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Review: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, Devil, La Danse, Love Crime, The Eclipse and Glorious 39

By Cinema and Reviews

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest posterThe irony of watch­ing a film in which shad­owy fig­ures from the Swedish gov­ern­ment lie, steal and murder in order to dis­cred­it a journ­al­ist try­ing to reveal embar­rass­ing secrets, in the same week that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was accused of rape by a Swedish pro­sec­utor wasn’t lost on this review­er. Sadly, that was the only pleas­ure to be found watch­ing The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, num­ber three in the Millenium tri­logy that star­ted in 2009 with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

This film picks up almost imme­di­ately after the pre­vi­ous epis­ode fin­ished and you may be sur­prised to dis­cov­er that pretty much every­one you thought was dead turns out to be still alive and mak­ing mis­chief. Feisty Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) is stuck in hos­pit­al recov­er­ing from her injur­ies while dour journ­al­ist Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) and his mates do their investigatin’.

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Review: Un prophète, I Am Love, Centurion and The Runaways

By Cinema and Reviews

In a week when film fans are mourn­ing the passing of the French great Claude Chabrol (80 year old co-pioneer of the French New Wave) it’s pleas­ing to report that there’s still someone in France mak­ing watch­able movies. In fact, Jacques Audiard’s last two films have been abso­lute crack­ers (Read My Lips, The Beat My Heart Skipped) and his latest is eas­ily one of the best you will see this or any year.

In Un prophète (A Prophet), Audiard has man­aged to make an intim­ate epic, a film about grand themes while (for the most part) nev­er leav­ing the con­fines of the French pris­on where our hero is incar­cer­ated. He is Malik El Djabena (new­comer Tahar Rahim) and he’s a nine­teen year old petty crim­in­al inside for assault­ing a cop. In exchange for the pro­tec­tion of the Corsican mob lead­er who runs the joint (Niels Arestrup) he murders an Arab inform­er, an incid­ent that will lit­er­ally haunt him through­out the film.

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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.

Leaving posterSecondly, 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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Review: Angels & Demons, Knowing, Night at the Museum, Lesbian Vampire Killers, A Film With Me In It and I’ve Loved You So Long

By Cinema, Conflict of Interest and Reviews

Angels & Demons posterRon Howard’s Angels & Demons, sequel to the block­buster Da Vinci Code from 2006, is what you might call an equal oppor­tun­ity annoy­ance – hap­pily mis­rep­res­ent­ing theo­logy and science.

Tom Hanks returns as Harvard schol­ar Robert Langdon, this time summoned to Rome by mys­ter­i­ous Vatican secur­ity to invest­ig­ate the kid­nap­ping of four Cardinals on the eve of the elec­tion of a new Pope. A clue (help­fully read­ing “illu­minati”) leads him to believe that a the secret soci­ety of sci­ent­ists and truth-tellers have come to take revenge for their 17th cen­tury pur­ging. The Large Hadron Collider (actu­ally work­ing in this piece of fic­tion) cre­ates a macguffin that could change the shape of Rome as we know it – if not the world.

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