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Avatar Push Back

By Cinema and Wellington

Avatar teaser posterAccording to The Hollywood Reporter, 20th Century Fox have pushed back the proposed release date for James Cameron’s Avatar from Memorial Day 2009 (which is June 22) to December 18 2009. That’s a six month delay. Fox are giving availability of 3D screens and extra time for Weta to do a bang-up job on the techy stuff as the reason for the delay.

But the fact that the live-action shoot in Wellington is proving to be a challenge with 18 hour days being the norm plus Cameron’s history of going over schedule and over budget on Titanic – it won’t have anything to do with that at all. I have one staff member who was booked for three days work as a featured extra and that call has turned into 15 days, and may still go longer.

Black Magic has more on the Avatar shoot including some behind-the-scenes material.

If all nights out were like this one, I'd have more of them...

By Music and Wellington

Blam Blam Blam at Mighty Mighty 6 Dec 200721 years ago I walked in off the street to the offices of Radio Active looking for a way I could get on the radio. The address in the phone book said Kelburn Parade so I had walked the length of said boulevard, way past the University and all the way to Hadfield Terrace and back, before trying my luck at the Student Union Building. I’d arrived in Wellington less than a month earlier, determined to make some headway with a career in radio and one of the reasons I had agreed so readily to leave the UK was Radio Active itself.

When I got inside, the delightful Charles Mabbett showed me around and told me how to sign up for on-air shifts despite the fact I wasn’t even a student yet. When I got on air I showed off a bit, playing the records I had brought with me from London (the fruits of many hours late-night listening to Peel and David Jensen), thinking I would show these colonials what was really happening.

It didn’t take very long before the lessons were being taught in the other direction. We played plenty of requests in those days and I found myself getting phone calls asking for bands and songs I had never heard of: The Birthday Party and Hunters & Collectors for example; and people called The Dance Exponents, Netherworld Dancing Toys, The Chills and (of course) Blam, Blam, Blam.

I think it was somewhere between hearing “Marsha” and “There Is No Depression In New Zealand” (and DD Smash’s “Magic What She Do” for that matter) that I decided that I wanted to be a New Zealander. I’d told my parents that I would give Wellington a year and if it wasn’t working for me I’d go back to England and study there. But I stumbled on Flying Nun, Dave Dobbyn and The Blams and it was all over red-rover — no going back.

The Blams had already been defunct for several years by the time I arrived: “Marsha” and “No Depression” were in the oldies bin along with “Pink Frost” and “Victoria”. I was lucky enough to see other Don McGlashan ensembles including the wonderful Front Lawn in 1989 and The Mutton Birds, of course, but I never expected to ever see Blam, Blam, Blam. Until last night.

Thanks to my colleagues at Wellingtonista I had a ringside seat at The Blams Public Address gig at Mighty Mighty last night (following Russell Brown’s “It Doesn’t Give My Opponents Much Time, Either” quiz and the 2nd Annual Wellingtonista Awards). Jeez, they were good: great songs, great sound, great company. If someone had told me that The Undertones were reforming with Feargal Sharkey and they were going to play in my front room I couldn’t have been happier.

Photo taken from my camera phone but there are better pics here. In fact, flashes were going off left, right and centre so there’ll be plenty of other photographs soon enough, I’m sure.

By the way, it’s Radio Active’s 30th birthday this month. Maybe I’ll be able to dig out some gems from my archive in time for the 35th.

Adventures in Film Criticism

By Cinema and Wellington

I was musing at the top of the Downstage stairs yesterday evening that a Wellington Film Critics Circle (for no reason other than to say we have one) might be an idea — we could hand out awards at the end of the year and say they point to Oscars like the New York critics do (or we could all get together once a year for a piss-up).

Anyway, later on I read this link below and went off the idea pretty much straight away.

My favourite line: “If the various elements had been more fully orchestrated, the grating psychological reasoning would have been even more redundant.”


Black Magic reviews Eagle vs. Shark

By Cinema, NZ and Wellington

Flying in the face of the embargo, Black Magic reviews Eagle vs. Shark:

If you’re into comedies this is definitely a must-see.

Huh? Who isn’t “into comedies”? Have you ever met anyone who said, “I’m not really into comedies, I don’t really like laughing.”

It doesn’t get you very far on the Internet dating sites, does it? “Good sense of humour required, but not in a cinematic way, I prefer dramas: laughter in a picture theatre doesn’t do that much for me, sorry.”

My review of Eagle vs. Shark will appear here on Wednesday 15 August, the same day it will appear in the Capital Times and, hopefully, it will make more sense than that.

Sorry, I am grumpy that Ingmar Bergman just died and all the obituaries have done is remind me how many of his films I haven’t seen.

UPDATE: Bugger this. I go to GreenCine Daily to find a good Bergman link and find that Michel Serrault and Michelangelo Antonioni also died this week (plus László Kovács, already noted). Antonioni’s The Passenger was one of my top three films in last year’s Film Festival.