academy, but it's the first of four Farhadi works to be shown in a retrospective; look for more next week!

* I like it when midnight premieres are an excuse for a double feature. Next Wednesday we've got STAR TREK (2009) and STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS, which you can go see at 9 PM in Vmax, IMAX or good ol' regular.

* Down in Howick, Visconti's epic THE LEOPARD (IL GATTOPARDO)(1963) gets a spin on the big screen, and it's a movie that well deserves that scope. Catch it at Uxbridge Arts Cinema Club, 8 PM Thu 2nd May $8.

* Auckland Film Society, meanwhile, presents Terrence Malick's first film (and at least one of your contributor's candidate for the top 20 films ever made); BADLANDS (1973). If you missed out on Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen as young killers road-tripping back when the 35mm print played a couple years ago, this HD presentation is likely to be your best alternative. 6:30 PM Mon 6th May at Academy.

* An odd one for a one-night-only; London rapper Plan B has made a film! iLL MANORS threatens to be all hip-hop, crime and swearing and will only by playing at Queen St. Event, Fri 3rd May 9 PM.

* And then there is BEYONCÉ: LIFE IS BUT A DREAM. Not sure exactly what it is, but it'll be on at 7-ish Wed 8th May at select Event cinemas.

All sessions above are accurate at the time of publication. Your best bet would be to check Flicks or the theatre website before attending. Please let us know in the comments if you spy anything we've messed up/missed out!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

In Cinemas: Apr 25 - May 1

This is VERY late; if I had posted this on time last week, I would've told you that the upcoming weekend (27th & 28th) sees the end of Reel Brazil, as well as being your only opportunity to see THE WORLD BEFORE HER and ANTIVIRAL at NZIFF's Autumn Events. Screwed that up.

But there are a couple of films worth mentioning before Thursday's edition arrives;


* Film Society is playing David Lynch's ERASERHEAD (1977) at 6:30 PM Monday 29th April.

* This month's Japanese Film Screening - A CLASS TO REMEMBER II (学校II) - is on a Tuesday this time 'round. It will be playing for FREE at 7:30 PM Tue 30th under the Auckland Uni Library.

* NZIFF Autumn Events has three screenings of WHERE THE CONDORS FLY (DONDE VUELAN LOS CÓNDORE) starting Tuesday 30th April. It follows an enthusiastic director as he travels the globe shooting "¡VIVAN LAS ANTIPODAS!"

* Also at NZIFF's Autumn Events, THE HOUSE I LIVE IN begins Tuesday 30th April. It's a doco about how the war on drugs is futile, but also an unstoppable industry.


NZIFF Autumn Events also has a bunch of other things that continue into this week;

- NZIFF Autumn Events: GREGORY CREWDSON: BRIEF ENCOUNTERS is a cool documentary about this cinematic photographer I'd never heard of before. I'm not saying it's the most well-made doco ever, but I adored that look into his world.

- NZIFF Autumn Events: FROM UP ON POPPY HILL (コクリコ坂から) is the second Studio Ghibli effort from Miyazaki's kid Goro. This is the English Language Version, but these Ghibli things usually even get that part of it right.

- NZIFF Autumn Events: THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES is a doco about the wife of a timeshare mogul with eight kids and the biggest house in America.

- NZIFF Autumn Events: THE DEEP (DJÚPIÐ) is the true story of a normal Icelandic dude swimming six hours while chatting to a gull, after capsizing in icy water.

- NZIFF Autumn Events: APRÈS MAI (AFTER MAY / SOMETHING IN THE AIR) is kinda about Olivier Assayas’s youth, student protests, young love, coming-of-age...


* IRON MAN 3 is pretty fun and should be here for aaaages now.

* The new EVIL DEAD remake is only playing at Queen St. Event and Sylvia Park Hoyts, and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of screenings either. Might be best to catch that one sooner rather than later.

