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2012 Wellington Cinema Year in Review

By Cinema

This Must Be the Place posterAs usu­al, the vagar­ies of hol­i­day dead­lines mean that, just as you are arriv­ing back at work to glee­fully greet the New Year, here I am to tell you all about 2012. The best way to use this page is to clip it out, fold it up and put it in your pock­et ready for your next vis­it to the video shop – that way you won’t go wrong with your rent­ing. Trust me – I’m a professional.

But this year I have a prob­lem. Usually I man­age to restrict my annu­al picks to films that were com­mer­cially released to cinemas. I’ve always felt that it wasn’t fair to men­tion films that only screened in fest­ivals – it’s frus­trat­ing to be told about films that aren’t easy to see and it makes it dif­fi­cult for you to join in and share the love. This year, though, if I take out the festival-only films the great­ness is hard to spot among the only “good”.

As usu­al, I have eschewed a top ten in favour of my pat­en­ted cat­egor­ies: Keepers, Watch Again, Mentioned in Dispatches and Shun At All Costs. In 2012, only two of my nine Keepers (films I wish to have close to me forever) made it into com­mer­cial cinemas and one of them isn’t even really a film.

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Review: The Sessions, Arbitrage, Bait 3D and (regrettably) Alex Cross

By Cinema and Reviews

The Sessions posterBen Lewin’s The Sessions is a very rare beast – an American film that por­trays human sexu­al­ity with hon­esty, sens­it­iv­ity and no hint of pruri­ence. (Actually, writer-director Lewin is a Polish emigré who grew up in Australia and – after a brief career as a bar­ris­ter – went to England in 1971 to make tele­vi­sion, so maybe it isn’t all that American.)

Poet Mark O’Brien was crippled with polio as a child and forced to spend more than 20 hours a day in an iron lung, prac­tising his craft with a pen­cil held between his teeth, rely­ing on care­givers for – almost – every import­ant bod­ily func­tion. Although he spent his life hori­zont­al he wasn’t para­lysed and he could still feel everything that was done to his body – a fact that a pretty nurse giv­ing him his daily wash could prob­ably testi­fy to… As a red-blooded American male in his 30s, his head could get turned by a shapely fig­ure even though his inex­per­i­ence and dis­ab­il­ity meant he was totally lack­ing in romantic confidence.

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Review: The Skin I Live In, Martha Marcy May Marlene and Ghost Rider- Spirit of Vengeance

By Cinema and Reviews

The Skin I Live In posterAnyone won­der­ing wheth­er the great Pedro Almodóvar had lost some of his edge at the ripe old age of 62 should imme­di­ately check out his new film The Skin I Live In which is as deranged as any­thing else he has pro­duced in more than thirty years of fea­ture film mak­ing. Puss In Boots him­self, Antonio Banderas, plays a suc­cess­ful plastic sur­geon with a dark secret. Many of his greatest med­ic­al achieve­ments are a res­ult of the exper­i­ments he con­ducts on a beau­ti­ful woman (Elena Anaya) held cap­tive in his mansion.

Who is she? Why is she there? These ques­tions are answered in the film but have to be skir­ted around here for even the tini­est hint at spoil­ers will wreck some of the twisti­est (in all senses of the word except per­haps con­fec­tion­ary) sur­prises you will exper­i­ence all year. It’s enough to say that if this film had been made in the 1950s then Banderas’ char­ac­ter would have been played by Vincent Price (think House of Wax) and that every­one involved would have been run out of town by the authorities.

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