SCHOOL OF ROCK

2003; directed by Richard Linklater; written by Mike White; 108 mins

Here’s a rarity. An early 2000s Hollywood kids’ movie about well-to-do moppets learning to rock out that isn’t complete shite! Brought to you by a director who was (and remains) at the very apex of American indy filmmaking, coming off the back of his two most experimental films: Tape, a three-hander, shot on DV and set entirely in one room and Waking Life, a fully rotoscoped, free-form ramble through the lives and thoughts of slackers and intellectuals. Don’t forget, however, this was the man who made Dazed and Confused! If anyone was gonna make a movie about the virtues of rock – it was him! Continue reading

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INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION

1970; directed by Elio Petri; written by Elio Petri and Ugo Pirro; 115 mins

A study in Fascism from a Communist director and a then-Communist star, Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto) is a dark, perverse forgotten gem. A satirical look at one man’s sadomasochistic desire to be humiliated, be it in the bedroom or in the full glare of his empire. Continue reading

AIRPLANE!

1980; written and directed by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker; 88 mins

It’s telling that even in star Julie Hagerty’s IMDb bio, the writer seems to rue the fact that she got her start in a comedy. It’s a strange thing about comedies that they’re not treated with the respect that dramas get and yet, as someone who does stand-up, I would argue, it’s much harder to make someone laugh than it is to make someone think. All comedy requires at least a modicum of thought and thence, hopefully, laughter. Perhaps this is why that twat Woody Allen got such an easy ride for his chin-stroker comedy*. Sub-par dramas will get an easy ride if they give off the appearance of trying to make an audience think about something… but comedy? It ain’t enough to give the appearance of trying to make people laugh. In a way – fair enough – but d’you you see my point? Continue reading

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S

1961; directed by Blake Edwards; adapted by George Axelrod; 115 mins

[Spoilers]

And I said; ‘what about breakfast at Tiffany’s?‘ She said; ‘I think I remember the song and as I recall I think we both kinda remembered the film and it was a touch unsavoury to our modern sensibilities but then, as it turns out, audiences didn’t like Mickey Rooney’s racist Japanese character back then either”… as I believe is how the song goes, if memory serves. Continue reading

THE WAILING

2016; written and directed by Na Hong-jin; 156 mins

[Mild spoilers]

Ho-ly Jesus – this is good! Na Hong-jin’s previous films, The Chaser and The Yellow Sea, were quite something. He was compared to Michael Mann which was a justified appraisal from the off. His films were flawed but pretty damn near that mark. It was obvious, though, that Na had a great film in him and this is it! Us fans have had to wait six years but The Wailing was well worth the wait! Continue reading

LETHAL WEAPON 2

1989; directed by Richard Donner; Written by Jeffrey Boam, Shane Black and Warren Murphy; 114 mins

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and so this must’ve seemed par for the course back when it came out but looking at these older Hollywood crime flicks, it amazes me just how damn good they really are. This isn’t going to be a review about how everything is shit now, though. We’re going through a really great period of action films with things like The Raid, John Wick, The Bourne movies and Atomic Blonde but films like Lethal Weapon 2 do have a something that the new ones don’t. Continue reading

I SURVIVED A ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST

2014; written and directed by Guy Pigden; 94 mins

An Otago zombie movie. In most NZ movies nowadays, I’ll know one or two of the crew but to actually watch a film that features people I knew from Film school, people I do stand-up with and people I know from the pub… is quite a different thing entirely. Just putting that on the table. Any review where you know the people involved is compromised but thankfully I can say that, on the whole, I liked it. Continue reading