Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Reader: Year-End Wrapup

It's that time of year: top tens. Some of my favorites are from Film Crit Hulk, Steve Erickson, Slant Magazine, the AV Club, and of course the staff at New Zealand's own Lumiere Reader. I'm sure I'm missing plenty, so add your favorites (or your own!) to the comments section below. Myself, I'm hanging out in snowy Detroit, waiting to see if I can sneak in a screening of DJANGO UNCHAINED before New Year's Day before I finalize my list.

Meanwhile, it's just as interesting to find what people have found in the closet, and Alamo Drafthouse programmer Lars Nilsen has churned up a tantalizing stack of rarities.

One of the most striking films I saw this year was BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO, and this interview with director Peter Strickland by Jason Anderson at Cinema Scope made me appreciate it even more.

Another film I fell for hard is TABU, and every interview with director Miguel Gomes I read makes me more and more desperate for a re-watch. Zachary Wigon interviews Gomes for Filmmaker Magazine, and Giovanni Marchini for Bomb.

And while I was more conflicted about MARGARET, Jaime Christley's excellent interview with writer/director Kenneth Lonergan for Slant makes me want to give it another look.

If you're not sure what films to be excited for next year, Neil Young (no, not that one) has 50 films on his list.

I've linked to Roger Deakins' forum before, but this post at theBLACKandBLUE distills his writing there to 25 tips.

And if you've ever wanted to see a Gangham Style parody that references THE TURIN HORSE, thanks to Kevin Lee, you're in luck.

Friday, December 28, 2012

In Cinemas: December 27 - January 2


* LIFE OF PI (2D/3D) starts properly this week, Tuesday the 1st of January. Ang Lee's adaptation of the best-selling book tells the tale of a dude getting trapped on a lifeboat with a tiger after his family tries to move their zoo from India to Canada. Lots of neon whales and buzzy shit happening in the trailer, could be worth a peek.

* RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (2D/3D) has already had its preview screenings and is due to start next Thursday. However both Event and Hoyts are now having Advanced Screenings, which, in effect, means it starts this coming Tuesday. Alec Baldwin voicing a tattooed Russian Santa, Jude Law as The Boogeyman, Hugh Jackman as The Easter Bunny…could be fine?

* With so little new, might as well mention the Boxing Day films again! Hilarious English black comedy SIGHTSEERS, Woody Allen's latest ensemble flick TO ROME WITH LOVE, some charming old folk in QUARTET, or the magical 3D animated film WRECK-IT RALPH (2D/3D), for people who love old video games as much as me or these dudes do:

* On top of that, there are some winners still clinging to the big screens; COMPLIANCE, ARGO, SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED, BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD and that James Bond flick are all still on too. DIANA VREELAND is still over at The Vic or alternatively has one more screening at 10:50 AM Monday at Rialto Newmarket. And I'm not really sure whether WELCOME ABOARD or YOU'VE BEEN TRUMPED are any good, but they haven't left cinemas yet either, if you're keen…


* For fans of the Met Opera screenings; while the other cinemas have LA CLEMENZA DI TITO listed as a Feb 21st release and UN BALLO IN MASCHERA at March 7th, Bridgeway seems to have screenings of both this week. Not sure whether that's incorrect or just real early and fancy, but you can find them here and here.

* I'm writing this on Saturday, so I've missed today's free Rockumentary screening at the Art Gallery (if there was one), but I'm in time for Sunday's; STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN (2002) will play for FREE at 12 PM Sunday 30th. It's the story of The Funk Brothers, the uncredited studio musicians behind a squillion hits in and around the 60s. Here's one of the tunes they played on now;

* The Vic is still playing kids' films in 2D; Pixar's BRAVE, Aardman's ARTHUR CHRISTMAS and whatnot...

* And for those of you who wanna see Tom Cruise play the toughest little investigator around, there is a Members' Preview of JACK REACHER at Hoyts 8 PM next Wednesday.

Tune in next week for Walken, De Niro, Herzog and Chow-Yun Fat! I'll post my annual infographic before then too, dissecting the stack of films I've seen in the past 12 months. Here is last year's...

Oh, and early word on the $10 GANGSTER SQUAD preview screening at Event 16th of January, that could sell out...

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, December 20, 2012

In Cinemas: December 20 - 26

I'm sure nobody's surprised, but this Christmas week is packed and messy. We have FIVE Boxing Day films, a stack of previews and everything is arriving on different days. I miss order already. Strap in, 'cause I'm in cast-list mode...


* WELCOME ABOARD (BIENVENUE PARMI NOUS) is the latest from the fellow behind CONVERSATIONS WITH MY GARDENER (DIALOGUE AVEC MON JARDINIER) and MY AFTERNOONS WITH MARGUERITTE (LA TÊTE EN FRICHE). A friendship blossoms between a depressed painter in his sixties and a young lady. Sounds very French. Not yet on Wiki and titled incorrectly on IMDB, it's still playing Rialto Newmarket, The Monterey and The Bridgeway.

* DABANGG 2 is a new Hindi action film starring Salman Khan. Yep, that's all I know. Playing at select multiplexes 'round town.


* From the director of the insane KILL LIST comes the black comedy SIGHTSEERS (NZFF 2012). This caravan trip with a body count was written by its two leads, and is well worth your time. Playing at The Academy, The Monterey and The Bridgeway.

