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andrea riseborough

Review: Oblivion, Warm Bodies, Barbara, Performance, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger and The Croods

By Cinema and Reviews

Oblivion_30_580 Last time we saw Tom Cruise he was known as Jack Reacher. Now, in Oblivion, his name is Jack Harper. What range! What diversity! You’d hardly recog­nise him. Harper is a main­ten­ance guy, repair­ing the drones that pro­tect giant machines that suck Earth’s oceans up to an enorm­ous space sta­tion orbit­ing above us, a space sta­tion that is going to take the few remain­ing sur­viv­ors of our pyrrhic vic­tory over invad­ing ali­ens on a final jour­ney away from a dev­ast­ated plan­et to a new life on Titan.

Oblivion posterAssisting Mr. Cruise with his mech­an­ic­al defence duties is Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), life and work part­ner, keep­ing him in con­tact with the super­visors float­ing above them and keep­ing an eye on the strag­gling rem­nants of the ali­ens who tried to con­quer us. Traditional gender roles are very much still intact in the future – even though the Moon isn’t – and Ms. Riseborough’s char­ac­ter seems con­tent to nev­er leave the spot­less mod­ern kit­chen while Cruise gets his hands dirty on the sur­face. Neither of them seem too bothered by the fact that they had their memor­ies wiped six years pre­vi­ously, although he has been hav­ing some strange dreams recently.

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Review: Argo, The Intouchables, Fresh Meat, It’s a Girl, Shadow Dancer and Mental

By Cinema and Reviews

Near the end of 1979, the new hard­line rulers of Iran – incensed by the US government’s sup­port for the pre­vi­ous des­pot – stormed the embassy in Teheran and held the occu­pants host­age for over a year, long enough to wreck President Jimmy Carter’s attempt at re-election and to define American rela­tions with the Persian Gulf for anoth­er thirty years. That side of the story is rel­at­ively well-known. The secret story of the six embassy staff who escaped, hid in the Canadian ambassador’s house, and were then spir­ited out of the coun­try dis­guised as a Hollywood film crew? Not so much.

Thanks to the recent declas­si­fic­a­tion of the CIA and State Department files, the weird and won­der­ful story of Argo can be told, and – this being a Hollywood story about a Hollywood story – it gets a bit of a punch-up to make sure none of the enter­tain­ment poten­tial is wasted. So now, Argo is “inspired by a true story” rather than “based on a true story” and it is also the smartest and most enter­tain­ing Hollywood pic­ture for grown-ups this year.

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Review: Super 8, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, Soul Surfer, Biutiful, The Tempest and Brighton Rock

By Cinema and Reviews

I’ve been busy over the last few weeks work­ing on New Zealand’s biggest par­ti­cip­at­ory film event, the V 48 Hours which reaches its loc­al cli­max tonight at the Embassy Theatre. It’s a won­der­ful cel­eb­ra­tion of Wellington film tal­ent and there may be door sales so check with the venue.

Super 8 posterOne of the inspir­a­tions for 48 Hours is the true story of a group of Mississippi kids who spent six years of week­ends and hol­i­days in the 1980s remak­ing Raiders of the Lost Ark – shot for shot – on home video. The pro­ject went from notori­ous to legendary in 2003 when the kids (now adults) were invited to meet Lucas and Spielberg and their story was even optioned by Paramount. I can’t see that pic­ture get­ting made now as Spielberg (and J.J. “Star Trek” Abrams) have come up with some­thing that, though par­tially inspired by the boys’ VHS efforts, goes in a dif­fer­ent dir­ec­tion entirely, hon­our­ing not just their homemade Raiders but Spielberg’s own E.T. and Close Encounters .

In a small Ohio town in 1979 a bunch of kids are mak­ing a zom­bie flick so they can enter the loc­al Super 8 film com­pet­i­tion. During an unau­thor­ised night shoot at the rail­way sta­tion they wit­ness a dev­ast­at­ing train crash which unleashes mys­ter­i­ous forces that the Government is des­per­ate to cov­er up. As the freaked-out cit­izenry are evac­u­ated so the Air Force can hunt down the whatever-it-is that’s escaped, our hero­ic kids head back in to the danger zone armed only with curi­os­ity and that child-like sense of right and wrong that Mr. Spielberg used to spe­cial­ise in.

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