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Vinyl Vault – “NZ Music”

By Audio, Music and Vinyl
Weird Culture - Weird Custom (1986)

Weird Culture – Weird Custom: National Student Radio com­pil­a­tion LP (1986)

Weird Culture – Weird Custom (1986) was, as far as I know, the first record release co-ordinated by the entire New Zealand stu­dent radio net­work. There were twelve tracks on the album, two chosen by each of the six mem­ber sta­tions.  Radio Active selec­ted the two  to rep­res­ent Wellington: cow-punk combo the Crawbilly Creeps with “A Day in Lucky Gulch” and feminist-folkies Putty in Her Hands gave us “NZ Music” which became an instant favor­ite and was oft-requested for a long time afterwards.

Putty in Her Hands were a duo con­sist­ing of Charlotte Yates and Christine Jeffs. Yates con­tin­ues to write and record, con­tinu­ing to release solo records and also put­ting togeth­er the acclaimed com­pil­a­tions of NZ poetry set to music, Baxter (2000),  Tuwhare (2008) and Ihimaera (2011).

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Review: Where the Wild Things Are, The Informant!, The Time Traveller’s Wife, Zombieland and The Cake Eaters

By Cinema and Reviews

Is it too early to sug­gest that we might be liv­ing in a golden age of cinema? Think of the film­makers work­ing in the com­mer­cial realm these days who have dis­tinct­ive voices, thrill­ing visu­al sens­ib­il­it­ies, sol­id intel­lec­tu­al (and often mor­al) found­a­tions, a pas­sion for com­bin­ing enter­tain­ment with some­thing more – along with an abid­ing love of cinema in all its strange and won­der­ful forms.

I’m think­ing of the Coens, obvi­ously, but also Peter Jackson (and protégé Neill Blomkamp), Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz and the forth­com­ing Scott Pilgrim), Jason Reitman (Juno and January’s Up in the Air), Guillermo Del Toro (work­ing hard on The Hobbit in Miramar), and even Tarantino is still pro­du­cing the goods. This week we are lucky enough to get new work from two oth­ers who should be in that list: Spike Jonze and Steven Soderbergh.

Jonze made his name with oddball stor­ies like Being John Malkovich and Adaptation and the first thing you notice about his inter­pret­a­tion of the beloved Maurice Sendak children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are, is that it simply doesn’t resemble any­thing else you’ve ever seen. With the help of writer Dave Eggers (the nov­el “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”, Away We Go) he has used the book as a start­ing point for a beau­ti­ful and sens­it­ive med­it­a­tion on what it is like to be a child (a boy child specifically).

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Review: Up, The Soloist, The Young Victoria, Paris 36, Casablanca, The Camera on the Shore and the Vanguard 30th Anniversary

By Cinema and Reviews

The Young Victoria posterThe theme for the week seems to be romance and some of the finest love stor­ies of recent (or in fact any) year have just made their way to our screens. Firstly, The Young Victoria where Emily Blunt (Sunshine Cleaning, The Devil Wears Prada) deservedly takes centre stage for the first time as the eponym­ous roy­al. Even review­ers are entitled to a little pre­ju­dice, and I wasn’t expect­ing much from this going in, but I left the cinema full of admir­a­tion for an intel­li­gent script, perfectly-pitched dir­ec­tion and con­sist­ently able per­form­ances from expec­ted and unex­pec­ted quarters.

Blunt’s Victoria is a head­strong teen­ager, frus­trated by the com­pet­ing polit­ic­al interests that push and pull her. Only Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (whose suit was instig­ated by yet more euro-intrigue) seems to see the real Victoria and offers the new Queen sup­port and inde­pend­ence. The rela­tion­ship between Blunt’s Victoria and Rupert Friend’s ini­tially nervous but ulti­mately self-assured Albert is charm­ing, nat­ur­al and mov­ing and the back­ground of polit­ic­al intrigue and mach­in­a­tions provide neces­sary (but not over­whelm­ing) con­text. The Young Victoria is a film that, and I hope this makes sense, is per­fectly balanced.

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Review: District 9, Sunshine Cleaning, The Man in the Hat, The Rocket Post and Case 39

By Cinema and Reviews

It’s going to be a massive few months for Wellywood – District 9 seems to have come out of nowhere to take the world by storm (Currently #35 in the IMDb All Time list, just below Citizen Kane. I kid you not) and The Lovely Bones trail­er is whet­ting everyone’s appet­ite at just the right time. This Friday, Wellington audi­ences are the first in the world to see a fif­teen minute sampler of the loc­ally shot Avatar (Readings from 11.45am, free of charge) and three more Film Commission fea­tures are due for release between now and Christmas: The Strength of Water, Under the Mountain and The Vintner’s Luck, all of which have a sig­ni­fic­ant Wellington com­pon­ent to them.

District 9 posterAnd if the Hollywood big cheeses were wor­ried about The Lord of the Rings shift­ing the tec­ton­ic plates of enter­tain­ment industry power they ought to be ter­ri­fied by District 9, a new world demon­stra­tion of the SANZAR spir­it (minus the Australians) that achieves in spades everything that this year’s big-budget tent-pole fea­tures like Transformers and Terminator failed to do. It works thrill­ingly as pure enter­tain­ment and yet at the same time it’s a little bit more.

Aliens have arrived on earth but unlike in the 70s and 80s they aren’t here to tell us how to con­nect with the uni­verse and expand our con­scious­ness. And it isn’t like the 90s when they arrived to car­a­mel­ize us with their death rays. These ali­ens have arrived for remark­ably 21st cen­tury reas­ons – their ship is crippled and with no way home they are destined to become refugees, out­casts, mis­un­der­stood second-class citizens.

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