Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In Cinemas: Feb 28 - Mar 6


* Michael Haneke's AMOUR is finally out for real. Critically-acclaimed and reportedly emotionally gruelling, one Flicks user called it "overrated foreign tripe, boooooooring."

* From that guy who brought us BARAKA back in 1992, comes SAMSARA. Kinda looks the same, but should still be some kind of experience on the big screen...

* Both Hoyts and Event had Bollywood romantic drama I, ME, AUR MAIN scheduled for Friday, and Event also had Hindi crime-thriller THE ATTACKS OF 26/11 planned, but neither have sessions up as of yet, so perhaps not. In worse news, Stephen Chow's JOURNEY TO THE WEST: CONQUERING THE DEMONS (西遊·降魔篇) is here from out of nowhere, with a 3D option, too! Playing at select 'plexes, it looks even cheesier than the version I loved as a kid, MONKEY MAGIC:

* THE SWEENEY has been rebooted and has arrived on our shores, starring Ray Winstone and Brody from HOMELAND.

* This week's comedies; Streisand is back, on a road trip with her son Seth Rogan in THE GUILT TRIP; and I GIVE IT A YEAR featuring folks like Rafe Spall ("You've got red on you"), Rose Byrne ("Ring Around My Rosie") and Stephen "Googly-eyed Freak" Merchant.


* According to the Hoyts website, "After a simple jewellery heist goes terribly wrong, the surviving criminals begin to suspect that one of them is a police informant". THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS may have had its theatrical run pulled, but Pop Culture Classics is filling that void with a screening of RESERVOIR DOGS (1992) this weekend! Sun 3rd March at Sylvia Park, 8 PM for $10.

* The Consulate-General of Japan have begun their monthly Japanese screenings for the year! Thu 28th Feb 7:30 PM under the Auckland University Library, THE DISCARNATES (異人たちとの夏)(1988) will be playing for free. That first link calls it "a sweetly nostalgic story", while the next link calls it a horror film? This hilarious trailer doesn't make things any clearer;

* The "Who Shot Rock & Roll" exhibition at the Auckland Art Gallery has ELVIS ON TOUR (1972) playing this weekend, Sunday 3rd March. Supervising Editor Ken Zemke will be there beforehand at 12 PM to talk about working on this film, working with Scorsese and whatnot.

* As well as everything from DJANGO UNCHAINED to WELCOME ABOARD (BIENVENUE PARMI NOUS), The Vic has brought back the Australian clay-mated black comedy MARY & MAX (2009). Featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Toni Collette, Eric Bana, Dame Edna, morbid obesity, Asperger's, kleptomania and alcoholism, this charming thing is playing all week.

* Silo Cinema has a FREE double feature this week; Florian Habicht's far-North derby doco Kaikohe Demolition (2004) and art-collecting doco, Herb & Dorothy (2008). Friday 1st March, and again, FREE!

* The ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL is still going strong. A family rebuilding after Audrey Tautou disappears - AGAINST THE WIND (aka Headwinds)(Des Vents Contraires); a kidnapped boy with a huge Joker-like "smile" scar becomes a travelling actor, then discovers he's nobility- THE MAN WHO LAUGHS (L’Homme Qui Rit); and an Israeli teen and a Palestinian teen discover they were switched at birth - THE OTHER SON (Le Fils de L’Autre). All sorts of French craziness...

* The DISNEY PRINCESS FESTIVAL is also still around for another few weekends; your chance to catch the classic CINDERELLA (1950) on the big screen or see that awesome bar scene in TANGLED (2010) again.

* There seems to be a reason every week for us to mention SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN and this time it's the new daily screenings at The Capitol. I'm convinced that this thing will continue to play until we've ALL gotten around to it.

* Boasting "the world's most romantic songs" but missing Valentine's by a fortnight, this weekend is further cluttered with screenings of the concert film ANDREA BOCELLI: LOVE IN PORTOFINO. Never heard of him, but the trailer suggests that a lot of others have.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

In Cinemas: Feb 21 - Feb 27


This week's big news isn't the regular theatrical releases - although if you're into yet another take on supernatural teenery (BEAUTIFUL CREATURES), the latest Bollywood heartwarmer (KAI PO CHE!), 3D surfing documentaries (STORM SURFERS 3D - which does look pretty cool, admittedly, and is only here for a week), or Cirque Du Soleil (um, CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY 3D) you might be content. But for cinephiles, it's all about the French Film Festival, which has some films we can vouch for and some others that look damn promising:

SISTER (L'enfant d'en haut) was one of the overlooked gems of NZIFF 2012. Directed by Ursula Meier (who did the even more obscure but wonderful HOME) and shot lovingly by Agnès Godard (Claire Denis' regular DP), this simple story of a young boy who supports himself by stealing ski gear from a nearby resort sounds like unpromising social realist porridge in a capsule description, but is a deeply filmic, lovingly observed tale with a big surprise at the center and a note-perfect ending. If you only see one, etc.

