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.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In Cinemas: September 27 - October 3

For a full listing of screen times across Auckland, Flicks or the theatre website is probably your best bet. Double-check before attending, as times change, we make mistakes, etc. Please mention anything we've forgotten in the comments, and tell us if you've found any off-the-beaten path must-sees!

Fantastic Fest is winding up in the States, but two of its most beloved features have already arrived. First up, TAI CHI 0 from the guy behind 2005's HOUSE OF FURY. Starring Tony Leung (the one from ELECTION / DUMPLINGS, not the 2046 / INFERNAL AFFAIRS / RED CLIFF one), Shu Qi (Statham's girl in THE TRANSPORTER & literally the Muse in THE STORM RIDERS) and very possibly Peter Stormare?? That's up for debate, as he's listed as "(rumored)" in IMDB and our spy on the ground who's seen the film can't remember ... what we DO know is that part 2 (TAI CHI HERO) is only a few weeks away!

Also, the hugely-anticipated LOOPER arrives! Joseph Gordon-Levitt's hitman goes up against his future self, played by Bruce Willis. Not only was Rian Johnson's first foray into science-fiction a hit at Fantastic Fest, but he tore down the house with his karaoke skills:

Returning from NZFF: WHERE DO WE GO NOW?, which sees women of different religions in a remote Lebanese village join together to invent schemes preventing their men from killing one another. In all honesty, I thought this sounded dopey (in a FULL MONTY kinda way), but our pals over at The Listener informed us not to miss this film!

The Italian Film Festival starts this week. We'll be honest: apart from CINEMA PARADISO, we have no idea what to recommend (this ain't the Australian version, the Lavazza Italian Fest you'll find reviewed over at The Film Emporium). We've consulted several film experts and they've all drawn blanks as well. But undoubtedly there's some treasures in the mix? Conspiracy thriller THE JEWEL features Toni Servillo (of CONSEQUENCES OF LOVE, GOMORRAH, and IL DIVO fame), who's always reliable; other options include a remake of GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER, one of WELCOME TO THE STICKS, an Alzheimer's drama and three films with "Love" in the title. Plus Robert DeNiro is on the Festival poster. Note that all films are being shown at Rialto in the e-cinema format only. 

School holidays are impending, and as if on cue, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID 3: DOG DAYS, and New Zealand's own KIWI FLYER descend on theatres, as well as a BEN 10 double presented by Cartoon Network. Also opening: the new Bollywood comedy with a great poster, OMG OH MY GOD!

* "Sneak previews" of THE SAPPHIRES, Anna Kendrick & Rebel Wilson in PITCH PERFECT, and something called TINKER BELL AND THE SECRET OF THE WINGS all help crowd this coming weekend.

The Devonport Picture Palace is easing into its return to full-time operation with several films for kids and seniors; they seem to have also locked in a "Doc Spot" on Sunday nights, this week featuring THE LAST OCEAN.


This week at Auckland Film Society, it's a second feature by Chinese director Lui Hao, 2004's TWO GREAT SHEEP, being shown digitally. 6:30 PM Monday, Rialto.

* Dave and Dan present THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW as part of their monthly screening series at Britomart Country Club on Sunday

* The Monterey has 2008 Italian meanderer MID-AUGUST LUNCH as their weekly Monterey Abroad screening; Friday 6:30 PMThey also have a second screening of the 1934 Fred & Ginger vehicle SHALL WE DANCE at 2:10 PM Sunday.

This month's free Japanese film is BRAVE STORY, an anime from 2006, screened in tandem with a short documentary about the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 called SETTING SAIL FROM THE RUINS. First film at 6:50PM.

* The Polish Heritage Museum has a 2:00 PM showing of IN DESERT AND WILDERNESS on Sunday, a 2001 film about escaping children, directed by TSOTSI's Gavin Hood.

