Thursday, 31 May 2012

What To Expect When You're Expecting: Movie Review

What To Expect When You're Expecting: Movie Review

Cast: Cameron Diaz, Matthew Morrison, Dennis Quaid, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick, Jennifer Lopez, Genesis Rodriguez, Chace Crawford, Rodrigo Santoro, Joe Manganiello, Chris Rock

Director: Kirk Jones

16 million people have bought the book of the pregnancy help guide, and it's been a perennial New York Times best seller, so perhaps it was inevitable Hollywood would come a-knocking.

It's the story of five Atlanta couples who're in various stages of life but with babies on the mind - either accidentally or deliberately; there's Cameron Diaz's fitness expert Jules, who's secretly sleeping with Matthew Morrison's Evan as they dance their way around a celebrity dance show; there's J-Lo's Holly, a photographer who's about to adopt an African baby with scared silly father to be Alex (Santoro); there's Elizabeth Banks' Wendy, an expert on babies and motherhood who's been unable to conceive despite trying with her hubbie Gary (Ben Falcone) and there's his competitive father Ramsey, who's about to give birth with his young trophy wife (and Wendy's nemesis) Skyler (Decker). Throw into that mix, youngster Rosie (Kendrick) who finds herself pregnant after a one night stand with Chace Crawford's Marco and the baby mix is complete.

But, as ever in life there are trials and tribulations ahead - some of them good, some of them bad.

You should know what to expect with What To Expect When You're Expecting; essentially, it's another one of those relatively asinine, bland Hollywood ensembles which pitches at all demographics and pulls in all kinds of big names.

While it's exactly what you'd think they'd conceive for this kind of film and may have you wishing it'd gestated for another 9 months or so, there are some parts which will appeal to those wanting a film which is cheesy as and predictable.

Firstly, the Dudes Group, which proffers up a male point of view courtesy of Chris Rock and a trio of other dads, is actually funny and amusing. Along with a kid from the group which is accident prone, there's some laughs to be had. There'll probably be some men in the audience who'll be nodding their heads in agreement with their situations - if they're unfortunate enough to be dragged along to this.

Secondly, the cast is all relatively talented and brings a reasonable performance to the table; but especially watchable is Elizabeth Banks' character who, while going through an entirely predictable character arc as she becomes a mess of pregnancy hormones, manages to light up the screen with her turn.

The problem with What To Expect When You're Expecting is, I suspect,  more one of managing your own expectations.

If you want to see a film where life's problems are brought up and then summarily dismissed in a montage of moments or a quick trite solution then this is the film for you; it espouses such life lessons as "Pregnancy's not as dreamy as you've always imagined it to be" and "Becoming a parent can be quite scary, but is ultimately worth it" as it saunters on its way through a formula to its inevitably sentimental end.

Personally, though this film was so condescending and bland with such predictable humour, it made me want to grab the nearest umbilical cord and throttle it.


Rec 3 - Genesis: Movie Review

Rec 3 - Genesis: Movie Review

Cast: Leticia Dolera, Diego Martin
Director: Paco Plaza

You're cordially invited to the wedding of Koldo and Clara in this third outing for the Rec series, a horror franchise where an infection leads to serious zombie action.

In this latest one, which runs parallel to the first film Rec, the action is all largely set at a wedding and begins by being captured on handheld cameras. Just as soon as Koldo and Clara celebrate their union, they find their uncle acting a little strange after being bitten by a dog.

Later on at the reception, things take a turn for the worse when said uncle starts attacking and biting people and pretty soon, the Infected are on the rise and Koldo and Clara are parted. But Koldo's determined to save his new bride (Till death us do part, remember?) and sets out to try and ensure she's alive.

Rec 3: Genesis is a different beast to the other two films, because it's set more in daylight than the darkness of the first outing. It gives it a different feel and needs the director to work scares a little more cautiously rather than relying on the odd jolts and shocks here and there (although there are a fair few of those throughout).

They've gone more for a comedy gore outing this time round - with there being a very large sprinkling of humour dashed throughout - be it a running gag where the children's entertainer is called John Sponge to avoid copyright issues with a certain Mr Squarepants or having the bride seething "This is supposed to be my special day" and revving up a chainsaw, the whole thing has a slightly OTT feel at times.

But that doesn't mean they've skipped on the gore and violence. Not in the slightest - beheadings, death by car jack, death by stick mixer - they're all thrown in for gory as effect - although they're played largely for laughs more than anything. However, there's one truly horrific moment as well - a scene where a busload of guests is overrun by the Infected is nothing short of disturbing.

