Monday, 30 November 2020

Exit The Gungeon: PS4 Review

Exit The Gungeon: PS4 Review

Developed by Singlecore Games
Released by Devolver Digital

Platform: PS4

The sequel to Enter The Gungeon, and of a similar tongue-in-cheek ilk to Broforce, this pixel-led shooter is one to put a bullet in sensible gameplay.

Resuming after the first ended, it's up to you to enter a series of random levels, survive the menace and get through to the end with a degree of health in hand, and your safety guaranteed.

Exit The Gungeon: PS4 Review

With the gungeon collapsing around you, it's up to you to shoot your way out, and have a bit of a blast doing so. Simple yet effective, the pixel-led carnage is a lot of simple bitesize fun that will see you generating new weapons after collecting power ups.

A large jump, combined with the dodge roll from the first game become necessity to help get you through the levels, and while there's nothing specifically different from the first, it's still a great deal of easy fun.



The pixel look is functional and yet also cutesy, and the gameplay is sufficiently strong enough to keep you engaged on the couch, as you scroll your way up the levels.

Ultimately, Exit The Gungeon does what it says on the tin. It won't shatter the mold, but it does more than adequately fill the time.

Sunday, 29 November 2020

A Christmas Gift From Bob: Film Review

A Christmas Gift From Bob: Film Review

Cast: Luke Treadaway, Ginger cat Bob
Director: Charles Martin Smith

If you're expecting A Christmas Gift From Bob to pack the same emotional punch as 2016's Street Cat Called Bob, you'd probably best check your expectations at the door.

Treadaway returns as busker James Bowen in this sanitised dark tale that's more interested in going once-over-lightly about a crisis than plumbing the dramatic depths. It is Christmas cinematic fare, one supposes.

Bowen is celebrating his success as an author and a cat-based busking legend - however, he comes across another homeless person being persecuted and unhappy with the Christmas period. So, sitting him down at a restaurant, Bowen decides to tell of a Christmas past where it nearly all went wrong for the pair.
A Christmas Gift From Bob: Film Review


There's not much depth in A Christmas Gift From Bob; it knows what it wants to do, from its close up shots of the cat looking cute to its light take on the darker side of the festive season. There is a gritty depressing film lurking deep somewhere in here, but Charles Martin Smith's not interested in mining that and giving the film the redemptive arc it's so suited for.

Instead, what emerges is something as wafty as a cloud, with commendable messages about kindness to others, sermons about not judging by appearance and of community coming together in an unexpected way.

What's also well handled is the reality of poverty, and how one simple mistake can send a massive ripple into the psyche of those caught in it and how circumstance and a chain of events can conspire against one at what should be one of the happiest times of the year.

A Christmas Gift From Bob dissolves into the obvious sentimental mush toward the end, and you'd have to hard a cold, hard cynical heart to ignore its "stronger together" message after 2020's absolute blitzkrieg of a year.

Thanks to a sensitive turn from Treadaway, delivering depth when there really is none, and the requisite cutesy shots of the titular cat, this will hit the audiences where it wants to - but it does lack the genuine warmth and feelgood nature of the first.

Whether it leaves you feline Christmassy depends entirely on your own disposition toward cinematic manipulation and a predictable plot points.

Saturday, 28 November 2020

Happiest Season: Film Review

Happiest Season: Film Review

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Dan Levy, Victor Garber, Alison Brie, Mary Steenburgen, Audrey Plaza, Mary Holland
Director: Clea Duvall

As a concept, Happiest Season isn't massively new.

Its "bring a couple home for Christmas but set obstacles in their way to happiness" trope is the staple of many a romcom and festive film.

But what director and writer Clea Duvall, along with co-writer Mary Holland, have done is to give the story a fresh and grounded feel that largely stays away from the hysterics of the genre and delivers a bit of a festive cinematic present.

Stewart is Abby, an orphaned woman who isn't massively keen on the festive season. Loved up with Mackenzie Davis' Harper, she's impulsively pulled into the idea of going home at Christmas to meet the in-laws. But on the way home to the conservative family, headed up by the father who's seeking election as the mayor, Harper confesses to Abby that she's never come out to her family....

Abby's insistence that it's just five days and can't be that bad is about to be sorely tested...
Happiest Season: Film Review


Happiest Season captures the nuances of family conflicts and uses them to great dramatic fist throughout.

From Alison Brie's cold haughty older sister to Mary Holland's youngest Jane, who reeks of desperation to be included seizes upon the tensions of siblings within the holiday season, where some days, it feels like you're just seconds away from an argument.

With spritzy dialogue, and a great deal of heart (Dan Levy's John delivers a speech toward the end about coming out scenes and how they're all individual stories which may be the single greatest scene of the whole film from the Schitt's Creek alum), Happiest Season will capture a lot of hearts and deliver the humour the season needs.
Happiest Season: Film Review


In among it, Stewart delivers yet another stunning performance, as a woman trapped in the familial whirlwind and the actor works the chemistry of the ensemble well. Davis is equally engaging, but in truth, this is Stewart's film and her turn as Abby feels real and lived in.