* Remember Shakespeare? A recording of the recent stage production of ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL has a few screenings around town at the moment (but I can't find it on IMDB, so its importance Check Hoyts or Bridgeway for screenings or check the link below to see Rowan Atkinson & Hugh Laurie argue about whether Hamlet is too wordy or not:

PINA is back at the Bridgeway, for 3-D dance action at inconvenient times on Monday

NGATAHI is a six-part rapumentary series, and the 6th part is showing in its Auckland premiere at BizDojo Makerspace on Tuesday, along with SOLIDARITY, a 23 minute documentary about the Upper Hutt Posse's visit to the USA.

But obviously the most exciting news of the week: If you're hoping to get lucky on a date, and that date has low standards, you might want to go to Hoyts this weekend for their RomCom weekend! For $8, you can revisit one of the following 2012 "gems" in the bizarrely-titled Directors Lounge: THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, MY WEEK WITH MARILYN, SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN, THE LUCKY ONE, THE VOW, WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING & THIS MEANS WAR. Good God. There're members screenings of DREDD 3D & THE INTOUCHABLES this week too, it's worth the sign-up to see those instead...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Weekly Reader: September 24

Toronto is over, and NZ/Aus distribution announcements are starting to trickle in; Madman's releasing BUBBA HO-TEP director Don Coscarelli's new film JOHN DIES AT THE END, whilst Palace is distributing THE END OF TIME and STORIES WE TELL, both of which made The Star's top films of the fest. Completist film nerds (like, um, me) will want to see IndieWire's list of Toronto acquisitions, which is North American-centric but still a good cue as to which films are getting traction.

There's a bazillion TIFF wrap-up pieces around the web, but people whose tastes veer to the artsy should check out Darren Hughes and his day-by-day diary. He's only up to day 4, so keep posted as he catches up - so far, he's convinced me that BIG IN VIETNAM is worth looking out for.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, I would have never expected Rob Zombie's new film to be on my radar, but Drew McWeeny's piqued my interest with comparisons to Argento.

Meanwhile, in Austin, Texas, Fantastic Fest is in full swing. Gawk at the program here (our picks that we pray get picked up down here: WRONG, BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO, THE AMERICAN SCREAM, THE DOOMSDAY BOOK, EVERYBODY IN OUR FAMILY, THE EXORCIST IN THE 21ST CENTURY, VANISHING WAVES, and Kiwi co-pro THE ABC'S OF DEATH), or shake your fist with jealousy as NZ's own inveterate film geeks Andrew Todd and Steve Austin experience the chaos and joy firsthand.

Another Fantastic Fest title is Rian Johnson's hotly anticipated LOOPER, a time travel film that precipitated Aaron Yap's list of top-ten time travel films at Flicks. It's the rare slideshow that I actually clicked to the end of, despite its failure to feature one of the most pivotal time-travel films of all time, Rich Christiano's TIME CHANGER.

Also playing at Fantastic Fest is NZFF conversation-starter HOLY MOTORS. Glenn Kenny provides an excellent, irreverent but well-considered, spoiler-filled take on Leos Carax's deeply sad, deeply strange film.

One side-effect of THE MASTER's release is increased interest in the 70mm format; here's a resource on all the 70mm projectors that are or were functioning in New Zealand.

And in Christchurch, movie theaters are thin on the ground, but Alice in Videoland has taken a small step forward in fixing that.

Reverse Shot's snark-filled hypothetical program of future retrospectives is pretty amusing. Cheers to Hugh Lilly for the link, who also wrote a not-so-brief history of mumblecore on his way to reviewing YOUR SISTER'S SISTER.

Bilge Ebiri is keeping busy, writing about Boris Barnet's ALYONKA for Senses of Cinema and Pedro Almodovar's VOLVER for the Sundance Channel.

Rather unexpectedly, the New York Times has covered one of the most extreme horror films of recent times: THE BUNNY GAME.

In a perfect world, we wouldn't give a shit who was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film; in the real world, the award affects what films we get to see, and so it's worth taking a look at Guy Lodge's rolling list of submitted films and their probable chances.

The BFI hosts a lengthy discussion about how various people made their top ten list for Sight & Sound.

