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matt damon

RN 2/3: Calling Occupants

By Audio, Cinema, Rancho Notorious and Reviews

Kailey and Dan do their best to review Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar but oth­er, more inter­est­ing, films keep on get­ting in the way. Plus, James Cameron live via Skype at the Embassy Theatre Q&A for Deepsea Challenge 3D on Labour Monday.

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Elysium poster

Review: Elysium, Stoker, We’re the Millers, The Heat, Giselle, Private Peaceful, Reality and Now You See Me

By Cinema and Reviews

Matt Damon in Neil Blomkamp's Elysium (2013).

With this year’s fest­iv­al now a rap­idly dimin­ish­ing memory – and my recov­ery from that event (plus anoth­er magazine pub­lished, some “live” pod­cast record­ings, a few Q&A’s, some dir­ect­or inter­views and a Big Screen Symposium) almost com­plete – I return to the com­mer­cial cinema and what do I find? Twenty-three new films have been released since my last set of reviews. Twenty-three! I only turned my back for a second. So, bear with me while I try and do some catch­ing up. Some of these films deserve more space than they are going to get here (and some of them don’t) but you can­’t have everything, am I right?

Elysium poster[pullquote]R‑rated these days appears to mean lots of unne­ces­sary curs­ing and com­ic male nudity.[/pullquote]Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 was a sur­prise smash-hit in 2009 and his follow-up, Elysium, is what we call ‘eagerly awaited’. Watching it I was reminded of the great strengths of that first film: a vividly cre­ated future soci­ety, dys­func­tion­al yet plaus­ible; a great plot setup with a genu­ine dilemma for the cent­ral char­ac­ter. Then I remembered the third act of District 9 – one long fight/chase/fight. And so it proves with Elysium. Wasted poten­tial as – like so many films this year – the film is resolved by who can punch harder rather than who can think bet­ter. I have lots of oth­er prob­lems with it but that’s the main one.

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Preview: 2013 New Zealand International Film Festival

By Cinema and Reviews

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Now, I’m risk­ing the ire of the extremely help­ful and gen­er­ous New Zealand International Film Festival team here, but I’m going to recom­mend an approach to festival-going that will prob­ably reward you more than it will them. Here goes: don’t book for any­thing. Don’t plan your life around any par­tic­u­lar screen­ing of any par­tic­u­lar film. Especially, don’t book for any­thing because that’s the one all your mates are going to.

Try this instead. Wake up on any giv­en morn­ing dur­ing the fest­iv­al, feel like watch­ing a movie, have a look through the fest­iv­al cal­en­dar in the middle of the pro­gramme (or the handy-sized mini-guide, avail­able soon) and pick a some­thing you fancy based on the title. Or the cinema closest to you. Or the cinema fur­thest away. Or close your eyes and jab a fin­ger at the page. Either way, step out of your com­fort zone and try some­thing new. You won’t regret it. Well, you might, but prob­ably not for long.

Every year, this is kind of what I do when I ask the fest­iv­al pub­li­city team for help with this pre­view. Give me a stack of screen­er DVDs, I say, or those new-fangled inter­net links where I have to watch a film sit­ting at my desk. No, don’t tell me what they are. Let me guess. Some of my favour­ite fest­iv­al exper­i­ences have come watch­ing films I knew noth­ing about, but for those of you who are going to ignore my advice and, um, take my advice, here are some notes on the films I’ve already seen, in no par­tic­u­lar order.

The House of Radio posterI’m a radio-head from my child­hood. I love radio, listen­ing to it, appear­ing on it, mak­ing it. I love look­ing at stu­di­os, per­ving at micro­phones, the red lights that go on when the mics are live, the silently tick­ing clocks. Watching Nicolas Philibert’s The House of Radio, I was a pig in shit. I don’t think I’ve been as blissed out as this watch­ing a film for ages. It’s one day in the life of Radio France, where seem­ingly dozens of sta­tions share a giant Parisian cathed­ral ded­ic­ated to the wire­less. News, talk, cul­ture, music – clas­sic­al, jazz and hip-hop. Philibert’s polite cam­era peers into their stu­di­os and their offices, even the Tour de France cor­res­pond­ent report­ing live from the back of a motorbike.

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Review: The Bourne Legacy, Bernie, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, I Wish and Iron Sky

By Cinema and Reviews

The Bourne Legacy posterIn The Bourne Legacy, Matt Damon’s amne­si­ac super-soldier Jason Bourne is a shad­owy fig­ure, loom­ing invis­ibly over a plot that for con­trac­tu­al reas­ons can’t accom­mod­ate him. It’s as if he’s in the sin bin – after a yel­low card for demand­ing dir­ect­or approv­al – watch­ing the clock tick down until he can take the field again.

The dir­ect­or that Damon objec­ted to is Tony Gilroy – co-writer of all the Bournes and writer-director of Michael Clayton – and next time someone should listen to Damon’s instincts. He said he wouldn’t do anoth­er Bourne without Paul Greengrass (dir­ect­or of the last two, Supremacy and Ultimatum) and the weird com­prom­ise con­cocted by Gilroy to keep the fran­chise alive will prob­ably only sat­is­fy the stu­dio and the Robert Ludlum estate. Bourne is on life sup­port but no more than that.

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Review: Summer Holiday Roundup (2011/12)

By Cinema and Reviews

Time to clear the sum­mer hol­i­day back­log so that the next time it rains you’ll have an idea of what you should go and see. There’s plenty to choose from – for all ages – and there’s a bunch more to come too.

Hugo posterBest thing on at the moment is Martin Scorsese’s first “kids” film, Hugo, but it took a second view­ing for con­firm­a­tion. It is a gor­geous love let­ter to cinema, a plea for decent archives, a cham­pi­on of the latest tech­no­logy – all Marty’s cur­rent pas­sions – but it’s also about some­thing more, some­thing universal.

Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) is a little orphan ragamuffin hid­ing in the walls of a great Paris rail­way sta­tion, wind­ing the clocks and try­ing to repair a broken auto­maton that he believes con­tains a mes­sage from his dead fath­er (Jude Law). While steal­ing parts from the sta­tion toy shop – and its sad and grumpy old own­er – Hugo meets the old man’s god-daughter (Chloë Grace Moretz) and between them they try and unravel the mys­tery of the auto­maton and why Papa Georges (Ben Kingsley) is so unhappy. Hugo is a mov­ing story about repair – the kind of redemp­tion that comes when you don’t write off and dis­card broken machines – or broken people.

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