* WRECK-IT-RALPH is ridiculously up my alley. A hilariously-animated CG film that worships the video games of old, directed by a dude from THE SIMPSONS & FUTURAMA, featuring the voice talents of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman and Alan Tudyk doing his best Ed Wynn, references to STREET FIGHTER, PAC-MAN, MARIO, SONIC, Q*BERT, plus an end theme from ludicrous J-poppers AKB48. Good Lord, I'll be seeing this again!

* While Marisa Tomei has had some decent roles lately, a new Billy Crystal / Bette Midler picture in 2012 seems odd. But PARENTAL GUIDANCE has indeed happened, starring the three of them. Something to do with babysitting grandchildren? Dustin Hoffman brings us the latest in grandma-cinema with QUARTET. Set in a home for retired opera singers, it stars Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins and some other sweet old folk. Yikes. Woody Allen continues his tax-break period with TO ROME WITH LOVE. Interweaving tales that star Penélope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Alison Pill, Greta Gerwig, Roberto Benigni, Judy Davis and of course Woody himself. I may be alone on this, but I adored VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA and will no doubt catch this one just in case.


The five Boxing Day films mentioned above are all getting 'preview screenings' over the next few days. And that's not all; four of next year's films are also getting early sneaks in...

* Ang Lee turned up at Sylvia Park on Thursday to do a Q&A after a screening of his latest film, LIFE OF PI. Based on the best-selling book, a dude gets trapped on a lifeboat with a tiger after his family tries to move their zoo from India to Canada. How awesome to see Irrfan Khan, Rafe Spall & Gérard Depardieu together in a cast list! And the guy who played Shredder in the first TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES movie! Due January 1st, so you have a chance to see it eight days early.

* Nine days ahead of its January 3rd release is the CG fantasy film RISE OF THE GUARDIANS. The story of Santa, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy & The Sandman calling in Jack Frost to help fight The Boogeyman sounds very childish, but the trailers make it seem better than that. They haven't gone the cutesy route and have Alec Baldwin voicing a tattooed Russian Santa. I'll give it a bash.

* Tom Cruise in an action flick from the guy that brought us THE WAY OF THE GUN might not be the coolest thing, but JACK REACHER also features Robert Duvall, Dick Jenkins, Rosamund Pike and Werner Herzog! Our titular hero is from a whole stack of novels that I've never heard of, about a tough guy who used to be a military cop.

* Rialto has already shown SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS and it seemed to get a pretty great response. Looks like a pretty light-hearted romp about dognapping gone wrong, but I'm in. Coming January 3rd, so the previews are almost two weeks early. From the IN BRUGES guy and check this cast; Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Colin Farrell, Harry Dean Stanton, Kevin Corrigan, Michael Pitt, Michael Stuhlbarg…even Tom Waits!!

Now, here is a handy breakdown of what's playing when, for those of you who either want to get in first or would rather forget that Christmas is a thing. And don't forget that Monterey is celebrating their birthday with $8.50 tickets all week!

- WRECK-IT-RALPH (3D) - All day, all Events & Hoyts.
- JACK REACHER - 6:30 PM St. Lukes, Albany & Newmarket Events.
- SIGHTSEERS - Monterey 8:25 PM ($8.50!) & Academy 8:40 PM.

- WRECK-IT-RALPH (3D) - All day, all Events & Hoyts
- SIGHTSEERS - 8:25 PM Bridgeway.
- TO ROME WITH LOVE - 8:30 PM Bridgeway.
- SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS - 8:20 PM Monterey ($8.50!) & 8:40 PM Academy.

- WRECK-IT-RALPH (3D) - All day, all Events & Hoyts
- SIGHTSEERS - 8:25 PM Bridgeway.
- SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS - 8:00 PM Bridgeway & 8:35 PM Monterey ($8.50!).

- PARENTAL GUIDANCE - All day, all Events & Hoyts
- TO ROME WITH LOVE - Monterey 1:10 PM & 3:15 PM ($8.50!), plus Bridgeway 6:30 PM.
- LIFE OF PI - Bridgeway 4:05 PM (2D) & Monterey 5:40 PM (2D)($8.50!)
- QUARTET - 2:10 PM Bridgeway, 5:45 PM Monterey ($8.50!), 6:10 PM Berkeley Takapuna, 7:20 PM Botany Downs & 7:30 PM Berkeley Mission Bay.

- PARENTAL GUIDANCE - All day, Manukau & Queen st Events
- QUARTET - All day, Manukau & Queen st Events
- RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (2D/3D) - All day, Manukau & Queen st Events
- LIFE OF PI (3D) - 2:00 PM & 6:50 PM Queen st Event.

REPERTORY / ONE-OFF SCREENINGS (Yep, we're not finished yet!):

* Disney's FANTASIA (1940) is the kids' screening this weekend at The Monterey. Only $5, playing at 9:30 AM Saturday and Sunday. If your kids like mushrooms, they'll love this;

* This week's film being shown on The Silo down Wynyard Quarter is HOME ALONE (1990). Go get some family goodness down you with Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O'Hara & John Candy.

