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ray liotta Archives - Funerals & Snakes

Review: Killing Them Softly, The Angels’ Share, Safety Not Guaranteed, Frankenweenie, Paranormal Activity 4 and God Bless America

By Cinema and Reviews

Andrew Dominik was born in Wellington but shipped out at the age of two for Australia. We really need to claim him back as he’s one of the most intriguing directors currently working. Perhaps that should be “rarely working” as his latest, Killing Them Softly, is only his third feature credit in 12 years. Chopper turned heads in 2000 and got him to Hollywood. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford was an elegiac adaptation of a great novel, the screen version echoing great late-period westerns like Heaven’s Gate and The Long Riders.

In Killing Them Softly, Dominik remains in genre territory but again he is transcending and subverting it. It’s a gangster flick featuring a bunch of familiar figures — James Gandolfini (The Sopranos), Ray Liotta (Goodfellas), Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom). You see those names on the cast list and you think you know what you’re going to get, but here they stretch out in suprising directions, revealing layers of humanity no less ugly than the clichéd bang-bang we are used to, but truer, sadder and ultimately more trenchant.

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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!


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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Review: The A-Team and Micmacs

By Cinema and Reviews

The A-Team posterLast week your faithful correspondent reviewed a big budget Hollywood film, based on a beloved television series, featuring four friends who went to a foreign land with no knowledge or empathy for the inhabitants and continued to live their self-serving, smug, lives blind to the reality surrounding them. This week, I’m going to do it all over again and the only difference is that I really hated Sex and the City 2 and actually quite enjoyed The A‑Team.

Now this realisation is giving me some pause. They are fundamentally the same film. Why should I react so strongly against one and so… benignly to the other? Is it just a matter of gender? Am I hard-wired to enjoy the male-bonding, explosions and gags in the way that female viewers are hard-wired to enjoy the shoes and frocks in SATC2? Christ, I hope not. I’d better find some good reasons for enjoying The A‑Team before I out myself as a reviewer who can’t rise above his gender or class and there’s enough of those around already.

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Review: Hot Fuzz and five more ...

By Cinema and Reviews

Hot Fuzz posterIt is, of course, completely brilliant. And loud. And while it’s not quite as perfect as predecessor (and cinema re-definer) Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz is as entertaining a night out as you’ll find anywhere.

Co-creator Simon Pegg plays PC Nicholas Angel, top cop, so good he’s making the rest of the Met look bad. He’s reassigned to the sleepy west country village of Sandford where, apart from a one-swan crime-spree, the peace is never breached. Of course, in a picturesque English village nothing is what it seems and Angel and partner Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) are going to bust this thing wide open, whatever “it” might actually be.

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