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knight and day

Review: The Adventures of Tintin, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, The Muppets, The Salt of Life, The Iron Lady and Melancholia

By Cinema and Reviews

Like stu­dents swot­ting for exams New Zealand film dis­trib­ut­ors seem to have run out of year for all the films they have to release so there are some really big names being squeezed into the next two weeks. If you can’t find some­thing to watch on – the inev­it­ably wet – Boxing Day next Monday, then I sus­pect you don’t really like movies at all. And if that sounds like you, why are you still reading?

The biggest of the big names this Christmas has got to be The Advenures of Tintin. Despite Steven Spielberg’s name on the tin, it’s almost a loc­al pro­duc­tion when you con­sider the tech­no­logy and skills that went into its man­u­fac­ture, so we all have a small stake in its suc­cess. Luckily, Europe has embraced it so a second film has already been con­firmed – and will be made here.

But enough of the cheer­lead­ing – what did I think of it? It’s good, really good. The per­form­ance cap­ture and char­ac­ter design works bet­ter than ever before, Spielberg has embraced the free­dom from the laws of phys­ics that anim­a­tion allows and throws the cam­era around with gay aban­don – but always with pan­ache and not to the point of motion sick­ness. Many of the visu­al gags are ter­rif­ic and Andy Serkis as Haddock proves that there is no one bet­ter at act­ing under a lay­er of black dots and ping pong balls.

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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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Review: The Karate Kid, Predators, My One and Only & Knight and Day

By Cinema and Reviews

The Karate Kid posterThe first thing to know about The Karate Kid is that there is no kar­ate in it. This remake of the eighties favour­ite sends twelve-year-old hero Jaden Smith to China where they hurt people with kung fu instead. It was ori­gin­ally going to be called The Kung Fu Kid until someone in mar­ket­ing real­ised cer­tain syn­er­gist­ic oppor­tun­it­ies might be missed by the less cred­u­lous tar­get mar­ket. So there we are.

I have mixed feel­ings about this film. I have no great love for the ori­gin­al (des­pite ador­ing my occa­sion­al nick­name “Daniel-san”) so am not much bothered about the updat­ing. Director Harald Zwart man­aged to get my pulse going a bit faster than nor­mal, which doesn’t hap­pen very often these days, and there are some nice scenes that take advant­age of some inter­est­ing Chinese loc­a­tions. But this is basic­ally a pre-teen Rocky with some pretty real­ist­ic smacks and I’m a little uncom­fort­able about that.

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Review: Soul Kitchen, Step Up 3, Killers and a couple more ...

By Cinema and Reviews

Soul Kitchen posterTurkish-German dir­ect­or Fatih Akin has long been an art­house favour­ite around these parts. Head-On (2004) and The Edge of Heaven (2007) were Festival suc­cesses so it was odd to see his new film Soul Kitchen skip this year’s event and go straight to gen­er­al release. On view­ing it’s easy to see why. Akin has gone com­mer­cial and Soul Kitchen is as broad a com­edy as you’ll find out­side the big chains – sadly I have to report that Akin’s film doesn’t sit com­fort­ably in that territory.

Zinos (Adam Bousdoukos) runs a greasy spoon café called the Soul Kitchen in a run­down part of old Hamburg. He’s not much of a cook or a busi­ness­man but his loy­al cus­tom­ers seem to like it. Thrown into a tizzy by a com­bin­a­tion of his girlfriend’s move to China, a very bad back, the tax depart­ment, his dead­beat broth­er (Moritz Bleibtreu) on day release from pris­on and an old school friend with an eye on his real estate, Zinos tries to nav­ig­ate his way through a rap­idly deteri­or­at­ing situ­ation with only a geni­us new chef and some loy­al but eas­ily dis­trac­ted staff.

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