The two leads are fairly disposable but relatively likeable and the rest of the guests barely get much of a look in for characterisation etc but at the end of the day, they're just meat to be slaughtered as they try to escape the viral outbreak. The film scores extra points for subtly referencing what's going on in the first film - indicating everything's tied.

As ever, there's the defying stupidity of the trapped and the lack of real logic (one sequence sees them trapped in a kitchen and trying to escape to the sewers but dropping a pen knife and being unable to loose the screws from a grill - why not use a knife from the kitchen area?? Whereas another sequence sees the infected stopped by religious readings and demons being reflected in mirrors) but Rec 3 Genesis is an over the top film of extremes; both extreme gore, kills and action, it's a reasonably solid entry to the franchise which will give bloodhungry punters exactly what they want but won't win over any new fans to the series.


Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Hunter: Blu Ray Review

The Hunter: Blu Ray Review

Rating: M
Released by Madman Home Entertainment

Based on the 1999 novel by Julia Leigh, Willem Dafoe stars with our very own Sam Neill.

Dafoe is mercenary Martin, who's sent to Australia to try and track down a Tasmanian Tiger by a shadowy company. Believed extinct for years, there's a possibility one exists in the wilds after a couple of sightings and this biotech company, Red Leaf, is determined to get their hands on it.

However, when he heads to Aussie, he ends up lodging with a woman and her two children - unbeknownst to him, her partner was also tracking the tiger and went missing months ago.

Gradually, Martin starts to bond with the family and adopt a slightly more open approach to life - but the company who sent him over are desperate to get results and will stop at nothing to ensure success.

The Hunter is a revelation; an underplayed, slow burning, beautifully shot piece of cinema, it's a thoroughly engrossing watch. From Dafoe's gradual defrosting to the Sam Neill's guilty menace, it's just well put together fare that takes all the time it needs to tell a good story.

Of course, it helps that the cinematography is so lushly put on screen as Martin ends out in the wilderness - and there's a real emotional pull to the ending of this eco thriller which is hard to deny.

Extras: Commentary and scenes


Tower Heist: Blu Ray Review

Tower Heist: Blu Ray Review

Rating: M
Released by Universal Home Entertainment

Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy star in this movie from Brett Ratner.

Stiller is Josh, the building manager of a New York luxury apartment; he's the opposite to Alan Alda's Arthur Shaw; a good loyal man who's the working man whereas Shaw is the building owner,a man who has it all.

One day, Shaw is arrested by the FBI and Tea Leoni's agent Denham, suspected of running a Ponzi scheme and confined to the top floor of the building. When the full extent of what Shaw's done becomes evident, the group heads to see him and realised they've all been conned into giving him money and the best years of their lives, they set out to get their cash back.

But they have one secret weapon - Eddie Murphy's Slide, a petty criminal who could help them make some cash.

Tower Heist starts off in somewhat of a pedestrian manner; don't get me wrong it's likeable enough and Stiller and Alda are solid enough players. After a while, it becomes a classic crime caper with some reasonable touches. And most of those are due to Eddie Murphy who makes a real return to form as a wise cracking individual, sassy criminal. He works well with Stiller and the pair make a good partnership.

Stick with Tower Heist; it takes a wee while to get going and while it's not ground breaking in terms of story, it's certainly disposable watchable enough fare for a winter's night.

Extras: Alternate endings, deleted scenes, gag reels and feature commentary plus the Blu Ray adds some exclusive featurettes including a behind the scenes look


Short film Festival finalists revealed

Details of the New Zealand International Film Festival Best Short Film finalists revealed.

As the NZ International Film Festival gears it for its annual blitz on the cinema going public, we're getting more details of what lies ahead for the some of the programme.

Here's the latest info:


Six short films have been selected as the finalists in the inaugural NZIFF New Zealand’s Best Short Film Competition.

Guest selector and international filmmaker Roger Donaldson selected the six finalists from a shortlist of twelve. Festival programmers Bill Gosden and Michael McDonnell viewed 109 submissions to prepare the shortlist.

“All films show a very high standard of cinematography and production values. I am really impressed by the quality of the acting. New Zealand is obviously creating a large pool of very talented people to draw on. I feel honoured to be part of the process of helping choose the final programme.” says Guest Selector Roger Donaldson.

The New Zealand’s Best programme will as part of the 2012 NZIFF and audiences will be asked to choose a winner by rating all six. A jury of three will select the winners of the $5000 Madman Entertainment Jury Prize and the $3000 Friends of the Civic Award. The winner of the Audience vote in Auckland and Wellington takes away 25% of the box office from the Festival screenings.

