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reel brazil

Preview: Festivals Far and Near

By Cinema

Today, at the Virginia Theater in Urbana Ill., a few thou­sand cinephiles and Ebert-olytes are gath­er­ing for the first day of the 15th Ebertfest, formerly known as Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival. I should be with them – I even bought a pass back in November last year – but a change of job meant no annu­al leave and no money for the flight. Normally, I would just say, “there’ll always be next year” but with Mr. Ebert’s recent passing I don’t know if that will be true.

Instead, we turn our atten­tion to loc­al events and there’s plenty to keep us enter­tained on top of all the new com­mer­cial releases. For a start, the new NZFF Autumn Events ini­ti­at­ive  – repla­cing the much-loved (by me) World Cinema Showcase – gets under way today and the fest­iv­al organ­isa­tion were good enough to slip me a few screen­ers so I could tip you off about some of the less-heralded titles. So, I’m going to pre­sume you are already famil­i­ar with Lawrence of Arabia and will be camp­ing out overnight to see the the only two screen­ings of the – reportedly – mag­ni­fi­cent 4k res­tor­a­tion and instead I’ll take a look at a couple of docos and a couple of oth­er features.

The Deep posterI was a little snarky towards the NZFF on Twitter when they announced that Baltasar Kormákur’s The Deep was going to play. After all, the last film of his that loc­al audi­ences got to see was the woe­ful Contraband star­ring Mark Wahlberg. It turns out that was a Hollywood remake of an already suc­cess­ful Icelandic thrill­er that Mr. Kormákur pro­duced and very likely his director’s fee made The Deep pos­sible. So, snark withdrawn.

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Cinematica 3/26: The Perks of Being a Neanderthal

By Audio and Cinematica

Cinematica_iTunes_200_cropThis week we argue the pros and cons of being a Wallflower, exam­ine the Stone Age com­edy The Croods plus the star-studded drama set in the world of clas­sic­al music, Performance (aka A Late Quartet). Dan inter­views Leandro Cavalcanti from the Reel Brazil film festival.

Review: Reel Brazil festival, Win Win, Shark Night 3D, The Help, The Holy Roller, Friends With Benefits & Upside Down- the Creation Records Story

By Cinema and Reviews

Reel Brazil 2011 posterTo really under­stand a coun­try you have to go and live there – embed your­self with the people, soak up the cul­ture. If you don’t have the time or inclin­a­tion for that then the next best thing to is to get stuck in to their com­mer­cial cinema. Not the stuff that makes it into major inter­na­tion­al film fest­ivals like Berlin and Venice, not the stuff that gets nom­in­ated for for­eign lan­guage Academy Awards, but the films that are made to excite and please a loc­al audi­ence. That’s what fest­ivals like Reel Brazil are all about – a week-long por­trait of a coun­try via its cinema.

In the late 60s Brazil had a kind of Brazilian Idol tele­vi­sion pop com­pet­i­tion where brave young artists per­formed their top song in front of a live audi­ence bay­ing for blood as if they were watch­ing Christians versus lions. But in A Night in 67 we see that year’s com­pet­i­tion rise above the boos and jeers to open a new chapter in Brazilian pop music – legendary names like Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso com­pete to win over the tough crowd and in the pro­cess launch massive inter­na­tion­al careers.

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Review: The Expendables, Tomorrow When the War Began, It’s a Wonderful Afterlife, Going the Distance, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Joan Rivers- A Piece of Work, Beyond Ipanema and Jean Charles

By Cinema and Reviews

The Expendables posterAs the great 80s action her­oes passed their respect­ive peaks and drif­ted down the oth­er side towards irrel­ev­ancy (or ego-centric fool­ish­ness) those of us that cared about these things were on the lookout for the next gen­er­a­tion. Who was going to replace Stallone, Willis and Schwarzenegger (not to men­tion the subs bench: Van Damme, Seagal and Norris)? For a while I thought that The Rock was going to be a worthy bear­er of the chains of office but he changed his name back to Dwayne and star­ted mak­ing (fun) films for kids instead.

Now we get out answer. Stallone has gathered all his action hero mates togeth­er for one last hur­rah, anoin­ted his suc­cessor and the res­ult may sur­prise you. Yes, the torch has offi­cially been passed to former Olympic diver and gruff voiced cock­ney oik Jason Statham who plays Stallone’s num­ber two in The Expendables, a big noisy, old-fashioned, romp through explo­sions, wise­cracks, Latin American dic­tat­ors and bent CIA agents. No cliché is left out and The Expendables pro­vokes more nos­tal­gia than adrenaline.

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Review: A Serious Man, Adam, What Just Happened, Flame & Citron and The Twilight Saga: New Moon

By Cinema and Reviews

A Serious Man posterWe’re born alone and we die alone and in between noth­ing goes accord­ing to plan and the people around us are mostly unre­li­able and occa­sion­ally malevol­ent. Meanwhile, God either doesn’t exist or is indif­fer­ent to our suf­fer­ing. Either way, A Serious Man, the new film by the prodi­giously gif­ted Coen Brothers, is a very ser­i­ous film. It is also a very funny one.

In a mid-west University town in the late 60s, Physics Professor Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) has a happy fam­ily, a great career and a beau­ti­ful house in a nice neigh­bour­hood. Actually, he has none of those things. His wife (Sari Lennick) has fallen for smooth-talking Sy Ableman (Fred Melamed) and needs a Get (a form­al Jewish divorce), his daugh­ter wants a nose job, his son is pre­par­ing for his bar mitzvah by smoking dope and listen­ing to rock music and his unsuc­cess­ful broth­er (the great Richard Kind) is sleep­ing on the couch and drain­ing his cyst in the bath­room. At the same time, the ten­ure com­mit­tee at the University is receiv­ing anonym­ous com­plaints and his white-bread, red-neck neigh­bours are mow­ing their lawns in a par­tic­u­larly threat­en­ing way.

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