Despite Guillermo Del Toro's wishes, his new film PACIFIC RIM is being post-converted to 3-D. Hear why he thinks it's a bad idea.

Finally: can you guess what recent film is by "one of the great director-actress duos of our time", is a "pleasurable, kinetic experience", and "respects your intelligence"? Click here for the unlikely answer from R. Emmet Sweeney and Dave Kehr.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

In Cinemas: September 20-26

For a full listing of screen times across Auckland, Flicks or the theatre website is probably your best bet. Double-check before attending, as times change, we make mistakes, etc. Please mention anything we've forgotten in the comments, and tell us if you've found any off-the-beaten path must-sees!

* The genius who wrote last year's 3D SEX AND ZEN: EXTREME ECSTASY is back with a Hong Kong sex-comedy DUE WEST: MY SEX JOURNEY, once again in 3D at Sylvia Park Hoyt's this week. Plus, the latest release from India arrives this Friday in the form of HEROINE that chronicles the life of a fading starlet.

* Despite divided reviews, many people will be queueing to see the surreal indie romcom RUBY SPARKS - perhaps because it's from the directors of LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, or because it stars Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan (who also co-wrote the script, which she wants you to know is not about Manic Pixie Dream Girls).

* Apart from those two, New Zealand's own TWO LITTLE BOYS and MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE'S MOST WANTED (3D) are the week's only other new releases.

* You'll find MOONRISE KINGDOM, ON THE ROAD, YOUR SISTER'S SISTER, GOD BLESS AMERICA, Jo Nesbo's JACKPOT, THE LAST OCEAN and HOW FAR IS HEAVEN still playing around town. THE LAST DOGS OF WINTER is on its last legs and there are a few final screenings of MARGARET & I WISH (but you're out of luck if you didn't catch WARRIORS OF THE RAINBOW: SEEDIQ BALE this week, as its run was very short-lived).

* Indy/Spielberg fans; Hoyts Sylvia Park (amongst other locations in the country) screens RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK at 8:00PM Sunday 23rd. Their recent screenings (JURASSIC PARK, E.T., JAWS) have all looked great. And it's a great excuse to link to the first ten minutes of the full-length RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK: THE ADAPTATION.

* Mira Nair's 1996 film KAMA SUTRA: A TALE OF LOVE joins Academy's Season Of Sex this week. INTERSEXIONA HAPPY EVENT & BOUND FOR PLEASURE continue as well.

* A one-off screening for you lucky Pukekohe punters. A young lady discovers that she survived an abortion attempt in the Christian drama OCTOBER BABY. More importantly, the poster reveals that the original Bo Duke shows up too! 6:45PM Monday 24th at Pukekohe Cinema 3.

* If anti-abortion films aren't your thing, maybe heartwarming tales of Aboriginal singing groups overcoming racism during Vietnam with the touching comic relief of Chris O'Dowd are? Hopefully both aren't, because Rialto's hosting a competing screening of THE SAPPHIRES with director Wayne Blair in attendance on Monday as well (at 6:00PM).

* Geoff Murphy's 2001 documentary BLERTA REVISITED shows up at Film Society this week. It follows Bruno Lawrence’s Electric Revelation and Travelling Apparition during the '70s. 6:30PM Monday 24th at Rialto Newmarket (in DV).

Number 8 Films have their monthly Gay Film Night this Thursday. They are playing the 2007 romantic drama SHELTER, about a relationship developing between surfer pals. 6:30PM Thursday 20th at Rialto Newmarket.

* And speaking of sports, Rialto also has PREMIERE OF THE 2012 SPEIGHT'S COAST TO COAST on Sunday "featuring the two day and one day races with spectacular kayaking and mountain running footage". 6:00PM & 7:45PM Sunday 23rd at Rialto Newmarket.