Happiest Season may not quite be the Christmas classic that some are lauding, but it's to be highly commended for delivering a film that's grounded, human, relatable and one which captures the good and bad of the holiday season, and the strains of familial bonds.

Friday, 27 November 2020

The Comeback Trail: Film Review

The Comeback Trail: Film Review

Cast: Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman, Zach Braff, Tommy Lee Jones, Kate Katzman

Director: George Gallo

Producer Max Barber (De Niro) has had enough.

Trapped in between growing debt and failing movies, it looks like his number is up with Morgan Freeman's Reggie Fontaine wanting to collect a $350K debt.

But, along with his nephew Walter, Max decides to film a western with grizzled veteran Duke Montana - only the catch is, he'll try to bump off the star during filming to cash in on a generous insurance policy and pay off everything in one go....

The Comeback Trail: Film Review

What would be better suited to a screwball farce, The Comeback Trail's drama with moments of the cast overplaying their roles becomes somewhat of an endurance in parts.

With DeNiro mugging a little and Braff overplaying some of his reaction shots, the film is clearly gunning for laughs without providing too many of them.

Despite being splendidly shot and evocatively recalling some of the great panoramas of the Western genre, Gallo's film teeters when it should roar.

Thankfully, it finds its saving grace with Lee Jones' Duke Montana. His veteran cowboy actor feels lived in, real and worn down by years of near misses and by one single regret eating gradually away at his soul. Lee Jones wisely underplays the performance and consequently delivers a character that feels real among the Hollywood falsities that are on the screen.

It may be The Comeback Trail doesn't quite hit the highs it should, but it is watchable enough to leave you frustrated that it couldn't have done more with its premise and line-up.

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Win a double pass to see Misbehaviour in cinemas December 3

Win a double pass to see Misbehaviour in cinemas December 3


To celebrate the release of Misbehaviour, in cinemas December 3, thanks to StudioCanal New Zealand, you can win a double pass!

About Misbehaviour

In 1970, the Miss World competition took place in London, hosted by US comedy legend, Bob Hope. 

Win a double pass to see Misbehaviour

At the time, Miss World was the most-watched TV show on the planet with over 100 million viewers. 

Claiming that beauty competitions demeaned women, the newly formed Women’s Liberation Movement achieved overnight fame by invading the stage and disrupting the live broadcast of the competition.

Starring Keira Knightley, Jessie Buckley, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Greg Kinnear.

Misbehaviour is in cinemas December 3.

HOW TO WIN TICKETS TO MISBEHAVIOUR

All you have to do is email your details and the word MISSWORLD!

Email now to  
darrensworldofentertainment@gmail.com 


Or 
CLICK HERE NOW  

Win a double pass to see Happiest Season in cinemas now!

Win a double pass to see Happiest Season in cinemas now!

To celebrate the release of Happiest Season, in cinemas now, thanks to Sony Pictures New Zealand, you can win a double pass!

About Happiest Season

A young woman with a plan to propose to her girlfriend while at her family's annual holiday party discovers her partner hasn't yet come out to her conservative parents.
Win tickets to Happiest Season


Starring Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis.

Happiest Season is in cinemas now.

HOW TO WIN TICKETS TO HAPPIEST SEASON

All you have to do is email your details and the word SEASON!

Email now to  
darrensworldofentertainment@gmail.com 


Or 
CLICK HERE NOW  

Possessor: Film Review

Possessor: Film Review

Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Sean Bean
Director: Brandon Cronenberg

Director Brandon Cronenberg brings an unsettling touch to this arthouse sci-fi story that will be familiar to anyone who's delved into the 2000AD archives of Future Shock stories.

Riseborough stars as assassin Taysa Vos, whose skill is to insert herself into other's minds, assume their personalities and carry out the required mission.

When she's contracted to infiltrate an organisation and kill the CEO, she finds the man whose mind she's taken over stronger than expected, and given she's already struggling to disengage from each possessed host, things go from bad to worse very quickly.
Possessor: Film Review


Admittedly a parable of identity, mixed with copious shots of body horror and body piercings from needles, Possessor is brutal in its execution and unswerving in its dedication to its visuals that will unsettle and haunt for days.

Stark colours, hues of orange, purple and a bleached and drained Riseborough lead to a slow and moody set up that climbs levels of tedium before dipping deep into unnerving. Cronenberg knows what he wants and gives the chilling movie a calm and measured approach that plays more into its malevolent Quantum Leap ethos more than you'd expect.

As Possessor goes on, it becomes clearer that the film is one of psychological battles, of wearying ids and of loss of empathy in brutal situations. 

Riseborough initially impresses and upsets before giving way to Abbott's more straight-laced and emotionally dead approach to the story. It's an intriguing juxtaposition, and while Cronenberg's deliberately vague on the battles of identity, one sequence involving a melting face and application of a mask is perhaps the most upsetting committed to celluloid in 2020.

It goes without saying that Possessor is unflinching at times, and it's downright unsettling throughout - it won't be for everyone, but thanks to its technical actors and visual flourishes, it's a film and experience unlike anything else on screen this year.

