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sam neill Archives - Funerals & Snakes

Montage

By Cinema and Video

On Tuesday night I was privileged to host a new initiative from the Light House Cinema chain — a brief survey of a director’s career prior to a special preview of their latest film. In this case, the director was Danny Boyle and his new film, Trance, will be reviewed here on Monday. I had a jolly good time re-watching the films and sourcing clips and even managed to produce this little montage video by way of introduction. (Warning: the audio is the opening monologue from Trainspotting and so is almost certainly NSFW.)

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/63132038[/vimeo]

 

It’s not the first time that I have fooled around with iMovie this way. Last year I was asked by Downstage Theatre to produce a short video introducing Sam Neill before his fundraiser Q&A, An Innocent Abroad.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/46812870[/vimeo]

 

They are very enjoyable, these little projects, even though I have to re-learn iMovie every time I do them. Perhaps, if I don’t get one of the two dream jobs I want here in New Zealand I could be put to work on those In Memoriam videos they play at the Oscars every year.

Review: Under the Mountain, Amelia and Planet 51

By Cinema and Reviews

Under the Mountain posterAs the recent fuss over The Vintner’s Luck demonstrated, filmmakers adapting beloved New Zealand books open themselves up to all sorts of potential criticism, so when Jonathan King and Matthew Grainger announced that their next project was going to be a version of Maurice Gee’s Under the Mountain there were a great many excited people (mostly around my age it seemed) thrilled that their favourite childhood book was going to get the all-action big screen treatment.

And yet, as a story pitched at older kids and young adults, it was going to have to be brought out of the original 70s context (and updated from its early 80s TV incarnation) or nobody would come. It’s a fine balance and for mine I think King and Grainger have done a good job — even if the restless crowd at Readings on Saturday afternoon might suggest otherwise.

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Review: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, The Collector, Skin & I, Don Giovanni

By Cinema and Reviews

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World posterYour correspondent is a big fan of young English director Edgar Wright. His first two features, in collaboration with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, were the redoubtably entertaining Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. There’s a wonderful percussive energy to Wright’s filmmaking which brooks no boredom. So, I was looking forward to his latest film, the heavily promoted comic book adaptation Scott Pilgrim vs. the World which opened worldwide this week. And I really wanted to like it. No, strike that. I did like it. I just didn’t love it the way the film so desperately wants to be loved.

Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera from Juno) is a young Toronto slacker who plays bass in a terrible band and has just begun dating a high school girl. If he seems without much in the way of ambition that may be because he is still grieving after being dumped a year ago, or it may be that he simply lacks ambition.

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Review: Daybreakers, Hot Tub Time Machine, Genova and The Necessities of Life

By Cinema and Reviews

I am sick of vampires. Sick to death. As a great philosopher once said, “What is point, vampires?” and I have to concur. They’re everywhere you seem to turn thses days and the most boring of the lot (the Twilight mob) are back in June to bore us all to death once again.

Daybreakers posterSo, my heart sank a little when I saw the trailers for Daybreakers, an Aussie horror about a world controlled by vampires, hunting and farming the remaining humans for their plasma. One of the pleasures of this gig is when the surprises are pleasant and Daybreakers definitely turned into one of those. Tightly wound and (for the most part) logically sound, the tyres have been well and truly kicked on the premise before the cameras (and digital compositors and Weta mask makers) got involved.

Ethan Hawke plays the Chief Blood Scientist for the big corporation that provides most of the world’s supply. Ten years earlier, an infected bat caused an epidemic which rendered most of the population undead — a few, like CEO Sam Neill went willingly when faced with the offer of immortality. Hawke is working on a substitute — he’s vegetarian in a human blood kind of way — and supplies for everyone are running low. When a renegade bunch of humans (led by Willem Dafoe) tell him about a possible cure he is forced to choose between his boss, his human-hunter brother and what’s left of his humanity.

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Review: Dean Spanley, Big Stan, Zack and Miri Make a Porno and Welcome to the Sticks

By Cinema and Reviews

My favourite post-Oscars quote came from David Thomson in The Guardian: “When the Slumdog mob – Europeans and Indians, adults and kids – took the stage to claim the best picture Oscar, a landmark was being established which directly reflects America’s reduced place in the world.” And as if to illustrate that very point, this week Hollywood have offered us a piteous prison comedy called Big Stan and Zack and Miri Make a Porno. It’s like they aren’t even trying anymore.

Big Stan posterBig Stan is the debut feature by comic actor Rob Schneider, best-known for a pair of ghastly adult comedies featuring his hapless male prostitute alter-ego Deuce Bigelow. Schneider amazingly maintains a solid career (largely via the patronage of his great friend Adam Sandler) but there’s no satisfactory explanation for how he was let loose with a camera except that Hollywood is genuinely out of ideas.

Schneider plays a real estate con man who is convicted and sentenced to jail. Terrified at the prospect of imminent anal rape he enlists a martial arts master (David Carradine) to make him, er, impregnable. Like being punched in the swingers by an angry dwarf for 90 minutes.

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