The finalists are:

43,000 Feet
NZ 2012. Director: Campbell Hooper Producers: Heather Lee, Amber Easby Screenplay: Matthew Harris. 9 mins
With several minutes before he hits the ground, a falling man reflects on his past and his immediate future.
“Great photography. Very original framing and concept.” – Roger Donaldson

Ellen Is Leaving
NZ 2012. Director: Michelle Savill Producers: Michelle Savill, Desray Armstrong Screenplay: Martha Hardy-Ward. 15 mins
Ellen is cool. She is recycling stuff before she heads overseas.
“I love how original it feels. The details of the travel pack put a real smile on my face. ” – Roger Donaldson

NZ 2012. Director: Thomas Gleeson Producers: Thomas Gleeson, Pip Walls. 11 mins
We watch a house take a road trip.
“A beautifully photographed minimalist documentary.” – Roger Donaldson

NZ 2012. Director/Screenplay: Sam Kelly Producer: Tom Hern. 15 mins
“Really captures a tough uncompromising world in a very compelling way. I loved the central character’s heroism. It reminded me of Once Were Warriors in the best possible way.” – Roger Donaldson

Milk & Honey
NZ 2012. Director/Screenplay: Marina Alofagia McCartney Producers: Angela Hicks, Marina Alofagia McCartney. 14 mins
This brief drama recalls the notorious dawn raids on Pasifika families.
“I lived in Ponsonby in the 70s and remember the events portrayed in this film. Very poignant.” – Roger Donaldson

Night Shift
NZ 2012. Director/Screenplay: Zia Mandviwalla Producers: Chelsea Winstanley, Matt Noonan. 14 mins
An airport cleaner has reason to keep to herself.
“I love this story – it feels so real and packs a real wallop.” – Roger Donaldson

The Festival will begin in Auckland (19 July – August 5) and open simultaneously in Wellington and Dunedin a week later (27 July – August 12), then in Christchurch (9 - 26 August). Further regional dates are being advised on the website as they are confirmed.

The Festival have already announced nine films including Peter Jackson-produced documentary West of Memphis, Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods, Bob Marley documentary Marley, and Lynn Sheldon’s Your Sister’s Sister (starring Emily Blunt) for the Festival from July.

Festival programmes will be available online and around town from June 26 in Auckland, and June 29 in Wellington

New poster for Pixar film Brave releases

New poster for Pixar film Brave releases

There's a new poster and some clips released from the upcoming Disney Pixar film Brave.

Brave hits NZ cinemas on June 21st.

Set in Scotland in a rugged and mythical time, Brave features Merida, an aspiring archer and impetuous daughter of royalty. Merida makes a reckless choice that unleashes unintended peril and forces her to spring into action to set things right.

Starring the vocal talents of Emma Thompson, Kelly MacDonald, Billy Connolly, Robbie Coltrane and of course, Pixar mainstay, John Ratzenberger.

Stay tuned to the blog for the review.

Brave clip 1- 

And here's Brave clip 2


Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Nobel's Last Will: Movie Review

Nobel's Last Will: Movie Review

Cast: Malin Crepin, Richard Ulfslater, Anna von Rosen
Director: Peter Flinth

From the crime capital of the publishing world (apparently) comes this latest attempt at launching a Swedish crime franchise (and from a book series of six which pre-dates The Millennium Trilogy by some three years, published as it was in 2002).

The blonde Malin Crepin stars Annika Bengtzon, a crime reporter trying to get a break on tabloid paper Kvaillspressen who's also a mother of two and workaholic.

While Bengtzon is attending the annual Nobel banquet, she witnesses the attempted murder of the latest winner and the death of a high ranking Nobel committee member, Caroline von Behring. Gagged by the police for reporting on the crime as she's a direct witness to what happened, Bengtzon finds herself sidelined by the paper's editors and legal eagles.

However, the journalistic drive is strong in this one - and believing that the police and press are concentrating on the wrong shooting victim, she starts her own investigation...

And unsurprisingly that leads to corruption, intrigue, global mystery and threats.

Plus on top of that, Annika's having trouble with her youngest son, who's being bullied.

Nobel's Last Will is inevitably going to end up being compared with The Millennium Trilogy - and I'm sorry to say, when pitted against that, it will be found wanting.

Let's just say that crime solving has never looked so glamorous and flashy.

