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.