JOURNAL DE FRANCE also received praise from those who saw it at NZIFF. It's a documentary portrait/journal by Raymond Depardon that combines clips taken from six years travelling around France photographing the landscape with archive footage from his 40-year reporting career. Deeply personal and, by all accounts, deeply rewarding.

Two undisputed masters of French film are represented on the program as well. Alain Resnais, who directed such classics as LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD (L'Année dernière à Marienbad)(1961) and HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR (1959), as well as the more recent World Cinema Showcase standout WILD GRASS (Les Herbes folles)(2009), returned to Cannes last year at the age of 90 with the pointedly titled YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHIN' YET! (Vous n'avez encore rien vu). Whilst it's a quiet chamber piece set inside a theatre, for some it will be essential viewing. Jacques Tati, meanwhile, is represented with a 60-year anniversary screening (not e-Cinema, selling fast) of his black and white classic MR. HULOT'S HOLIDAY (Les Vacances de M. Hulot).

On top of those, there's an Academy Award-nominated film (WAR WITCH aka Rebelle), a two-fisted serving of animation (THE PAINTING aka Le Tableau - ANOTHER NZFF title - and a collection of Canadian shorts called ANIMATION EXPRESS), plus all the stuff you'd expect from a French Film Festival (a romantic comedy with neurotics, a film about cooking, and a historical portrait of an artist) and more more more!

And in the world of sneak previews, the arthouses all have advanced screenings of Michael Haneke's octogenarian romance/deathmarch AMOUR lined up for this weekend. Rumour to the contrary, it's not a remake of Don Hertzfeldt's AH, L'AMOUR. Or is it?


SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN, the feel good documentary hit of last year's NZ Film Festival, plays for free at Silo Park Friday night, 9 pm.

Event Cinemas begins four weekends of Disney Princess screenings. If you've ever wanted to see THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG (2009), TANGLED (2010), MULAN (1998), ALADDIN (1992), POCAHANTAS (1995) or CINDERELLA (1950) on the big screen, now's your chance.

And our favorite venue that we've yet to make it to, the Polish Heritage Trust Museum in Howick, is screening the Biblical epic QUO VADIS (2001) by donation Sunday at 2 PM. One day, we will check this place out; it has captured our imagination something fierce.

Oh, and there's some film awards this weekend (which means that Event has dropped all of the nominated films to $11). But personally, we recommend enjoying a movie, then curling up with the Skandies if you want some awesome awards reading (and not just because one of your contributors participated in the polling for the first time this year).

And finally, two to flag well in advance, because they will sell out:

Rialto Newmarket has announced the first in its Film Talk series for 2013, Alyx Duncan's debut feature film THE RED HOUSE, for 15 March, 2013. She'll be there for introduction and Q&As.

And motherfucking CRISPIN GLOVER is coming to Auckland on March 19th! He'll be screening his film IT IS FINE! EVERYTHING IS FINE., doing a slide show, and autographing his book. Unmissable.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

In Cinemas: Feb 14 - Feb 20


* Originally scheduled in NZ for Dec 20th, THE GUILLOTINES (血滴子) has arrived in 3D. This flashy-looking tale of the emperor's assassination squad facing extinction is directed by Andrew Lau (one half of the duo behind the Infernal Affairs trilogy). We're suckers for ANY movie featuring a flying guillotine, even if this one is rumoured to pale in comparison with the 1976 genre classic, MASTER OF THE FLYING GUILLOTINE (独臂拳王大破血滴子):

* Apatow's "sort-of sequel to KNOCKED UP" THIS IS 40 is not exactly winning the world over, but with Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Chris O'Dowd, Lena Dunham, Albert Brooks, John Lithgow and Melissa McCarthy on the cast-list, it can't be too painful, right?

* Unseen since the first film in the franchise, John McClane Jr. aka Jack returns as a main character in A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD, the fifth in the series. Played by Werner Herzog's deadly-serious sidekick in JACK REACHER, he'll help his Dad beat the shit out of Mother Russia.

* Lasse Hallström's SAFE HAVEN sees a young woman running from the dark secrets of her past. Sounds dreadful. But perhaps fans of the director's SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN or CHOCOLAT won't be scared off by that sentence.

* Hoyts has Asian drama anthology TOGETHER (在一起) starring Angela Baby and Donnie Yen. I saw a write-up somewhere that said the martial arts star won't be fighting in this one; instead, he plays Mr. Cool, a dude with a rare disease that prevents him from smiling. Hmm.

* More Bollywood films for the week: JAYANTA BHAI KI LUV STORY and SINGH VS KAUR both hit multiplexes this Friday. Flicks even has a third one, MURDER 3 listed as Feb 15th, but I don't think that's right...

* Also, The Bridgeway appears to have previews of AMOUR (Sunday) and I GIVE IT A YEAR (Thursday and Wednesday) playing this week. But more on those films next week!


