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RN 2/12: Cinquante nuances de Grey

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Dan and Kailey are joined by Sarah Reese, director of the Alliance Française French Film Festival, to talk about this year’s event which opened in Auckland on 19 February, and RNZ Afternoons reviewer Sarah McMullan and Kaarin Macaulay step up to discuss the hottest ticket in town, Fifty Shades of Grey.

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RN 2/11: Wild in the country

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Online commentator, reviewer and raconteur Steve Gray joins Kailey and Dan on the line from Hamilton, New Zealand, to help review Reese Witherspoon in Wild, Julianne Moore in Still Alice and Johnny Depp in Mortdecai. Steve also has top TV watching tips for 2015 including Adam Curtis’ Bitter Lake.

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First Nine to Noon appearance of the year

Nine to Noon podcast iconAfter what seems like weeks of holidays, Summer Noelles and Matinee Idles, Radio New Zealand National is pretty much back to normal which means the return of my fortnightly movie reviews. Let this be a little placeholder now that Rancho Notorious has become a fortnightly release.

This week: Still Alice, Force Majeure, American Sniper, Unbroken and a little snipe at Birdman.

As an added bonus, here’s Rancho Notorious co-host Kailey Carruthers talking to Lynn Freeman on Sunday’s Standing Room Only arts show.

Plus, New Zealand International Film Festival director Bill Gosden and I talking to Lynn earlier this summer about the future of New Zealand film under the new film commission régime of David Gibson.

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RN 2/10: Straight to video

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Dan and Kailey are joined by Steve Austin on the line from Auckland to talk about “Straight to Video”, his blog reviewing the increasing number of films that don’t get a theatrical release in New Zealand (including James Gray’s The Immigrant). He sticks around to help the team review Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper which stars Bradley Cooper as an all-American hero traumatised by the Iraq war.

Plus, Kailey interviews Tess and Jamie from the Circa Theatre production of Seed.

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In the last (non-Rancho) post I made a commitment to get back in to regular reviewing and to end my year-long sabbatical. (For the reasons behind the hiatus, it is recommended that you have a quick read. Go on, I’ll wait here.) It has come as a bit of a surprise to me that I’ve actually seen as much as I have over the last few months. It didn’t feel like it but — thanks to Radio New Zealand, FishHead and Rancho Notorious — fully 18 of the films currently screening around Wellington are films I can actually have an opinion on.

Anyway, here goes, and I might as well start with the oldest first. Which, as it turns out, is also a contender for the worst film in this post.

St. Vincent movie posterI’ve never managed to hide my disdain for Little Miss Sunshine, a film which is beloved by many and held up as an example of quality screenwriting to which we all should aspire. It is, in fact, garbage. A collection of tics masquerading as characters stuck in a contrived-cute situation in which life lessons will be learned too easily and happy endings will be unearned. Theodore Melfi’s debut feature St. Vincent also falls into all these traps only deeper. It also relies so heavily on the great Bill Murray that it manages to even bring him into disrepute.

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RN 2/9: What we did on our holidays

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Guests Marie O’Sullivan (@reesiepie) and Mike Dickison (@adzebill) join Dan and Kailey to talk about the summer cinema releases so far, including Into the Woods, Birdman and The Imitation Game.

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