* The Vic has got 2D screenings of Pixar's BRAVE & Aardman Animation's ARTHUR CHRISTMAS over the next few days. And since I'm big on my cast lists today, how 'bout the latter's voice-cast; James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton, Laura Linney, Eva Longoria, Michael Palin, Robbie Coltrane, Joan Cusack, Rhys Darby, Andy Serkis, Alistair McGowan, McNulty from THE WIRE, The Cat from RED DWARF and Fran from BLACK BOOKS. Dude.

* There are some more music docos screening for FREE as part of the Who Shot Rock & Roll exhibition at the Auckland Art Gallery this weekend. First up, PUNK: ATTITUDE (2005) is pretty self-explanatory and plays on Saturday at 2 PM. Playing 12:00 PM Sunday is IT MIGHT GET LOUD (2008), which sees Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White all chat about guitars, then jam together. And END OF THE CENTURY is the 2003 doco about The Ramones, playing at 2 PM Sunday.

* And, the one-night-only Rolling Stones doco CROSSFIRE HURRICANE is in its fourth week, sneaking in again at Rialto Newmarket, The Monterey and The Vic.

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!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Three Free Korean flicks

EDIT: I rang Rialto to find out about these free tickets, and was told that I needed to ring somebody called Josephine on 027 453 1785!! Odd! Also, they're playing in the e-Cinemas...

It's pretty much too late to be mentioning this, but I am so appreciate of Jeff Cook pointing me in the direction of James Partridge's post over on Admit One, that I have to mention it. The Korean Embassy has set up three free film screenings this weekend and while 90% of info online only mentions the Wellington screenings, I did find this Facebook comment;
So it might be time to get skates on and whatnot...

* Animated family flick LEAFIE, A HEN INTO THE WILD (마당을 나온 암탉) has already played, shame. It's based on a children's book about a battery hen escaping the farm and raising a duckling. Or something.

* The rom-com ALL ABOUT MY WIFE (내 아내의 모든 것) is a remake of the 2008 Argentinian film A BOYFRIEND FOR MY WIFE (UN NOVIO PARA MI MUJER). A dude hires his ladies' man neighbour - Ryoo Seung-ryong from WAR OF THE ARROWS (최종병기 활) - to seduce his nagging wife, hoping it'll lead to divorce. Plays Rialto Newmarket at 5:30 PM tonight (Sunday 16th).

* UNBOWED (부러진 화살) is about one man taking on the dirty legal system after being accused of shooting a judge with a crossbow. The trailer (below) sells it as pretty thrilling! Showing Monday 6 PM at Rialto Newmarket.

See the trailers below!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

In Cinemas: December 13 - 19


* Almost nobody wanted to open the same week as THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, which was to be expected. As per, there was the usual weekly Bollywood new release scheduled - FOUR TWO KA ONE - but there are no session times up as I type this, which probably means even that chickened out...

* So the only film actually brave enough to attempt a general release alongside Bilbo this week is LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED (DEN SKALDEDE FRISØR). A Danish rom-com starring Trine Dyrholm from THE CELEBRATION (FESTEN), IN CHINA THEY EAT DOGS (I KINA SPISER DE HUNDE) and the recent A ROYAL AFFAIR (EN KONGELIG AFFÆRE), plus good ol' Pierce Brosnan!?! Writer-Director Susanne Bier and her co-writer Anders Thomas Jensen aren't folks I'd usually associate with this genre; this is the pair that were at the Oscars last year with IN A BETTER WORLD (HÆVNEN), and also made OPEN HEARTS (ELSKER DIG FOR EVIGT) in 2002, the original BROTHERS (BRØDRE) in 2004 and AFTER THE WEDDING (EFTER BRYLLUPPET) in 2006. Anyway, I've loved everything I've seen of theirs thus far, so will probably catch it while it's at The Capitol, The Monterey, The Bridgeway and Rialto Newmarket's e-Cinema.

* And don't forget to catch up with various NZFF returnees like COMPLIANCE, BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, and MONSIEUR LAZHAR if you haven't...soon a rain of Academy Award contenders will come to wash them all away...


* There is a FREE outdoor screening of GREASE (1978) this Friday at 9 PM. It's part of the series playing at Silo Park, Wynyard Quarter down the waterfront and they've got food stalls, short films and whatnot all happening sometime after 5 PM.

* The FREE films at the Auckland Art Gallery continue as part of their WHO SHOT ROCK AND ROLL exhibition. This Saturday at 2 PM they are screening the music documentary from back in 2000 called THE CLASH: WESTWAY TO THE WORLD. Then they're playing WHEN YOU'RE STRANGE at 1 PM Sunday, which previously played at NZFF 2010.

* Another FREE screening for the week; something called MUSTER (RUSHES) is playing Monday 6:30 PM at the St Paul St Gallery, 40 St Paul St in the city. Kind of a complicated beast, best click above for the write-up, rather than me trying to abbreviate it...

* So, after squeezing in a St. Lukes session of REGULAR SHOW the morning of the glorious Movie Marathon the other day, it's been continued for a second weekend at select Event cinemas. I s'pose I should've seen that coming. And speaking of Mordecai and Rigby, remember their rap battle with Big Trouble (Kid Cudi), Blitz Comet (Tyler, The Creator) and Alpha Dog (Childish Gambino)?

* For this month's gay movie night, Number 8 Films is playing BREAKFAST WITH SCOT, a comedy about a Canadian hockey personality living a double life, plus receiving custody of a young boy. It plays at Rialto Newmarket, 6:30 PM Thursday.

