Monday, 23 May 2022
Sunday, 22 May 2022
What's on Shudder in June
Revealer sees tensions rise when a stripper and religious protester are trapped together in a peep show booth and must come together to survive the apocalypse in 1980s Chicago
Upon receiving a mysterious letter that her mother’s grave site has been vandalised, in Offseason, Marie (Jocelin Donahue, Doctor Sleep) quickly returns to the isolated offshore island where her late
Mad God marks the feature directorial debut for visionary and Oscar and Emmy Award-winning stop-motion animator and special effects supervisor Phil Tippett, the creative powerhouse involved in such
On the eve of their one-year wedding anniversary, Jules and Jackie become embroiled in a merciless fight for their lives when they find themselves pitted against the most unexpected of adversaries: each other.
Alligator II: The Mutation
An alien of unknown origin arrives on Earth in search of human prey. Taking the form of the perfect female specimen (played by Scarlett Johansson), she prowls the streets looking for men to lure into her otherworldly lair. Her victims are seduced, stripped of their skin, and never heard from again. But as time passes, she grows too comfortable in her borrowed skin, placing her very survival at risk.
Based on the classic ghost story, The Woman in Black tells the tale of Arthur Kipps(Daniel Radcliffe), a lawyer who is forced to leave his young son and travel to a remote village to attend to the affairs of the recently deceased owner of Eel Marsh House. Working alone in the old mansion, Kipps begins to uncover the town’s tragic and tortured secrets and his fears escalate when he discovers that local children have been disappearing under mysterious circumstances. When those closest to him become threatened by the vengeful woman in black, Kipps must find a way to break the cycle of terror.
Wolf Creek 2
The Bye Bye Man
Saturday, 21 May 2022
What's on DocPlay in June
Having escaped starvation and tyranny in their homeland of Zimbabwe, four refugees have conquered the odds to become South Africa's top sommeliers. Driven by relentless optimism, a passion for their craft and unshakeable national pride, they form Zimbabwe’s first ever wine tasting team and set their sights on the coveted title of ‘World Wine Tasting Champions’. From the moment they arrive in France to compete, this team of mavericks turns an establishment of privilege and tradition on its head. A truly uplifting documentary that celebrates just how irrepressible the human spirit can be.
With the country in economic crisis, long-time Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is ousted in a 2017 coup by then-Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Prior to the ensuing and bitter election, 40-year-old lawyer Nelson Chamisa steps in as opposition leader. There are death threats against the charismatic but relatively inexperienced Chamisa, and he's forced into hiding. Election foul play is suspected, results are delayed and activists hit the streets. Nielsson's documentary won a Sundance Special Jury Award for Verité Filmmaking – just weeks after the storming of the US Capitol. The disgraceful response to America's 2020 election reverberates throughout PRESIDENT. A timely reminder of what democracy means and how hard it is to reclaim once lost.
After graduating from college, young idealist Will Allen joined a spiritual community filled with like minded people looking for some answers to the basic questions of life, led by a charismatic but secretive guru. Camera in hand, Allen documented 20 years of living inside this community, showing how his idealism began to unravel as more is revealed about the true nature of this cult. Speaking out publicly for the first time, and with unprecedented and unparalleled access, Holy Hell is a descent into a world no one, not even its participants, could have imagined.
Bar Talks by Schumann
Friday, 20 May 2022
To Olivia: Movie Review
Thursday, 19 May 2022
The Innocents: Movie Review
Wednesday, 18 May 2022
Nobody Has To Know: Movie Review
Tuesday, 17 May 2022
The Northman: Movie Review
Monday, 16 May 2022
David Tennant and Catherine Tate to return to Doctor Who
Sunday, 15 May 2022
Uncharted: Blu Ray Review
Naughty Dog's cinematically-led adventure series traverses the world, essentially creating an Indiana Jones style video game that mines both the emotion and the depth of a character that's gripped a generation of gamers.
By contrast, the Uncharted movie seems to tick some of the game's boxes, but does it in a soulless way that betrays some of the talent involved, and despite a cliffhanger post credits scene, seems to be in uncharted waters for any potential sequel.
Tom Holland is Nathan Drake, a bartender blessed with plenty of historical knowledge and who crosses paths with Mark Wahlberg's Victor "Sully" Sullivan who entices him into an adventure that hints at revealing something of his long-missing brother, Sam.
However, as Nate and Sully head off to find the truth about Magellan's missing gold, Antonio Banderas' villainous Santiago Moncada steps into the frame, determined to claim his birthright.
Uncharted is relatively pacy for its 2 hour run time, and borrows liberally from iconic sequences from the game within the first 10 minutes, but as it begins to play out, there's a distinct feeling that this would-be adventure is lacking in spirit and chutzpah, preferring to play it safe, rather than maybe taking a few risks.
