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Extra bits and links

Site maintenance in progress

By Asides

Hello all!

While it will be clear to all vis­it­ors that the site isn’t being updated at the moment/any more, that does­n’t mean it isn’t still in my heart. So, in an attempt to finally rid myself of the curse of the Thesis theme and its dif­fi­cult design idiom, as well as sav­ing myself some money on things like pod­cast host­ing and cus­tom fonts, we are trans­ition­ing to a new theme – Salient.

I’m very fond of Salient, as we use it for the day job, and there should be an ele­ment of future-proofing involved in this change.

Searching for con­tent and present­a­tion of images should be improved too.

I only have about five minutes a day to make these improve­ments, so the site is likely to look like a build­ing site for a wee while yet.

Thanks for vis­it­ing, I hope you’ll find some­thing use­ful and fun here.

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.

It was a very good year...

By Asides
The first of the cars I got to test drive for FishHead magazine, the $170,000 BMW M3.

The first of the cars I got to test drive for FishHead magazine, the $170,000 BMW M3.

It has been nearly four months since I pos­ted some­thing oth­er than a pod­cast to this site and two years since I pos­ted one of my “Best of the Year” film roundups. I haven’t seen enough this year to jus­ti­fy one of those but, see­ing as the year is reach­ing its con­clu­sion, I feel I ought to prove to myself that I can still pro­duce a few words every now and then.

If all you knew of me was my out­put here at F&S then you could be for­giv­en for think­ing that I had gone off the boil a bit. After all, the site became pop­u­lar for my reg­u­lar film reviews and the audio con­tent that now dom­in­ates was simply an added bonus. I have taken to call­ing 2014 a sab­bat­ic­al year, a pal­ate cleanser, but that means that at some point I need to get back on the horse and start rid­ing. I have every inten­tion of doing that in 2015 but — if it proves any­thing like the last 12 months my wishes might not mat­ter a damn.

So, what have I been up to? How do I jus­ti­fy call­ing 2014 a great year?

Read More

Delayed gratification

By Asides

Well, it has taken a while to sort out but I can finally make a few announcements.

Exactly a month ago, I had a big whine about the clos­ure of the Capital Times and what it meant for print review­ing and for me spe­cific­ally. It was a shock, of course, but the impact turned out to be pretty grat­i­fy­ing. The feed­back from read­ers was ter­rific­ally reward­ing (“You like me, you really like me”). Even the one neg­at­ive com­menter out of the 25 who wrote to me here demon­strated that he cared enough to con­trib­ute, even if he did think that review­ers “were going to way of the dodo”.

And there were some pretty good offers too. Some from print pub­lic­a­tions, some online, some even involved get­ting paid which was a bit of a nov­elty. Read More

Unwelcome changes

By Asides

Update: I have some con­firmed cir­cu­la­tion fig­ures from the paper itself. Even more depressing.

We inter­rupt nor­mal – slightly stut­tery – pro­gram­ming to bring you news of some changes in the Wellington media scene that might have an impact on the con­tent that you see here.

Pg1-iss3821-bigThe Capital Times news­pa­per will be ceas­ing pub­lic­a­tion on – I think – 10 April. The reviews that I re-publish here were all writ­ten for them and it is their Monday morn­ing dead­lines that I meet every week. Broader dis­cus­sion of the impact on Wellington’s loc­al media – it leaves only Fishhead as an inde­pend­ent print pub­lic­a­tion serving the city – and trends in tra­di­tion­al versus digit­al media in the struggle for advert­ising yadda yadda, will be bet­ter off else­where, but the impact on me per­son­ally? That belongs here.

The first ques­tion is simply “to be or not to be”. The Capital Times is a recog­nised Wellington media insti­tu­tion with a decent cir­cu­la­tion and a large audi­ence. I was told that they print over 15,000 20,000 cop­ies each week and the read­er­ship is estim­ated at between 40,000 and as much as 60,000. That’s sig­ni­fic­ant, and made it worth­while for me to write for and for exhib­it­ors and dis­trib­ut­ors to sup­port me by giv­ing me tick­ets, pre­views and screeners.

Read More


By Asides, Cinema

Godard’s Une femme mar­iée from the Masters of Cinema collection

For those read­ers who, des­pite my clues in the “About” box to the right, are still in the dark about Godard’s Contempt, A.O. Scott from the New York Times has a short video primer on the film here. It’s at the Times’ site thus no embed­ding (and no watch­ing on an iDevice) either.

I’m promp­ted to men­tion it not because I have a copy of Contempt now, I don’t. But my pack­age of delights from the Eureka! Masters of Cinema blu-ray sale just arrived and it includes Godard’s Une femme mar­iée (the film he made in 1964, two films and one year after Contempt), Fritz Lang’s M (Lang played the film dir­ect­or in Contempt and, of course, coined the name for this blog), plus Make Way for Tomorrow, For All Mankind, Profound Desires of the Gods and La plan­et sauvage.

If only the Film Festival was­n’t around the corner. I would be able to wal­low in some rare cinema clas­sics (only one of which I have seen before). Instead, I have a pile of pre­views to get through so I can pro­duce my annu­al guide to the Festival’s more obscure corners as well as talk for fif­teen minutes on Radio New Zealand Concert’s Upbeat pro­gramme on Friday lunchtime.