* The 4th doco about the West Memphis Three, WEST OF MEMPHIS, is only playing at Rialto Newmarket.

* FIRST POSITION is a doco about ballet teens...

* ...there's a new Punjabi comedy called LUCKY DI UNLUCKY STORY...

* ...and the new Met Opera - Donizetti’s MARIA STUARDA - has arrived.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

In Cinemas: Apr 18 - Apr 24


* Apparently, Rasta isn't just weed, Bob Marley and dreadlocks. Sounds like it was more about hating white folks and believing that the Ethiopian Emperor was the messiah. Academy Cinemas has THE FIRST RASTA (Le premier rasta, 2010) playing in their 16-seater boutique theatre as of this week. It details the life of Gong Guru Maragh, one of the first Rastafari Movement preachers. Its country of origin is listed as France/Mauritius - my favourite!

* Can't imagine why I didn't see THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967–1975 at NZIFF 2011, but it's back at Academy Cinemas, so I'm safe. A documentary that remixes some 16mm Black Power movement footage discovered recently in Sweden. With names like Danny Glover, Erykah Badu, Harry Belafonte, Talib Kweli, ?uestlove and Melvin Van Peebles alongside folks like Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael, Eldridge Cleaver, Louis Farrakhan, Martin Luther King, Huey P. Newton and Malcolm X, it sounds fascinating to this white kid who grew up listening to Public Enemy.

* Ugly-lookin' CG kids' film ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH (3D) is out in general release now. While the voice talents of Brendan Fraser, Jessica Alba, Sarah Jessica Parker and Steve Zahn don't do anything for me, there're also cool dudes onboard like Craig Robinson, Shatner, Jane Lynch, Paul Scheer and Chris Parnell. Rob Corddry (Frank Wrench from ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT) also lends his voice to this, so you could do a Corddry big-screen-double with the currently screening WARM BODIES (that stars Nicholas Hoult, who is also lead in the now-playing JACK THE GIANT SLAYER. I could do this all day). Oh yeah, Ricky Gervais is in this children's alien adventure as well. Which reminds me;

* Keeping with the double-feature theme above, OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN features Michael Dudikoff (the American Ninja himself), who is also in G.I. JOE: RETALIATION at the moment. But Dudikoff's current resurgence aside, this film is about Gerard Butler saving POTUSA Aaron Eckhart when shit goes down. From director Antoine Fuqua (SHOOTER, TRAINING DAY), it also features Morgan Freeman & Melissa Leo (who're both currently appearing in OBLIVION, I just can't help myself), Angela Bassett, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Ashley Judd & Robert Forster.

* ETERNITY, the latest NZ/Hong Kong sci-fi mystery is playing at Rialto Newmarket. A detective is stuck in a video game investigating a seemingly impossible murder? Who knows, could be fun.

* There is also a new filmed play in the National Theatre series - PEOPLE stars Frances de la Tour in a comedy about...old ladies or something. I dunno, check the link.

* There is another load of preview screenings this week; first up, Rialto has a members' screening of WEST OF MEMPHIS playing after Film Society at 8:30 PM Monday 22nd. Much like the three PARADISE LOST films, this is about the West Memphis Three case, where a trio of teens was wrongly arrested for murder and went to jail for 18 years. This time 'round, we focus on the step-father of one of the victims and his probable guilt. NZ's own PJ has his name on it, too.

* It turns out that IRON MAN 3 has been deemed worthy of a midnight opening! That happens next Wednesday night - the 24th - and you can even re-watch THE AVENGERS before it at 9 PM. That's quite an action-packed double for a school-night...

* If six hours of superheroes seems a bit much for you though, The Bridgeway are having a preview of SONG FOR MARION (aka UNFINISHED SONG) next Wednesday 24th 8 PM. Grumpy old man (Terence Stamp) joins the local choir to please his dying wife (Vanessa Redgrave) and is made to like it by the charming young choir mistress (Alice Creed). Bitterness thaws.