Let Him Go: Movie Review

Let Him Go: Movie Review

Cast: Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Jeffrey Donovan, Lesley Manville
Director: Thomas Bezucha

Thomas Bezucha's neo-Western, based on the book of the same name by Larry Watson, is a taut and suffocating film to watch.
Let Him Go: Movie Review

But it's even more compelling because of the fact - and because Diane Lane delivers a career-best performance as a troubled mother.

Lane and Costner star as Margaret and George Blackledge, a grieving mother and mother whose son is killed early on in a freak accident on their farm as they're bathing their grandson. When their daughter-in-law remarries one of the feared Weboy family, Margaret is unsettled to see her beloved grandson and his mother hit in the streets by her new husband.

Distraught at the news they've left town, and fearful for their grandson's life, Margaret decides to set out across the heartland of the US to rescue them, and bring him home. But her husband, a former sheriff, isn't sure the move is the best one - and things are further complicated when the pair clash with the Weboy matriarch (played with steely coldness by Manville).
Let Him Go: Movie Review

Let Him Go is a searing film that builds simmering tension throughout.

It helps that Costner and Lane have mature chemistry and deliver performances that are stunning to watch, mired as they are in subtlety and solemnity. Neither deliver pretentious turns, but both convince they are lived in people whose lives have led to this awful point.

Equally Manville, in few scenes, delivers a matriarch for the ages. Scenes with her facing off as the head of the family crackle with electricity and uncertainty, and revel in their awfulness. It helps Donovan gives an ambivalent performance as the male head of the family, cowed in the presence and power of Manville's Blanche Weboy. It's the kind of stuff nightmares are made of, and Manville's performance is on a par with Jackie Weaver's fire-breathing dragon in Animal Kingdom.
Let Him Go: Movie Review


But Let Him Go - with a truly upsetting and tightly ratcheted tense sequence inside a motel - belongs to Lane and Costner's mature double act. 

Their reserved performance accentuates Blanche's nastiness and cruel veneer, and Bezucha's restrained direction helps build the firecracker and powderkeg to Let Him Go's conclusion that's as explosive as it is stunning.

Patience is a reward with Let Him Go - it's emotionally draining and yet at the same time, it's the kind of drama you can't tear your eyes away from.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Six60: Till The Lights Go Out: Film Review

Six60: Till The Lights Go Out: Film Review 

Director: Julia Parnell

There is a certain section of New Zealand that utterly adores Six60.

Beloved by the heartland, despised by sections of the musical mainstream and yet phenomenally popular, the Dunedin lads have cracked the big time selling out Auckland's Western Springs stadium and being the first to do so.

But as it stands, Julia Parnell's doco dips dangerously close to hagiography, thanks to a desire to not delve deeper into the issues that have plagued Six60 or to detract from their clearly mapped out redemption arc that anchors most of this piece.

Six60: Till The Lights Go Out: Movie Review

The beautifully shot film is one of two halves, as the first leads to plenty of inspiration from Matiu Walters, Eli Paewai, Chris Mac, Ji Fraser and Marlon Gerbes and their family history. From being raised on the rugby field via drinking issues, via Gerbes' escape from gang life to Eli being raised by grandparents, the unconventional route is both a salute to the boys' work ethics as much as it is a tribute to New Zealand living in all its different paradigms - and triumphing.

Parnell knows how to make great fist out of this side of things, using archive footage of the younger lads, choice soundbites, down-to-earth talking heads and a generally loving vibe, she crafts an underdog story that's truly hard to resist.

It all works well in Six60: Till The Lights Go Out until it doesn't.

From grandiose statements made by others and backed up by none, it becomes clear Parnell isn't interested in digging deeper below the surface and scratching into the issues that have plagued the band through the years. From the binge drinking to conflict between Walters and co-founder Fraser (the clash of which is choreographed in of all places a boxing ring), Parnell's less keen to move away from the largely positive vibe she's after presenting.

It culminates in the collapse of a balcony at a Dunedin gig in March 2016, which left teen Bailley Unahi paralysed. While the band talks of their guilt at her fate, Parnell uses footage of Bailley but she doesn't speak. It's an odd moment that stands out, and while producers say Unahi was happy to be featured, but didn't wish to take from the band, it feels jarring and difficult to watch - especially given how the accident impacted the band and nearly caused them to implode.

You may gain respect for Six60 through the piece, as the aforementioned wobble is of the director's making, and you may understand their triumph at the end, but you may also be surprised how emotionally hollow it feels thanks to the somewhat shallow approach to the subject.

In some ways, Six60: Till The Lights Go Out may be the doco 2020 needs - a feelgood celebration of one of our own and a salutation to the ordinary New Zealander and the can do attitude. But long term, this lack of fleshing the meat on the bones prevents Six60: Till The Lights Go Out from excelling into the stratosphere it could have so easily ascended to.

Cyberpunk 2077 PlayStation Gameplay Released!

Cyberpunk 2077 PlayStation Gameplay Released! 

Cyberpunk 2077 PlayStation Gameplay Released!

 

CD PROJEKT RED today revealed a Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay video, captured on PlayStation 4 Pro and PlayStation 5.

