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the girl with the dragon tattoo

Review: The Descendants, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Young Adult

By Cinema and Reviews

The Descendants posterI really enjoyed Alexander Payne’s The Descendants – at least while I was watch­ing it. Some films will do that to you, though. They push all sorts of groovy but­tons while you are in the room but they dimin­ish as you re-examine them. Connections that you thought were there turn out to be illus­ory, a series of sat­is­fy­ing emo­tion­al moments don’t cohere into some­thing com­plete and you real­ise that you were enjoy­ing it so much you wished it into some­thing profound.

I blame Clooney. He’s such a watch­able pres­ence, always com­bin­ing that Cary Grant movie star-ness with an under­ly­ing emo­tion­al frailty. His char­ac­ters carry that square-jawed aspir­a­tion­al male solid­ity but rarely do they actu­ally know what is going on or what to do. He spe­cial­ises in people who are mak­ing it up as they go along and that has tre­mend­ous appeal – if George Clooney doesn’t know what he’s doing then none of us do.

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Cinematica: Aloha Cinematica

By Audio, Cinema and Cinematica

In today’s epis­ode: The New Zealand MPDA announced their box office fig­ures for 2011 – an 11% drop on 2010. We talk to the President of the MPDA Disney’s Robert Crockett about why that might be and what we can expect in 2012. Four reviews in the show today – I vis­it a Mysterious Island, Kailey checks out a very Kiwi sequel – Sione’s 2 – Unfinished Business. Simon is in remake ter­rit­ory – the long-awaited US ver­sion of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo plus we got to Hawai’I with George Clooney and is dys­func­tion­al fam­ily in The Descendants.

Review: Zookeeper, What’s Your Number?, Abduction, Chalet Girl and The Round Up

By Cinema and Reviews

The Rugby World Cup was sup­posed to be a boon for the whole eco­nomy, the thou­sands of excited guests soak­ing up our food, wine, cul­ture and hos­pit­al­ity. Ask any cinema (or theatre) own­er what’s really hap­pen­ing and you’ll get the incon­veni­ent truth – the Rugby World Cup itself is soak­ing up all the atten­tion and most of the dol­lars. For at least one cinema own­er num­bers are down 30–40% on this time last year. This shouldn’t be news – even in my day run­ning the Paramount we knew that a Saturday night All Black game meant it was hardly worth open­ing – a 7.30 kick-off killed your two best two sessions.

Night rugby has been a dis­aster for every­body except Sky TV and the bars that show it. At least in the days of after­noon games people could watch their team and go out for din­ner and a movie after­wards – the interests of whole fam­il­ies could be accom­mod­ated. Those days appear to be long gone.

This week we see that New Zealand’s film dis­trib­ut­ors have thrown in the tow­el and dumped the year’s worst product in a week no one was going to the pic­tures any­way. For my sins I sat (mostly) alone in pic­ture theatres all over the city to help you decide how best to (cine­mat­ic­ally) escape Dan Carter’s groin.

Zookeeper posterTo be fair to Zookeeper, I was far from alone at the Saturday mat­inée screen­ing – it seems portly comedi­an Kevin James (Paul Blart: Mall Cop) is a pop­u­lar fig­ure here in New Zealand. In The Dilemma he showed that there’s some nas­cent dra­mat­ic tal­ent lurk­ing beneath the lazy choices he’s been mak­ing but there’s no sign of it here. James plays a lonely but caring Boston zoo­keep­er who thinks that his smelly occu­pa­tion is hold­ing him back, romantically-speaking.

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Review: Transformers- Dark of the Moon, The Illusionist, Beyond, Summer Coda and Kawasaki’s Rose

By Cinema and Reviews

Transformers: Dark of the Moon posterTransformers: Dark of the Moon had the best teas­er trail­er of the year: a bril­liantly sus­pense­ful recre­ation of the first Moon land­ing and the Apollo 11 crew’s dis­cov­ery of a crashed ali­en space­craft on the hid­den side. It was two and a half minutes of superb cinema and I allowed myself a glim­mer of hope that maybe, just maybe, this third Transformers movie might not be the total dis­aster that the oth­er two have been.

Well, I have been to the Dark Side now and can report that all that hope was tra­gic­ally mis­placed. Transformers 3 is as stu­pid and out of con­trol as all the oth­ers. Even con­sid­er­ing the franchise’s neg­li­gible com­mit­ment to its own tor­tured intern­al logic the film is an utter shambles.

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Review: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, Devil, La Danse, Love Crime, The Eclipse and Glorious 39

By Cinema and Reviews

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest posterThe irony of watch­ing a film in which shad­owy fig­ures from the Swedish gov­ern­ment lie, steal and murder in order to dis­cred­it a journ­al­ist try­ing to reveal embar­rass­ing secrets, in the same week that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was accused of rape by a Swedish pro­sec­utor wasn’t lost on this review­er. Sadly, that was the only pleas­ure to be found watch­ing The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, num­ber three in the Millenium tri­logy that star­ted in 2009 with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

This film picks up almost imme­di­ately after the pre­vi­ous epis­ode fin­ished and you may be sur­prised to dis­cov­er that pretty much every­one you thought was dead turns out to be still alive and mak­ing mis­chief. Feisty Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) is stuck in hos­pit­al recov­er­ing from her injur­ies while dour journ­al­ist Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) and his mates do their investigatin’.

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Review: Summer Holiday 09-10 Summary

By Cinema and Reviews

While hunt­ing the site for some links to add to the just pos­ted Winter’s Bone etc. review, I dis­covered that my Summer Holiday spe­cial had­n’t made it here. So, for com­plete­ness’ sake, here it is. Pretty sure, this is an early draft too but there’s no sign of an email sub­mit­ting it.

What a lovely Summer we’ve been hav­ing – for watch­ing movies. While the Avatar jug­ger­naut rolls inex­or­ably on there has plenty of oth­er options for a ded­ic­ated seeker of shel­ter from the storm.

Released at any oth­er time of year, Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones would be get­ting a decent length eval­u­ation (and the head­line) here but with fif­teen films dis­cuss we’ll have to live with the bul­let point eval­u­ation: not un-moving. My com­pan­ion and I spent a about an hour after watch­ing TLB dis­cuss­ing it’s flaws and yet both ended up agree­ing that we’d actu­ally enjoyed the film a lot, des­pite the problems.

Personally, I think Jackson’s tend­ency towards occa­sion­al whim­sic­al in-jokery typ­i­fied the uncer­tainty of tone (I’m think­ing of his unne­ces­sary cam­era shop cameo as an example) but the fun­da­ment­al mes­sage – that the people left behind after a tragedy are more import­ant than the vic­tims – was clearly and quite bravely artic­u­lated. And when I saw the film at a crowded Embassy ses­sion, dur­ing the pivotal scene where the sis­ter dis­cov­ers the evid­ence to catch the killer, I could only hear one per­son breath­ing around me – and it wasn’t me.

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