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the inbetweeners movie

Review: American Reunion, Titanic 3D and The Pirates! Band of Misfits

By Cinema and Reviews

American Reunion posterIn one of these columns back in 2007 I said, “Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.” Those were the days, eh? Now you can’t get away from it. This week nos­tal­gia is every­where – get­ting up your nose and on your shoes – and the prime cul­prits are young whip­per­snap­pers who should know bet­ter – yearn­ing for their High School years in that innocent-yet-filthy time before Y2K and 9/11 changed everything.

The first American Pie was a well-executed imple­ment­a­tion of that noble genre, the teen sex com­edy. Four sequels (two direct-to-video) leeched whatever good­will there might have remained out of the pro­ject but – as the careers of Jason Biggs, Seann Williamm Scott and Chris Klein have stuttered – the Hollywood eco­nomy will even­tu­ally demand its trib­ute. American Reunion is the result.

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Review: Like Crazy, Chronicle, A Few Best Men, J. Edgar and Julia’s Eyes

By Cinema and Reviews

Three films this week point the way towards pos­sible futures for cinema – and if two of them are right then we should all find anoth­er hobby. Like Crazy is a mostly-improvised romance shot on one of those pro-am stills cam­er­as that can also shoot hi-def video (the Canon 7D in this case). These devices are afford­able and highly port­able but the look that they have, while effect­ive in music videos and short sequences, doesn’t keep your interest over the length of a full fea­ture. And, just because your cam­era lets you shoot a lot of foot­age of people nood­ling around mak­ing stuff up, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still have an actu­al plan.

Actually, the pho­to­graphy is less of a prob­lem in Like Crazy than the story: two young lov­ers not so much star-crossed as US Department of Immigration-crossed, have to decide how much they care for each oth­er when their efforts to be togeth­er are thwarted by the pesky Atlantic ocean and their own shal­low­ness. Felicity Jones (Chalet Girl ) is the Brit who over­stays her stu­dent visa so she can be with Californian fur­niture design­er Anton Yelchin (Fright Night), set­ting the wheels in motion that will actu­ally keep them apart for years.

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2011 Wellington Cinema Year in Review

By Cinema

I’ve been watch­ing reac­tions to oth­er people’s “Best of 2011” with interest. It’s fas­cin­at­ing to see online com­ment­ors insist that films they have seen are so much bet­ter than films that they haven’t. Even though I do, in fact, watch everything I’m not going to pre­tend that this list is defin­it­ive – except to say that it gets a lot closer than most…

I also don’t believe in the arbit­rar­i­ness of “Top Tens”. I have my own entirely arbit­rary scale: Keepers, Renters and Respecters.

Secretariat posterKeepers are the films that I loved so much I want to own them – films that make me feel bet­ter just hav­ing them in the house. The first film I adored this year was slushy Disney horse racing story Secretariat. It should have been everything I hate – manip­u­lat­ive, worthy, a faith-based sub­text – and yet I cried like a baby – expert button-pushing from dir­ect­or Randall Wallace. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was my favour­ite block­buster. Superb dir­ec­tion by Rupert Wyatt over­came the flaws (ahem, James Franco, ahem) and it care­fully walked the tightrope of both respect for its pre­de­cessors and kick­ing off some­thing new.

The Tree of Life posterTerrence Malick’s The Tree of Life is my favour­ite film of the year by a long stretch. A second view­ing allowed me to stop think­ing about it and just feel it, mean­ing that I got closer than ever before to the soul of a film artist. Profound in the way that only the greatest works of art are. Tusi Tamasese announced him­self with one of the most mature and con­sidered debuts I’ve ever seen – The Orator placed us deeply inside a cul­ture in a way that was both respect­ful and chal­len­ging of it. That film’s jour­ney hasn’t fin­ished yet.

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Review: Drive, In Time, One Day, Fright Night and The Inbetweeners Movie

By Cinema and Reviews

Expat Kiwi auteur Andrew Niccol (Gattaca) some­how always man­ages to tap in to the zeit­geist and with new sci-fi thrill­er In Time his own tim­ing is almost spook­ily per­fect. A par­able about the mod­ern polit­ic­al eco­nomy, In Time isn’t a par­tic­u­larly soph­ist­ic­ated ana­lys­is but while protest­ors occupy Wall Street, St Paul’s in London and the City to Sea Bridge here in Wellington, it seems almost per­fectly cal­cu­lated to pro­voke a big Fuck You! to the bankers, spec­u­lat­ors and hoarders who are rap­idly becom­ing the Hollywood vil­lains we love to hate.

In Niccol’s world, sev­er­al dec­ades into the future, time is lit­er­ally money: human beings have been genet­ic­ally mod­i­fied to stop (phys­ic­ally) age­ing at 25. Which would be lovely apart from the fact that a clock on your writst then starts count­ing down the one year you have left to live and the time on your wrist becomes cur­rency. You can earn more by work­ing, trans­fer it to oth­ers by shak­ing hands, bor­row more from banks and loan sharks or you can spend it on booze to blot out the hor­ror of your pathet­ic little life.

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