There's clearly a love for the source material here, with traps, sleuthing, nods to the game, and a beachside cameo for fans, but there's a distinct lack of chemistry between Wahlberg and Holland's characters, which would have given the movie a bit of badly-needed sparkle.
The one silver lining is Sophia Ali's Chloe Fraser, a fellow treasure hunter whose loyalties can't easily be guessed and who's clearly having a blast, playing a hard-as nails character whose agency doesn't rely on any of the male leads.
She's one of the only things that injects some life into some truly flat sequences - not even Holland's usual charisma can pull the film out of the "merely adequate" territory it finds itself in. Banderas is utterly wasted and underused, making a villain that's about as villainous as a chocolate bar.
That's half the trouble with Uncharted - it's frustratingly close to what could have been at times - as a post credits scene hints at - but spends most of the film zipping by its planned narrative stops rather than taking time to create a brand new mythology and subsequent franchise that's worth revisiting.
Saturday, 14 May 2022
Win a Top Gun: Maverick prize pack
Friday, 13 May 2022
Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival announces first films for 2022
Thursday, 12 May 2022
Belfast: Blu Ray Review
It's hard to know if Kenneth Branagh's nostalgia-tinged ripped-from-my-childhood Belfast is such a simplistic film because it's supposed to be viewed through the eyes of a child, or because there is little depth in its script, which is set against the backdrop of the Cathotic and Protestant troubles in 1960s Ireland.
Fortunately, Branagh's black and white tinged view of things is sumptuous enough on the eyes - even if its nourishment is lacking for the soul.
Newcomer Jude Hill plays Buddy, whose world is fighting with bin lids and make-believe swords and whose nights are filled with the first series of Star Trek and High Noon, as well as trips to the local cinema.
Buddy lives in a world of innocence and naivete but is treading tenderly into reality with catching snatched conversations of financial tensions between his ma and pa (Balfe, the solid performer of the film and Dornan, watchable but unspectacular) and facing the reality of his beloved Pop (Ciaran Hinds) having to go into hospital for issues with his lungs.
Against the barricades going up in Belfast, Buddy lives day to day - whether it's trying to get the attention of a girl in his class, or being involved in scrapes that he initially doesn't want to be part of.
Belfast feels like a cross between Roma, Moone Boy and Derry Girls, albeit one that's being lovingly fused together with the hue of nostalgia. But its execution feels piecemeal, and seems to be more about capturing a feeling and atmosphere of being a child in a turbulent time, rather than the drama of being caught in the whirlwind.
Belfast does little to transcend the usual coming-of-age tropes, but a slickly shot sheen helps to sell it as something a bit different (even if it's stuffed with excessive Van Morrison-laden syrupy montages) and gives it the hue it's aiming for.
While Hill is round-cheeked and wide-eyed enough to rank up there with Martin Moone, Belfast belongs solely to Outlander's Caitriona Balfe who leads from the front, even when the subtlety is distinctly lacking. Fused with charisma, heart and honesty, it's Balfe that makes the film work - and sells some of the improbabilities. (Such as marching the kids back into the middle of a riot and shoplifting spree to return goods.)
But it's in the intentions that Belfast seems a bit lost.
It may open with colourful cloud-level vistas of the city now, before peeking over a wall and then lapsing into the past (a bravura directorial moment), but Branagh's film follows most of the conventions and avoids the darkness of the Troubles in the city. It's high on sentiment and intent, rather than execution and while it's winningly filled with comedic moments, and blasts of the past, it's nothing more than a crowd-pleasing blanket of comfort feeling that audiences will be left with.
Wednesday, 11 May 2022
Jackass Forever: Blu Ray Review
In Ancient Greece, they had athletes at the peak of their fitness competing for glory.
In Ancient Rome they had gladiators, fighting for survival and honour in front of coliseums full of spectators waiting to be entertained.
And in the 2000s the MTV generation had The Jackass crew putting their bodies - mainly their scrotum - on the line for your entertainment.
So ask yourself - with the fourth film finally here a decade from the last - are you not entertained?
The answer is sort of - if you’re into broing, having a drink with some mates and enjoying schadenfreude while someone else endures the pain you don't have to.
Sticking with a largely unchanged formula and crew, a greying Johnny Knoxville is the ringmaster of the cruel, the clown prankster leading his merry men and 1 solitary woman into battle - and never too far from deploying a taser to his male adolescent colleagues before collapsing in rasping laughter.
How funny you will find the escalating humiliation depends on your puerile propensity for penises being targeted, various fart gags, and endless wedgies.
Jackass Forever is not a precise sport, it’s a growing exercise in enduring cruelty as the older performers find themselves in peril inflicted on them by their peers - and don't even get yourself started on how much torture the animals involved have to endure (regardless of how humanely the film decries they were treated.)
