Thursday, April 18, 2013

In Cinemas: Apr 18 - Apr 24


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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