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taylor kitsch

Review: Savages, Where Do We Go Now? and Kiwi Flyer

By Cinema and Reviews

Savages posterOliver Stone dir­ec­ted his first fea­ture film in 1974 (Seizure) so I’m going to be char­it­able and assume that the clunky con­struc­tion of the scenes in his new film, Savages, is delib­er­ate. I ima­gine that with all his exper­i­ence, it would be easi­er to make shots match than to be as sloppy as they appear here. Perhaps it’s a heavy-handed ref­er­ence to being stoned, see­ing as the film is about big time California can­nabis grow­ers being tar­geted for takeover by a Mexican car­tel. Or per­haps not.

Bright young things Aaron Johnson (John Lennon in Nowhere Boy) and Taylor Kitsch play the part­ners in a med­ic­al marijuana busi­ness that makes its real money by illeg­ally export­ing the high grade product across state lines. Johnson is the brains and Kitsch is Iraq and Afghanistan vet­er­an muscle. As an aside, Kitsch must be won­der­ing what he has to do to get a hit. Three big films this year and they have all been duds – John Carter, Battleship and this. It’s not his fault – he’s been decent in all of them, par­tic­u­larly so in this – but I’m sure he’s run­ning out of Friday Night Lights cred­it with the stu­di­os. Johnson, on the oth­er hand, once again fails to mine much depth from his character.

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Review: Brother Number One, We Need to Talk About Kevin, John Carter, My Week With Marilyn, Headhunters and Warrior

By Cinema and Reviews

Project X posterEvery week on Cinematica – the movie pod­cast I co-host with Simon Werry and Kailey Carruthers – we sign-off each film with a two-word review. It’s a gag, of course, but no more reduct­ive than “two thumbs up” or “two stars”, and it’s become a bit of a meme with listen­ers sup­ply­ing their own – often extremely good – contributions.

Underworld: Awakening posterAnd see­ing as I missed a column through ill­ness last week, I have a feel­ing that my two-word reviews might come in handy help­ing us to catch up. So, for the found-footage High School party-gone-wrong movie Project X for example, my two-word review is “Toxic Waste”. The third sequel in the vam­pires vs lycans styl­ised action fran­chise, Underworld: Awakening gets “Strobe Headache”. And for the notori­ously low budget found-footage posession-horror The Devil Inside you’ll have to make do with “Didn’t Watch”.

Brother Number One posterWhich brings us to the good stuff (and there’s plenty of it about at the moment). Brother Number One is a superb and affect­ing NZ doco about trans-atlantic row­er Rob Hamill’s attempts to find out the truth about his broth­er Kerry’s dis­ap­pear­ance at the hands of the Khmer Rouge régime in Cambodia. This is a film to remind you that the great tides of his­tory aren’t tides at all and if you look closely enough you see mil­lions of indi­vidu­al stor­ies – of heart­break, tragedy and redemption.

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