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RN 1/5: Dawn, from the Planet of the Apes

By Audio and Rancho Notorious

Kailey is sick this week so Doug Dillaman fills in along with spe­cial guest Sarah Watt from the Sunday Star-Times: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Calvary are reviewed and Dan inter­views Dan Barrett from Weta Digital about per­form­ance cap­tured apes. (Sorry, this one is a bit epic. We need a clock in the studio.

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Captain Phillips poster

Review: Diana, Runner Runner, Camille Claudel 1915, Prisoners, Austenland, About Time and Captain Phillips

By Cinema and Reviews

Apart from the ines­cap­able need to carve out a mea­gre liv­ing from an uncar­ing world, one of the reas­ons why these weekly updates have been some­thing less than, well, weekly recently has been that most of the fare on offer at the pic­tures has been so uninspiring.

Diana posterTake Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Diana for example. It’s not a bad movie, per se. It’s cer­tainly not the train­wreck that the British media would have you believe. It’s just so … ines­sen­tial. Hirschbiegel’s desire to be respect­ful to Diana’s chil­dren, and to oth­er play­ers in the story who are still liv­ing, simply sucks all of the drama out of the thing, leav­ing you with a frus­trat­ing non-love story between two frus­trat­ingly inar­tic­u­late people. There are occa­sion­al hints of the com­plex char­ac­ter she may have been but the fin­ished product is a kind of noth­ing. It really is too soon for this film to tell this story.

Runner Runner posterThen there’s the Justin Timberlake vehicle Runner Runner, in which the pop star turned act­or attempts to carry a film all by him­self and proves that he either is unable to do so, or can­’t pick a pro­ject that’s worth the attempt. He plays a former Wall St hot­shot with a tal­ent for cal­cu­lat­ing risk who trades Princeton for the high life of run­ning an online gambling busi­ness in sunny (and shady) Costa Rica. Not one word of this dis­mal little film betrays a breath of authen­ti­city, either in its storytelling or char­ac­ter. Screenwriters Koppelman and Levien once wrote Ocean’s 13 (and The Girlfriend Experience) for Steven Soderbergh. At least they were meant to be fantasy.

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Chris Hemsworth as James Hunt in Ron Howard's Rush (2013).

Review: Rush, Blancanieves, Mood Indigo, Metallica Through the Never, Planes, The Smurfs 2, Percy Jackson- Sea of Monsters and One Direction- This is Us

By Cinema and Reviews

Chris Hemsworth as James Hunt in Ron Howard's Rush (2013).

Firstly, I need to apo­lo­gise for the infre­quency of updates. Real world work has inter­vened. The res­ult is that this col­lec­tion of reviews will be even more curs­ory than usual.

Rush posterRon Howard’s Rush is a great show­case for Chris Hemsworth (Thor) to prove that he has some poten­tial bey­ond the com­ic book beef­cake. He plays British play­boy racing driver James Hunt with a per­fect lan­guid English accent and a rock star twinkle just fail­ing to hide his under­stand­able insec­ur­it­ies. Daniel Brühl as his on-track nemes­is Niki Lauda also does a cred­it­able job of mak­ing an unat­tract­ive char­ac­ter appeal­ing. Downsides are that the film is about 20 minutes too long and it’s the first 20 minutes that you could eas­ily lose. Peter Morgan’s script is – unusu­ally for him – very by-the-numbers until the incit­ing incid­ent occurs after the halfway stage, also kick­ing Howard’s dir­ec­tion into gear.

Blancanieves posterBlancanieves was reportedly Roger Ebert’s final favour­ite film, added to his own fest­iv­al earli­er this year after only a hand­ful of screen­ings. As usu­al, Mr. Ebert’s taste did not let him down and the film should win over lov­ers of clas­sic cinema at least. Much closer to a genu­ine silent pic­ture than Oscar-winner The Artist’s pas­tiche, Blancanieves resets the Snow White legend to 1920s Spain with a back­ground of bull­fight­ing and intrigue. It’s lus­cious to look at and as romantic as any of the great vin­tage silents that inspired it, although view­ers with lower tol­er­ance for melo­drama and arch, high intens­ity per­form­ances may struggle to buy in.

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Review: Love Story, The Guard, Crazy Stupid Love, Cedar Rapids, TT3D - Closer to the Edge and Priest 3D

By Cinema and Reviews

Firstly I want to apo­lo­gise that there is no review of Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life in this week’s column. I saw it dur­ing the Festival and like most audi­ences was per­turbed, baffled, chal­lenged and ulti­mately awed but I needed a second screen­ing to make sense of it. Arguably less sense rather than more sense was what I would be aim­ing for.

The film opened com­mer­cially this week­end at a couple of loc­a­tions but neither of them offered the sort of grandeur (i.e. screen size) and qual­ity (i.e. DCP 2k digit­al trans­fer of the kind I am start­ing to love) so I thought I would hold off until it reaches a few more screens. I know – I sound like a pom­pous ass but that’s as genu­ine a response to The Tree of Life as I can muster. A more con­sidered response next week.

Love Story posterBut that omis­sion gives me more room for the rest of this week’s releases. Florian Habicht’s Love Story charmed (most) of the Film Festival, includ­ing your cor­res­pond­ent. Habicht’s indefatig­able curi­os­ity and demon­strable love of people powers this strange romantic com­edy made while he was liv­ing in Manhattan on an Arts Foundation residency.

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Review: In Bruges, Death Race, Nights in Rodanthe, Traitor, The Children of the Silk Road, Rubbings from a Live Man and Choke

By Cinema, Conflict of Interest and Reviews

Two hit­men (Gleeson and the excel­lent Colin Farrell) have been sent to the sleepy Belgian town of Bruges to lie low after a job has gone wrong. Once there, they are sup­posed to enjoy the many his­tor­ic and cul­tur­al treats of the beau­ti­fully pre­served walled medi­ev­al city while wait­ing for fur­ther instruc­tions. This suits Gleeson (older, wiser, worldly) but Farrell, frac­tious after the ter­rible stuff-up, wants booze, birds, drugs and trouble. And even in Bruges he finds some of all of it.

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