* Pixar season is over at The Monterey, and they've begun on Disney. TARZAN (1999) plays twice this weekend, at 9:30 AM Saturday and Sunday.

* An entry-by-donation screening of 2005's WWI Christmas truce movie JOYEUX NOËL will be taking place at 7 PM Monday at The Peace Place, 22 Emily Place in the city. Featuring both Fredrick Zoller and Bridget von Hammersmark from Inglourious Basterds!

* And finally, in repeat special interest screenings; MetOpera's THE TEMPEST has a couple more shows at Rialto Newmarket, The Monterey and The Bridgeway; Plus the Israeli documentary DOLPHIN BOY continues on for one more week at The Vic.

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, December 5, 2012

In Cinemas: December 6 - 12


* Well, THE ORATOR (O Le Tulafale) cleaned up at The Moas on Tuesday Night, so it's back on the big screen at Manukau Event this week.

* Bollywood flick KHILADI 786 hits certain multiplexes this week. It's s'posed to be an action comedy, but this colourful music video makes it look more Gungnam Style than anything...

* The well-loved POLISSE is a gritty crime-drama that has been compared to THE WIRE, only set in a Parisian Child Protection Unit. Only screening in Rialto's e-Cinema.

* Speaking of which, their e-cinema also sees the common folk take on Donald Trump in the documentary YOU'VE BEEN TRUMPED, also playing at The Monterey.

* But perhaps everybody is saving their pennies for THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY opening Wednesday midnight. Confusingly available in 2D, 3D, 3D High Frame Rate or 3D IMAX!


* Now, while I may put in an appearance at the Middle Earth movie above, the only film event I can think about is THE FATSO 13TH ANNUAL 24 HOUR MOVIE MARATHON. Locked in The Hollywood Cinema from 2:30 PM Saturday till 2:30 PM-ish Sunday, I'm hoping we get through 14 of the most bizarre, trashy, crap abominations imaginable. I cannot wait.

* The latest collection of cartoon episodes to hit the cinemas is REGULAR SHOW, playing at both Event and Hoyts on Saturday and Sunday. Wonder if I can squeeze that in before the marathon...?

* There will be a FREE screening at Silo Park of the 2002 spelling bee comedy-doc SPELLBOUND at 9 PM Friday. Take a picnic blanket and go laugh at nerdy children with the whole family. FREE!

* Also FREE, the Auckland Art Gallery is playing the 1997 hip hop doco RHYME AND REASON at Sunday 1 PM (with a lecture about the history of American hip hop afterwards, too). Featuring Biggie & Tupac, Wu-Tang members, Nas, Q-Tip, Chuck D, pretty much everybody. Even this guy:

* At 7:30 PM Monday, Uxbridge Arts Cinema Club is playing some opera thing from 2005 called GIUSEPPE VERDI'S RIGOLETTO STORY for only $8.

* The latest in the Metropolitan Opera series is THE TEMPEST, playing at Rialto, The Monterey and The Bridgeway this week. There is also a few more screenings of the National Theatre Live performance of TIMON OF ATHENS; find it at Rialto, The Capitol, Bridgeway and/or The Monterey.

* It's $5 early morning Pixar time again at The Monterey! The incredible THE INCREDIBLES is on at 9:30 AM Saturday and Sunday. Playing nightly at The Vic all week is DOLPHIN BOY, an Israeli documentary about a dude undergoing dolphin therapy after a violent attack. Plus, there're still more screenings of CROSSFIRE HURRICANE, the Rolling Stones documentary. Playing The Bridgeway, The Monterey and The Vic.

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!

The Reader: 5 December

The big news locally is that the Sorta Unofficial New Zealand Film Awards happened last night. Congratulations to THE ORATOR for taking home 8 Moas, as well as Auckland Cinephile favorites THE RED HOUSE and HOW FAR IS HEAVEN for pulling in awards of their own.

An excellent Quentin Tarantino interview for Playboy by Michael Fleming, on the eve of DJANGO UNCHAINED's world premiere.

If you saw SKYFALL, you know that Roger Deakins deserves every cinematography award this year, but did you know he also hosts his own web discussion forum where you can ask him questions about cinematography? Awesome.

Sundance has announced its new lineup. The biggest news is that UPSTREAM COLOR, the second film by PRIMER director Shane Carruth will be playing. If you haven't seen PRIMER, it's available by HD download at that link. Or watch the trailer for UPSTREAM COLOR here.

Of course, if you didn't get in, you can react with grace and tact … or you can do what this guy did. (Danger: that link will take you down the rabbit hole.)

Even if you realized FUNNY GAMES USA was quite similar to the original, you might not have realized HOW similar. Sixteen animated GIFs compare the two; spoilers, of course, abound.

There's a major Kubrick retrospective going on at LACMA in Los Angeles; but if you can't go, you can at least download the app!

Speaking of apps: RunPee may very well change your life, if you have a small bladder and love movies.

The New York Film Critics Circle start the awards-season tsunami by honoring Kathryn Bigelow's ZERO DARK THIRTY; more interesting than choosing one of the eight names that will pop up over and over on lists for the next month is J. Hoberman's breakdown of the process.

Larry Rohter writes for the New York Times about shifting political sands in Romania and its effects on international film festivals.