* But there is plenty more goodness in general release; THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER looked to be on its last legs at Queen St. Event, but Rialto Newmarket has picked it up; I rather enjoyed Ronny Yu's SAVING GENERAL YANG (忠烈楊家將) and am rapt that it's hanging in there; and THE RED HOUSE is still on at Rialto and over at The Vic.


* This Saturday (aka Record Store Day), The New Zealand Film Festival kicks off their Autumn Events program. They have three films playing at the mighty Civic on Saturday, starting at 3 PM with the colourful old Frank Sinatra/Marlon Brando musical GUYS AND DOLLS (1955). This is followed at 7:15 PM by the man-vs-nature film KON-TIKI, about the Norwegian that took a raft from Peru to Polynesia; and then at 10 PM, we have the NZ premiere of the Ant Timpson/Tim League-produced horror-anthology THE ABCS OF DEATH. And then on Sunday, they have brought back LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962), pro'ly well-suited to the Civic!

* The Documentary Edge Festival finishes up this weekend on Queen St., but there is still LOADS to enjoy! For example; you can still catch DETROPIA where you get to see Detroit falling to bits; SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE is a pretty funny flick about a US fellow of around 60-ish getting himself a Chinese bride half his age; HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE is about activists battling AIDS, defying government agencies, infiltrating industry & helping to fix the problem; and it all wraps up with the one and only screening of MUSCLE SHOALS, about the tiny music town in Alabama visited by Dylan, The Stones, Skynyrd, Redding, Garfunkel, et al.

* REEL BRAZIL is here for the year, with 10 films playing in Rialto's e-Cinemas (although a couple of them also have screenings in cinema 4 to watch out for). As per, I've chopped each synopsis down to a few words, for handy/dopey overview reasons. I reckon I'll pr'oly hit these first two;

- DIRTY HEARTS (Corações Sujos) - Japanese living in 1940s Brazil fight one another after WWII.
- TWO RABBITS (2 Coelhos) - "Gritty urban thriller", crooked politicians, gangsters...
- IN THERAPY (Divã) - A lady's therapy sessions lead her to young lovers, raves & a new life.
- HELENO - Black & white biopic of an angry young football talent from the 40s.
- GRANDPA'S WATCH (O Relógio do Meu Avô) - Director traces Grandpa's footsteps to Auschwitz.
- PIRINOP, MY FIRST CONTACT (Pïrinop, Meu Primeiro Contato) - Doco about a tribe's relocation.
- THE WORLD IN TWO ROUND TRIPS (O Mundo Em Duas Voltas) - Doco about a sailing family.
- TROPICÁLIA - Doco about the 60s Brazilian art movement that spawned Tropicalismo music.
- WHO CARES? (Quem se importa) - Doco about social entrepreneurs all over the globe.
- FOUND MEMORIES (Historias que so existem quando lembradas) - Photographer finds a coffee town untouched by time.

* Over at The Vic in Devonport, the writer & the lead actress of ALEX (1992) will both be there on Saturday 20th at 4 PM, to present a screening of the film, which is about a New Zealand teen training to swim in the 1960 Olympics, while dealing with a huge amount of schoolwork and the death of her boyfriend. Hefty.

* Auckland Film Society will have their next Claire Denis film playing Monday 22nd at 6:30 PM - 2001's TROUBLE EVERY DAY. The synopsis mentions eating people and Vincent Gallo's thirst for blood, so I'm assuming that it's a little different from her other films...While Tindersticks are doing the soundtrack again, the film's title comes from the Frank Zappa tune;

All sessions above are accurate at the time of publication. Your best bet would be to check Flicks or the theatre website before attending. Please let us know in the comments if you spy anything we've messed up/missed out!

