Skip to main content
Tag

precious

2010 Wellington Cinema Year in Review

By Cinema

So, after trawl­ing through the many thou­sands of words writ­ten about cinema in these pages this year, I sup­pose you want me to come to some con­clu­sions? Do some “sum­ming up”? Help guide you through the great video store of life? Well, alright then. Here goes.

We don’t do Top Ten lists here at the Capital Times – they are reduct­ive, facile and, frankly, you have to leave too many titles out. I have taken to divid­ing my year’s view­ing up into cat­egor­ies: keep­ers are films I want to have in my home and watch whenev­er the mood takes me; renters are the films that I could hap­pily watch again; then there are the films that I enjoyed but am in no hurry to repeat, the films I might have mis­judged first time around, the films I can’t get out of my head (for bet­ter or worse), the films I am sup­posed to love but you know, meh, and most import­ant of all – the films you should avoid as if your very life depends upon it.

First, the keep­ers: a sur­prise for some will be Fantastic Mr. Fox which was released after my 2009 Year in Review was sub­mit­ted and the only film in the list that I already own. Animal Kingdom was the film I most recom­men­ded this year – a stun­ning, tense piece of work that gripped me totally.

Read More

Review: The Blind Side, The Book of Eli, Antichrist & Letters to Juliet

By Cinema, Reviews

God is in the house this week. He turns up in the val­ues of a wealthy Tennessee fam­ily who adopt a poor black kid and turn him into a cham­pi­on, He fea­tures in a big leath­er book car­ried across a post-apocalyptic America by enig­mat­ic Denzel Washington, and He is not­able for His absence in a Lars von Trier shock­er that is unlike any­thing you will have seen before or see since.

First, the good ver­sion. Based on a best selling book by Michael Lewis, The Blind Side would not have made it New Zealand screens if it wasn’t for Sandra Bullock’s sur­prise Oscar win earli­er this year and it’s easy to see why dis­trib­ut­ors might have left it on the shelf. Personally, I’m glad they didn’t. My com­pan­ion had no know­ledge of, or affin­ity for, American Football or the com­plex and baff­ling col­lege sports struc­ture and was, there­fore, a bit left out of a story that man­aged to push all my but­tons fairly effortlessly.

Read More

Review: Precious, Edge of Darkness, Land of the Long White Cloud, Shifty & The French Kissers

By Cinema, Reviews

After watch­ing so many films that are so sim­il­ar in con­tent and con­struc­tion that they are hard to tell apart, it is a real pleas­ure to come across some­thing that con­tains no famil­i­ar faces, has a dir­ect­or whose name is unknown (to me at least) and takes an approach to storytelling that con­sist­ently sur­prises and delights – even if the story itself is about as dark as it gets.

Lee Daniels’ Precious, I’m pleased to report, is far more than just nov­elty, rising con­fid­ently (cine­mat­ic­ally) above its kitchen-sink found­a­tions to soar high above almost every drama I saw last year. Set in Harlem in the mid 1980s, it presents us with the unprom­ising fig­ure of Clareece Precious Jones (new­comer Gabourey Sidibe). She is 16 years old and over­weight, abused at home and ignored at school, dream­ing of some­thing bet­ter but not hope­ful of a way out. Her fath­er has just made her preg­nant for the second time and when the school finds out she is giv­en the option of wel­fare (which sus­tains her grot­esquely awful moth­er) or a spe­cial school for those with poten­tial gifts – she has some tal­ent for maths.

Read More