Speaking of the New York Times, they did this very good profile on filmmaking in New Zealand not too long ago.

And not related to film at all, but hey: I edited this music video for the song "Pretty Much" by Gatherer. The heavy lifting was done by director Alastair Tye Samson and motion graphics designer Lucas Brooking.

Gatherer - Pretty Much from Alastair Tye Samson on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In Cinemas: November 29 - December 5

Only have time for a quick update, as this week I have scored a new job at Animation College NZ, as well as a chainsaw wound to the gut. These things are not related, but combined are exhausting me. And while my injuries are keeping me out of the cinemas, your excuse can't be as good, surely.


* BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD is finally back from NZFF 2012. A rather unique film about a little girl in a fictional bayou, floods and prehistoric creatures. Pretty great.

* Now, while Rachael Wilson's documentary YAKEL 3D is "New Zealand's first 3D film", Auckland actually appears to only have a 2D version of it in Rialto's e-Cinema (Dunners has the 3D version playing). Back from DocEdge 2012, it's about a tribe in Vanuatu and their 108-year-old chief. Rachael will be there actually, at the 6 PM Monday screening for a Q&A!

* Charlotte Rampling and Gabriel Byrne have a new noir thriller out; I, ANNA also has Eddie Marsan from ALICE CREED and even Pussy Galore herself, Honor Blackman! Playing at The Monterey or in Rialto Newmarket's e-Cinemas.

* Actually, those Newmarket e-Cinemas are pretty busy this week. Minnie Driver tries to get her students to perform a musical version of THE TEMPEST in HUNKY DORY, if that's your thing.

* Also back from NZFF 2012 is WUTHERING HEIGHTS. Directed by Andrea Arnold (FISH TANK / RED ROAD), it's a pretty stunning adaptation. Playing in Rialto's big boy, cinema 3.

* In asian cinema this week, a terrible drought hits while the Chinese are trying to fight the Japanese; BACK TO 1942 (一九四二) plays on select Event screens and stars Adrien Brody and Tim Robbins, wait what?? Plus Hoyts have the South Korean diamond heist flick THE THIEVES (도둑들), which stars Kim Yoon-seok from THE CHASER & THE YELLOW SEA, Lee Jung-jae from THE HOUSEMAID and Simon Yam from IP MAN, the Lara Croft sequel and pretty much every Johnnie To film.

* Then in Indian cinema, we've got Hindi crime story TAALASH playing at select multiplexes and medical romantic thriller (??) AYALUM NJANUM THAMMIL arriving on Friday at Sylvia Park.

* I'd also like to point out that SHADOW DANCER is barely hanging on in its second week, so see it while you can. Also, COMPLIANCE continues at the Academy; if you're not convinced you should see it, let us try to convince you. Also, HOW TO MEET GIRLS FROM A DISTANCE and SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED start their run out at Pukekohe 3.


* The new Academy Cinema is still managing to impress; they're piping in a live Q&A with the guys behind KLOWN (KLOVN - THE MOVIE) at 9:15 PM Friday. Not bad for $20, I still haven't checked out their new digs yet... Updated: the guests have cancelled, but the screening's still on for only $5!

* NOSFERATU is back for two live score screenings at The Vic! Guitar, piano, looping, etc...sounds interesting. The Vic also has ON THE ROAD returning, EDITH COLLIER: A LIGHT AMONG SHADOWS (NZFF 2007), VILLAGE BY THE SEA (NZFF 2012), the aforementioned SHADOW DANCER and a bunch more this week.

* MEMOIRS OF THE MONTEREY is the premiere of the 30 minute documentary about the Howick cinema. Entry by gold coin donation, 8 PM Monday at the Uxbridge Arts Cinema Club. Director Scott Boswell will chat afterwards, probably still riding high from the premiere of his film THE FALL GUYS that premiered in Auckland last weekend.

* 2007 documentary AMAZING JOURNEY: THE STORY OF THE WHO plays at 2 PM Saturday as part of the exhibition "Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 - Present", which is on at the Auckland Art Gallery. And while this clip isn't quite The Who, I'm in Movie Marathon mode, so excuse the segway...

* Monterey has Pixar's WALL•E (2008) playing for $5 at 9:30 AM Saturday and Sunday. The Gus Fisher Gallery has the 30-minute film from 1988 THE WAY THINGS GO playing for FREE at 1 PM Saturday. It's outdoor cinema season already too, so THE BAND'S VISIT (ביקור התזמורת)(2007) plays for FREE at Silo Cinema 9 PM Friday night. Also, there is a rather early (it's not due till Boxing Day!) sneak preview of WRECK-IT RALPH 3D, only it's a Kid's Club Premiere and I don't know if I can join that...2 PM Sunday at Event if you're cleverer than me.

* And finally, the latest in the "National Theatre Live" series is TIMON OF ATHENS, directed by the guy who made THE CRUCIBLE and THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE. Playing at The Monterey, The Bridgeway and Rialto Newmarket.

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!

Saturday, November 24, 2012


You're unlikely to see a more challenging or unsettling film this year in New Zealand theatres (outside of the Fatso 24 Hour Movie Marathon, anyway) than COMPLIANCE, the second film by director Craig Zobel (after the little-seen, particularly in New Zealand, GREAT WORLD OF SOUND). My viewing last night provoked at least half a dozen walkouts, out of an audience of less than 20. This, despite the fact that there's not a single drop of blood spilled, and the entire film is based on a true story.

