Wednesday, May 15, 2013

In Cinemas: May 16 - 22


* From stuntman Ric Roman Waugh comes the direct-to-DVD-looking SNITCH, starring The Rock as a loving father busting drug dealers to keep his son out of jail. Alongside 'stellar' titles like G.I. JOE: RETALIATION, FAST & FURIOUS 6 and Michael Bay's PAIN & GAIN, this somehow looks to be Dwayne Johnson's most B-grade flick of the year. Also featuring Susan Sarandon, Barry Pepper, Omar from THE WIRE, Rey from LAW & ORDER and Shane from THE WALKING DEAD.

* Speaking of B-grade, the acting in the KON-TIKI trailer reminds me of the white folks that sometimes appear in Asian films. But NZIFF deemed it worthy to premiere at The Mighty Civic, so perhaps I'm way off base. This true story of six scientists travelling the Pacific Ocean in a homemade balsa wood/hemp raft is already a book and a doco, but is now also Norway's most expensive feature film ever. Playing at The Capitol, Rialto Newmarket and some of the other arthouses.

* Rialto Newmarket also has BROKEN, about a young girl witnessing a violent beating. A coming-of-age / loss-of-innocence drama featuring Cillian Murphy and Tim Roth.

* Bridgeway has a preview of Maria Nair's THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST at 8 PM Wednesday 22nd. With Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber, Kiefer Sutherland, et al...

* And then we have TWO new Bollywood films out this week; crime-thriller AURANGZEB and action comedy RANGEELAY.


* 6 PM Saturday 18th, NZIFF's Autumn Events has the fourth and final in their Farhadi retrospective - FIREWORKS WEDNESDAY (چهارشنبه سوری). Set at New Year's, it's about a cleaning agency girl stumbling into a domestic, but like his other films, I'm sure it contains a lot more than that one line'd suggest.

* And rounding out NZIFF's Autumn Events is Godard's PIERROT LE FOU (PETE THE MADMAN, 1965), in which Belmondo & Anna Karena go on a crime spree, chased by gangsters. Kind of. Playing at the Academy, 4:30 PM Sunday 19th.

* Paul McCartney fans can see a restoration of the 1980 concert film ROCKSHOW (FROM THE WINGS OVER AMERICA TOUR) this Thursday 16th at Queen St, Albany & Westcity Event. Says one night only, but we'll see...


* Film Society won't be at Academy Cinemas Monday, because they're playing an actual print of Leos Carax' THE LOVERS ON THE BRIDGE (LES AMANTS DU PONT-NEUF, 1991). SkyCity Theatre has the means to screen that, so be up there 6:30 PM Monday 20th.

* The Writers & Readers Festival runs from Wednesday 15th until Sunday the 19th. The reason we're mentioning it in a list of filmic events? At 4 PM on Sunday, local filmmakers Alyx Duncan (THE RED HOUSE) & Annie Goldson (BROTHER NUMBER ONE) will be having a chat entitled FACTION at Aotea Centre.

* The 63rd annual (seriously?!?) ski film put out under Warren Miller's name is currently touring NZ and will be in Auckland Thursday 16th - Sunday 19th. With six screenings at EGGS off Gillies Ave in Epsom, FLOW STATE will set you back $26.

* The Monterey's weekly Monterey Abroad slot is taken by Susanne Bier's IN A BETTER WORLD (aka REVENGE / HÆVNEN) this week, playing for $15 at 6:30 PM Friday 17th. A Danish drama dealing with things like looking weak in front of your kids, it gets the thumbs up from one - and probably only one - of your Cinephile contributors.

* Feel like driving North for an hour? The Vintry are having something called Nostalgia Night on Tuesday 21st at 7 PM, with wine, nibbles and an old film. This time 'round, it's the Robert Redford / Mia Farrow version of THE GREAT GATSBY (1974).

* Screen-related - The Planetarium has another musical extravaganza; some tacky-looking retro animation set to all your U2 favourites! Tuesday 21st at 8 PM;

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, May 9, 2013

In Cinemas: May 9 - 15


* SPRING BREAKERS marks provocateur Harmony Korine's big-time break, grossing more in its opening weekend than all his features from GUMMO to TRASH HUMPERS did in their runs combined. It's almost like there's a market for ex-child stars wearing bikinis and getting debauched or something.

* REBELLE was released as WAR WITCH overseas, such as in the US where it got a Best Foreign Picture nomination in the Oscars. The story of a 12-year Congolese girl who's kidnapped and enmeshed in war takes some unexpected turns amidst its more predictable social drama concerns, apparently. Exclusive to the Academy.

* And file under "probably terrible but absolute catnip for Incredibly Strange fans": GO GOA GONE is a Bollywood zombie comedy with Russian mafiosos, now playing at Event Manukau and Queen St. You can probably get everything you want to know from the trailer:

* Also: GAMBIT is a remake of a 60s Michael Caine film with a Coen Brothers script, but rumour has it that it carries the charm of neither; SONG FOR MARION (aka UNFINISHED SONG) looks to fulfill that gaping void left by BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL in the bankbooks of certain cinemas, with Vanessa Redgrave attempting to coax a curmudgeonly Terrence Stamp out of his shell; and you may have heard there's a new STAR TREK film on the scene.