 

The video showcases Cyberpunk 2077 running on both PlayStation 4 Pro, and PlayStation 5 via backwards compatibility. 

Cyberpunk 2077 PlayStation Gameplay Released!


The gameplay is taken from the Nomad lifepath, one of the three playable backstories players can choose to jump into when they begin their adventure. 


Featuring action from the Badlands — the desert area which surrounds Night City — as well as from the streets of Night City itself, the PlayStation footage is available to watch on Cyberpunk 2077’s YouTube channel right now.

 

Cyberpunk 2077 will release December 10th, 2020, for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. The game will also be playable on Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 consoles. 


At a later date, a free upgrade to Cyberpunk 2077, taking full advantage of next-gen hardware, will become available for owners of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions respectively.

 

For more information regarding the game, follow Facebook, Twitter, and visit cyberpunk.net.


Tuesday, 24 November 2020

The Good Liar: Neon NZ Review

The Good Liar: Neon NZ Review

Based on Nicholas Searle's book, The Good Liar's thrills mainly arrive in the form of watching Sir Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren interact, rather than the central so-called mystery of what's unfolding.

The Good Liar: Film Review

McKellen is Roy Courtnay, a con artist, who thinks he's found his latest mark in the form of Mirren's well-to-do widow Betty McLeish. Ingratiating himself in her life, Courtnay's swindle is under threat thanks to the uncertainty of Betty's grandson, played by Being Human's Russell Tovey.

Will Courtnay get away with a multi-million pound con?


The Good Liar has obvious twists that are relatively signposted from the start.

Not simply content to follow a fairly formulaic and perfunctory story, Condon rarely elevates Searle's story beyond an 80's UK TV thriller, with gradual revelations building to the kind of crescendo a finale would cover, and audiences would lap up.

However, times have changed now, and while the whole thing is nicely presented, the story's crippled by some flashbacks and a final act that feels flat and emotionally lacking, as the puzzle pieces slot neatly into place.
The Good Liar: Film Review

Thankfully, Mirren and McKellen make a masterful pair (and it's good to see Downton Abbey's Jim Carter playing a more contemporary role as Courtnay's partner in crime), but the film's script doesn't quite live up to their brilliance.

It's rare to see a film that relies so heavily on more mature leads, and it greatly deserves to be applauded; every scene with McKellen soars, and the film suffers in comparison when neither are on screen.

But ultimately, The Good Liar doesn't deliver a compelling enough twist or reveal to render any of what's happened previously potent; its final shots may be shocking in some ways, but that's only because of the actors' work.

Far better suited to a short run TV miniseries, The Good Liar may be masterfully shot, perfunctorily plotted and well-acted, but the truth of the matter is it lacks the gut punch to give the mystery the chance to soar, and the audience the chance to be utterly shocked and absorbed.

Monday, 23 November 2020

Scoob!: DVD Review

Scoob!: DVD Review


The Hanna Barbera cinematic universe fires its opening salvo with the reimagining of Scooby Doo for a 2020 audience - mixing in some Avengers' style elements with some old school nostalgia sure to delight fans.
Scoob!: Film Review

In this latest, Norville "Shaggy" Rogers befriends lonely mutt, Scooby, founding a friendship on food and hijinks. After a casual Halloween meeting with Fred, Velma and Daphne and an unmasking of a ghost, the gang forms Mystery Inc, deadset on solving mysteries.

However, when Scooby and Shaggy are ostracised after a business deal from Simon Cowell excludes them, they find themselves caught up in Dick Dastardly's quest to open the Underworld...


While Scoob has some great nostalgia for those brought up on the show, it does move massively away from its mystery roots in favour of an Avengers-style adventure.

At times, that's no bad thing, but given that Cervone's peppered the film with hints of the past - from a pitch perfect recreation of the original titles to cameos from other Hanna Barbera characters - there's an occasionally disjointed feel to the proceedings.
Scoob!: Film Review

Younger fans may be more amused by the animated antics than older ones, given the film's propensity for silliness and catchphrase moments. Some of the clearly winking jokes about Avengers fall a little flat, if truth be told.

Odd pop culture references feel a little out of place, and will age quickly, but there's no denying Scoob! wants to be a good shaggy dog film - whether that's enough for this origin tale to guarantee its future is questionable at best.


However, for a blast of fun during the school holidays and indoors thanks to Covid-19, Scoob! proves diverting enough for the younger end of the audience.
Scoob!: Film Review

Sunday, 22 November 2020

The Painter and The Thief: Movie Review

The Painter and The Thief: Movie Review

Director: Benjamin Ree

Director Benjamin Ree's The Painter and The Thief has a delicious premise.

When Czech painter Barbora Kysilkova has two of her paintings stolen in an apparently random crime, CCTV leads police to track down the thieves and put them on trial.

But despite the pieces being two of her most important works, Barbora finds herself fascinated by the man who stole them and approaches him in court, wanting to learn why. Soon-to-be-convicted thief and drug addict Karl-Bertil has a simple answer - and one that proves to be as devastating and enticing as it could be - "Because they were beautiful."

