Skip to main content
Tag

steven spielberg

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