* This year's Italian Film Festival is only a week away. We'll have our picks in next week's update (and let us know what you're anticipating!), but the Opening Night film is WELCOME TO THE SOUTH, the 2010 remake of the 2008 French comedy WELCOME TO THE STICKS. It's about a postal worker who is not happy to be transferred to what he imagines will be a dirty mafia-ridden town. Cinema 1 & 2 have pretty much sold out, but there are tickets still available in a 3rd cinema, 7:00PM Wednesday 26th at Rialto Newmarket.

* The Victoria Picture Palace are screening the documentaries WHO WAS HERE BEFORE US? and THE AGE OF STUPID this Saturday and Sunday. Additionally, Vanessa Clarke's short documentary BERTHING THE KESTREL about the Devonport Ferry will be looping certain mornings.

* The Fred & Ginger run continues at Monterey with 1937's SHALL WE DANCE (12:30pm Wednesday 26th) and a second screening of the wonderfully-titled 1934 film THE GAY DIVORCEE (2:00pm Sunday 23rd). 2010's HEARTBREAKER is this week's Monterey Abroad film; 6:50pm Friday 21st.

* The Polish Heritage Museum in Howick is playing last year's BLACK THURSDAY on Sunday, which recreates the 1970 strike and subsequent riots at the Gdansk shipyard.

* There are also two more 3D screenings of Herzog's CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS next week, Monday the 24th at The Bridgeway.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Weekly Reader: September 17

The Lumiere Reader has Brannavan Gnanalingam on the ground in Venice, while closer to home, Megan Dunn reviews CRAZY HORSE for the Lumiere Reader.

Over at Flicks, there's always new content coming through, but Aaron Yap's piece on Walter Hill is particularly worth a look.

During the NZFF, director Briar March led a conversation with Alyx Duncan (THE RED HOUSE) and Adam Luxton and Jeremy Dumble (WE FEEL FINE); the transcript is now online.

Whether or not you're familiar with the story of Kim's Video in New York, Karina Longworth's trip to Sicily for its bizarre coda is nonetheless a fascinating, compelling read.

Michael Atkinson profiles two David Lynch movies that were never realized: RONNIE ROCKET and ONE SALIVA BUBBLE.

LEVIATHAN continues to haunt my dreams and get raves from its Toronto Film Festival screenings. Here's a New York Times profile by Dennis Lim and an interview at MUBI by Adam Cook.

Another high-profile documentary at Toronto you'll be hearing a lot about is THE ART OF KILLING, where Joshua Oppenheimer has gangsters involved in mass killings recreate their crimes on screen. Bryce Renninger's IndieWire interview with Oppenheimer gets into this uncomfortable tactic.

In addition to reporting on the Toronto International Film Festival and bashing Venice award-winning filmmaker Kim Ki-Duk, CinemaScope has also released the latest issue of their print magazine; excerpts are online, including Jonathan Rosenbaum's DVD column.

In the States, it's all about THE MASTER this week. It's tough to know what's a great article to read without ruining the film for you, but the very mild (negiligible, really) spoilers in Zach Baron's Grantland article are worth braving, as is John C. Richardson's Esquire profile of the director.

"Cinema doesn't have to be film; it has to be magic." A great sum-up in a great piece, as Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott discuss the future of film and digital in cinema.

This week in VHS-related art, the repurposing of tape by Zilvinas Kempinas.

I've moved this week, so I haven't caught up with everything I've earmarked for reading, but I'll wrap by pointing these out before they're lost in the maelstrom: a discussion of fair-use law in re: ROOM 237, Lawrence Weschler interviewing Errol Morris, Michael Sicinski's preview of the Wavelengths experimental features program in Toronto, Bilge Ebiri on 25TH HOUR (and discussing his favorite films in podcast form, and Jen Yamato's interview with Melanie Lynskey about her new film, HELLO I MUST BE GOING.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

In Cinemas: September 13-19

For a full listing of screen times across Auckland, Flicks or the theatre website is probably your best bet. Double-check before attending, as times change, we make mistakes, etc. Please mention anything we've forgotten in the comments, and tell us if you've found any off-the-beaten path must-sees!