An unlikely friendship forms between the pair, leading Barbora deep into places she'd believed forgotten and delivering Karl-Bertil a redemption he believed he'd always been denied.
The Painter and The Thief: Movie Review


Ree's The Painter and the Thief is a compelling dalliance with darkness.

Delivered a third act twist, the movie is as much about the artist muse relationship as it is a tale of humanity and obsession. And in one early sequence alone, the film delivers a powerful emotionally raw moment that no actor could easily bring to the surface.

If perhaps Ree is to be faulted, it's in the lack of exploration over the consequences of Barbora's friendship on her current relationship, and Ree doesn't seem interested as much in anyone other than the central pair.

However, there are touching moments as each are sucked into their respective orbits, and two apparently damaged people collide. It's a fascinating and electric journey, that delivers a powerful emotional catharsis just as the energy levels begin to massively flag.

The unexpected friendship is the reason to tag along for this ride, and while a lack of any definitive conclusion proves frustrating for what's transpired, Ree's The Painter and the Thief concerns itself more about the realities of friendships, the ups and downs of life and the highs and lows of consequences.

The Painter and the Thief will have its New Zealand premiere as part of Sunday’s Doc Edge at the Civic event in Auckland on November 22.

The Man On The Island: Movie Review

The Man On The Island: Movie Review

Director: Simon Mark-Brown

Director Simon Mark-Brown's documentary concerns itself with its subject - but it's sometimes to the detriment of what should be a wider lens.

Taking in the island of Rakino, in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf, with its population of 20 people, Brown decides the focus of his piece should be the pontifications of Colin Maclaren, a 77-year old former mainlander who moved to the island some 30 years ago.

Dismissive of Auckland's hum and drum of life, yet shackled to the need to use the shops there, Maclaren is less an enigma to be frank, and more a man taking every opportunity to grandstand on subjects without any challenging from its director.
The Man On The Island: Movie Review


That's not to say that Maclaren is not a man without merit, more that the focus of this documentary appears to be less interested in pursuing a fully-rounded picture of its subject, and more in the thrall of one man and his opinions.

Not once does Brown refer - or defer - to others to explain why Maclaren requires such time in the spotlight; his story is of interest, but it's up to others to provide colour into the quirk and the man who's become the island's recluse.

Impressive drone shots and cinematography capture the beauty of Rakino and entice viewers into understanding why an island paradise would leave so many so enamoured. It's here Brown's eye for simplicity shines.

But in Maclaren, he's found a subject whose philosophies aren't out of place with a Covid-infected world, but whose raison d'etre is nothing more than self-imposed. Many moments find insights into Maclaren wanting - from no clue over where he gains money from for trips to Auckland to an apparent fight with Auckland council over weeds going unexplored.

There's much to be made of The Man On The Island - but this documentary, while stunning to view, is shallow in its examinations and frustrating as a viewing experience.

The Man on the Island will have its world premiere as part of Sunday’s Doc Edge at the Civic event in Auckland before embarking on a limited run nationwide from November 26.

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Win a Six60 Till The Lights Go Out Prize pack

Win a Six60 Till The Lights Go Out Prize pack 

To celebrate the release of Six60 Till The Lights Go Out in cinemas November 26, you can win a prize pack thanks to StudioCanal NZ!

Each prize pack includes 1x SIX60 T-shirt, 1x SIX60 CD and 1x Double Pass to see  Six60 Till The Lights Go Out in cinemas!

Win a Six60 Till The Lights Go Out Prize pack

About Six60 Till The Lights Go Out 

In 2019, SIX60 defied all convention when they attempted to be the first-ever New Zealand band to headline a concert at Western Springs Stadium. 

Alongside jaw-dropping coverage of their record-breaking concert is never seen before archival footage of Matiu Walters, Ji Fraser, Eli Paewai, Marlon Gerbes and Chris Mac on the extraordinary road they’ve taken to achieve a power of an appeal unseen in Aotearoa.

In cinemas November 26!

HOW TO WIN

All you have to do is email your details and the word SIX60!

Email now to  darrensworldofentertainment@gmail.com 
Or CLICK HERE NOW  

Friday, 20 November 2020

The British film festival is here - these are the best trailers to watch

The British film festival is here - these are the best trailers to watch

Good news for Pommie film-loving fans.

The British film festival is here - these are the best trailers to watch

The British film festival is here, starting in Auckland and heading around the country.

The event runs from 19 - 29 Nov in Auckland and Wellington,  from 2 - 13 Dec in Tauranga and from 26 Nov - 6 Dec around the rest of the country.

These are the best British Film festival trailers to watch of the event

A CHRISTMAS GIFT FROM BOB

MISBEHAVIOUR

SUMMERLAND


A CALL TO SPY

DATING AMBER

THE RACER


FLASH GORDON

The British Film Festival will run in 12 city centres and in 19 cinemas across the country. The following cinemas are part of the festival, so check your local and see if they're playing the films you want!

