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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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Preview: Festivals Far and Near

By Cinema

Today, at the Virginia Theater in Urbana Ill., a few thou­sand cinephiles and Ebert-olytes are gath­er­ing for the first day of the 15th Ebertfest, formerly known as Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival. I should be with them – I even bought a pass back in November last year – but a change of job meant no annu­al leave and no money for the flight. Normally, I would just say, “there’ll always be next year” but with Mr. Ebert’s recent passing I don’t know if that will be true.

Instead, we turn our atten­tion to loc­al events and there’s plenty to keep us enter­tained on top of all the new com­mer­cial releases. For a start, the new NZFF Autumn Events ini­ti­at­ive  – repla­cing the much-loved (by me) World Cinema Showcase – gets under way today and the fest­iv­al organ­isa­tion were good enough to slip me a few screen­ers so I could tip you off about some of the less-heralded titles. So, I’m going to pre­sume you are already famil­i­ar with Lawrence of Arabia and will be camp­ing out overnight to see the the only two screen­ings of the – reportedly – mag­ni­fi­cent 4k res­tor­a­tion and instead I’ll take a look at a couple of docos and a couple of oth­er features.

The Deep posterI was a little snarky towards the NZFF on Twitter when they announced that Baltasar Kormákur’s The Deep was going to play. After all, the last film of his that loc­al audi­ences got to see was the woe­ful Contraband star­ring Mark Wahlberg. It turns out that was a Hollywood remake of an already suc­cess­ful Icelandic thrill­er that Mr. Kormákur pro­duced and very likely his director’s fee made The Deep pos­sible. So, snark withdrawn.

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