* Three returning NZFF films topline this week's new releases. The word is split on ON THE ROAD, Walter Salles' adaptation of Jack Kerouac's groundbreaking Beat Generation memoir/novel. Regardless of whether you're in the market for this literary adaptation or not, any excuse is a good excuse to hear William S. Burroughs and Kurt Cobain together.

* YOUR SISTER'S SISTER, also from NZFF 2012, is the latest film from indie American filmmaker Lynn Shelton. Emily Blunt, Rosemarie Dewitt, and Mark Duplass topline the cast in another emotionally raw, uncomfortably funny film from the maker of HUMPDAY.

* A third NZFF film, Kiwi documentary THE LAST OCEAN, profiles the overfishing of the Ross Sea. In addition to regular screenings, there's a Friday night screening at Rialto with director Q&A, and two screenings Thursday at Bridgeway with Q&A as well.

* HEADHUNTERS, a sly unpredictable Norwegian thriller adapted from a Jo Nesbo book, was a highlight of this past summer; now, a second Nesbo adaptation, JACKPOT, arrives, along with the promise of more blood, crime, and dark fun.

* The most promising Asian film of the week in our humble opinion is WARRIORS OF THE RAINBOW: SEEDIQ BALE, a Taiwanese tale of an indigneous tribe defending themselves against foreign invasion. Twitch has given the film a big thumbs up, so this 2 1/2 hour epic might turn out to be well worth your time if you've the stomach for R18 graphic violence. Also opening are two Indian films: Bollywood romantic comedy BARFI! and Punjabi romantic comedy DIL TENU KARDA HAI PYAAR.

* The doldrums of winter between school holidays are when the studios flush out their R-rated films that they don't think there's much audience for. But if you want to take a chance, maybe RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION, SAVAGES, or THE WATCH are good. Maybe.


* Kiwi filmmaker David Blyth invades the Academy this week as part of their sex season with his documentary BOUND FOR PLEASURE. (Link not safe for work, probably.)

* This Monday at Auckland Film Society at Rialto Cinemas Newmarket: ADDICTED TO LOVE, not the barely-remembered Matthew Broderick/Meg Ryan comedy, but a 2010 Chinese drama directed by Liu Hao.

* Other events at Rialto: the new film by the Sarkies brothers, TWO LITTLE BOYS, previews with director Q&A, Thursday the 13th at 6:15 pm. For extreme sports fans, NZ Mountain Film Festival 2012 arrives on Tuesday the 18th. And a charity screening of documentary AFRICA UNITED takes places Wednesday the 19th at 8:00 pm.

* I'm still gutted I missed Wim Wenders' doco PINA in 3D last year; it's screening at 3:30 PM on Monday the 17th at Bridgeway. They also have a screening of the aforementioned AFRICA UNITED on Tuesday the 18th at 8:00 PM.

* Fred & Ginger season continues at Monterey Cinemas with TOP HAT on Sunday at 2:10 PM and THE GAY DIVORCEE on Wednesday at 12:30 on the 19th. They're also sneaking in the 2005 Spanish/Argentinian romance ELSA AND FRED on Friday night at 6:30 PM.

* Those who prefer epic romance are directed to Berkeley Mission Bay for DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, Sunday at 6:00 PM.

* Speilberg month continues at Hoyt's Sylvia Park on Sunday night at 8:00 pm with E.T. We here at Auckland Cinephile have fond memories of the horrible Atari 2600 game, millions of cartridges of which are now buried in the desert.

* This Sunday at the Polish Heritage Museum in Howick: a double feature of documentaries, BLOODY FOREIGNERS: THE UNTOLD BATTLE OF BRITAIN and GLADIATORS OF WORLD WAR 2: FREE POLISH FORCES.

* The Auckland Art Gallery continues its free screenings this Sunday at 2:30 with LITTLE POLYNESIA, which appears to be a program of shorts that takes its name from a 1973 short of the same name.