"Based on a true story", of course, can easily be code for "very little truth remains", and many seem to be reacting to COMPLIANCE with disbelief. Surely, the events on screen are exaggerated?

They aren't.

A little background. Over the course of 12 years in America, 70 prank calls were made to fast food restaurants or grocery stores by a man claiming to be a policeman. What happened then, I'll save for Wikipedia, though be warned before you go reading that one of the cases there is pretty much beat for beat the inspiration for COMPLIANCE. All those who are wary of spoilers should know is that:

a) the wording of the R16 rating should give you a hint that things go very, very badly and
b) if you are tempted into disbelief during viewing, remind yourself that the most outlandish material in COMPLIANCE is lifted directly from court records. (Zobel asserts this in this highly spoilery but very interesting interview.)

COMPLIANCE is upsetting because we don't want to believe that the film's true. So perhaps it's best to talk about the director's original inspiration for the film, which wasn't the aforementioned case but the Milgram experiments. Psychologist Stanley Milgram oversaw an experiment in which participants were encouraged to administer electro-shock to another person in the service of learning word pairs. (In reality, the electro-shock was faked, but the participant didn't know this.) If the participant displayed reluctance, they were encouraged to continue, even though they could hear their victim's screams.

In the end, fully 65% of the participants were willing to administer the maximum 450-volt shock.

Last night was my second screening of COMPLIANCE, after seeing it at NZFF in July. A first viewing is roughly like getting hit by a bus, where one's immediate visceral emotional response overpowers any ability to rationally break down what's happening. This time I could look more analytically at the techniques used by "Officer Daniels" (Pat Healy) on the store's manager Sandra (Ann Dowd) and the young victim Becky (Dreama Walker), as well as the other employees that get sucked into the drama, and, most tragically, the manager's fiance Van (Bill Camp). Everyone believes they're doing the right thing; or, if they realize they aren't, "Officer Daniels" uses other techniques to ensure that they don't have a choice. Or feel like they have a choice. The extent to which those are actually two different things is one of many, many interesting discussions that this film can provoke.

(It's worth taking a moment here to acknowledge the largely stunning performances here; it's rare to see middle America portrayed on screen without condescension, and while Ann Dowd has been justly being praised, she's supported by an excellent ensemble: Bill Camp, in particular, takes an incredibly difficult role and nails it. And I think Dreama Walker's performance is being overlooked in many reviews.)

Anyway: on this watch, what's truly upsetting is how little physical coercion seems to be required to take Becky to the dark places she goes; the ending underscores how difficult it is to reconcile what each person believes about themselves with what they have done. We like to think that we are better than this, both individually and collectively, and indeed one frequent criticism of COMPLIANCE is from viewers who believe that the characters are stupid and that they, the viewer, wouldn't fall for such an obvious ploy.

Choose to believe that if you like. For my part, I'm on the side of A.V. Club writer Sam Adams, who notes in an excellent interview with Zobel: "The primary qualification for falling prey to something like this is being sure you never would."

COMPLIANCE is now screening exclusively in Auckland at Academy Cinemas. They're under new management now; those who have avoided it over the past few years should take note that they've fixed their sound system, and a upgrade to DCP is due within the month so top-quality pictures are hopefully soon to follow. If films like COMPLIANCE are a harbinger of what's to come programming-wise, I suspect I'll be spending a lot of time there; with most other arthouses in Auckland targeting the 60+ market, it's refreshing to have somebody focused on films that aren't safe or easy, but challenging and rewarding.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

In Cinemas: November 22 - 28


* Academy Cinemas have a brand new website up and running! Plus, they've got COMPLIANCE back from NZFF 2012 - the gripping, disturbing and possibly even infuriating (in a great way) true story of theft accusation in the workplace and the titular compliance that follows...

* SHADOW DANCER is another one back from NZFF 2012, now playing at both The Monterey and Rialto Newmarket. An IRA thriller from the MAN ON WIRE / PROJECT NIM guy, with Clive Owen, Andrea Riseborough from NEVER LET ME GO, Littlefinger from GAME OF THRONES and Scully. I'm looking forward to this one!

* It really is a NZFF 2012 week, with MONSIEUR LAZHAR joining the fray at Rialto Newmarket, Capitol Cinema and The Monterey. A French-Canadian drama about a teacher and his students wouldn't normally get me into a theatre, but I've heard too many good things from too many good folks. However..

* ...I don't know who is gunna be at the arthouses watching the three Film Fest offerings above, not when SKYFALL is out. James Bond is everywhere - in the cinemas, on the buses, coating buildings and magazines - and with pretty much everybody claiming that it's far better than the last one, it's probably worth checking out. Maybe even an IMAX visit?

* Seen Bond and caught the other three at the Film Fest earlier this year? ARGO, a hostage thriller containing a fair amount of fun is still going strong all over town; Outside the multiplexes, good ol' Frank Langella & his programmable friend - aka ROBOT & FRANK - still have a lot of screenings; Christopher Plummer's tour-de-force BARRYMORE has a few more sessions at Rialto Newmarket, The Bridgeway and The Monterey; DIANA VREELAND: THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL (NZFF 2012) continues on at Rialto Newmarket, with a few more showings at The Bridgeway and Capitol Cinema; plus Academy Cinemas still have both ELECTRICK CHILDREN - an indie coming-of-age film set in the Mormon world - and the rugged Danish comedy KLOWN (KLOVN - THE MOVIE)(NZFF 2012).