* SOLD OUT for Valentine's!!! Number 8 Films: BEAR CITY 2- THE PROPOSAL, featuring Kevin Smith and Kathy Najimy! I guess you could always just stay home and listen to the new My Bloody Valentine instead (which is ACES):

* Oh, but wait, there's more Valentine's Day joy! THE PRINCESS BRIDE (1987) is playing for FREE at Silo on Thursday. The film so popular, even American football announcers love it!

* Also FREE at the Silo, THE ADVENTURES OF PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT (1994) will be playing Friday 9 PM.

* The latest pikachu flick POKÉMON THE MOVIE: KYUREM VS. THE SWORD OF JUSTICE hits this weekend for children and otaku, with a bonus 1-hour trading card demonstration at Wairau Park beforehand.

* In film-related news, the TAN DUN Martial Arts Trilogy is on this Friday at THE EDGE ($65 - $140). Tan will conduct the NZSO as they play segments from three of his movie scores, while the films screen behind them; CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (卧虎藏龙)(2000), HERO (英雄)(2002) and THE BANQUET (夜宴, aka Legend of the Black Scorpion)(2006).

* And finally, for Polish rom-com fans, IN LOVE (ZAKOCHANI)(2000) is playing for FREE at the Polish Heritage Trust Museum, Sunday 2 PM.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

In Cinemas: Feb 7 - Feb 13

Well, late AGAIN, but might as well chuck a post up, despite there being little new...


* MOVIE 43 is a pile of shorts-to-shock from a collection of folks behind everything from TOWER HEIST and DUMB & DUMBER to SLITHER. There's a guy from THE ONION onboard, a Troma dude and some fellow who has only made Swedish things before. Even Liz Banks, Saul Goodman and Griffin Dunne (see AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON below) contribute. In front of the camera, the cast is bigger than an animated franchise. The biggest cast ever assembled, according to the poster; Richard Gere, Kate Winslet, McLovin', Uma Thurman, Dennis Quaid, Veronica Mars, Hit-Girl, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, Stephen Merchant, Snooki, Halle Berry, Terrence Howard, Johnny Knoxville, Common, Liev Schreiber, Kate Bosworth, Gerard Butler, Bobby Cannavale, Seann William Scott, Greg Kinnear, Tony Shalhoub, Seth MacFarlane, Hugh Jackman, et al…
Ridiculous. That HAS to be a sign of quality, right??

* ON AIR (PARLEZ-MOI DE VOUS) sees Nicolas Duvauchelle (WHITE MATERIAL, BEAU TRAVAIL) and the delightful Karin Viard (LE COUPERET, DELICATESSEN) back from POLISSE, a film I rather adored last year. This one's about a radio talkshow host that advises listeners, yet can't keep her own shit in check. I've seen the word 'quirky' used in write-ups, but the trailer looks alright…

* The Event cinemas in Manukau and Westcity have another few Bollywood films out this week; ABCD: ANY BODY CAN DANCE is India's first 3D dance film, while at the other end of the spectrum, SPECIAL 26 is a heist drama set in the 80s and based on a true story. Speaking of dancing;

* Any week that has John Lithgow on the big screen is a good week. He's heading up National Theatre's THE MAGISTRATE, which currently has a recorded version popping up occasionally at Rialto Newmarket, The Monterey and The Bridgeway.

* Somebody is still encoring the Italian Screenings, so we have a couple of documentaries back; ITALY: LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT, as well as 2010's SIX VENICE (SEI VENEZIA).


* There is a trio of new films that we covered in last week's post (due to their preview screenings), that I should probably mention again; we've got Sir Anthony in HITCHCOCK make-up, the straight outta Pukekohe music drama MT. ZION and Denzel in Zemekis' FLIGHT. On top of that, the newly-refurbished Academy has got $10 THURSdays for February, where you can still catch things like ZERO DARK THIRTY, ARGO, SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD and/or THE MASTER, all of which are brilliant in one respect or another. Also, I don't think we mentioned the French drama YOU WILL BE MY SON (TU SERAS MON FILS) that started a week or so ago. But I have now.


* But now, to the REAL reason I'm posting regardless of how late I am; SUPERB DOUBLE-FEATURE TIME!! This Sunday, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981) - starring Griffin Dunne, from last week's episode of GIRLS, I love Griffin Dunne month - is playing back-to-back with John Carpenter's THE THING (1982). I feel so spoiled! Catch 'em 7:30 PM Sunday the 10th at either Queen St. Event or Sylvia Park Hoyts.

* Over The Shore, The Vic has another great selection of fairly-new films that we like this week; SKYFALL, THE IMPOSTER, SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN and SIGHTSEERS. Plus, they've unexpectedly resurrected KATHMANDU LULLABY (KATMANDÚ, UN ESPEJO EN EL CIELO), a Spanish film I know very little about.