Nobel's Last Will opens with a slick and stylish section at the Nobel awards and then hurtles into traditional action film territory - it's a very odd mix and kind of sets out where this film is going.

It's more of a pulpy trash novel than a high faluting, wide reaching conspiracy piece to be honest; it's the Swedish crime sensibilities mixed in with a good looking Hollywood lead (Crepin even looks a little like Maria Bello) and some Hollywood style action rather than slow burning reveals.

Sure, there's plot holes aplenty (wouldn't someone actually notice that a key witness to a crime was investigating a death?) and with mixes of montages and flashbacks as Annika pieces together the clues (along with scenes of her underlining key names) it's not exactly challenging stuff. Granted it is watchable, well made pacy fluff, despite being a challenge to logic and pushing more for ludicrous than serious but whether I'd want to sit through another five adaptations of the Annika Bengtzon cases, I'm not so sure.


The First Grader: DVD Review

The First Grader: DVD Review

Rating: M
Released by Vendetta Films and Rialto

Based on a true story, this inspirational tale is likely to melt even the hardest of hearts.

It's set in Kenya in 2003; this is the tale of one man, Maruge and his quest to get an education at the age of 84 years old - despite the powers that be trying to hold him down at every point.

There's a reason he wants to learn to read and as it plays out, flashbacks reveal what kind of life Maruge has had and what he wants to make a change.

Oliver Litondo is extremely watchable as Maruge, the old man who has secrets but wants to better himself and start anew; sure, you can see the challenges which are ahead for Maruge and for any school that takes him on, but this story is simply told and perfectly acted throughout.

Sure, it's got some overtly touching moments, but you just can't help but be moved by The First Grader - it's a life affirming, at times humorous watch and one of those tales which needs to be told.


Tabloid DVD Review

Tabloid DVD Review

Rating: M
Released by Vendetta Films

A doco about a former beauty queen who was accused of kidnapping and raping a Mormon missionary, it's easy to see why Tabloid would be a sensationalised film.

Former beauty queen Joyce McKinney is the subject of this slickly put together piece by Errol Morris, which actually resembles a tabloid newspaper on the screen as it flashes lurid headlines and story tidbits throughout.

Morris steps back from the story and lets the bizarreness play out in this scandal from the 1970s - he lets the talking heads and all sides of the tale put their story across, doesn't intervene or mock anyone from the course of their narrative.

The end result is a satisfying if bizarre watch; the equivalent of having your eyes stretch larger in incredulity the more it goes on.

Plus with McKinney, there's been such a pattern of weirdness in her life post this event in the 1970s that you start to question how much of the truth is actually falling from her lips.

And despite the lurid source material (you can totally understand why Morris and the UK tabloid newspapers were attracted to this story in the 1970s) what emerges is a sensibly put together doco which is watchable, and poses more questions than it answers.


Django Unchained: First look

Django Unchained: First look

New pictures released from Quentin Tarantino's new film Django Unchained.

Well, pardner, it's time to saddle up with some first look pictures from Quentin Tarantino's upcoming picture, Django Unchained (due in NZ cinemas January 2013).

Here's what the press release says:

Set in the South two years before the Civil War, DJANGO UNCHAINED stars Academy Award®-winner Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Academy Award®-winner Christoph Waltz).  Schultz is on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers, and only Django can lead him to his bounty.  The unorthodox Schultz acquires Django with a promise to free him upon the capture of the Brittles – dead or alive. 

Success leads Schultz to free Django, though the two men choose not to go their separate ways.  Instead, Schultz seeks out the South’s most wanted criminals with Django by his side.  Honing vital hunting skills, Django remains focused on one goal: finding and rescuing Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), the wife he lost to the slave trade long ago.   

Django and Schultz’s search ultimately leads them to Calvin Candie (Academy Award®-nominee Leonardo DiCaprio), the proprietor of “Candyland,” an infamous plantation where slaves are groomed by trainer Ace Woody (Kurt Russell) to battle each other for sport.  Exploring the compound under false pretenses, Django and Schultz arouse the suspicion of Stephen (Academy Award®-nominee Samuel L. Jackson), Candie’s trusted house slave.  Their moves are marked, and a treacherous organization closes in on them.  If Django and Schultz are to escape with Broomhilda, they must choose between independence and solidarity, between sacrifice and survival…

Written and directed by Academy Award®-winner Quentin Tarantino, DJANGO UNCHAINED is produced by Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin and Pilar Savone.  The executive producers are Harvey and Bob Weinstein, Michael Shamberg, Shannon McIntosh, and James Skotchdopole.  DJANGO UNCHAINED will be released in the NZ in January 2013.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Exclusive Dark Knight Rises images unveiled

Exclusive Dark Knight Rises images unveiled

Well, it's Darren's World of Entertainment's 300th posting and there's no better way to celebrate than with Batman.

Ahead of the Dark Knight Rises' worldwide launch on 19th July in New Zealand cinemas, there are two new images of the Bat and the Cat courtesy of UK Empire magazine's latest issue.

Plus there's also been the release of the Secret Dark Knight Rises poster with the Catwoman's heel too...

Saturday, 26 May 2012

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: Blu Ray Review

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: Blu Ray Review

Rating: R16
Released by Sony Home Entertainment

So, here it is, the much hyped and awaited Americanised version of the series which first gripped our nation's readers and then our nation's cinemagoers.

Daniel Craig stars as Mikael Blomkvist, the Swedish journalist and co-owner of the Millennium magazine, who is being sued as the film begins. When the court action wipes him out financially, he ends up taking on an investigation into a death of a girl 40 years ago by the wealthy Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer).

As Blomkvist investigates further into the murky past of the family, he's brought into contact with computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) who helps him with the case.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is an electrifying take on the established film - and is exceptionally true to the book.

It's hard to adapt such a bleak and phenomenally popular book and film - but Fincher's taken the bull by the horns and given it a brave, bold new life.

But a lot of the success of this film is due to Rooney Mara's portrayal of Lisbeth Salander. While many will consider Noomi Rapace's take the definitive one, Mara's outstanding in every scene she's in, capturing the spiky fragility and power of the character so incredibly well that it's hard to pick directly between the two actresses. She's rightfully been nominated for a Golden Globe for this turn - it's such a phenomenally good take that it's captivating from the moment she appears. And it seems Oscar noms are rightfully bestowed on her too.

While the majority of the cast appears to try Swedish accents, Craig is the only one of the leads to consciously avoid it; it takes a little getting used to but he's as good in the role of Blomkvist, but he's overshadowed by his co-actor.

The film is as dark as it ever was; and Fincher's reteaming with the same team who created The Social Network soundtrack is a perfect match in capturing the darkness in an electronic/ techno crossover.

Overall, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is an extremely powerful and confident start to this franchise - and while the investigation into the Vanger death does give the film a slightly slow pace at times, thanks to the stunning work from Mara (and to a lesser extent, Craig), it's a thrilling ride as it unspools on the screen.

Extras: Simply an audio commentary with David Fincher. Bitterly disappointing there's not more for such a superior film


Friday, 25 May 2012

Gravity Rush: PS Vita Review

Gravity Rush: PS Vita Review

Platform: PS Vita
Released by Sony Computer Entertainment

Oh my goodness - I think one of the ultimate PS Vita gaming experiences has arrived.

From the director of Silent Hill Keiichiro Toyama, comes Gravity Rush as exciting an experience as you'll ever get on the handheld device.

Set on a floating world, you play Kat, a girl who wakes up with no memory of who she is. As she awakes, she finds herself accosted by a black cat who mysteriously gives her powers to control gravity. Kat suddenly discovers that she has the power to save the world around her from attacking forces known as the Nevi and hopefully ensure they survive the oncoming Gravity storm threatening their world...

Melding comic book sensibilities into the hero and some radically impressive controls, Gravity Rush is a joyous game which is Manga-esque in its execution. It's also beautifully presented with the OLED screen producing a crisp, tight and sharp set of graphics.

You explore the open world around you, get set missions which range from the important such as protecting the world from the Nevi to the more obscure levitating furniture around to deck out your new pad. All the time, you get to flip gravity, fly through the sky and fall as you try and work out how best to control your new powers, as well as standing on walls, negotiating floating objects and generally using your skills to your advantage.

You also get rewarded with boosted powers as your game play and skills evolve; it's a cunning move and one which is perfectly in line with the ongoing storyline; anyone with intelligence grows in skillset and in Gravity Rush, patience and endurance are rightfully rewarded.

Cut scenes on the game play out in comic book panel form and it's a brilliant touch with gives this game a wondrous feel and a perfect setting. Fighting can be rough and ready as you hurtle through the air to fight Nevi, if you're not in control, you smash into buildings and walls rather than your intended target. It's a nice raw touch which gives the getting a grip on the game something to aim for. Add into that mix, a series of timed minigames and pretty much, there's something for every game player here.

Gravity Rush is indeed a rush - it's a scintillating PS Vita experience which deserves to be cherished, experienced and raved about - I've yet to find any flaws with this inventive and unique game and am convinced one of the ultimate VITA titles has just been unleashed.


Thursday, 24 May 2012

Men in Black 3: Movie Review

Men in Black 3: Movie Review

In Men in Black 3, Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) return as they fight Boris The Animal (Flight of the Conchords' Jemaine Clement)

Cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Emma Thompson, Alice Eve
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) return in the third outing of this series in which they’re dudes in black suits protecting the earth from the scum of the universe.

This time around, when angry baddie Boris The Animal (played as badass biker by our very own Jemaine Clement) busts out of the moon prison Agent K put him in years ago back in 1969, he’s only got revenge on his mind.

So, he decides, with a bit of techno trickery pokery to head back in time and erase K from time to ensure that he’s never caught in the first place…

But when K simply vanishes, (somehow) Will Smith’s wise talking J is the only one who remembers him and he also heads back to 1969 to ensure history’s not changed….

However, it’s not just Boris the Animal waiting for him, but a younger K, played by Josh Brolin.

Men In Black 3 comes a long time after the sequel (a decade on from 2002) and with it, a feeling that something really needed to be shaken up in the partnership between Smith and Jones.

Sadly, it appears, that magic ingredient was sidelining Tommy Lee Jones’ curmudgeonly emotionless K – and replacing him with a younger, livelier version played with utter brilliance by Josh Brolin who really does make you feel that he’s the younger version of the character thanks to a spot on impression.

It also means that Will Smith is prone to going back to his motor mouth wise talking sassy dude because at the start he’s a bit of a sad sack moping about as the partnership appears to flounder. He works well with Josh Brolin and by giving K a bit more life, the spark is revitalised between the duo.

Jemaine Clement is good as Boris; it’s a step away from his comedy acting. Though under layers and layers of prosthetics, he spends most of the movie glowering and fighting but to be honest, it’s a good solid performance in a relatively thankless role and really does show this Conchord has wings. Equally worthy of mention, is Rick Baker’s monster menagerie which is created for the start of the film – the creature work is stunningly good and realistic and it’s definitely missed from the middle of the film onwards.

A twist at the end of the film hints at a poignancy and resonance between J and K’s relationship and may be a nice pay off for fans of the genre.

But it’s not without its flaws – Emma Thompson and Alice Eve are woefully underused as Agent O, the head of the MIB agency and hardly have any major screen time, rendering any moments they’re in utterly pointless.
And I have to say, one of the biggest flaws of Men In Black 3 is that it’s not peppered with a lot of humour (ironic, given that the three main leads are the first three letters of JOKE) and it desperately needs some of that throughout.

That’s not to say it’s overly po-faced, merely that an injection of some smart humour would have given the film a bit of much needed zing throughout – granted, there’s a few one liners here and there which work but more would have been welcome.

All in all, Men in Black 3 isn’t a bad and unwatchable film, it’s a reasonable capper to the trilogy but if they’re to plough forward with this franchise, there really does need to be something more added. As a light, frothy piece of 90 minute entertainment, it just about makes it – but as a blockbuster promising action and comedy, it’s sadly left wanting.


More NZ Film Festival titles revealed

More NZ Film Festival titles revealed

A further clutch of new film titles have been released for the upcoming New Zealand International Film Festival - and this year's new look too!

More films have been unveiled for the upcoming New Zealand International Film Festival which begins its roll out from July this year.
It follows on from the news of Cabin in the Woods' release as well as other titles in the New Zealand International Film festival.

And a new look as well...

First up, the much anticipated, potentially social changing doco Bully.
"A potent and provocative look at a problem that’s out of control, what with 13 million American kids a year being bullied, and some of them even taking their own lives. Lee Hirsch goes beyond statistics to focus on a handful of bullied students alongside the families of two suicides trying to organize on a national level, to pull the issue out of dark corners and take a stand for the silent. As one parent says to a school official who tries to brush the topic away: ‘You politicianed me.’ Bully isn’t politics. It’s a heartfelt cry for help.” — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone"

Secondly, Peter Jackson's much vaunted, West of Memphis.
"In 1994 three Arkansas teenagers were convicted for murdering three eight year old boys – on the strength of an implausible confession and ‘expert’ testimony that characterised them as Satanists. A film about the case made by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, alerted the world (including NZIFF audiences in 1996), proved the founding document of an international movement to free the ‘West Memphis Three’, and led to the participation from Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh in producing this film. For 18 years the West Memphis judge who oversaw the initial trial denied successive retrial bids. Then suddenly last August, facing formidable legal expertise funded by supporters, the court caved, sort of: the three were released without retrial but had to admit culpability whilst proclaiming their innocence."