Auckland

 The Bridgeway Cinema, Monterey Howick, Monterey Takapuna, The Capitol, Lido

Auckland

Wellington

 The Penthouse, Light House Petone, Monterey Upper Hutt

Christchurch

 Academy Gold, Lumière Cinemas

Dunedin

 Rialto Dunedin

Kerikeri

 Cathay Cinemas

Tauranga

 Rialto Tauranga

Hamilton

 Lido Hamilton

Palmerston North

 EVENT Palmerston North, Focal Point Fielding

Hawke’s Bay

 EVENT Havelock North

New Plymouth

 EVENT New Plymouth


Nelson

 State Nelson

Blenheim

 EVENT Blenheim

New Night City Wire showcases Johnny Silverhand, gameplay, and featurettes for Cyberpunk 2077

New Night City Wire showcases Johnny Silverhand, gameplay, and featurettes for Cyberpunk 2077


New Night City Wire showcases Johnny Silverhand, gameplay, and featurettes for Cyberpunk 2077!

 

New Night City Wire showcases Johnny Silverhand, gameplay, and featurettes for Cyberpunk 2077

CD PROJEKT RED today released new videos for Cyberpunk 2077, including a new trailer focusing on the legendary rockerboy played by Keanu Reeves, as well as gameplay and behind the scenes footage, all part of the latest episode of Night City Wire.

 

Night City Wire : 


The show started with the reveal of an action-packed trailer focusing on Johnny Silverhand and the unique connection he shares with the game’s protagonist, V. This was followed up by a behind-the-scenes video with Keanu Reeves talking about his transformation into Night City’s iconic rebel rockerboy, with a look at voice and motion capture recording sessions.

 

JohnnySilverhand: 

 

In Score and MusicMarcin Przybyłowicz (The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt), P.T. Adamczyk (GWENT: The Witcher Card GameThronebreaker: The Witcher Tales), and Paul Leonard-Morgan (DreddLimitlessBattlefield: Hardline), together with collaborating musicians, talk about crafting atmospheric original music for the upcoming video game.

 

Score and Music

 

Gamers looking to get into the mood for Cyberpunk 2077 can now also check out the freshly released Original Score EP, featuring 6 tracks for a total of 22 minutes listening time. The EP is available now on a selection of popular digital music streaming and distribution platforms.

 

Next, with JALI the episode turned its focus to the innovative technological solution used in Cyberpunk 2077 to power facial expressions and lip sync for characters in the game. The video provides insight into how JALI makes performances immersively realistic across 11 fully localized languages.

 

Jali Trailer:

 


Just before the show ended, the Official Gameplay Trailer for Cyberpunk 2077 made its debut. Over 5 minutes long, the feature highlights an assortment of aspects of the open world, action-adventure story players will be engaging in upon launch, complimented with never-before-scene footage showcasing the experiences awaiting in the dark future.


 

Cyberpunk 2077 will release December 10th, 2020, for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. 


The game will also be playable on Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 consoles. 


At a later date, a free upgrade to Cyberpunk 2077, taking full advantage of next-gen hardware, will become available for owners of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions respectively.

Gameplay trailer for Cyberpunk 2077 released

Gameplay trailer for Cyberpunk 2077 released

There are just weeks to go until Cyberpunk 2077 from CD Projekt Red is released.

And to celebrate the launch on December 10, a new gameplay trailer has dropped.

CD PROJEKT RED released today a new video for Cyberpunk 2077, offering gamers the latest look at gameplay and numerous aspects of the experience from the soon-to-be-released title.

 

The video features over 5 minutes of in-game footage thrusting gamers deep into the most dangerous megalopolis of the year 2077 — Night City. 

Gameplay trailer for Cyberpunk 2077 released


Never-before-seen interactions and action scenes are shown, revealing details about the story, as well as characters — including their backgrounds and motivations. In addition to discussing the primary objective of the game’s protagonist, the up and coming cyber-enhanced mercenary going by the name V, part of the trailer is also devoted to giving players a fresh glimpse into character development and some of the side activities they will be able to indulge in.

  

Cyberpunk 2077 will release December 10th, 2020, for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The game will also be playable on Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 consoles. At a later date, a free upgrade to Cyberpunk 2077, taking full advantage of next-gen hardware, will become available for owners of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions respectively.

Palm Springs: Amazon Prime Video Review

Palm Springs: Amazon Prime Video Review

Cast: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, JK Simmons

Director: Max Barbakow

The time travel loop trope is given a fresh spin in this relatively entertaining  once it gets going dramedy about Andy Samberg's Nyles.

Seemingly carefree, Nyles meets up with reluctant maid of honour Sarah (How I Met Your Mother's Milioti) at a Palm Springs wedding. Both sickened by the whole wedding, the pair head off to the desert for a hook-up. However, just as things are going in Nyles' favour, he's hit by an arrow, and stumbles into a cave, warning Sarah not to follow him.

Palm Springs: Amazon Prime Video Review

She doesn't heed the warning and goes in as well - waking up later to the apparently same day only earlier...

Picking up a malaise from the line "Today, tomorrow, yesterday, it's all the same," uttered by Nyles, Palm Springs builds on its timeloop raison d'etre and cuts loose with it - even if the resultant montages are familiar to anyone who's got even an inkling of what the genre offers.

