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jay baruchel

Cinematica 4/11: Entitled Hollywood Idlers Propose Dubious Theology for Laffs

By Audio and Cinematica

Cinematica_iTunes_200_cropThe New Zealand International Film Festival was launched in Auckland and Dan was there. Back at the mul­ti­plex, Seth Rogen, James Franco and Jay Baruchel play them­selves at the end of the world in This Is the End. Viggo Mortensen shows off his Spanish in Everybody has a Plan and James Cromwell has a plan for a house in Canadian drama Still Mine.

Review: Boy, The Boys Are Back, How to Train Your Dragon & The Men Who Stare at Goats

By Cinema and Reviews

Taika Waititi’s Boy may well be the sad­dest com­edy I’ve ever seen. Hmn, maybe I should put that anoth­er way: For a com­edy, Boy might be the sad­dest film I’ve ever seen.

Consistently hil­ari­ous through­out, Boy steers a very care­ful course once it becomes clear that there is a very real heartache behind the laughter. A less con­fid­ent film­maker wouldn’t have even tried to per­form that con­jur­ing trick but Waititi turns out to have the tal­ent to pull it off.

It’s 1984 and in the tiny East Cape vil­lage of Waihau Bay 11-year-old Boy (born as Alamein, after his fath­er) has been left in charge of the whanau while his Nana goes to Wellington for a tangi. His little broth­er Rocky (Te Aho Aho Eketone-Whitu) and his young cous­ins are look­ing to him for some par­ent­ing but the unex­pec­ted arrival of Alamein (Taika Waititi) sends all those plans packing.

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Review: Animal Kingdom, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Despicable Me, Grown Ups, Mother and Child and Gordonia

By Cinema and Reviews

Animal Kingdom posterWhen the Film Festival screen­ing of Animal Kingdom fin­ished, my com­pan­ion and I turned to each oth­er and real­ised that neither of us had breathed for the last five minutes. The ten­sion that had been slowly build­ing through­out the film had become almost unbear­able and dir­ect­or David Michôd’s Shakespearean cli­max was no less than the rest of the film deserved.

Seventeen-year-old “J” (extraordin­ary new­comer James Frecheville) goes to live with his Gran and his Uncles when his Mum over­doses. The fam­ily are more than petty crim­in­als but less than gang­land roy­alty – bank rob­bers and thugs rather than black eco­nomy busi­ness­men. Gran (Jacki Weaver) seems like a nice enough sort, though, and the fam­ily pulls togeth­er des­pite the con­stant pres­sure from the loc­al fuzz.

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Review: Leaving, She’s Out of My League, Date Night, Kick-Ass and Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang

By Cinema and Reviews

I watch a lot of movies in this job and this week I’d like to start with a couple of import­ant tips that will help keep your cinema-going exper­i­ence in top shape. Firstly, ice cream. Avoid tubs of ice cream if pos­sible because you have to look down every scoop to make sure you’re not scoop­ing ice cream into your lap and every time you look down you miss some­thing import­ant on the screen. This is par­tic­u­larly import­ant for sub­titled films.

Secondly, when your loc­al cinema sched­ules an art­house film that hasn’t been pre­vi­ously pro­grammed by the Film Festival, ask your­self why that might be before com­mit­ting to a tick­et. Case in point: Leaving (aka Partir) a mod­ern day updat­ing of the Lady Chatterley story star­ring Kristin Scott Thomas. She plays a well-off mar­ried woman named Suzanne who makes the tra­gic mis­take of fall­ing for the Spanish build­er who is work­ing on her house. In short order she real­ises that her mar­riage (though mater­i­ally suc­cess­ful) is love­less, leaves her snobby sur­geon hus­band (Yvan Attal) and the kids to shack up with her new lov­er (Sergi López) and tries to start a new life without all the bour­geois home comforts.

It seems to me that every French film that makes it to New Zealand is about the same thing: the clash of cul­tures between the well-off, cul­tur­ally soph­ist­ic­ated but some­how not quite real, middle-class and the salt-of-the-earth work­ing people, and the dangers of the two mix­ing. Sometimes those dangers play them­selves out comed­ic­ally (The Valet, Welcome to the Sticks), some­times dra­mat­ic­ally (Conversations with My Gardener) and some­times tra­gic­ally as we have here. And Leaving is tra­gic in more ways than one.

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