Thirdly, the story of six ballet dancers in First Position
"Never putting a foot wrong, the touching, enormously satisfying First Position follows six gifted ballet students from disparate social, regional, economic and ethinc backgrounds as they prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix, a prestigious competition at which the world's top dance companies and schools prospect for new talent... The film [facilitated by the competition organisers] combines the built-in drama, tension and suspense of documentaries such as Spellbound, with exciting, beautifully lensed variations performed by the virtuosos of the future..." — Alissa Simon, Variety

And last but by no means, least, Jack Black's latest - Bernie
"Reunited with his School of Rock director Richard Linklater, Jack Black has his best ever role and meets it with inspiration and amazing restraint. Playing a real-life, world-famous-in-Texas character (whom you can see Black meet if you stay for the credits) he provides a wonderfully full portrait of a closeted small-town guy who has sunk his enormous personality into round-the-clock, upbeat, apple-pie niceness.

Blessed with a golden singing voice, attentive to anniversaries, generous with gifts, Bernie Tiede was an assistant undertaker so popular with the old ladies of Carthage, Texas, that when he confessed to murdering one of their number, nobody in town was prepared to listen. And if he did it, they say, victim Marjorie Nugent (a sour, purse-clutching Shirley MacLaine) had it coming."

I'll bring you more information when I have it.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Great Gatsby trailer is here

The Great Gatsby trailer is here

Baz Luhrmann, Leonardo di Caprio and Carey Mulligan??

Has to be the first trailer for The Great Gatsby....take a look below

New Dark Knight Rises character shots

New Dark Knight Rises character shots

What with the A Fire Will Rise - Dark Knight poster hitting the streets yesterday, it's a busy old time for Bats as we ready ourselves for the release of the film on July 19th in New Zealand cinemas.

Today, there's three new character portraits from The Dark Knight Rises which have just come available on the internet - and here's how they look....

What do you make of Catwoman, Bane and Batman here in these poses?

Trishna: Movie Review

Trishna: Movie Review

Cast: Freida Pinto, Riz Ahmed
Director: Michael Winterbottom

In this adaptation of Tess of the D'Urbevilles, Slumdog's Freida Pinto stars as Trishna, a poor girl living in Rajasthan.

One day, Trishna meets Jay (Four Lions' Riz Ahmed), whose father runs a string of hotels. There's an attraction but when Trishna's father is injured in a jeep accident, the financial pressure facing the family is severe.

Jay intervenes, smitten with her and offers her a job in one of the hotels. With no choice, she accepts, and heads to the city, away from her family to ensure their survival.

But Jay won't let Trishna suffer and despite her serving the hotel industry, she's lavished with a TV in her quarters and given a slightly better quality of life than the rest of the employees.

Eventually, Trishna gives into the attention and attraction - but there are severe consequences for the relationship continuing.

Trishna is an odd beast of a film, blending a mix of the source material with a more shocking sense of moral outrage by setting it in Rajasthan, it's at times a slowly- paced but slow burning emotional watch.

Thankfully, a strong performance by an alluring Pinto as the girl whose journey sees her lose her innocence in many ways and makes her suffer in ways you can't help but be appalled by. It's a bravura turn by her as she goes from meek creature to being in control of her final destiny.

Winterbottom's also managed to capture a side of the region, seldom seen on the screen. Plenty of scenic cutaways, along with the hustle and bustle of the streets really helps sets the tone and create a sense of the lifestyle there.

With scenic snapshots and stolen glances, Trishna's tale is an apparently powerful but rambling one which plays out; a tale of desperation and tragedy. Thanks to some stunning cinematography and some strong acting, it's a curiously affecting film but never as strong a piece as it could be.


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

New Dark Knight Rises poster is here

New Dark Knight Rises poster is here

The geek is getting a little excited over news overload today.

We've got a brand new Dark Knight Rises poster for you to enjoy.

The Dark Knight Rises hits cinemas here in July.

New Anchorman 2 trailer hits

New Anchorman 2 trailer hits

Crikey it's all go.

There's just been the release of the first teaser of Will Ferrell's Anchorman 2.

Take a look below...

Monday, 21 May 2012

Brand new Skyfall movie trailer is here

Brand new Skyfall movie trailer is here

Bond is back and here is your first look at the new Skyfall trailer...


