While filling in for Graeme Tuckett on Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon film slot last Thursday, I casually mentioned that Daniel Craig had been cast as journalist Mikael Blomkvist in David Fincher’s forthcoming remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. With the collapse of Sam Mendes’ new Bond picture, Mr Craig has a franchise-sized gap in his schedule and I think he’s ideal casting to play the craggy crusader (originated by Michael Nyqvist in the Swedish films and a six part television series).
Harry Sloan, a media entrepreneur who once made $200m when a Scandinavian broadcasting business he was managing was taken public, was brought in as chairman of the studio. Sloan set about the substance of his work with enthusiasm, but he was also noted for his quirky habits. He arranged his office in the MGM building according to feng-shui principles and kept a selection of crystals in the screening room to improve energy flows – he even had his office telephone number changed, replacing all the fours with eights, a lucky number in China.
Back before the days of “Iron Chef”, “Masterchef” and “Hell’s Kitchen”, television’s top food expert was a very tall, slightly ungainly, woman who sounded a little drunk. She was Julia Child and in the 60s she taught America how to cook. In an era where tv dinners, pre-prepared sauces and easy cake mixes were top of a busy housewife’s shopping list, Child produced the almighty tome Mastering the Art of French Cooking which went on to sell millions of copies and make her a legend.
A little later on, 2002 in fact, New Yorker Julie Powell started an online project to reproduce every recipe in the famous cookbook (over 500 of them) in a single year. Nora Ephron’s new film Julie & Julia skilfully merges the two stories, freely noting the parallels between them, and managing to produce a warm and witty film that honours the remarkable Child.
Those of us that try and take cinema seriously have very few forums where we can truly express our passion and the Monday evening screenings at the Wellington Film Society are the alter at which we worship.
For over 60 years Wellingtonians have been gathering to watch flickering images from all over the world. In the days before the words nerd or geek we were called buffs (and were proud of it) and we still gather in our hundreds at the Paramount picture theatre to bathe in the glory of a rectangular image on a silver screen — shadows cast by films from exotic places (and some from less far afield).
This year’s Feb-Nov programme kicks-off on Monday with a real treat — Garden of Earthly Delights is the first screening in a series of films by acclaimed Polish filmmaker Lech Majewski and it’s a prime example of the kind of screening that only the Film Society can provide. It’s an award-winning art movie about love, loss, morbidity and creation and the director will be present at the screening to take questions.
In addition to filling for Graeme Tuckett on Nine to Noon whenever he gets a better offer, I’ve been reviewing some books. Last Friday I had the great pleasure of talking to Lynn Freeman about the wonderful history of New Zealand cinema exhibition, “The Celluloid Circus” by Wayne Brittenden.
The RNZ downloads tend to disappear after a week so I’ve taken the liberty of archiving it here. Courtesy of Radio New Zealand: