CARLITO’S WAY

1993; directed by Brian De Palma; adapted by David Koepp; 134 mins

I’m on and off with Brian De Palma, love Mission: Impossible, Redacted: crap. His 1983 gangster epic, Scarface, starring Al Pacino didn’t really work for me. People say Carlito’s Way is Scarface‘s sober cousin but Braindead looks sober compared to that film! This is still big, brash, slick, stylised movie-making with big emotions, big scores and big violence… but I really liked it! Continue reading

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FREE FIRE

2016; directed by Ben Wheatley; written by Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley; 86 mins

So, we didn’t see this one in NZ cinemas because apparently no one would want to see a bunch of stars in a slam bang, feature-length action exploitation flick, presented by Martin Scorsese. No one. You couldn’t sell that! Much like Kiwi distributors didn’t bother selling Wheatley’s previous film, High-Rise, a big dystopian sci-fi starring Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Elisabeth Moss and Luke Evans and they didn’t so the same with Midnight Special, American Honey, Inherent Vice and countless other top-notch US and UK, director-led genre movies (to say nothing of the scores of foreign language films that don’t even get a look-in) and I am fucking sick of this! Continue reading

NZIFF ’17/11: LOVELESS

2017; directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev; written by Oleg Negin and Andrey Zvyagintsev; 127 mins

I remember flying over Russia once and being struck by the fact that I couldn’t see the sea. For miles and miles, there was just uninhabited green and the idea of landing in it was more terrifying than ditching in the ocean. Russian cinema often has that feel, for me. Vast, empty, agoraphobic spaces filled with harsh, deep-voiced people. Loveless takes this trend to the nth degree and – much like Michael Haneke’s Amour turned out to be a strait-laced look at undying love – Zvyagintsev gives us an equally harrowing look at the drowning effects of it’s absence. Continue reading

JASPER JONES

2017; directed by Rachel Perkins; adapted by Shaun Grant and Craig Silvey; 105 mins

Here’s a really good little movie that continues the case for Australian cinema as a distinctive voice all of it’s own and a sorely underappreciated corner of the movies. Although, one could make that case for Australasian cinema in general. Halfway through this year, the three films that really stuck out ahead of the pack, for me, were all Kiwi flicks: One Thousand Ropes, Pork Pie and Pecking Order. Our mates across the ditch do a pretty good job too. With this, Hotel Coolgardie and Vanuatu’s Oscar nominee, Tanna, it’s shaping up to be a bloody good vintage for the continent! Continue reading

LE CERCLE ROUGE

1970; written and directed by Jean-Pierre Melville; 135 mins

The penultimate film of Melville‘s career is a crime movie that precedes Fargo with it’s opening bullshit text. Utilising a made up story with Buddha saying something unfathomable; “Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, drew a circle with a piece of red chalk and said: ‘when men, even unknowingly, are to meet one day, whatever may befall each, whatever the diverging paths, on the said day, they will inevitably come together in the red circle.'” Continue reading

POOR COW

1967; directed by Kenneth Loach; adapted by Nell Dunn and Kenneth Loach; 101 mins

As we walked out of the screening of this film, my Mum and I were talking about the menu board outside the seaside cafe with all it’s offerings of offal and we started talking about the various accompaniments for chips such as curry sauce or gravy or cheese and then moved to the best meal of all time: faggots, chips and mushy peas! Continue reading