Sunday, April 14, 2013


A note of explanation: Nigel and I thought it would be a good idea to do our reviews for the DocEdge fest over drunken GChats, as a way of not getting precious and falling behind, and also as a tribute to our origins. So, here we are. Enjoy. - Doug

me:  Alright, well, let's begin!
Shall I start?
Because I have a lot to say.
As always.
 Nigel:  Yeah, I'm eating and drinking all over my keyboard; so feel free
 me:  Okay, so: SEXY BABY.
a. You should be glad you missed it, given your aversion to surgery footage.
 Nigel:  ...all of it??
 me:  like, it's kind of the running joke that watching a lot of documentaries makes you want to just give up on life and everything
but Jesus.
all the mainstream culture, yes.
Ok, so there's 3 stories.
1. 22-year old who wants to get labia reduction so she looks like porn stars look.
 Nigel:  I'm starting to feel better about skipping it drink Guinnesses.
 me:  2. 32-year old who is/was a porn star, trying to mainstream her way into life.
(You're already dropping prepositions. This cannot end well.)
3. 12-year old.
Oh fuck.
The 12-year old.
 Nigel:  haha, almost enough said
 me:  She starts out
 Nigel:  But not QUITE; 12yo?
 me:  in a school play
decrying how Paris Hilton et al are valorized while Susan B. Anthony and other respectable female heroes are ignored.
And you think, wow: this girl has her head on her shoulders.
And then you watch culture destroy her.
And sexualize her.
I don't ...
Let's put it this way.
There is a lot of sexual imagery in the film.
I did not respond ONCE; I felt fucking guilty as a human being for being complicit in a culture that was ruining women's lives so deeply.
In a way, I suppose, that's a positive review.
Also, you get to see chunks o' labia.
(The surgery footage I mentioned.)
 Nigel:  My new favourite band is BABYMETAL; a 14yo performing J-Pop over speed metal, with two 12yo dancer sidekicks. I suddenly feel bad.
 me:  Something to disappoint/disgust everybody, really.
 Nigel:  CHUNKS?
 me:  ... perhaps we should switch the topic.
"So, Nigel, what films have you been enjoying?"
or ask me more
Yeah, just asian stuff...
I have issues...
Though, between ALL of those films, I never felt overwhelmed by labia
 me:  That's a common reaction to virtually every film that is not SEXY BABY.
 Nigel:  Haha
 me:  But, ok, to make a hamhanded segue, isn't SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE also about idealization/fetishization of females?
 Nigel:  I wonder if there are sites out there that rate the percentage of labia in a film...?
Yeah, YELLOW FEVER, as the Asian-American director/narrator calls it.
I connected with it on that level;
 me:  TMI
nah, bare all!
 Nigel:  she actually started out to make a film about that (I think it says)
and she interviews a bunch of dudes who argue it's their black hair,
the bit under their eyes,
how quiet they are,
 me:  the bit under their eyes???
I have never noticed this before
 Nigel:  all trying to put their finger on why they spot Asians in a crowds over redheads or whatever
UNTIL she finds this one dude, and scraps her plans to follow THIS fruit loop
 me:  Good thing you're talking to an American.
Did you know the Wellington Phoenix and New Zealand Football supporter's group is called Yellow Fever?
The magic of Google.
 Nigel:  But he does have his ideals; he assumes things about the Asian woman that are completely not true
I did not know that. Sports, huh
Probably the most stunning thing, was that this girl was HUGELY jealous.
You wouldn't think that of internet brides.
*sorry, I mean I wouldn't
 me:  How does that work, anyway?
Like did she put herself up?
Or does her family sell her?
Or ... wtf, really?
 Nigel:  Haha, I went in like that too, didn't really read up.
No, they're internet chat biddies
*buddies even
I think it may've STARTED through dating sites?
 me:  oh, so this isn't Russian mail order bride kinda thing