* Silo Cinema is back again with more FREE screenings down by the waterfront! Jake and Elwood, Carrie Fisher, John Candy, James Brown, Cab Calloway, Aretha and pretty much everybody else can be seen projected on the water-tank in BLUES BROTHERS (1980), Friday 9:00 PM.

* The Rolling Stones celebrate their 50th anniversary next Wednesday evening with Brett Morgen's CROSSFIRE HURRICANE doco. At Rialto Newmarket, The Monterey, Queen St and Albany Event.

* From the dude that brought us TYRANNICAL LOVE comes kiwi crime comedy THE FALL GUYS. The $30 Auckland Premiere this Saturday 8 PM at SkyCity Theatre includes drinks, live music and a Q&A from those involved!

* AUCKLAND UNIVERSITY HONOURS STUDENT FILMS OF 2013 is such a handy title, no further synopsis is necessary for this collection. Plus, it's all FREE!! 6 PM Thursday at The Academy. FREE SHORT FILMS!!

* "Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 - Present" will be at the Auckland Art Gallery for ages yet, and their latest FREE film screenings are; Rock documentary JOY DIVISION (2007) at 1 PM Saturday; and THE FILTH AND THE FURY (NZFF 2000) at 2 PM Sunday, boasting clips from the never-completed WHO KILLED BAMBI?. Leave it to Sting to show us what we're missing:

* Over at The Vic; Six more evening screenings of EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP (NZFF 2010), the inventive doco from Banksy about street art; 3-2-1 A PORTRAIT OF KURT JACKSON about the British painter turns up once again at 3:15 PM Friday; OPEN AT PAGE 100 is a Robin Kewell doco about the teacher Robin Child and is on again this weekend; the Michael Heath documentaries about the New Zealand-born painter - EDITH COLLIER: A LIGHT AMONG SHADOWS (NZFF 2007) and VILLAGE BY THE SEA (NZFF 2012) stick about for the weekend; plus more Robin Kewell and more Cornwall in EYES AND EARS, three short films collected to play on Thursday and Friday.

* The enjoyable 3D blast of NITRO CIRCUS was s'posed to be four days only, but unsurprisingly, it's going another long weekend at Event. Even MY LITTLE PONY: IT'S A PONY PARTY is going another round at Hoyts for the Bronies...

* Uxbridge Arts Cinema Club has LIFE IN MOVEMENT (DocEdge 2012) playing for $8 in Howick, Monday at 8 PM. A documentary about Sydney Dance Company director Tanja Liedtke and the tour of her works after her untimely death at age 29.

* MetOpera fans get VERDI: OTELLO this week at The Bridgeway, Monterey and Rialto Newmarket. And The Monterey's next Pixar screening is TOY STORY 3, at 9:25 AM Saturday and Sunday! Five bucks! Nice and early!

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, November 18, 2012

The Reader: 18 November

A relentlessly belated post, and so it only makes sense to start with an outdated link to a Halloween horror-themed blog-a-thon. You could spend the next couple weeks catching up with this exhaustive collection of articles on Italian horror films, or at least scan them for viewing ideas. From one filmmaker to another: Michael Powell writes to Martin Scorsese about the GOODFELLAS script, at Letters of Note.

Glenn Kenny's Blu-Ray Consumer Guide is recommended for anyone who can play US Blu-Rays and doesn't mind being tempted into spending hundreds of dollars. For additional Christmas shopping ideas, the New York Times also has a guide to holiday releases.

Also of note at the NYT: A.O. Scott interviews Robert De Niro, at length.

At Flavorwire, Jason Bailey consolidates thoughts on 20 filmmakers on what motivates them to make films.

At MUBI, a lengthy consideration of the Vancouver International Film Festival. And closer to home, NZFF film director Bill Gosden chimes in on Vancouver as well.

What's up with Korean filmmakers making films for American audiences? Solvej Schou at EW digs in to the upcoming films by Bong, Kim, and Park.

A fantastic profile of Jacques Audiard, director of READ MY LIPS, THE BEAT MY HEART SKIPPED, A PROPHET, and the upcoming RUST AND BONE, provided to the Telegraph by Robbie Collin.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

In Cinemas: November 15 - 21


Turns out that I 'unfortunately' missed the TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN double-feature all over town Wednesday night, and marathoning was the only way you'd've tricked me into seeing those things. So while that mammoth clogs the multiplexes all this week, it's up to the arthouses to come to the rescue...

* After the crooning in last week's screening of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, I'm unsure how ready I am for 83 minutes of concentrated Christopher Plummer thesping in BARRYMORE this week. It's based on the play with Plummer as the titular John Barrymore, trying to recapture his Richard III fame and looks to take place entirely on-stage. Rialto is charging $25 to see it in their e-cinema, but it's normal pricing at the Monterey (meaning $8.50 Monday and Tuesday).

* DIANA VREELAND: THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL (NZFF 2012) is a documentary about the enigmatic fashion editor, and I hear it's definitely worth a look regardless of how uninteresting that sounds (to me). At the Capitol, the Monterey, Bridgeway and in Rialto's e-cinema.