More than a Groundhog Day, the film builds from an early pastiche of similar movies to reveal itself as somewhat of an earnest look at the reality of being stuck in a rut (something likely to resonate with many in 2020) and trying to get out of it.

It helps the leads are extremely personable.

Samberg brings some of the goofier and sombre edges to his Nyles, as the layers peel away and the reality of being condemned to repeat the same 24 hours starts to grate. Equally, Milioti delivers a fresh-facedness and dogged determination that anyone stuck in the loop would have as they tried to escape. The pair work incredibly well together and sell the fact this is a very familiar concept, given a slightly fresher edge.

Extremely affable once you get past the initially rough start, Palm Springs is a destination well worth checking into and sticking with.

Palm Springs is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video.

Thursday, 19 November 2020

The Secrets We Keep: Film Review

The Secrets We Keep: Film Review

Cast: Noomi Rapace, Chris Messina, Joel Kinnaman
Director: Yuval Adler

The Secrets We Keep could have been a tense chamber piece of claustrophobia and nagging doubt - a story of identity, trauma and unreliable memory that kept audiences guessing.

The Secrets We Keep: Film Review

But instead what emerges - aside from a twitchy whirling Rapace - is a film that doesn't really offer much tension, or opportunity to make you wonder who is right and who is wrong.

Rapace is Romanian gypsy Maja, a woman rebuilding her life in post World War II America with new husband, doctor Lewis (Messina, in a relatively straight and thankless role). One day when out with her son, she hears a whistle and her bubble is burst.

Obsessed that the whistle is from one of her former tormentors from her days in a camp, Maja stalks the man, kidnapping him and plunging him into the family basement.

Despite his protestations that he's not the man she remembers, and with a loosening grip on her own sanity, Maja is put on a path with her past that could permanently derail her future.

The Secrets We Keep is a lesson in patience.

But the almost chamber piece nature of the film doesn't really lend itself to any lingering doubts over who is right, who is wrong, and what has happened unfortunately. 

While Rapace turns in a nervy, edgy performance of a woman on the verge of losing everything, the cat and mouse game isn't nearly as strong as it could be - and the psychological elements don't grip as bitingly as they could.

The period detail and the use of beige and green palettes suggest much provocatively during the film, but the overall tone is one of indifference.

The Secrets We Keep: Film Review

Kinnaman delivers a strong and emotionally wrenching performance in the one scene he's gifted as the captive, and Messina is solid but never spectacular. This is Rapace's film, and while she steals every moment she can, the script doesn't do enough to service the kind of range she delivered in the Dragon Tattoo series.

A lack of real tension proves fatal to The Secrets We Keep and the lack of intensity proves deflating to the overall mystery. There may be secrets in this film, but in honesty, the knowing of them doesn't sadly prove worth the journey.

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Fatman: Movie Review

Fatman: Movie Review

Cast: Mel Gibson, Walton Goggins, Marianne Jean Baptiste
Directors: Eshom Nelms, Ian Nelms

Less Bad Santa, more BadAss Santa in its denouement, the weirdly odd Fatman tries to give the Christmas story a different spin, much like Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale pushed its own darker agenda.

A heavily bearded and dour Gibson plays Chris Cringle, whose Santa business is slowly falling apart. Forced into a financial partnership with the military, Cringle's world is further complicated when a precocious scorned kid hires a hitman (Goggins) after he's left a lump of coal in his stocking.
Fatman: Movie Review

There's a kernel of a good story here, and an idea that could have blossomed wonderfully, if it were to have been fully indulged.

But as it is, Fatman feels tonally like several movies all squashed into one, with none intertwined with any of the joy of their raison d'etre. 

Goggins, a hamster-obsessed hitman, just about manages the right tone of murderous intent as the killer scorned by Santa when he was younger and all too happy to even the score. In fact, he's one of the best things about the film, delivering lines about the Fatman with a deadly glee that's just the right side of hammy.

However, he's offset by Gibson's Cringle, who's more a businessman thwarted than a booming jolly presence. The dour edge and demeanour works and gives scenes with his wife Ruth (Baptiste) a kind of earnestness that's compelling to watch as the film plays out.
Fatman: Movie Review

But too much of Fatman sees differing narratives being forced to crash into each other with minimum impact. 

And when the gun-led finale rolls around, and blood spills as heavily on the snow as it did in moments of Fargo make you yearn for a killer Santa film of cat-and-mouse that never was.

As they say, it's not over till the Fatman sings - but in this tonally confused cinematic slice, you just walk away wishing that the Nelms brothers had sung from another songsheet and given you the kickass Santa film you can see hiding in the distance.

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Knives Out: Neon NZ Review

Knives Out: Neon NZ Review 

Director Rian Johnson is no newcomer to the mystery genre.

His earliest Brick dabbled in similar territory, but for this latest, a slickly produced and polished piece of Poirot-esque fare, he heads to subvert some of the conventions while following others of the murder mystery.

Knives Out: Film Review


When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Plummer) is found dead the day after his 85th birthday, there's a house full of family suspects. Enter southern fried detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) who was given an anonymous envelope stuffed with cash to solve the case, and who always gets his man.