* The latest Met Opera - Verdi's RIGOLETTO - is kicking off in selected arthouses this week; there're previews of The Rock's SNITCH next Wednesday at select Event cinemas; it appears that there may be a $5 Monday night preview of KON-TIKI at Rialto; and there is a tonne of other films continuing this week - Johnnie To's DRUG WAR (毒戰), BARBARA, MAORI BOY GENIUS, WEST OF MEMPHIS, ANTIVIRAL, THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, etc...

* The Resene Architecture & Design Film Festival 2013 has already started! Boy oh boy, I'm running behind...20 features (and six shorter films paired into double features) all started Thursday 9th and run for two weeks. I'd like to try catch these first four;

- CARTOON COLLEGE - A peak inside the school for comic books in Vermont.
- MY PLAYGROUND (2009) - People + buildings = Parkour!
- EAMES: THE ARCHITECT & THE PAINTER - One screening only! James Franco narrates this look at the works from the Eames office and the Renaissance studio in Venice, CA.
- 16 ACRES - The clashes and differing opinions over rebuilding NYC's Ground Zero.
- 43 COLUMNS ON SCENE IN BILBAO (43 COLONNE IN SCENA A BILBAO) - Building the new cultural centre in the Basque city.
- (AMONGST THE RUINS...) UNFINISHED ITALY - 34mins of Italy's ruins. Playing alongside...
- (THE ARCHITECTURE OF) CARLO SCARPA (1996) - A look at the man, revived in hi-def.
- INDEPENDENT LENS S12E02: ART & COPY (2009) - Genius advertising creatives.
- DESIGN & THINKING - A chat with folks who've changed the world with their designs.
- DILLER SCOFIDIO + RENFRO: REIMAGINING LINCOLN CENTER AND THE HIGH LINE - The design firm in the title does exactly what the title suggests.
- FALLINGWATER: FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT'S MASTERWORK - a restoration of the 1994 film, chatting with Edgar J. Kaufmann's son about the titular building and architect.

- FORTUNY AND THE MAGIC LANTERN (FORTUNY I LA LLÀNTIA MERAVELLOSA) - The 19th century Oriental design found in the photos, sculptures and textiles of Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo.
- FROM NOTHING, SOMETHING: A DOCUMENTARY ON THE CREATIVE PROCESS - Game designers, screenwriters, chefs, Tegan's Sara & others discuss creative thinking.
- BIOPHILIC DESIGN: THE ARCHITECTURE OF LIFE - Architecture + nature. Plays with...
- PASSIVE PASSION - 21mins of energy-conscious architecture.
- LIFE ARCHITECTURALLY - Husband & wife design team in Aussie.
- LINOTYPE: IN SEARCH OF THE EIGHTH WONDER OF THE WORLD - The near-extinction of the machine Edison called the 8th wonder.
- MILTON GLASER: TO INFORM AND DELIGHT (2009) - The work of the I Heart NY guy.
- EYE OVER PRAGUE (OKO NAD PRAHOU, 2010) - the National Library's design grief.
- UTOPIA LONDON - Modernist architects rebuild London after WWII.
- VOLUME ZERO: THE WORKS OF CHARLES CORREA (2008) - India's most famous architect.
- HELLA JONGERIUS: CONTEMPORARY ARCHETYPES (2009) - Half an hour with the Dutch designer. Plays alongside...
- STUDIO GANG ARCHITECTS: AQUA TOWER (2009) - That buzzy building pictured above.
- WOMAN IN THE DIRT: LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS SHAPING OUR WORLD - Follows seven female landscape designers in LA.


* NZIFF's Autumn Events is now in retrospect mode; at Academy Cinemas, Sun 12th 4:30 PM, the Godard films continue with BANDE À PART (BAND OF OUTSIDERS, 1964), the 'story' of Anna Karena helping two crooks to rob her aunt, before things go pear.

* There's Farhadi, too; at Rialto Newmarket, Sat 11th 6 PM, 2004's THE BEAUTIFUL CITY (شهر زیبا) sees a kid kill his girlfriend and go to juvie, only to have his sister and some thief try save him from execution. Also at Rialto, Wed 15th 6:15 PM, DANCING IN THE DUST (رقص در غبار)(2003) is about a guy made to divorce his wife and go on the run from debt, eventually winding up with a snake hunter in the desert, or something.

* Auckland Film Society is back to their Claire Denis screenings this week, with 35 SHOTS OF RUM (35 RHUMS, 2008). Academy Cinemas 6:30 PM Monday 13th.

* DIRTY DANCING (1987) in back again on Sunday 12th 2:30 PM at Takapuna and Mission Bay Berkeleys. It's repertory, so I should mention THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA (2006) will be playing at The Vic Saturday 11th 8:40 PM. And I forgot to mention last week that Disney's PETER PAN (1953) plays Hoyts and Berkeley cinemas on weekend mornings this month.

* Monterey Cinema has kicked of its Monterey Abroad nights again; at 6:30 PM Friday 10th, you can have a drink and watch Israel's FOOTNOTE (הערת שוליים) for $15 out in Howick.

