Skip to main content
Tag

capital times

Review: Twilight- Breaking Dawn Part 2, Monsieur Lazhar, Delicacy, Diana Vreeland- The Eye Has to Travel and Electrick Children

By Cinema and Reviews

Twilight: Breaking Dawn part II posterMy friend Simon calls Twilight “Twiglet” but that’s pretty much the max­im­um amount of amuse­ment that I’ve man­aged to derive from a fran­chise that I have nev­er man­aged to appre­ci­ate. Actually, that’s not quite true. During the latest – and final – epis­ode, Breaking Dawn Part 2, I did laugh long and hard at the arrival of the fiddle-dee-dee Irish vam­pires with their red hair and their tweed waist­coats, part of a mot­ley band of multi-ethnic spark­lers assembled to fight off the threat from the Vettori (or whatever they’re called).

The Vulturi, led by sim­per­ing Michael Sheen, want to des­troy (or absorb) the dan­ger­ous hybrid child Renesmee, a ter­ri­fy­ingly unreal­ist­ic CGI baby sup­posedly born just before Kristen Stewart’s Bella was finally con­ver­ted at the end of the pre­vi­ous film. Despite being able to travel at the speed of light they take their time get­ting to snowy Washington state, allow­ing the Cullen’s – and their were­wolf neigh­bours – to for­mu­late a plan.

Read More

Review: The Sessions, Arbitrage, Bait 3D and (regrettably) Alex Cross

By Cinema and Reviews

The Sessions posterBen Lewin’s The Sessions is a very rare beast – an American film that por­trays human sexu­al­ity with hon­esty, sens­it­iv­ity and no hint of pruri­ence. (Actually, writer-director Lewin is a Polish emigré who grew up in Australia and – after a brief career as a bar­ris­ter – went to England in 1971 to make tele­vi­sion, so maybe it isn’t all that American.)

Poet Mark O’Brien was crippled with polio as a child and forced to spend more than 20 hours a day in an iron lung, prac­tising his craft with a pen­cil held between his teeth, rely­ing on care­givers for – almost – every import­ant bod­ily func­tion. Although he spent his life hori­zont­al he wasn’t para­lysed and he could still feel everything that was done to his body – a fact that a pretty nurse giv­ing him his daily wash could prob­ably testi­fy to… As a red-blooded American male in his 30s, his head could get turned by a shapely fig­ure even though his inex­per­i­ence and dis­ab­il­ity meant he was totally lack­ing in romantic confidence.

Read More

Review: Arrietty, Taken 2, On the Road, Life in Movement, Searching for Sugar Man, The Last Dogs of Winter and The Words

By Cinema and Reviews

After an intense week­end run­ning from pic­ture theatre to pic­ture theatre between – and some­times dur­ing – rain showers, I have now caught up on everything in cur­rent loc­al release. Except Tinker Bell and the Secret of the Wings but a Twitter cor­res­pond­ent assures me: “Just FYI my 5 year old great niece loved it so much she stood up at the end clap­ping & dancing…you should go you’ll love it ;)” and that review might just have to do for now.

Arrietty posterA little harder to track down than Tinker Bell, Madagascar 3 or Hotel Transylvania – but well worth the effort – is Arrietty, a Studio Ghibli anim­ated adapt­a­tion of The Borrowers, Mary Norton’s fam­ous children’s book about tiny people liv­ing under a house who are dis­covered by a frail young boy who needs a friend. Beautifully anim­ated – as always – and told with emo­tion and sim­pli­city, Arrietty is a fine altern­at­ive to those over-hyped Hollywood con­fec­tions. The ver­sion play­ing in Wellington is the English voiced one fea­tur­ing Saoirse Ronan, Olivia Colman and Mark Strong – much easi­er on the ears than the American voices and much easi­er to fol­low for the lit­tlies than the ori­gin­al Japanese.

Read More

Review: Hope Springs, Total Recall and How Far Is Heaven

By Cinema and Reviews

Hope Springs posterIn Hope Springs, Meryl Streep proves once again that not only can she play any woman, she can also play every­wo­man. She’s Kay, an unful­filled Nebraska house­wife, mar­ried for 31 years to account­ant Tommy Lee Jones and resigned to sleep­ing in sep­ar­ate bed­rooms and cook­ing him his eggs every morn­ing while he reads the paper. Except, she’s not resigned, she’s become determ­ined. Determined to prove that mar­riage doesn’t just fizzle out after the kids leave home, that the past doesn’t have to equal the future.

So, she signs them both up for “intens­ive couples coun­selling” with friendly ther­ap­ist Steve Carell, in pic­tur­esque sea­side Maine. Jones is gruffly res­ist­ant, of course, and it’s his dead­pan sar­casm that prompts nost of the early com­edy (their fum­bling attempts to spice up their life provides the rest). As a com­edy, Hope Springs is extremely gentle – much more gentle than the trail­er would have you believe – but that gen­tle­ness suits the del­ic­ate sub­ject and the script (by Vanessa Taylor) actu­ally bur­rows in pretty deeply to a sub­ject that, I’m sure, is pretty close to home for lots of viewers.

Read More

Review: The Bourne Legacy, Bernie, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, I Wish and Iron Sky

By Cinema and Reviews

The Bourne Legacy posterIn The Bourne Legacy, Matt Damon’s amne­si­ac super-soldier Jason Bourne is a shad­owy fig­ure, loom­ing invis­ibly over a plot that for con­trac­tu­al reas­ons can’t accom­mod­ate him. It’s as if he’s in the sin bin – after a yel­low card for demand­ing dir­ect­or approv­al – watch­ing the clock tick down until he can take the field again.

The dir­ect­or that Damon objec­ted to is Tony Gilroy – co-writer of all the Bournes and writer-director of Michael Clayton – and next time someone should listen to Damon’s instincts. He said he wouldn’t do anoth­er Bourne without Paul Greengrass (dir­ect­or of the last two, Supremacy and Ultimatum) and the weird com­prom­ise con­cocted by Gilroy to keep the fran­chise alive will prob­ably only sat­is­fy the stu­dio and the Robert Ludlum estate. Bourne is on life sup­port but no more than that.

Read More

Review: The Campaign and Take This Waltz

By Cinema and Reviews

The Campaign posterIt’s American elec­tion year and those mealy-mouthed Hollywood lib­er­als have fired the first shot in their attempt to influ­ence the res­ult. In The Campaign, Will Ferrell plays Will Ferrell play­ing a four-term US con­gress­man from a dis­trict so safe dis­trict no one will run against him. The mys­ter­i­ous Moch broth­ers – John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd – are bil­lion­aire indus­tri­al­ists (loosely and lazily based on the nefar­i­ous real-life Koch Brothers) who decide to bank­roll anoth­er can­did­ate, one who will be more eas­ily influ­enced by their money and power. It’s hard to ima­gine any­one more eas­ily bought than Ferrell’s Cam Brady but evid­ently it’s time for a change and they place their bets on lov­able loc­al tour­ism boss Zach Galifianakis, play­ing anoth­er of his trade­marked limp-wristed-but-heterosexual naifs.

Read More