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jon hamm

RN 1/3: Launched

By Audio and Rancho Notorious

Special guests Darren Bevan, Dominic Corry, Graeme Tuckett and Chris Hormann on the just-launched NZIFF pro­gramme, 11-year-old Sebastian Macaulay on Disney’s Million Dollar Arm (star­ring Jon Hamm and writ­ten by Thomas McCarthy) and with Kailey’s help Dan reviews The Two Faces of January which fea­tures Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac.

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Review: Bridesmaids, Green Lantern, Russian Snark, Mammoth and The Conspirator

By Cinema and Reviews

Bridesmaids posterAfter years of auteur the­ory we have become con­di­tioned to describe films as products of their dir­ect­or and so in my first draft of this review I star­ted off talk­ing about Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids. But it isn’t really Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids, it’s Kristen Wiig’s Bridesmaids. She co-wrote it (with Annie Mumolo), co-produced it and stars in it as Annie, a thirty-something single woman liv­ing in Milwaukee, hav­ing a hard time of things (but a com­edy hard time of things, this isn’t Down to the Bone or some­thing from Romania).

Still, she’s lost all her money in a failed bak­ing busi­ness (blamed on the eco­nomy not her mar­vel­lous cakes), she’s flat­ting with two awful English sib­lings who have no idea of bound­ar­ies and her best friend (Maya Rudolph from Away We Go) is get­ting mar­ried while she is in an entirely unsat­is­fact­ory ‘friends with bene­fits’ arrange­ment with douche Jon Hamm.

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Review: Eat Pray Love, Buried and The Town

By Cinema and Reviews

Eat Pray Love posterEat Pray Love is what they used to call, in the old days, a “women’s pic­ture” and the advert­isers who have paid good money to annoy audi­ences before the film make sure you know it: fem­in­ine hygiene products. A chro­mo­somal anom­aly on my part means that I’m not in the tar­get mar­ket for this film (or the best­selling book that inspired it) but I’ll give it a go. Manfully.

Julia Roberts plays Liz, a phe­nom­en­ally bad play­wright and (sup­posedly) suc­cess­ful author who has a crisis and ends her (sup­posedly) unsat­is­fact­ory mar­riage to bewildered and hurt Billy Crudup. Never hav­ing lived without a man in her life she goes straight into a rela­tion­ship with hand­some and spir­itu­al young act­or James Franco.

Still unhappy, and a source of enorm­ous frus­tra­tion to her eth­nic­ally diverse best friend Viola Davis (Doubt), she uses her share of the Crudup divorce to take a year off and find her­self – Italy for the food, India for the guru and Bali for Javier Bardem.

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“I was on the bottom of everyone’s list.”

By Asides, Cinema and TV

Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”) describes the life of a not-very-successful Hollywood act­or in The Guardian:

And there’s this hideous thing they make you do when you go up for a tele­vi­sion show: they make you sign a con­tract before you walk into the final audi­tion. The last thing they want is for you to have every­one fall in love with you, and then you not have a deal in place. So you sign this thing – and I had no money; I was broke. You’re star­ing at the five-figure pay cheque you’ll get… if… If! A crazy amount of money for someone who has none. So I was think­ing: I’ll pay my loans off and do this and that and maybe get my car fixed… and by that time they’re call­ing you in, you’re like: ‘Shit! I have to do the scene! What the fuck are the lines?’ I would get hung up on that stuff and be an utter fail­ure in the room.”

Hamm dis­plays an admir­able amount of self-awareness in this inter­view, pro­mot­ing his new fea­ture film The Town (dir­ec­ted by Ben Affleck). Part of Hamm’s suc­cess as Don Draper is the tiny amount of “I can­’t quite believe this is hap­pen­ing to me” he man­ages to project.

Hat-tip to The Story Department.

Review: The Day the Earth Stood Still

By Cinema and Reviews

Finally, we have a week with only one new film in it: a chance for me to stretch my legs, extem­por­ise, riff a little, get my hands dirty. Yeah, I’ve been look­ing for­ward to this, to prove I can be a real film crit­ic and write eru­dite and cul­tured prose; place a film in its wider social, polit­ic­al and cul­tur­al con­text; dis­cuss mise-en-scène and die­get­ic register, all the while provid­ing a riv­et­ing (and undeni­ably “cor­rect”) per­spect­ive on the film’s mer­its and qual­it­ies. Cool.

The Day the Earth Stood Still posterUnfortunately, the film that stands alone this week is the Keanu Reeves remake of the 1951 clas­sic The Day the Earth Stood Still and frankly its hardly worth the both­er. The ori­gin­al film was a pulp par­able play­ing on the nuc­le­ar para­noia of “duck and cov­er” America: an ali­en lands in Central Park to tell us that he’s going to des­troy the human race because we don’t deserve to live (we are war­like, bru­tal and selfish creatures you see, and the earth is too pre­cious to be left in our care). But, the stern humanoid ali­en Klaatu softens on con­tact with a human child and real­ises that our capa­city for change makes us worth per­sever­ing with. Naïve but satisfying.

The new ver­sion keeps the guts of the story intact (eco­lo­gic­al doom and home­land secur­ity make up the new para­noia) while over­blow­ing everything else to giant size. Reeves dead­pans his way through as Klaatu (sens­ibly stay­ing well with­in the lim­its of his range) and he’s joined by the mid-market star power of Jennifer Connelly, “Mad Men“ ‘s ‘Don Draper’ him­self (the unfor­tu­nately named Jon Hamm), Kathy Bates and a mis­cast John Cleese. Kid duty is done by Will Smith’s little boy Jaden who made such an impres­sion in last year’s The Pursuit of Happyness.

I had high hopes for this, based on some evoc­at­ive trail­ers, but the real­ity is a dis­ap­point­ment. The plot­ting is messy and incon­clus­ive and the effects look murky and rushed. The whole thing looks like someone lost con­fid­ence half way through shoot­ing, then decided to cut the budget in half and hope for the best.

Printed in Wellington’s Capital Times on Wednesday 17 December, 2008.