* The Film Archive on K Rd is playing the 2010 film essay THE FORGOTTEN SPACE for FREE, two or three times a day?? Not sure how that works...The Dutch National Ballet brings Cinderella to St. Lukes, Albany & Westgate Events on Sunday 12th at 11 AM and 2 PM. Technically a screening - Stardome has PINK FLOYD'S THE WALL and DARK SIDE OF THE MOON in the planetarium on Tuesday 15th 8 PM.

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, May 1, 2013

In Cinemas: May 2 - 8


There's a lot on this week, but really it's all about Johnnie To's DRUG WAR. More on that in a moment...

* If you missed ANTIVIRAL at Autumn Events and are wondering what a film by David Cronenberg's son is like, or just enjoy seeing icky things on camera, it's returned unexpectedly quickly and is playing in Rialto's e-Cinema.

* It's been a much longer wait for the return engagement of JURASSIC PARK 3D, but hopefully its accoutrement of 3-dimensionality has made that wait worthwhile. Now playing all over the place.

* THE COMPANY YOU KEEP seems to be crossing over the mainstream and arthouse cinemas - it's a Robert Redford-directed tale centered around The Weather Underground. Personally, we reckon it's going to have a hard task living up to the fantastic documentary on the group, even if its bombing-related subject matter is unexpectedly timely...

* More in the "returning from film festivals department"; HAUTE CUISINE opened the French Film Festival and will undoubtedly turn over crowds eager for inoffensive filmmaking for months, whilst the locally-produced documentary MAORI BOY GENIUS may have a shorter lifespan but augurs to be the more substantial of the two. The latter has a Film Talk at Rialto with filmmakers Pietra Brettkelly and Joanna Paul on Thu 2nd May at 6 PM.

* But, seriously, seriously, SERIOUSLY: if you can see one film this week, make it Johnnie To's DRUG WAR (毒戰), screening exclusively at Hoyts Sylvia Park. Johnnie To is one of the living masters of Hong Kong filmmaking, having brought us such titles as EXILED, BREAKING NEWS, ELECTION, THROWDOWN, MAD DETECTIVE...the list goes on and on. And whilst his last few films have mined romantic comedy and drama, DRUG WAR could be a return to vintage To mayhem, and if you've ever loved a Hong Kong action film, you owe it to yourself not to miss this.

Is that all? No, it's not all: there's the heartwarming Korean comedy MIRACLE IN CELL NO. 7 (7번방의 선물) at Hoyts Wairau Park; this week's Bollywood offering, the action-crime drama SHOOTOUT AT WADALA at Hoyts and Event; MANET: PORTRAYING LIFE, an up-close look at the artist's works, plays at Rialto Newmarket; and there's a preview of GAMBIT, the Coen Brothers-penned remake of the Michael Caine film, sneaking into select Event cinemas at 10:30 AM Mon and Wed... not convenient for us, but maybe for you?


* NZIFF's Autumn Events continue this week, and in addition to such returning titles as THE HOUSE I LIVE IN, WHERE THE CONDORS FLY, AFTER MAY, THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, GREGORY CREWDSON: BRIEF ENCOUNTERS, and THE DEEP, there are a few extra additions; in Jean-Luc Godard's VIVRE SA VIE: FILM EN DOUZE TABLEAUX (MY LIFE TO LIVE, 1962), Anna Karena ditches her family to act, but instead becomes a prostitute with pimps fighting over her. Playing once only, this Sunday at Academy Cinema.

* From Asghar Farhadi, the director of 2011's Iranian 'hit' A SEPARATION (جدایی نادر از سیمین), NZIFF also brings us 2009's ABOUT ELLY (درباره الی‎) as part of their Autumn Events selection. Drama, conversation and panic as 'friends' scour the beach for a missing girl's body. It's only playing once, next Wednesday at Academy, but it's the first of four Farhadi works to be shown in a retrospective; look for more next week!

* I like it when midnight premieres are an excuse for a double feature. Next Wednesday we've got STAR TREK (2009) and STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS, which you can go see at 9 PM in Vmax, IMAX or good ol' regular.

* Down in Howick, Visconti's epic THE LEOPARD (IL GATTOPARDO)(1963) gets a spin on the big screen, and it's a movie that well deserves that scope. Catch it at Uxbridge Arts Cinema Club, 8 PM Thu 2nd May $8.

* Auckland Film Society, meanwhile, presents Terrence Malick's first film (and at least one of your contributor's candidate for the top 20 films ever made); BADLANDS (1973). If you missed out on Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen as young killers road-tripping back when the 35mm print played a couple years ago, this HD presentation is likely to be your best alternative. 6:30 PM Mon 6th May at Academy.

* An odd one for a one-night-only; London rapper Plan B has made a film! iLL MANORS threatens to be all hip-hop, crime and swearing and will only by playing at Queen St. Event, Fri 3rd May 9 PM.

* And then there is BEYONCÉ: LIFE IS BUT A DREAM. Not sure exactly what it is, but it'll be on at 7-ish Wed 8th May at select Event cinemas.

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!