just an entirely DIFFERENT ill-advised misadventure
 Nigel:  But yeah, he's a loud 60yo American, lost in his own world ie/not too many social skills
She's a 30yo country girl, looking for somebody to appreciate her for HER, rather than tease her being the country mouse.
But I kinda works??
 me:  as a relationship or as a movie?
 Nigel:  I just felt bad, for rubber-necking at somebody's relationship
 me:  Is it a bit exploitative?
 Nigel: was entertaining!! But a lot of the time, I enjoyed it 'cause HE was so odd
Yeah, perhaps
Ok, probably the most interesting thing about it, was that the director/narrator got too involved, then got the guilts.
She started out as documentarian,
 me:  ooooh, filmmaker complicity!
 Nigel:  then became marriage counsellor (spelt?),
 me:  This can bring us to TALES FROM THE ORGAN TRADE (when you're ready, no rush)
 Nigel:  then confidante to the Asian girl (coz she's the only one she spoke to),
then friend, etc
But SHE (the director/narrator),
felt later on, like she had DRIVEN them together for the sake of the story.
Like, she was translator, advisor, and everything
 me:  are we giving away too much?
 Nigel:  If she hadn't've been there, what would've happned?
Anyway. I'm done.
 me:  Ah, didn't mean to cut you short. But people have to read this shit.
So probably just as well.
 Nigel:  Hah, I agree.
Time for a current drink count?
 me:  Anyway: TALES FROM THE ORGAN TRADE has its world premiere tomorrow; guess DocEdge is moving up in the world?
Current drink count: still working on the same bourbon I poured when I got home, but it was a GENEROUS pour.
Had - what, four drinks with you before SEXY BABY? Five?
So I'm not DRUNK, but live the dream, etc.
Which should be called TALES FROM THE KIDNEY TRADE.
 Nigel:  I'm at 3 Guinnesses, 1 Monteith's black, 5 Mac's Shady Pales and working on my first Mac's Great White. But continue
(and a Waikato. For good luck)
 me:  It's a film that was almost instantly offputting; the opening titles literally have poor Filipinos showing their scars from where their kidneys have been removed to the sounds of that Janis Joplin song "take another piece of my heart"
and that put me off the film for a good 15 minutes
since it seemed so ham handed
 Nigel:  Ooooo
I do like that song though...
 me:  and seemed like a big "organ selling is bad" movie, which = obvious.
 Nigel:  Never pictured it like THAT mind
 me:  Interestingly, though, it avoids being that very adroitly.
It seems to avoid even having a point of view, really, though the final title cards definitely tip the balance.
There's Filipinos profiled who sell their organs;
the Turkish surgeon who's done a lot (and is an internationally wanted fugitive);
a North American recipient;
two other Americans looking for kidneys,
and so on.
 Nigel:  That surgeon did seem kinda cool, from the trailer
 me:  Basically, it's a film that creates space around the issue and makes you realize it's actually really complicated, no matter what your gut feeling is.
Which is something I generally prefer in documentaries to polemics.
 Nigel:  Agreed
 me:  So many documentaries fall into that trap of "THIS IS BAD" and I'm like "YES I KNOW STOP SHOUTING PLEASE"
so it earns points there.
 Nigel:  There was a dude in the trailer for ORGAN TRADE,
 me:  Narrated by David Cronenberg.
 Nigel:  who was like "this needs to stop ASAP", and without seeing the doco,
 me:  That guy, yeah!
 Nigel:  I thought that there is probably a need for it, there is probably more than one side of the story
 me:  He's interesting too;
you never feel like any side is being vilified
he's on the hunt for justice
and when he's on the screen you totally see his point of view
but he's not living under a building with no electricity in the Philiipines.
You know?
I mentioned filmmaker complicity; I don't want to spoil it
 Nigel:  It probably seems all ery simple to him
 me:  but there's a moment an hour in
