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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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Cinematica 4/02: Man of Iron and a Mandarin

By Audio and Cinematica

Cinematica_iTunes_200_cropThe hot­test tick­et in town is Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 3; the hot­test tick­et in America two weeks ago was Evil Dead, the dreaded Gerard Butler tries to save the White House from ter­ror­ists in Olympus Has Fallen – yes, it’s the school holidays.

Review: Olympus Has Fallen, Evil Dead and Escape from Planet Earth

By Cinema and Reviews

Gerard Butler in Olympus Has Fallen While ori­gin­al Die Hard dir­ect­or John McTiernan lan­guishes in min­im­um secur­ity fed­er­al pris­on his heirs are keep­ing the action movie flame alive. Most recently, Antoine Fuqua’s Olympus Has Fallen might as well be called Die Hard at the White House as one man attempts to res­cue the host­ages held cap­tive in the impreg­nable bunker beneath the most fam­ous Palladian man­sion in the world. North Korean ter­ror­ists have man­aged to take con­trol of the build­ing and the President (Aaron Eckhart), Secretary of Defence (Melissa Leo) – and some extras play­ing the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs etc. – are all cable-tied to a rail­ing while acting-President Morgan Freeman and Chief of the Secret Service Angela Bassett are power­less at the Pentagon.

Olympus Has Fallen posterWhat the bad guys don’t know is that dis­graced former Secret Service (and Special Forces, natch) dude Gerard Butler heard the shoot­ing and crossed town from his low level secur­ity job at Treasury to sneak in to the build­ing before total lock­down. Now, he’s tak­ing out the trash one by one but can he res­cue the President’s son (Finley Jacobsen) and save the free world before every nuke in the American arsen­al goes “boom”.

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Review: There Once Was an Island, Bad Teacher, Cars 2, The Reluctant Infidel and My Afternoons with Margueritte

By Cinema and Reviews

There Once Was an Island posterWhen I first vis­ited this coun­try back in 1982 we flew across the Pacific Ocean in day­light and from my win­dow seat I got a birds eye view of … not very much. Lots of flat blue unin­ter­rup­ted sea, not even so much a rusty tramp steam­er to break the mono­tony. No won­der they usu­ally do this leg in the dark, I thought.

Once I got here I under­stood that there was a lot going on down there on many tiny speckled islands and atolls – and the rich­ness of the Pacific and its rela­tion­ship to New Zealand was just one of the reas­ons why I’m still here all these years later – but now the creep­ing specter of glob­al warm­ing is trans­form­ing the Pacific into the pristine envir­on­ment I thought I saw all those years ago – unsul­lied by cor­al, sand, taro or people.

This pro­cess is already well under way as Briar March’s astound­ing doc­u­ment­ary There Once was an Island illus­trates. In 2006 Ms. March and a tiny crew spent sev­er­al months on Takuu, a remote atoll over­seen by the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), ser­viced and sup­por­ted by a rare and irreg­u­lar ship­ping ser­vice and short wave radio. Even then the waves were lap­ping at the edge of peoples’ homes and the ABG offer of a haven among the main­land sug­ar plant­a­tions effect­ively meant ask­ing 4000 people to say good­bye to their entire way of life.

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Review: Scream 4, Justin Bieber- Never Say Never and Just Go With It

By Cinema and Reviews

Anther snap­shot of Western cul­ture this week in cinemas – if the ali­ens who mon­it­or us are still watch­ing I’m sure this will res­ult in our urgent and viol­ent anni­hil­a­tion (if that isn’t one cliché too many).

Scream 4 movie posterI’ll con­fess that I haven’t seen any of the first three Scream films – the first was in 1996 and the most recent was num­ber three, elev­en years ago. So, taken as a stand alone pic­ture, how does Scream 4 hold up? Pretty well. The know­ing ref­er­ences to recent hor­ror cinema his­tory take up most of the space with what’s left over going to a resigned cyn­icism about mod­ern soci­ety – which is as it should be.

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2010 Wellington Cinema Year in Review

By Cinema

So, after trawl­ing through the many thou­sands of words writ­ten about cinema in these pages this year, I sup­pose you want me to come to some con­clu­sions? Do some “sum­ming up”? Help guide you through the great video store of life? Well, alright then. Here goes.

We don’t do Top Ten lists here at the Capital Times – they are reduct­ive, facile and, frankly, you have to leave too many titles out. I have taken to divid­ing my year’s view­ing up into cat­egor­ies: keep­ers are films I want to have in my home and watch whenev­er the mood takes me; renters are the films that I could hap­pily watch again; then there are the films that I enjoyed but am in no hurry to repeat, the films I might have mis­judged first time around, the films I can’t get out of my head (for bet­ter or worse), the films I am sup­posed to love but you know, meh, and most import­ant of all – the films you should avoid as if your very life depends upon it.

First, the keep­ers: a sur­prise for some will be Fantastic Mr. Fox which was released after my 2009 Year in Review was sub­mit­ted and the only film in the list that I already own. Animal Kingdom was the film I most recom­men­ded this year – a stun­ning, tense piece of work that gripped me totally.

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