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RN 4/2: Good in the mountains

By Audio, Cinema, Rancho Notorious, Reviews

Dan and Kailey are joined by Graeme Beasley from to talk about the Lance Armstrong biop­ic The Program as well as Graeme’s favour­ite sports movies of all time, Jackson Wood is on the line from Chicago where he’s on a movie-inspired road trip around the mid-West and our hosts enthuse about the new Paolo Sorrentino film Youth star­ring Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel.

Correction: the Boston Society of Film Critics did not snub Spotlight as it turns out (see below). That mis­un­der­stand­ing came about from tak­ing a joke tweet ser­i­ously which is an occu­pa­tion­al haz­ard in Film Twitter.

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RNZ Widescreen: a week of updates

By Asides

This week at my new Radio New Zealand (sorry, RNZ) gig, we star­ted post­ing some actu­al content.

First up we star­ted our “Best of the web” fea­ture, fea­tur­ing links to inter­est­ing online art­icles about “what ‘cine­mat­ic’ means in rela­tion to TV”, an essay about Spielberg and ‘fath­ers and sons’, and the ori­gins of Del Toro’s Crimson Peak.

Then on Tuesday we pos­ted our first video review: Cary Fukunaga’s new fea­ture (made for Netflix), Beasts of No Nation.


It’s worth going to the actu­al page at RNZ because I add some extra links there but the video plays big­ger here (at least until the RNZ redesign arrives).

On Wednesday, we learned of the death of crit­ic Philip French and assembled links to some of the best art­icles about one of the greatest film crit­ics ever.

On Friday, we pos­ted our second video review: Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, star­ring Tom Hanks.


Again, there are some links to extras on the page itself.

And this after­noon, I put up our “Best of the week” fea­tur­ing a couple of art­icles about Daniel Craig as Bond, Andrew Todd on Andrzej Zulawski’s Possession, just in time for Halloween, and a fas­cin­at­ing art­icle on how to get silent film frame rates right in the digit­al age.

Welcome to Widescreen!

By Cinema, meta, Video

After a few weeks of devel­op­ment, test­ing, angst and aggro, I can finally announce the new pro­ject I’ve been cook­ing up at Radio New Zealand. Here’s a short trail­er video explain­ing what it’s all about.


As an added bonus, if you can name all the films and TV shows fea­tured in the above clip, email the list to and go into the draw to win a DVD prize pack fea­tur­ing half a dozen of those included.

You can also con­tact us with sug­ges­tions and com­ments at the same address, or you can give us 140 char­ac­ter feed­back at @WidescreenRNZ on Twitter.

Here’s the page at the RNZ site.

Rancho Notorious is included in the RNZ deal but still avail­able here (of course). I’ll be post­ing all my oth­er Widescreen con­tent here too because, why not?

RN 3/6: Change appears to be the only constant

By Audio, Cinema, Rancho Notorious, Reviews

There are big changes afoot in the world of Rancho Notorious as Dan accepts an offer to go and work for Radio New Zealand. All will be explained in this episode.

Kailey and Dan also sum­mar­ise lots of recent releases at the New Zealand cinema includ­ing Trainwreck, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Southpaw, Vacation, Last Cab to Darwin, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and many more.

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Change appears to be the only constant

By meta

As most of you prob­ably know, back in May I decided that FishHead – Wellington’s best life­style magazine – and I had gone as far togeth­er as we were prob­ably going to and I quit. There were no plans or oth­er offers on the table but I had con­fid­ence that some­how the uni­verse was going to provide. In my exper­i­ence it usu­ally does.

I was con­scious that, des­pite the many pleas­ures of work­ing on diverse stor­ies about a city that I love, every minute I spent work­ing on a fash­ion or recipe fea­ture was time I could­n’t spend talk­ing about movies and TV. I was feel­ing increas­ingly dis­con­nec­ted from the screen media and, even though Rancho Notorious was (and is) a whole bunch of fun to do, it was increas­ingly releg­ated to a spare time hobby rather than the mis­sion that I ima­gined it could be.

Reviewing for Nine to Noon every fort­night is fun – and chal­len­ging broad­cast­ing – but review­ing three films in 12 minutes can some­times feel unsat­is­fy­ing. I also really missed writ­ing. I would read some of the stuff being pro­duced by my con­tem­por­ar­ies and feel left behind. There was an itch and no time for me to scratch it.

Sure enough, the uni­verse came through.

In the same week that I announced I was leav­ing FishHead I got a call from Christian Penny, dir­ect­or of Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, ask­ing if I’d be keen on a short con­tract look­ing after their mar­ket­ing and com­mu­nic­a­tions. That three months has been tre­mend­ously stim­u­lat­ing and I am learn­ing heaps, so much so that when the offer came to stick around on a per­man­ent basis I jumped at the chance. At some point I will write up my thoughts about what how my Toi Whakaari exper­i­ence is grow­ing me as a pro­fes­sion­al, and as a per­son, but it deserves a post of its own and will have to wait.

At the same time as Toi came call­ing, I was approached by Radio New Zealand to dis­cuss ways we could work togeth­er to improve their online cov­er­age of film and tele­vi­sion. Those dis­cus­sions were, shall we say, pro­duct­ive and today I signed my let­ter of offer to join the staff of RNZ on 14 September as Features Producer – Audio/Visual.

A com­plic­ated, excit­ing, busy future awaits. Half my time I’ll be man­aging com­mu­nic­a­tions for Toi Whakaari. The oth­er half of my time I’ll be pro­du­cing con­tent for RNZ’s digit­al plat­form on the top­ics of film (the­at­ric­al, direct-to-video, new, old, whatever takes my fancy) and tele­vi­sion (nar­rat­ive TV rather than real­ity TV; boxed set reviews rather than media com­ment­ary). That con­tent is going to take the form of audio, video, writ­ten fea­tures and a pod­cast which I hope is as close to your heart as it is to mine.

Yes, Rancho Notorious (or some­thing very sim­il­ar) is com­ing to RNZ – the naughty stepchild of Radio New Zealand screen cov­er­age. With Kailey.

We’re not sure exactly how much of what we are going to try is actu­ally going to work. I’ve been asked to innov­ate and the only way we can really do that is by try­ing stuff and see­ing how audi­ences react.

There’s so much that I am look­ing for­ward to, not least work­ing with At the Movies’ Simon Morris to grow the reach of RNZ’s film pro­gram­ming and try things online that there’s no room for in a broad­cast schedule.

And after years of push­ing Funerals & Snakes and Rancho Notorious (almost) single­han­ded at the same time as work­ing com­pet­ing day jobs, I am really look­ing for­ward to work­ing with the RNZ digit­al and com­munity engage­ment teams to gen­er­ate some atten­tion for the mater­i­al we will be pro­du­cing. Oh, and using the power of RNZ to get some cool guests for Rancho and oth­er features.

I have always wanted to work for Radio New Zealand. The week I arrived in Wellington in 1986 I cold-called someone at Broadcasting House ask­ing about intern­ships! Arriving at the organ­isa­tion now, while there is so much change and so much poten­tial, is a massive thrill and a huge opportunity.

Now I have to earn it.