Skyfall hits New Zealand cinemas in November.

The Muppets: Blu Ray Review

The Muppets: Blu Ray Review

Rating: G
Released by Walt Disney

After 12 long years away, the Muppets are back.

But in a world where TV has moved on and the Muppets are no longer cool, they've become obsolete.

Except to Walter (a Muppet himself and brother of Jason Segel's Gary) who idolizes them still after discovering them when he was young.

So when Gary and long time girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) decide to go to Hollywood to celebrate their tenth anniversary, Walter is taken along too - and discovers that evil businessman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) wants to tear down the Muppets studio and mine for oil.

Walter takes the news of this to Kermit - and his greenness decides to get the gang back together and raise the cash they need to buy the studios back.

However, a major spanner's in the works because none of them are still in touch - will they be able to put aside their differences and find it's time to play the music, it's time to light the lights; in short, will the Muppet Show ever go on again?

The Muppets is perhaps the best Muppet film ever.

Heartfelt, humorous, hilarious and wholesome, it's a welcome journey back into the nostalgia and the brilliance of Jim Henson's creatures.

There's a simplicity to the story which is just charming and will reduce you to a dewey eyed sense of yesteryear. There's also a brilliance around the jaunty songs which pepper the flick; some have an almost Flight of the Conchordianesque feel (no surprise given Bret McKenzie and former FOTC showman James Bobin are involved) - and every single one of them a bright showtune, bathed in lyrical brilliance and clever lyrics.

The Muppets is a self knowing film; it mocks what they've become but never in an overly knowing way; it's a sly wink to the sophisticated audiences these days but one which really does make you remember how brilliant these guys were back in the day. And how brilliant they are once again.

At its very core, this is another chance to see the Muppets do their weekly show which so enriched our younger years, with its music hall sensibilities and its corny gags. They take on the bad guys too and an array of guest stars drop by - the majority of whom have made their showbiz names since the lights went down on the Muppets' weekly show. Sure, it's probably nostalgia which is giving this its wondrous feel and maybe it's aimed more at the adults than the kids, but it works so, so well that you can't help but crack a huge beaming smile and shed a joyful tear at how funny, clever, bright and engaging this film is.

Quite simply, The Muppets is an unmitigated joy, a welcome return to form and easily the most spectacularly heart warming family film of the year.

Extras: Some great stuff here - deleted scenes, audio commentary, blooper reel, screen test, full Tex Richman song


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Blu Ray Review

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Blu Ray Review

Rating: M
Released by Universal Home Entertainment

Based on the book by John Le Carre and adapted for a seven part BBC series, this latest is an espionage film which saw a long overdue Oscar nomination for Gary Oldman.

Oldman stars as George Smiley, a retired British spy who's asked to investigate the possibility of a Soviet mole high up in British Intelligence (nicknamed The Circus) in the 1970s. The head of intelligence Control (John Hurt) believes the mole is one of the four people who report directly to him and has his suspicions given credence after the shooting of one of their own while investigating his claims. 

But as Smiley begins to investigate, he discovers the conspiracy is a lot deeper than he expected and when spy Ricky Tan (Tom Hardy) returns after apparently defecting to Russia, the web grows tighter.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is not a film for those who like quick fix entertainment; it's a brilliantly crafted piece of paranoia and suspicion which rewards engrossing viewing and those who like a complex plot.

Perhaps, unfortunately it is a little dense at times - though that could be more of a reflection on audiences who don't traditionally lap up this kind of material.

Thankfully, riveting performances from an extremely strong cast, led superbly by Gary Oldman, mean you can't actually tear your eyes away. Each of them is given their individual moment to shine as well. Of the group, Benedict Cumberbatch's spy is the stand out performer and although the rest of the cast all get their time, it's Cumberbatch (the latest Sherlock) who really breaks through here.

The 1970s of Britain are superbly recreated with the drab browns and greys and attention to period details being spot on. It's also stunningly shot - but it's Gary Oldman who really shines in this adaptation which pours more importance on looks and stares rather than words and exposition.

Oldman brings a nuanced and textured take to the spy who was so definitively played by Alec Guinness back in the 1970s. There's also a cruelty lurking under his precise veneer which you're never quite sure is going to break out at any moment.

All in all, in a good way, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy feels like an old fashioned espionage film - it's suspenseful and masterful and an intelligent night’s worth of entertainment.

Extras: Commentary with Gary Oldman and director, John  le Carre interview and deleted scenes


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