where the filmmakers have a direct effect on the course of the film
and I'm like "WHOA this just got SUPER interesting"
and they IMMEDIATELY run from it and never mention it again.
Which is partially a factor of Cronenberg being a 3rd person narrator, I suppose.
He's often like "The production team did this"; I wondered if there was a version with 1st person narration by the filmmaker, that got supplanted when they realized they could get David Cronenberg or something.
Anyway. I think it's worth seeing; it's not as graphic as you might fear.
 Nigel:  That IS good to know. You know I'm a surgery puss.
 me:  insert awkward segue to 9 MUSES OF STAR EMPIRE here
you start talking whilst I top up my bourbon
 Nigel:  Haha, DAMN, them 9 Muses...
Well, I had HUGE hope for these 9 Muses...
I don't know K-Pop AT ALL, BUT...I'm a HUGE J-Pop nerd.
What's the diff, right?
Anyway, I was SO ready for this, I wanted "a gruelling year in the life of"
Yeah. It's not.
Gruelling, I mean.
I had fun with it; you're watching beautiful Korean girls muddle their way through training to be a team of "honey-thighed" beauties.
And, I REALLY give the film big-ups for the ugly side of it;
while it wasn't as ugly as I wanted, holy shit, they don't pretty it up at all...
These girls can't sing, they're whingers, they can't commit, soft as,
it is constantly showing them crying over dopey problems, their voices cracking in the recording booth...
Like, if this was OKed by these strict management companies that look over them, as a marketing ploy...???
 me:  Wait: honey-thighed?
 Nigel:  Wow, I'd be covering this up
 me:  (I'm back)
 Nigel:  That's the quote, yeah. The CEO is looking over their costumes for their big debut,
(ridiculous slutty baseball outfits)
 me:  so THIS is the natural double feature with SEXY BABY
 Nigel:  and decides it DOESN"T look cheap; in fact, their skirts could be shorter, to ensure they're perceived as honey-thighed.
Hahah, exactly. I think that was how it was set up
 me:  Is honey-thighed a thing in Korean culture?
(I know; I'm dwelling.)
 Nigel:  I dunno; lemme Google it...
Ok; Korea honey-thighs brings up some interesting results...
 me:  oooooh, Mr. Fancypants and your "google"
yeah, that may have been ill-advised.
 Nigel:  How did you go Googling Sexy Baby?
 me:  I quite wisely avoided that.
At the moment I never want to see mainstream media sexual imagery again.
I came home, and my flatmates were just about to start watching PROPAGANDA.
I made it 30 seconds in;
shot of Britney Spears being "sexy" and I'm like, SORRY GUYS I HAVE TO LEAVE NOW.
PROPAGANDA does look fascinating, though; I'm assuming I'll be recovered by tomorrow.
So overall, do you recommend 9 MUSES?
 Nigel:  You coming along tomorrow? I'm looking forward to it.
Capping off my Korean weekend
 me:  We'll see how I go; got BROOKLYN CASTLE on tap, and maybe INOCENTE and HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE
 Nigel:  All good choices.
 me:  Thank you.
 Nigel:  Um, I did enjoy 9 Muses,
but perhaps 'cause I've seen Gaia Girls and things like that,
it seemed REALLY tame and petty
I still liked watching behind the scenes of openly manufactured  girl groups, but then...that's me.
 me:  So a mild-ish recommendation.
 Nigel:  Yes. Oh another thing;
 me:  Better than THE ANGELS' SHARE?
 Nigel:  It's REALLY well put together for about 10mins. Then falls way down into adequate.
 me:  Huh, strange.
 Nigel:  Then has a really good 8-bit credit sequence come out of NOWHERE
So strange; as if they made it in order.
 me:  Did you see ONCE IN A LIFETIME, eons ago? The soccer documentary?
 Nigel:  Nope
 me:  There's all these great split screen sequences near the start; exquisite.
(I LOVE split-screen.)
And then they just disappear.
I think the director must have been here for a Q&A?
Somehow or another, I found out that the reason they didn't continue
is that they were super-time consuming to edit and they had run out of money.
