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kenneth branagh

RN 2/14: Urgent

By Audio, Cinema, Rancho Notorious, Reviews, Travel and TV

After an unex­pec­ted three week break, Kailey and Dan return to talk about the movies Insurgent and Cinderella, Dan’s recent trip to Buenos Aires and the new Pukeko Pictures/ITV co-production reima­gin­ing of the legendary TV series Thunderbirds (fea­tur­ing a Q&A with Sir Richard Taylor, dir­ect­or David Scott and Pukeko CEO Andrew Smith). To see some behind-the-scenes pics from the Thunderbirds Are Go set check out the show notes below.

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Review: Brother Number One, We Need to Talk About Kevin, John Carter, My Week With Marilyn, Headhunters and Warrior

By Cinema and Reviews

Project X posterEvery week on Cinematica – the movie pod­cast I co-host with Simon Werry and Kailey Carruthers – we sign-off each film with a two-word review. It’s a gag, of course, but no more reduct­ive than “two thumbs up” or “two stars”, and it’s become a bit of a meme with listen­ers sup­ply­ing their own – often extremely good – contributions.

Underworld: Awakening posterAnd see­ing as I missed a column through ill­ness last week, I have a feel­ing that my two-word reviews might come in handy help­ing us to catch up. So, for the found-footage High School party-gone-wrong movie Project X for example, my two-word review is “Toxic Waste”. The third sequel in the vam­pires vs lycans styl­ised action fran­chise, Underworld: Awakening gets “Strobe Headache”. And for the notori­ously low budget found-footage posession-horror The Devil Inside you’ll have to make do with “Didn’t Watch”.

Brother Number One posterWhich brings us to the good stuff (and there’s plenty of it about at the moment). Brother Number One is a superb and affect­ing NZ doco about trans-atlantic row­er Rob Hamill’s attempts to find out the truth about his broth­er Kerry’s dis­ap­pear­ance at the hands of the Khmer Rouge régime in Cambodia. This is a film to remind you that the great tides of his­tory aren’t tides at all and if you look closely enough you see mil­lions of indi­vidu­al stor­ies – of heart­break, tragedy and redemption.

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Review: Thor, Fast 5, The City of Your Final Destination and Mozart’s Sister

By Cinema and Reviews

There are two main­stream com­ic book pub­lish­ing houses, DC and Marvel, and choos­ing between them as a kid was a bit like choos­ing between The Beatles and the Stones. They had dif­fer­ent styles and sens­ib­il­it­ies (and philo­sophies) and after a little bit of exper­i­ment­a­tion you could find a fit with one or the other.

DC had Superman and Batman – big, bold and (dare I say it) one-dimensional char­ac­ters with lim­ited or opaque inner lives. When Stan Lee cre­ated Spider-Man, a teen­age pho­to­graph­er with powers he neither asked for nor appre­ci­ated, he cre­ated a soap opera – a soap opera with aspir­a­tions to high art. As you might be able to tell, I was a Marvel kid.

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Review: Gomorrah, The Proposal and A Bunch of Amateurs

By Cinema and Reviews

Gomorrah posterMartin Scorsese isn’t just a legendary dir­ect­or, he is also one of the world’s great enthu­si­asts for cinema – the defin­it­ive cine­aste if you will. By head­ing the World Cinema Foundation, he has lent his sub­stan­tial imprim­at­ur to major works of film res­tor­a­tion and he also uses his influ­ence to endorse sig­ni­fic­ant new European work, help­ing to get films like 2007’s The Golden Door wider atten­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion. Thus, “Martin Scorsese presents” Gomorrah, which opened nation­wide this week after stints at last year’s film fest­iv­al and the World Cinema Showcase in March.

Acclaimed around the world as a mod­ern mas­ter­piece, I don’t have much to add to the read­ily avail­able exist­ing plaudits. Squarely in the Italian neo-realist tra­di­tion, Gomorrah is a hand-held look at the cur­rent state of mafia affairs in Naples where a bru­tal work­ing class gang known the Camorra holds sway over the hous­ing estates and the impov­er­ished peas­ant classes. From pro­tec­tion rack­ets and drugs to the dis­pos­al of tox­ic waste, there’s not much that they aren’t into, mak­ing sure that all the gains are laundered swiftly into legit­im­ate busi­nesses that con­tin­ue to oper­ate around the world.

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Review: The Reader, The Boat That Rocked, Dragonball Evolution and Race to Witch Mountain

By Cinema and Reviews

The Reader posterIf you are on the look out for an intel­li­gent, ser­i­ous and impress­ively well-made drama that will stim­u­late and move you (and of course you are, or you wouldn’t be read­ing this) then The Reader will fit your bill per­fectly. The last of the big Oscar con­tenders to hit our shores, this is a ver­sion of the best-selling nov­el which put the German struggle to come to terms with the crimes of the Nazis centre stage. The adapt­a­tion (by British play­wright and screen­writer David Hare) also does this but some­thing else as well – it becomes a med­it­a­tion on all kinds of guilt and shame as well as the com­plex inter­ac­tion between the two.

In 1958, school­boy Michael Berg falls ill and is helped by a stranger (the extraordin­ary Kate Winslet). After his recov­ery, three months later, he returns to thank her and they begin an affair that lasts the final sum­mer of his child­hood. Between bouts of love­mak­ing she demands he read to her, telling her the stor­ies and plays he is study­ing at school. Several months later she dis­ap­pears, break­ing poor Michael’s heart, only to return to his life eight years later in a Berlin courtroom, on tri­al for war crimes.

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