* Local documentary SONG OF THE KAURI (NZFF 2012) has returned at both The Vic and in Rialto's e-cinema (what do they play on their other five screens?!). Rialto also squeeze filmmaker Mathurin Molgat into that room at 6 PM on Friday for a Film Talk session.

* Grandma-cinema meets sci-fi heist film? Not sure, but ROBOT & FRANK is at most arthouses this week (including Rialto cinema 5, from the look of it, answering my question above). With Frank Langella (Skeletor/Nixon), James Marsden (Cyclops), Liv Tyler, Susan Sarandon, Peter Sarsgaard and a robot. I'm hoping for some creepy Actroid-F action or perhaps some mean dance moves;

* There will be 'sneak previews' of MONSIEUR LAZHAR (NZFF 2012) around town this weekend. The right folks are loving this French-Canadian drama about a teacher and his students, so I'm guessing I'm gunna enjoy it too, despite being another film with subject matter that fails to grab me.

* There're some other slightly older options, too. A few Event cinemas still have adorable-looking Taiwanese film WHEN A WOLF FALLS IN LOVE WITH A SHEEP (南方小羊牧場), Hong Kong police actioner COLD WAR (寒戰) is still at Sylvia Park Hoyts, and while Bridgeway seems to've dropped the indie flick ELECTRICK CHILDREN, Rialto still has their e-cinemas. In fact, Academy might still have it as well; they haven't updated their listings just yet and are probably even still playing the painfully funny KLOWN (KLOVN - THE MOVIE). You can also still catch the tail-end of JGL vs. Bruce Willis in LOOPER, the other wonderful time-travel flick SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED, local peeping-tom-rom-com HOW TO MEET GIRLS FROM A DISTANCE...


Auckland Art Gallery's "Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 - Present" exhibition has a few more film screenings this weekend. Good ol' The Band gets a bunch of special guests on stage for their finale show in Scorsese's THE LAST WALTZ (1978), which plays at 2 PM Saturday. And IN BED WITH MADONNA (aka MADONNA: TRUTH OR DARE from 1991) will be playing at lunchtime on Sunday. Both of those're free.

NITRO CIRCUS 3D is on for four days only at Pukekohe 3Event and Hoyts. It appears to be almost identical to JACKASS, but I love how well nonsense like this utilises the 3D technology, so count me in!

"A gay detective who always gets his man"...Number 8 Films have their monthly Gay Film Night this week; THIRD MAN OUT is about "America's First Gay Detective" (according to the poster) and will be at Rialto Newmarket 6:30 PM Thursday.

* The Peace Place in Auckland's CBD has a screening of the new FOUR HORSEMEN documentary at 7:30 PM Monday (entry by koha/donation). Loads of clever fellows like Noam Chomsky talk on film about how the world really works.

Japanese Film Week continues underneath the General Library at Auckland University. On Friday night, they play Studio Ghibli's ARRIETTY (借りぐらしのアリエッティ), which was at last year's International Film Festival. That will be proceeded by PROTECTING TODAY (きょうを守る), a documentary about last year's major Japanese earthquake. Kick-off at 5:40 PM. But even before that, 7 PM Thursday sees Takeshi Kitano return to yakuza films with OUTRAGE (アウトレイジ) from 2010 (which already has a sequel in Japan). This guy scares the shit outta me; I'd even drink Pocari Sweat if he asked me to, and I don't even know what a Pocari is;

* National Theatre's LAST OF THE HAUSSMANS is on again Friday and Sunday at Rialto, Friday and Monday at Bridgeway, plus a screening at Capitol and one at the Monterey. With Narcissa Malfoy and Mrs. Weasley from the HARRY POTTER flicks, and some other dude I don't know.

* A collection of episodes from Cartoon Network oddity THE AMAZING WORLD OF GUMBALL has another weekend of early screenings at Event coming up. And while I won't be at Hoyts' continuation of MY LITTLE PONY: IT'S A PONY PARTY with the bronies, I'd kinda like to try this Gumball thing out. If I'm alive at that time...

* Monterey's weekly Pixar flick is TOY STORY 2 (1999) at 9:30 AM this Saturday and Sunday. I do love that film to bits. They also finish their David Lean retrospective with one more screening of RYAN'S DAUGHTER (1970), 2 PM Sunday.

* The Banksy documentary EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP (2010) has some screenings over at The Vic all week. In fact, they've got a lot planned over the next seven days! There is Vincent Ward's RAIN OF THE CHILDREN (2008) still at The Vic for Thursday and Friday; another screening of Mads Mikkelsen in A ROYAL AFFAIR (EN KONGELIG AFFÆRE) at 3:45 PM on Sunday; what appears to be a collection of short documentaries about pottery-folk under the heading 3 POTTERS will play at 4:30 PM Monday; there are five screenings of 3-2-1 A PORTRAIT OF KURT JACKSON, which I imagine is a doco about the British painter; OPEN AT PAGE 100 is a Robin Kewell doco about the teacher Robin Child and plays this weekend; and there are two different Michael Heath documentaries about the same NZ-born painter - EDITH COLLIER: A LIGHT AMONG SHADOWS (NZFF 2007) plays on Tuesday and VILLAGE BY THE SEA (NZFF 2012) on Wednesday.

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!