Skip to main content
Tag

steven spielberg Archives - Funerals & Snakes

RNZ Widescreen: a week of updates

By Asides

This week at my new Radio New Zealand (sorry, RNZ) gig, we started posting some actual content.

First up we started our “Best of the web” feature, featuring links to interesting online articles about “what ‘cinematic’ means in relation to TV”, an essay about Spielberg and ‘fathers and sons’, and the origins of Del Toro’s Crimson Peak.

Then on Tuesday we posted our first video review: Cary Fukunaga’s new feature (made for Netflix), Beasts of No Nation.

 

It’s worth going to the actual page at RNZ because I add some extra links there but the video plays bigger here (at least until the RNZ redesign arrives).

On Wednesday, we learned of the death of critic Philip French and assembled links to some of the best articles about one of the greatest film critics ever.

On Friday, we posted our second video review: Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, starring Tom Hanks.

 

Again, there are some links to extras on the page itself.

And this afternoon, I put up our “Best of the week” featuring a couple of articles about Daniel Craig as Bond, Andrew Todd on Andrzej Zulawski’s Possession, just in time for Halloween, and a fascinating article on how to get silent film frame rates right in the digital age.

Review: Lincoln, Django Unchained, Zero Dark Thirty, Silver Linings Playbook, Anna Karenina, The Impossible and Celeste & Jesse Forever

By Cinema and Reviews

Local audiences can pretend they are Academy voters for the next few weeks because almost all the big nominees are being released at the same time. It’s the NZ way — try and maximise attention for your films while they are still contenders but before they become losers. It makes for a crush at local screens — you may not find the film you want at the time you want — but it also means the odds of seeing something really good are much better than usual.

Lincoln posterSpielberg’s Lincoln is classy old school filmmaking, as you might expect from such a veteran. He’s assembled an A‑team of writers, performers and technical crew to tell one of the most important — and resonant — stories of the last 150 years. Abe Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) has been re-elected to his second term as President and the painful and bloody Civil War is almost won. Why would he risk his considerable political capital to try and pass the Thirteenth Amendment to the constitution — prohibiting slavery — when the slave-owning south is almost defeated and many on his own side don’t feel it is necessary?

Read More

Review: Summer Holiday Roundup (2011/12)

By Cinema and Reviews

Time to clear the summer holiday backlog so that the next time it rains you’ll have an idea of what you should go and see. There’s plenty to choose from — for all ages — and there’s a bunch more to come too.

Hugo posterBest thing on at the moment is Martin Scorsese’s first “kids” film, Hugo, but it took a second viewing for confirmation. It is a gorgeous love letter to cinema, a plea for decent archives, a champion of the latest technology — all Marty’s current passions — but it’s also about something more, something universal.

Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) is a little orphan ragamuffin hiding in the walls of a great Paris railway station, winding the clocks and trying to repair a broken automaton that he believes contains a message from his dead father (Jude Law). While stealing parts from the station toy shop — and its sad and grumpy old owner — Hugo meets the old man’s god-daughter (Chloë Grace Moretz) and between them they try and unravel the mystery of the automaton and why Papa Georges (Ben Kingsley) is so unhappy. Hugo is a moving story about repair — the kind of redemption that comes when you don’t write off and discard broken machines — or broken people.

Read More

Review: The Adventures of Tintin, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, The Muppets, The Salt of Life, The Iron Lady and Melancholia

By Cinema and Reviews

Like students swotting for exams New Zealand film distributors seem to have run out of year for all the films they have to release so there are some really big names being squeezed into the next two weeks. If you can’t find something to watch on — the inevitably wet — Boxing Day next Monday, then I suspect you don’t really like movies at all. And if that sounds like you, why are you still reading?

The biggest of the big names this Christmas has got to be The Advenures of Tintin. Despite Steven Spielberg’s name on the tin, it’s almost a local production when you consider the technology and skills that went into its manufacture, so we all have a small stake in its success. Luckily, Europe has embraced it so a second film has already been confirmed — and will be made here.

But enough of the cheerleading — what did I think of it? It’s good, really good. The performance capture and character design works better than ever before, Spielberg has embraced the freedom from the laws of physics that animation allows and throws the camera around with gay abandon — but always with panache and not to the point of motion sickness. Many of the visual gags are terrific and Andy Serkis as Haddock proves that there is no one better at acting under a layer of black dots and ping pong balls.

Read More

Review: Super 8, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, Soul Surfer, Biutiful, The Tempest and Brighton Rock

By Cinema and Reviews

I’ve been busy over the last few weeks working on New Zealand’s biggest participatory film event, the V 48 Hours which reaches its local climax tonight at the Embassy Theatre. It’s a wonderful celebration of Wellington film talent and there may be door sales so check with the venue.

Super 8 posterOne of the inspirations for 48 Hours is the true story of a group of Mississippi kids who spent six years of weekends and holidays in the 1980s remaking Raiders of the Lost Ark — shot for shot — on home video. The project went from notorious to legendary in 2003 when the kids (now adults) were invited to meet Lucas and Spielberg and their story was even optioned by Paramount. I can’t see that picture getting made now as Spielberg (and J.J. “Star Trek” Abrams) have come up with something that, though partially inspired by the boys’ VHS efforts, goes in a different direction entirely, honouring not just their homemade Raiders but Spielberg’s own E.T. and Close Encounters .

In a small Ohio town in 1979 a bunch of kids are making a zombie flick so they can enter the local Super 8 film competition. During an unauthorised night shoot at the railway station they witness a devastating train crash which unleashes mysterious forces that the Government is desperate to cover up. As the freaked-out citizenry are evacuated so the Air Force can hunt down the whatever-it-is that’s escaped, our heroic kids head back in to the danger zone armed only with curiosity and that child-like sense of right and wrong that Mr. Spielberg used to specialise in.

Read More

Bands of brothers

By History and TV

I’m finally watching the Spielberg/Hanks mini-series “Band of Brothers” in the beautiful new blu-ray edition. It’s stunning television and I can’t wait for the expected sequel (of sorts): “The Pacific”, due out next year.

Coming across this blog entry at If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, it occurs to me that a similar drama from the Soviet side would be equally gripping viewing.

1943, Europe --- Soviet Soldiers Charge to the Front --- Image by © Dmitri Baltermants/The Dmitri Baltermants Collection/Corbis

1943, Europe — Soviet Soldiers Charge to the Front — Image by © Dmitri Baltermants/The Dmitri Baltermants Collection/Corbis