* Documentaries this Saturday and Sunday night in Devonport at The Vic: THE YES MEN SAVE THE WORLD and a double feature of PLANET ALDABRA - NO MAN'S LAND and THE SHARK FEEDERS.

* And last but not least, for all the Papakura residents in the house: NZFF 2012 documentary MAORI BOY GENIUS plays at the Hawkins Theatre on Thursday at 7:30 PM.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Weekly Reader: September 10

It's festival season, with Telluride and Venice having wrapped and Toronto in full swing. Keep up with Toronto at The AV Club or CinemaScope, read Dan Slevin's blog for his Telluride wrap-up, and discover why PT Anderson's film THE MASTER didn't win Venice's top award despite the jury's desire to give it to that film.

Speaking of which, this great Village Voice profile by Scott Foundas on PT Anderson has minor spoilers for THE MASTER, but also lots of great background info on why his followup to THERE WILL BE BLOOD took five years and why Megan Ellison is the patron saint of intelligent filmmaking at the moment.

This week's must-watch isn't a trailer per se, but an absolutely jaw-dropping clip from the commercial fishing documentary LEVIATHAN (screening this week at Toronto). I've watched it three times and still have no idea how it was done, but it's now up with THE MASTER on my must-see list.

Another film I'm dying to see is Brian DePalma's reputed return to form, PASSION; here's an interview with Mark Olsen of the LA Times.

One of my favorite writers on film, Michael Sicinski, has a special talent for talking about avant-garde cinema intelligently but not pretentiously, and has started a column on the titans (durationally speaking) of arthouse cinema and what it means to watch them in a home-screening era: his first column, on Peter Greenaway's THE FALLS, is now online.

FROM THE JOURNALS OF JEAN SEBERG was one of the key films in my early filmgoing history that changed my understanding of what a film could be. Its filmmaker Mark Rappaport is now experiencing the horror of having all the masters of his films effectively held hostage by the film professor who promised to take care of them: the whole sad story, or at least Rappaport's side, is here.

And in local cinema, the big news is that The Sorta Unofficial New Zealand Film Awards have been announced for December, thus becoming NZ's largest film awards.

Finally, more pictures than words, but this gallery of abandoned video stores makes me pretty wistful.

I should very much note that many of these links come from Keyframe Daily; if you're finished with these and hungry for more, this should be your first stop.

Any great stories this week in film that we missed? Add them in the comments!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

In Cinemas: September 6-12

Auckland Cinephile is a guide to the various arthouse and retrospective releases of the week that in our highly subjective opinion are worth mentioning. Listing doesn't guarantee a theatre will follow through with their plans, or I might have fucked up, so double check before going. For a full listing of screen times across Auckland, Flicks or the theatre website is probably your best bet. If you think we've forgotten something, please mention it in the comments. Suggestions for improved formatting also welcomed.

* This week's featured returning title from the New Zealand Film Festival is THE LAST DOGS OF WINTER. Kiwi Costa Botes looks at the hardships surrounding Canadian Eskimo dogs in the polar bear capital of the world. Playing twice daily at Rialto Newmarket.

* Another Kiwi offering this week is the return of Grant Lahood's INTERSEXION from this year's DocEdge Festival. The film follows Mani Bruce Mitchell traveling to meet other intersex people around the world. Part of Academy Cinema's Season Of Sex, probably playing for one week only.

* In foreign-language film releases: WUNDERKINDER hits arthouses, a German film about three talented child musicians set during WWII, while the multiplexes host the 3D Bollywood Horror sequel, RAAZ 3.

* After two teaser screenings, Bobcat Goldthwait's GOD BLESS AMERICA is now playing four times a day at Academy. Starring one of Bill Murray's brothers and a fair amount of blood. Also going into regular release across Auckland: the Maggie Gyllenhaal vibrator comedy HYSTERIA, Dax Shepard's love-letter to Smokey and the Bandit HIT AND RUN, and a 3-D re-release of Pixar's FINDING NEMO.