So off the tails of your mild recommendation, I'll do my mild recommendation: UNRAVELED.
 Nigel:  Ah, this is the uber-rich crim?
 me:  C'est vrai. Marc Dreier.
The "if only Bernie Madoff hadn't existed, we'd have access to the most notorious white-collar crim ever!" doco.
 Nigel:  Ah, that rings a bell, I think I saw that quote
 me:  So, right before I watched this, I watched another issue documentary, which had quotes from LOTS of people.
Getting a wide spectrum on an issue.
(Being purposely vague as I'm covering it soon for Best Worst Podcast.)
Anyway: this film is the opposite.
He's basically the only interview.
You hang with him for the two months between his conviction and his sentencing
whilst he's under house arrest
in his penthouse apartment
the narrative's opened up with animation and archive
but not much
and you NEVER hear from
people he stole from
it's all verite from inside the apartment
which obviously doesn't get a lot of traffic
it's interesting, I suppose, to get that detailed and relentless focus on one guy
but I found myself crying out for somebody to yell "That sociopathic fuck ruined my life!"
 Nigel:  Does he at least have an iguana or whatever dude had in This Is Not A Film??
 me:  He has a dog.
So, I was thinking of doing a review scale for this festival
based on the number of times Doug cries.
It's telling that
near the end
he has to say goodbye to his dog
and I didn't cry.
Did well up ever so slightly.
Then got resentful.
Also, interestingly: it's basically an instruction manual, when he isn't coming up with excuses/rationalizations.
 Nigel:  Yeah, I dunno that Doug Welled Up is enough of a recommend for me...Sorry.
 me:  There's a couple GREAT verite scenes with lawyers that show just how delusional he seems.
Do you want me to tell you about the Doug Cried Nonstop For Five Minutes film, then?
Or do you want to talk DEFECTOR first?
 Nigel:  Well, I do spot a segue;
 Nigel:  I was worried through THE DEFECTOR, because there was scenes that appeared instructional
They jumped off buses and onto trains for a few stops to get around the occasional inspectors,
that made me think "Shouldn't you - as a "broker" - be keeping this to yourself??
I liked the film; quite thrilling for a lot of it.
And holy-shit-fancy-made
(great English Nige)
This thing didn't pixelate faces, didn't black things out; they just used tilt-shifts and things to subtly move off the facial features and whatnot,
 me:  Can we step back: wtf is THE DEFECTOR's story?
 Nigel:  so it was always a pretty shot, but the person's face wasn't in focus. Very nice. Again, FANCY.
Well, I was hoping it was a dude - Dragon - getting people to escape from that shithole N.Korea.
It wasn't quite that.
Basically, we join a crew of North Koreans that HATE North Korea enough
to have risked icy waters and border patrols,
to escape into China, and now live undercover there
Dragon is ex-North Korean; considers himself a Robin Hood
He helps them get right the way through China, to escape out over the Laos mountains and into Thailand,
where they can go to the cops and get sent to SOUTH Korea; the original goal
Problem with the film is, he doesn't make it too far through, before he gets sidetracked. And we don't see him anymore.
The filmmaker is kinda left floundering for a while
Still, pretty interesting,
even though NONE of it is set in the North
 me:  did you see THE RED CHAPEL?
 Nigel:  Did I mention how flash this thing is?? Ritzy doco man...
THe what?
 me:  Doco about Danish comedians (including some of North Korean ancestry) going to North Korea
well worth your time if yr curious about N. Korea (alongside A STATE OF MIND and CROSSING THE LINE)
Sounds like something I'd like. I guess I'm saving my best for last as well (perhaps being presumptuous in assuming that's yr best): I AM BREATHING.
Which I saw more or less by accident.
Basically, I saw "Motor-Neurone Disease" and got curious.
 Nigel:  Yeah, I dunno that I could stomach that one.
