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2012 Wellington Cinema Year in Review

By Cinema

This Must Be the Place posterAs usu­al, the vagar­ies of hol­i­day dead­lines mean that, just as you are arriv­ing back at work to glee­fully greet the New Year, here I am to tell you all about 2012. The best way to use this page is to clip it out, fold it up and put it in your pock­et ready for your next vis­it to the video shop – that way you won’t go wrong with your rent­ing. Trust me – I’m a professional.

But this year I have a prob­lem. Usually I man­age to restrict my annu­al picks to films that were com­mer­cially released to cinemas. I’ve always felt that it wasn’t fair to men­tion films that only screened in fest­ivals – it’s frus­trat­ing to be told about films that aren’t easy to see and it makes it dif­fi­cult for you to join in and share the love. This year, though, if I take out the festival-only films the great­ness is hard to spot among the only “good”.

As usu­al, I have eschewed a top ten in favour of my pat­en­ted cat­egor­ies: Keepers, Watch Again, Mentioned in Dispatches and Shun At All Costs. In 2012, only two of my nine Keepers (films I wish to have close to me forever) made it into com­mer­cial cinemas and one of them isn’t even really a film.

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Review: Sondheim’s Company, She Stoops to Conquer, A Dangerous Method, The Most Fun You Can have Dying and The Lucky One

By Cinema and Reviews

Sondheim's Company posterThe most pleas­ure I have had in a cinema so far this year wasn’t at a film. In 2011, the New York Philharmonic pro­duced a brief con­cert reviv­al of Stephen Sondheim’s mas­ter­piece about emo­tion­al oppor­tun­ity cost, Company. For three per­form­ances only, they assembled a star-studded cast of well-known tele­vi­sion faces includ­ing Stephen Colbert, Jon Cryer and Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks, along­side Broadway vet­er­ans like Patti LuPone, and the show was filmed in high-definition for dis­tri­bu­tion to cinemas around the world. Several Wellington pic­ture houses are play­ing this sort of altern­at­ive con­tent these days – the Metropolitan Opera etc – so, even­tu­ally, this stun­ning pro­duc­tion was likely to arrive here and, golly, I am so glad it did.

In Company, Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) plays Robert – a 35 year old con­firmed New York bach­el­or sur­roun­ded by mar­ried and soon-to-be-married friends. Throughout the show they give him some good, bad and indif­fer­ent advice about the import­ance of rela­tion­ships versus free­dom and inde­pend­ence versus – well – com­pany. This is a con­cert pro­duc­tion so the orches­tra is on the stage rather than tucked away in a pit, and dir­ect­or Lonny Price does mar­vels with the shal­low area that remains. Transitions are invent­ive and smooth and the char­ac­ters some­how man­age to relate to each oth­er des­pite being – as Sondheim would have it – side by side.

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