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Review: World War Z, After Earth and The Hunt

By Cinema and Reviews

Brad Pitt and Mireille ENos in Paramount's World War Z

Bloodless zombies would appear to be that latest trend if April’s Warm Bodies and this week’s World War Z are anything to go by. No blood means studios get a lower censorship classification and — hopefully — a bigger audience. But the absence of viscera also appears to bring with it a loss of metaphoric power. These zombies don’t mean anything very much; they certainly don’t have anything to say about the world we inhabit, or the fears we share. They are vehicles for jumps, scares and gotcha moments (or in the case of Warm Bodies, not even that).

World War Z posterIn World War Z, co-producer Brad Pitt plays Gerry Lane, not a Beatles song but a disillusioned former UN troubleshooter trying to start a quiet life with his young family in Philadelphia. A rapidly spreading outbreak of a mystery rabies-like disease turns his — and everyone else’s — life on its head. In a matter of seconds the bite victims become almost unstoppable predators, hunting the healthy in growing packs.

[pullquote]The Hunt felt like a beat-up in more ways than one[/pullquote] Lane and his family are evacuated to an aircraft carrier where the last remaining evidence of authority attempts to restore order. There he unwillingly submits to his old boss (Fana Mokoena) and agrees to help trace the source of the disease and maybe find a cure. With the help of a handful of Navy SEALS and a bright young endocrinologist (Elyes Gabel) he travels to South Korea where the first reports of the outbreak only to find on his travels that things are far worse than anyone can imagine.

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Cinematica 4/09: Hunted

By Audio and Cinema

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Mads Mikkelsen plays an ordinary bloke under extraordinary pressure in The Hunt, Jesper Christensen is an extraordinary bloke trying to change the course of history in The Last Sentence and in The Other Son two teenage blokes on either side of the Palestinian divide are not the people they thought they were.

Check out this episode

Telluride Diary part six: The show (part three)

By Cinema and Travel

Firstly, I should add a vital — totally Telluride — detail to yesterday’s post. By choosing to watch Rust & Bone and the Marion Cotillard Tribute I missed the first indoor screening of Hyde Park on Hudson and therefore a rare live appearance by Bill Murray at the Q&A. Regret is an emotion reserved for those who only look backwards but — damn!

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Legend Leonard Maltin waiting to gain entry to At Any Cost.

Back to the show. Sunday was always likely to be a very full day and — with my new found confidence in the “system” I was determined to take full advantage. I once begged the New Zealand Film Festival to let me watch a screener of Ramin Bahrani’s Man Push Cart, even though they had chosen not to programme it because I loved the idea so much and because Roger Ebert has been championing the talented young director for years. In fact, they have only screened one of his three films to date: Goodbye Solo in 2009.

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Telluride Diary part three: The journey (part two)

By Cinema and Travel

As I write the Telluride Film Festival programme has been released so I had better finish my notes about the journey before I get left behind.

When we left our hero he was sitting in a Motel6 in Denver about to depart for the seven and a half hour drive to Telluride. But first, errands to be run.

I always planned to get a US sim card for my phone so I could continue tweeting etc from the road (and also use the phone for navigation) and got conflicting advice from various people and websites about the beltway to do it. There’s an entire post to be written on how I eventually (sort of) managed it, suffice to say for now it took visits to four different retailers and much driving to finally sort it out. And it doesn’t work in the Telluride town so there’s a constant search for wifi while I’m here.

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Review: The Three Musketeers, Midnight in Paris, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Monte Carlo and Tabloid

By Cinema and Reviews

The Three Musketeers posterI don’t know what the French did to be so roundly insulted at the movies this week but I’d advise them to steer clear of Wellington cinemas for a while — perhaps until their film festival gets under way again next year. Firstly, crass action auteur Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil) attempts to reboot a franchise from one of France’s most cherished pieces of literature but then makes The Three Musketeers without a single French person appearing on screen.

Actually, I’m teasing a little as neither the 1993 Charlie Sheen version or the 1973 Oliver Reed one had any significant French involvement, but to populate the latest film with Danes (Mads Mikkelsen), Austrians (Christoph Waltz), Germans (Til Schweiger) and Ukrainians (Milla Jovovich) does seem a bit on the nose.

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Review: Robin Hood, The Secret in Their Eyes & four more ...

By Cinema and Reviews

Robin Hood posterWhen my usual movie-going partner was offered the chance to see the new Robin Hood her first question was “Who is playing Robin?” When I told her that it was Strathmore’s finest son, Russell “Rusty” Crowe, she declined suggesting somewhat uncharitably that he was probably better suited to playing Friar Tuck (or at a pinch Little John). Her favourite Robin is the 80s be-mulletted Michael Praed from the television. Mine is a toss-up between the “fantastic” sly fox in the 1973 Disney version, John Cleese in Time Bandits and Sean Connery in Robin and Marian, so Rusty and director Ridley Scott had a mountain to climb before the opening credits even rolled.

This new Robin Hood is a prequel (or an origin story in the comic book parlance). On his way back from the Crusades with Richard the Lionheart, Robin Longstocking (sorry, Longstride) heads to Nottingham to return a sword. In Richard’s absence, England has fallen in to financial and political ruin and the French are plotting to fill the void with an army massing off the coast and spies in the court.

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