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RN 3/4: Views of the NZIFF Mountain

By Audio, Cinema, Rancho Notorious and Reviews

Kailey and Dan are joined from Auckland by film maker and appre­ci­at­or Doug Dillaman to dis­cuss the first week of the 2015 New Zealand International Film Festival. Dan also inter­views The Duke of Burgundy writer/director Peter Strickland.

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RN 2/13: High Society

By Audio, Cinema, Rancho Notorious and Reviews

Dan and Kailey are joined by pres­id­ent of the Wellington Film Society Chris Hormann to talk about this year’s pro­gramme (mostly shared with the rest of the coun­try), the import­ance of film soci­et­ies in a world where the­at­ric­al present­a­tion is becom­ing rare for art­house films. The trio also dis­cuss cur­rent releases The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Jupiter Ascending, Focus and others.

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RN 1/2: “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.”

By Audio and Rancho Notorious

Dominion Post and Newstalk ZB review­er Graeme Tuckett joins Dan and Kailey to talk about Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s vam­pire mock­u­ment­ary What We do in the Shadows which is out this week­end across New Zealand (September in Australia) as well as meta-sequel 22 Jump Street which goes into it’s second week­end here and open­ing week­end across the Tasman.

This week’s Australian cor­res­pond­ent is Chris Elena and he’ll be giv­ing his impres­sions of the recent Sydney Film Festival and telling us about shoot­ing and edit­ing a short film on film.

Also, we’re joined by joined by Kiwi play­wright David Geary from Vancouver, Canada, who has just spent an even­ing with Oscar win­ner Oliver Stone at the Vancouver Biennale.

There are also a num­ber of utterly non-gratuitous men­tions of Game of Thrones in the pro­gramme that will no doubt be extremely help­ful for search engine optimisation.

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The Weight of Elephants poster

Review: Jobs, The Weight of Elephants, Red 2, White House Down, Salinger & In the House

By Cinema and Reviews

Demos Murphy in Daniel Borgman's The Weight of Elephants (2013)

Jobs posterThe best way I can think of to sum up Jobs, the hastily-prepared not-quite adapt­a­tion of Walter Isaacson’s hastily-published bio­graphy of the Apple co-founder, is that its sub­ject would have hated it. After all, Steve had taste and – fam­ously – exer­cised it. He also did­n’t release products until they were ready where­as Joshua Michael Stern’s film feels like the win­ner of a race to be first rather than best.

Ashton Kutcher imper­son­ates Mr. Jobs effect­ively enough, to the extent of mim­ick­ing the man’s strange lope, but nev­er gets fur­ther under his skin than a blog post or tabloid head­line might. I sus­pect that is not a com­ment on Mr. Kutcher’s tal­ent but on the epis­od­ic script by first-timer Matt Whiteley. Josh Gad’s Woz provides com­ic relief only and the amount of fake facial hair on offer sug­gests the film might bet­ter have been titled iBeard.

The Weight of Elephants posterOperating on a much deep­er level is Daniel Borgman’s The Weight of Elephants, a film that pri­or­it­ises what goes on under the sur­face almost to the com­plete exclu­sion of plot. Gorgeous Demos Murphy plays 10-year-old Adrian, liv­ing with his depressed Uncle Rory (great Matthew Sunderland) and Gran (Catherine Wilkin) in sub­urb­an Invercargill. The strange dis­ap­pear­ance of three loc­al chil­dren has an upset­ting effect on a boy who is strug­gling to fit in to the world around him anyway.

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Review: No, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Host and Hyde Park on Hudson

By Cinema and Reviews

Gael García Bernal in No by Pablo Larraín
No posterNo sounds like the kind of thing a tod­dler in the middle of a tan­trum might say, while stomp­ing around your lounge room at bed­time. At the cinema, though, the tan­trum belongs to the cor­rupt dic­tat­or­ship of Chile’s Augusto Pinochet, forced through inter­na­tion­al pres­sure to let oth­ers play in his sand­pit. In 1988 he announced a ref­er­en­dum that would demon­strate – by fair means or foul – that the people loved him, weren’t inter­ested in demo­cracy and that those who thought dif­fer­ent were noth­ing but com­mun­ists and terrorists.

15 years after he and his mil­it­ary junta over­threw the legit­im­ate left-leaning gov­ern­ment of Salvador Allende, the ques­tion in the ref­er­en­dum would be a simple one: “Yes” to keep the dic­tat­or­ship and “No” for a return to free elec­tions. No, Pablo Larraín’s bril­liant movie, looks at the cam­paign from the per­spect­ive of an ad guy – a Mad Man – played by Gael García Bernal, who har­nessed the latest cor­por­ate sales tech­niques and the power of tele­vi­sion to change the dir­ec­tion of a nation.

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Review: The Chef, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Step Up 4: Miami Heat

By Cinema and Reviews

The Chef posterCinema and fine food have been get­ting along rather well in recent times. This year El Bulli show­cased the amaz­ing molecu­lar cre­ations of Spanish geni­us Ferran Adrià and the painstak­ing sea­food cre­ations in Jiro Dreams of Sushi are still on select screens here in Wellington. Films like those hon­our the cre­ativ­ity, train­ing, hard work and exper­i­ence of some remark­able people. Meanwhile, Daniel Cohen’s The Chef takes a dif­fer­ent path and mer­ci­lessly – and humour­lessly – sat­ir­ises their pretensions.

The great Jean Reno (The Big Blue, The Professional) is Alexandre Lagarde, still head chef and cre­at­ive force behind the Paris res­taur­ant that bears his name but long since sold out to cor­por­ate interests that pimp him out for tv cook­ing shows and frozen super­mar­ket ready-meals. Jacky Bonnot (Michaël Youn) is Lagarde’s biggest fan – a tal­en­ted young chef whose tal­ents are unre­cog­nised by the bis­tros and road­side cafés that reg­u­larly fire him.

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