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dwayne johnson

RN 3/1: Faults

By Audio, Cinema, Rancho Notorious and Reviews

Dan and Kailey are joined by film fest­iv­al stal­wart and emer­gency man­age­ment spe­cial­ist Rebecca Goodbehere to dis­cuss the new Dwayne Johnson dis­aster movie San Andreas and the new Cameron Crowe dis­astrous movie Aloha. Plus the latest announce­ments from this year’s NZIFF and the usu­al mix of news and box office stats from around the world.

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RN 1/9: Anatomy of a Rock

By Audio, Cinema, Rancho Notorious and Reviews

Dan and Kailey are joined by Mark Roulston to talk about his web­site Cinema Aotearoa and to review Dwayne Johnson in Hercules. Dan inter­views Glenn Kenny about his new book, De Niro: Anatomy of an Actor.

Also fea­tur­ing – to Dan’s chag­rin – the return of the Two Word Review.

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Only God Forgives poster

Review: Pain & Gain, Only God Forgives, The Wolverine, The Way Way Back, The Conjuring & Byzantium

By Cinema and Reviews

Ryan Gosling in Only God Forgives (2013).

Still Mine posterStill hov­er­ing around some loc­al cinemas – and the longest-delayed of all my out­stand­ing reviews – Still Mine is a sur­pris­ingly effect­ive Canadian drama about an eld­erly man (James Cromwell, 73 but play­ing a fit 89) determ­ined to build a new house for his wife (Geneviéve Bujold) before her memory deserts her com­pletely. Cromwell gives his char­ac­ter a soft­ness which belies the usu­al ornery old dude clichés, even if his stub­born refus­al to sub­mit to the build­ing code is the device on which the story hinges. Contains lots of shots of Cromwell’s hero­ic pro­file star­ing off into the New Brunswick distance.

Ping Pong posterOlder people are, para­dox­ic­ally, the only grow­ing seg­ment of the film audi­ence in New Zealand so there’s often high qual­ity fare around the tempt them. One of the best is the doc­u­ment­ary Ping Pong, about com­pet­it­ors (genu­ine com­pet­it­ors at that) in the World Over 80s Table Tennis Championship in Inner Mongolia. Like any good doc­u­ment­ary it assembles a great cast of char­ac­ters and like all good sports movies it makes full use of the built-in drama of a knock-out tour­na­ment. Not just about the res­tor­at­ive power of exer­cise, it’s also about friend­ship and adven­ture. Inspiring, so help me.

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Cinematica 4/06: Boy’s Own Adventure

By Audio and Cinematica

Cinematica_iTunes_200_cropKon-Tiki is an real-life adven­ture on the high seas, Broken isn’t broken at all, The Rock goes under­cov­er to bring down some drug deal­ers in Snitch and we get a report from a Kiwi on the Croisette at Cannes – Sarah Reese from the French Film Festival.

Review: Kon-Tiki, Snitch and Broken

By Cinema and Reviews

Speaking as someone whose taste for adven­ture does­n’t stretch much fur­ther than going to the dairy in the rain, the reck­less self-endangerment rep­res­en­ted by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg’s Kon-Tiki was a genu­ine eye-opener. The bones of the story are well-known enough to any­one who built balsa mod­els of Heyerdahl’s raft at primary school in the 1970s but bear repeat­ing here.

While research­ing nat­ive Tahitians in the late 1940s, Norwegian ethno-explorer Thor Heyerdahl pos­ited a the­ory that the islands of Polynesia had ori­gin­ally been settled by sail­ors from South America (actu­ally, bear­ing in mind the tech­no­logy of the time they would have been more like the drift­ers from South America, but hey). Unable to per­suade any­one in the sci­entif­ic com­munity, he was forced to exper­i­ment on him­self. He went to Peru, built a raft, crewed it with oth­er north­ern European adven­tur­ers and set off to find Polynesia.

With little or no exper­i­ence, train­ing or even aptitude, it was a giant leap of faith – Thor’s faith. Unable to steer, threatened by sharks and – for most of the time – without radio con­tact, it was a com­pletely potty idea but an idea that trans­formed our know­ledge of human devel­op­ment and changed history.

In Rønning and Sandberg’s film, Heyerdahl comes across as an obsess­ive and extremely dif­fi­cult man, but the way they por­tray the adven­ture it becomes clear that there was really no oth­er way. Heyerdahl’s faith was­n’t a mil­lion miles away from the totally blind faith of the first explorers who set out from Peru all those cen­tur­ies ago. That obses­sion is also shared by the film­makers who insisted on using a rep­lica ocean-going raft (incid­ent­ally named Tangaroa) built by Heyerdahl’s grand­son, and then chose to shoot on the open sea rather than in a tank.

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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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