Nothing about MND gets me into a theatre. What a dick.
 me:  Okay, so, yes: it is about a guy with a degenerative disease dying, and leaving behind a 3-year old kid and a wife.
Moving, yes; I spent the last five minutes in tears. But, really, a Kolobos monkey could have made a doco that made you cry with that setup.
What's special is
a) the gentle humour of it; the subject is quite funny and very willing to share it
b) thoughtfully shot; without underlining it, a lot of shots really take you into his worldview (long shots out the window that are beautiful but kind of sad)
c) the consistently underplayed nature of it; they KNOW it will make you cry, so there's not a lot of music to prompt you and nudge you (as opposed to ORGAN TRADE, which left my rib bruised from being elbowed)
 Nigel:  I'm confused; what's a Kolobos monkey?
 me:  so, yeah. I liked it a whole lot, and of the four I saw I recommend it the most
though I kind of recommend SEXY BABY equally, for outrage purposes.
You're fucking with me, aren't you?
 Nigel:  Heh, indeed
I've seen 4 too, but I don't have a rave yet
REPORTERO was very interesting and very thrilling,
but I had my issues
 me:  oh, apparently Colobus is the proper spelling; been getting that wrong for YEARS, geez.
c'mon, share yr issues.
 Nigel:  Like, WHY, for a film about a newspaper that has its journos killed on a regular basis, is it so slow and methodical?
But I have definitely enjoyed all 4 films to some extent,
 me:  because they made the mistake of following a journo who survived?
 Nigel:  PLUS, they've all made me feel bad for doing as little as I do.
Hah, perhaps
 me:  really? SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE made you feel bad for ... what, precisely?
 Nigel:  Hahaha good point. Ok, I can do this...hang on...
Because the filmmaker felt so terrible about making it. I couldn't help but feel bad, about the effect we have on others
(How's that? Did I pass??)
 me:  By we, you mean Auckland Cinephile? You personally?
I should just let you drop this, shouldn't I?
 Nigel:  Hah!
Please do...
 me:  Okay. What's yr most anticipated titles of the next couple days?
 Nigel:  I'm really looking forward to PROPAGANDA actually,
and I have this inexplicable need to see ONLY THE YOUNG,
 me:  Not inexplicable at all; it's highly lauded.
 Nigel:  even though in my one-line write-up, it sounds DREADFUL.
Is it? Good to know.
 me:  Yeah, Mike D'Angelo, Ian Barr, Hugh Lilly, and others all rate it highly.
 Nigel:  D'you think they could come up with one sentence that sums it up better than me?
Coz mine was TERRIBLE.
Yet somehow, I convinced myself I'm excited about it??
 me:  Couldn't be that terrible, then?
 Nigel:  I'll know more soon...
 me:  But yeah, I'm a guy that doesn't really care what the story is, as much as how it's told.
 Nigel:  Totally with you; but how do you get that across BEFORE you've seen it?
How do you get sold?
 me:  As I said to someone once: I'd rather read 15 pages of Tom Robbins describe some guy walking to the post office than 15 pages of Jack London telling about some guy trying to survive.
How do I get sold? Trusted voices telling me "hey, this is worth checking out".
Kind of like that RED HOUSE discussion we had earlier;
"filmmaker makes film about parents" didn't sell it, but Bill Gosden Tim Wong et al raving about it did.
But yeah, those films face the biggest struggle.
If only they had more labioplasty!
 Nigel:  Gotcha. 'Spose that makes it harder for those of us not following the word...
Oh thank God, I was trying desperately to work out a segue to labioplasty. Well done.
 me:  You don't know how many people I've helped out with that problem over the years.
Shall we bid our readership a good night?
 Nigel:  I forget exactly how it was Tetrised in, but I recall the phrase "bits of labia" entering our conversation earlier...
I mean, YES! We should.
Then End.
 me:  OK. Night, readership!