Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Weekly Reader: September 30

The big news this week is a local story: a longtime fixture of the Auckland arthouse landscape, Academy Cinemas, is changing hands. Outgoing owner John Davies lays out the situation that's led to this turn of events on Facebook; the comment thread contains contributions from both the new owner Andy Miller and Auckland City Council, for those interested in other perspectives. We here wish the best for John and hope that the new Academy continues to bring interesting programming to Auckland's CBD, and can upgrade its facilities to finally bring an arthouse with DCP capacities to central Auckland.

(And, as a late breaking addendum: hopefully they won't have any snafus with their DCP projection, unlike the New York Film Festival, which just had to cancel a screening of Brian DePalma's PASSION due to DCP problems, as Bob Cashill outlines here.)

NZFF's Bill Gosden reports from Toronto with his must-sees (and, presumably, future festival titles). Faithful readers will already recognize STORIES WE TELL, THE ACT OF KILLING, and MUSEUM HOURS from previous dispatches; I suspect his slag of Kim Ki-duk's PIETA as a "lurid, ludicrously solumn" film means we shouldn't hold our breath waiting for a festival appearance.

Fantastic Fest film LOOPER is the release of the week that's been grabbing the most press; I've never been to The Verge before, but Bryan Bishop has a lengthy, excellent discussion with writer/director Rian Johnson. If you read only one, etc.

If you read only two, perhaps you could go for this 27,000 word behemoth by Film Crit Hulk on LOOPER and Comicon, and if you can deal with gratuitous caps lock you'll be repaid with some exceptional insights. Or, you could go for Jacob Powell's review at FilmGuide; if that name sounds familiar, it's because I do Best Worst Podcast with him, and the two new episodes are online.

Speaking of podcasts, the folks at Cinematica are getting a regular thoroughfare of directors on their weekly podcast these days; this week, it's Wayne Blair of THE SAPPHIRES.

Another film from Fantastic Fest (and NZFF) grabbing attention is the divisive ROOM 237; Matt Singer's interview with Rodney Ascher, the director is, I think, required reading for both camps. He's also interviewed Scott Adkins, star of UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING, and the result is surprisingly engaging.

Those looking for further Fantastic Fest wrapups are directed to Complex and their list of the 15 best movies (the top 3 of which were NZFF films!) A film that wasn't on my radar but I'm now decidedly looking forward to is VANISHING WAVES; the very, very NSFW trailer is below.

THE MASTER continues to make the rounds, and one of the most buzzed-about topics is its film format (shot mostly in 65mm). Kodak profiles the unlikely cinematographer, Mihai Malaimare Jr., and Jason Gorber discusses the ramifications of 70mm in a digital age with preservationist Robert Harris, while those who are in New Zealand might want to hop a plane to Melbourne: the Astor Theatre has announced a week of 70mm screenings in December.

Glenn Kenny also discusses THE MASTER at 70mm at his blog this week, which has been on fire of late; his indirect reaction piece to Stephanie Zachariek's slam on THE MASTER and dissection of the Devin Faraci/Joe Swanberg fistfight at Fantastic Fest are also recommended.

Whilst we're on obscure cinema formats, there's always the 3-projector favorite of Cinerama; David Bordwell dissects the format at great length, in the context of a recent Blu-Ray release of THIS IS CINERAMA.

The small but staunch cult defending RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION as a masterful work may be baffling (particularly to me, now that I've seen it), but regardless, anyone interested in 3D photography is urged to read R. Emmet Sweeney's interview with the DP, Glen MacPherson.

On the flip side of the auteur curve, austere Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien appears to be, at long last, ready to begin production on his long anticipated, unlikely wu xia epic, THE ASSASSIN.

And finally, not remotely about film, but their underdog success story could make a great movie: David Peisner profiles one of the truly great record labels, Numero Group.


  1. That comment thread under the FB Academy post is almost too painful to read. It's like a bad case of Chinese Whispers.

    "Hey Guys - I'm moving on as manager/owner due to a few negative things"
    "Boo Hiss - we hate negative things"
    "We hate the council"
    "Let's start a petition"
    "So sad to see the Academy is closing"

    "The Academy isn't closing, It's just me leaving.. so don't panic"
    "Oh thank God"
    "I'm the new owner, it's gonna be fine"
    "Fucking Council always ruining things"
    "We hate the Council"
    "I can't believe they're closing the Acedemy"
    (endless repeat).

  2. Yeah, I get a perverse joy out of those online imbroglios, but can understand why people find them painful.