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clint eastwood Archives - Funerals & Snakes

First Nine to Noon appearance of the year

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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.

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.

Right-click to download this episode!

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Review: Like Crazy, Chronicle, A Few Best Men, J. Edgar and Julia’s Eyes

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Like Crazy posterThree films this week point the way towards possible futures for cinema – and if two of them are right then we should all find another hobby. Like Crazy is a mostly-improvised romance shot on one of those pro-am stills cameras that can also shoot hi-def video (the Canon 7D in this case). These devices are affordable and highly portable but the look that they have, while effective in music videos and short sequences, doesn’t keep your interest over the length of a full feature. And, just because your camera lets you shoot a lot of footage of people noodling around making stuff up, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still have an actual plan.

Actually, the photography is less of a problem in Like Crazy than the story: two young lovers not so much star-crossed as US Department of Immigration-crossed, have to decide how much they care for each other when their efforts to be together are thwarted by the pesky Atlantic ocean and their own shallowness. Felicity Jones (Chalet Girl ) is the Brit who overstays her student visa so she can be with Californian furniture designer Anton Yelchin (Fright Night), setting the wheels in motion that will actually keep them apart for years.

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Review: The Three Musketeers, Midnight in Paris, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Monte Carlo and Tabloid

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The Three Musketeers posterI don’t know what the French did to be so roundly insulted at the movies this week but I’d advise them to steer clear of Wellington cinemas for a while – perhaps until their film festival gets under way again next year. Firstly, crass action auteur Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil) attempts to reboot a franchise from one of France’s most cherished pieces of literature but then makes The Three Musketeers without a single French person appearing on screen.

Actually, I’m teasing a little as neither the 1993 Charlie Sheen version or the 1973 Oliver Reed one had any significant French involvement, but to populate the latest film with Danes (Mads Mikkelsen), Austrians (Christoph Waltz), Germans (Til Schweiger) and Ukrainians (Milla Jovovich) does seem a bit on the nose.

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Review: Salt, Cairo Time, The Concert & Harry Brown

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Salt posterIf I had to use a four letter word starting in ‘S’ and ending in ‘T’ to describe the new Angelina Jolie thriller, Salt wouldn’t be the first word I would think of. The last time Ms Jolie played an action heroine she was a weaver/assassin receiving her orders from a magic loom and her new film is only slightly less ridiculous. What we have here is an unimaginative reboot of old Cold War ideas, as if the script was found in someone’s draw and all they’ve done is blow the dust off it.

Jolie plays Evelyn Salt, a CIA spook on the Russian desk. When we meet her she’s in her underwear being tortured by the North Koreans. A spy-swap gets her out even though, according to the rules, she should’ve been left to her fate. Back in Washington, she’s married to the world’s expert on spiders (he studies them in jars at the kitchen table) but he’s German so obviously not above suspicion.

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