Overlooked in previous editions:
* EK THA TIGER is described by Fantastic Fest programmer Rodney Perkins thusly: "Ek Tha Tiger is utterly ridiculous. It is like a composite of 6 completely different movies. It is also awesome." This is what we at Auckland Cinephile consider to be a strong endorsement.

* LIFE IN MOVEMENT, a documentary about Sydney Dance Company director Tanja Liedtke and the tour of her works after her untimely death at age 29. Played DocEdge earlier this year.

Continuing in release are the following festival films:
* HOW FAR IS HEAVEN, the acclaimed NZ documentary
* MARGARET, directed by Kenneth Lonergan (YOU CAN COUNT ON ME) and starring Anna Paquin
* MOONRISE KINGDOM, the latest Wes Anderson film
* I WISH, directed by Hirokazu Kore-Eda (STILL WALKING, AFTER LIFE)
* BERNIE, directed by Richard Linklater (SLACKER, BEFORE SUNRISE)

* Sylvia Park Hoyts is playing some Spielberg films over the next few weeks; JAWS begins the series Sunday 9th at 8pm, presented in a restored 2K DCP version with 7.1 sound. The perfect way to see this lovely romantic comedy.

* Howick's Monterey begins its small Fred & Ginger season on Wednesday 12th 12:30pm with the first of two screenings of TOP HAT. Also, the quiet 2008 French comedy drama CONVERSATIONS WITH MY GARDENER plays their Monterey Abroad slot 6:30pm Friday 7th.

* First Friday of the month means only one thing: another rowdy screening of Tommy Wiseau's THE ROOM at the Academy, 10:30pm Fri 7th.

* The Auckland Art Gallery has two free weekend screenings: Mu-Ming Tsai's documentary DESIGN & THINKING at 2pm on Saturday 8th, and HOME AKL: 4 SHORT FILMS BY POPO LILO (followed by a Q&A) at 3pm on Sunday 9th.

* The Victoria Picture Palace has another two documentaries screening this weekend; Robin Kewell will be there to present THE GARDENING OF EDEN (6pm), plus THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN will play after it (8:15pm), on both Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th.

* Turns out that the Polish Heritage Trust Museum in Howick hosts weekly screenings: this week it's the 2005 made-for-TV drama KAROL: A MAN WHO BECAME POPE, Sunday 9th 2pm.

* Bridgeway Cinemas is hosting a limited retrospective of 3-D arthouse films with even more limited screening options; the first, Werner Herzog's CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS, screens Monday 10th 4pm.

* This week at Auckland Film Society: the early 80s cold-war thriller FAREWELL, Monday 10th 6:30pm at Rialto Cinemas.

* And in advance of its release, TWO LITTLE BOYS has two different Q&A screenings next week: one with the leads Bret McKenzie & Hamish Blake at 6:30pm Wednesday 12th at Event Cinemas Queen St, and the other at Rialto Newmarket at 6:15pm Thursday, this one with Robert & Duncan Sarkies, who wrote & directed the film.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Weekly Reader: September 1

Auckland's Big Screen Symposium has finished, but several people live-tweeted the event, if you'd like lots and lots of 140-character highlights.

As the New Zealand International Film Festival leaves NZ's main centers and goes farther afield, Darren Bevan catches up with festival director Bill Gosden for a wrap-up look at this year's festival.

Cinematica's Dan Slevin is abroad at the Telluride Film Festival, where's he's blogging the experience, having already got sneak looks at ARGO and MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN.

Filmmaker Errol Morris is also at Telluride, but with his new book, A Wilderness Of Error, which follows in the footsteps of THE THIN BLUE LINE in re-examining a closed case and questioning the guilt of a convicted man.

Richard Whittaker at the Austin Chronicle profiles Tim League of the Alamo Drafthouse.

Adam Cook at Cinemascope profiles his top ten features from the Locarno Film Festival. I'm particularly excited to see LEVIATHAN, MUSEUM HOURS, and TECTONICS.

If you missed this short video on Kubrick's use of one-point perspective, don't. It's an intensely great two minutes.