In fact it’s a tribute to the horror of peer pressure, a warning about the lengths men will go to for the acceptance of those around them.
While there are the series’ first black and female performers, this collection of circus freaks exist only to entertain - and to make you feel good that it’s not your penis being forced to endure countless bees. This is not exactly anything other than the Jackass formula of low-hanging fruit, delivered in slow agonising HD and replayed for your joy.
A couple of set pieces bookend proceedings and bring some of the camaraderie that’s largely missing from just what is no more than a series of sketches loosely hung together, that must have seemed like a good idea at the time but in execution fail to fully live up to their potential.
There are telling moments though when the bravado falters making the danger feel more real. None more so than when one is slathered in honey and salmon and a bear is unleashed into the room when he's chained to the chair, and his so-called pals have deserted him.
Equally, there's a sense of mortality when performers are warned about the dangers of a rattlesnake, then tricked into being locked in a room, with the lights turned off, and various attempts to convince them they've been bitten play out.
In truth, the pranks involving the public work better because of the reaction of all involved; the more scripted and the more self-centred the action becomes, the more the film stutters. Though, it's pleasing to see Knoxville humbled by a bull, given a broken wrist, concussion and knocked out pursuing a replay of a stunt from some 20 years ago.
“Twenty years later, we’re still doing the same stupid shit,” Knoxville cries at one point, underlying maybe the joke on the audience and themselves. So, ask yourselves as this hits the cinema - are you not entertained? Because the moral of Jackass Forever is the more you see these performers doing it, it's highly likely they'll do it and debases themselves again for your pleasure - as depressing a prospect as that is.
Tuesday, 10 May 2022
Avatar: The Way of the Water teaser trailer
Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, “Avatar: The Way of Water” begins to tell the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri, and their kids), the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure. Directed by James Cameron and produced by Cameron and Jon Landau, the film stars Zoe Saldana, Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Cliff Curtis, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Edie Falco, Jemaine Clement and Kate Winslet.
To whet audiences’ appetites, the studio will re-release “Avatar” in cinemas on September 22.
Monday, 9 May 2022
Ukrainian Film Festival launches in New Zealand
THE INGLORIOUS SERFS (SCREENING AS PART OF THE UFF NZ ON JUNE 12, 2022)
Ncuti Gatwa is the 14th Doctor Who
Sunday, 8 May 2022
Ghostbusters: Afterlife: Blu Ray Review
Saturday, 7 May 2022
C'Mon C'Mon: DVD Review
There's an interesting dichotomy at the heart of C'Mon C'Mon, Mike Mills' paean to childhoods lost, and futures hoped for.
Joaquin Phoenix plays Johnny, an interviewer who trudges around the country talking to kids about their hopes and dreams for the future, while trying to reconcile his own past fractious relationship with his sister, Viv (Gaby Hoffmann).
When Viv has to leave to take care of her son's father's mental issues, Johnny naively offers to take her kid Jesse (Woody Norman) under his wing, believing it will be easy to do. However, as Johnny reconnects with his sister over their difficult relationship with their once-ailing mother, he finds Jesse challenging him at every turn, forcing a re-examination of his own beliefs.
Occasionally meandering, and a little overlong for nothing more than a 3-hander film, C'Mon C'Mon, shot in its monochrome colour scheme, is a film that may try your patience.
While Phoenix is mellow, and Norman is prodigious (rightly Oscar-nominated), the vibe of the film takes a little while to settle in as it builds its almost elegaic and fragile atmosphere.
There's nothing new in a main character being forced to revaluate themselves at the hands of a kid, but Mike Mills takes time to slowly stoke the quietly burning fires among the self-analysis of what life is about, and the ups and downs of parenting.
With its "nobody knows what they're doing they just have to keep doing it" ethos, the film soars when it uses real life interviews with children who reveal the fragility of their outlook in the 21st Century. Children in New Orleans provide more fascinating insights than the normal city-based ones interviewed, but none lack the validity of their hopes and dreams.
It may be an extended babysitting film, and a film about listening to all around you as well as yourself, but C'Mon C'Mon never wallows in preachiness, even as a degree of pomposity creeps in when Johnny starts interviewing himself and recording his feelings. Thankfully, the relaxed Phoenix can sell that side of the narrative with ease, removing subtly any claims of pretentiousness.
However, an over-reliance on voiceover and flashbacks slows the already glacial pace, and pushes C'Mon C'Mon dangerously close toward overindulgence territory from the Beginners and 20th Century Woman director.
Ultimately, C'Mon C'Mon is saved by a delicate Phoenix and a precocious outstanding new child talent - it may not be to everyone's taste, but the reflective vibe is a soothing balm for mentally fragile times.
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