Knives Out comes out the door firing on all cylinders, like most murder mysteries do.


Flash editing, quick cuts, a series of suspects given a moment in the glare of the spotlight and a whodunnit to relish all pull you in to the whimsical world Johnson's set up.

Yet within moments Johnson plays a trump card, swiftly pulling the rug from under your cinematic feet, giving the film its heart and its emotional in, and signalling his intentions to subvert everything. To say more is to derail the film, but suffice to say the commitment to the story while playing with the genre tropes, and plying it with laugh-out-loud one liners makes a big difference. (An early Murder She Wrote moment is guffawable).

Slickly edited, exquisitely shot and reminiscent of Agatha Christie, Jonathan Creek and most other crime series, Johnson knows a quirky detective is the glue to hold the story together. On this charge, Daniel Craig makes for a watchable lead, a dogged investigator with a drawl.

Sure, there's the usual let's-get-everyone-together-in-one-room-to-reveal-it moment, and the multi-talented cast are too many and too sidelined in the back half of the movie, but for the large part Knives Out is a good time at the movies, a film that's not as clever as it initially thinks it is, but which commits to its premise and carries you along on a rollicking good ride.

Monday, 16 November 2020

Just Mercy: Neon NZ Review

Just Mercy: Neon NZ Review

That Just Mercy follows a conventional, cliched path for its tale of wronged black man seeking redemption is not a bad thing, but it lends the film a feeling of a lack of subtlety.

That it does it with Michael B Jordan leading the way, lends the film the agency it desperately wants from its beginning sequences to its obvious end, complete with its these are the people from the true story photos.

Just Mercy: Film Review


And yet in this quietly dignified story of Jordan's innocent lawyer, Bryan Stevenson, who, despite the exhortations of his mother who fears for his life, heads to Alabama to try and save Jamie Foxx's Walter McMillian from death row, every cliche and every dramatic beat lies in wait and is deployed when thematically necessary.

This may sound like a damnation of the film, but in truth, Just Mercy's strength derives from knowing the journey it's on, and being determined to tell it well, wrapping the whole thing up in an unshowy bow that gives it the kind of prestige sheen that won't attract awards praise, but will render its audience distraught with parts of its power.


Nuance is the order of the day with Just Mercy, and while Foxx is reduced to a side player thanks to his character's incarceration, Jordan's evident star power shines through. Sure, his lawyer doesn't resort to showmanship or tricks and ticks to get his result, but the story gifts Jordan with enough to ensure the overriding feeling is one of dignity in the face of overwhelming odds.

You've seen films like Just Mercy before - depressingly, these stories have been around from the John Grisham days to the Netflix contemporary series, and they've been told to varying degrees of success through the years. And sure, there are montages which show researching and lawyering at work, but Just Mercy does more than enough to justify its cliches, and exposes the horror of the Alabama state to the depressing maximum.

However, Just Mercy packs a powerful punch when it's needed.

An execution sequence is utterly heart-in-mouth horrifically burned into the screen, one of the few truly memorable moments from Just Mercy's overly bloated 2 hour run time that resolutely stands out and is deeply affecting. And Blake Nelson's performance as a witness in the original case gives the film a boost as it threatens to sag in its second hour.


Ultimately, Just Mercy and its depressingly familiar material is another of those has to be told tales that Hollywood occasionally does so well. What makes this one stand out though is a nuanced lead, a determination to showcase the grit under extreme pressure and the desire to lead with its earnestness.

Sunday, 15 November 2020

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon: Neon NZ Review

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon: Neon NZ Review


Director: Will Becher, Richard Phelan

It's hard to explain why A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon works so well.

From its sci-fi easter eggs to its general desire to encapsulate timeless British silliness with throwaway gags (a bull in a china shop being the best), there's something about Aardman's work that just feels iconically English, yet universally funny.

While this latest may lack the heart of the first Shaun The Sheep movie, it's lost none of the madcap charm as we return to Mossingham. With a UFO sighting in the village, the farmer decides to cash in to try and make some money to upgrade his harvester.
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon: Film Review

However, Shaun's already met the alien, and in true buddy movie mentality, sets out to get the little critter home before the shady government agencies capture him first....

From slapstick silliness to pratfalls, scifi gags that include ET, Doctor Who, a wonderful Hitchhiker's nod and a truly brilliant 2001: A Space Odyssey pastiche, A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon is family fare for everyone to enjoy.

Once again, Aardman's homed in what makes British humour so amusing, and shows once again this animation studio's spent more time than any other weaving in gags into every single frame.

Sure, under closer analysis, it does lacks the emotional edge of the 2015 debut, but it over-delivers the silliness and packs in more jokes than you can take in. A finale doesn't quite match up all the pieces, but all in all, Aardman's still delightful and determined to leave you grinning.

There's also an opening reminder of how Wallace and Gromit led the way with their Grand Day Out (even down to the robot's roots in Farmageddon), but while they may be benched due to the sad death of Peter Sallis, Shaun The Sheep has certainly got years to go - here's hoping we don't have to wait another 5 years for the next outing.

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