NZIFF ’17/03: ETHEL & ERNEST

2016; adapted and directed by Roger Mainwood; 94 mins

Just before I went to see this movie, I took in a screening of Luc Besson’s latest sci-fi extravaganza, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and watched for the best part of two and a half hours as he tried super hard to shove a whole load of “wow” down my throat. I was bored. I tried but I was bored. After that long assault on my senses, this movie came and sat down and chatted with me for 90 minutes and I was riveted. Continue reading

HUD

1963; directed by Martin Ritt; adapted by Harriet Frank Jr. and Irving Ravetch; 107 mins

How times change. Apparently, the character of Hud Bannon became sort-of a counter culture icon in the 60s because he was seen as the free-wheelin’ rebel young people wanted, thumbing his nose at tradition and the ways of the Old West. If Hud, the movie, were made now, I think young people would see him for the bastard he’s portrayed as. Continue reading

CLERKS

1994; written and directed by Kevin Smith; 88 mins

Whatever happened to the no-budget indie? In the 80s and 90s, you had a string of movies made for fuck all like The Evil Dead, Bad Taste, Pusher, Slacker and El Mariachi. Even into the early Noughties, you had things like Primer and Scott Ryan’s The Magician. Movies made with no profile whatsoever and nothing to rely on other than actual talent. Now, all we get are those fucking awful Asylum movies but nothing else seems to break through in the way they did. Strange when you think of the availability of cameras and the rise of special features on DVD and Blu-Ray. One of the shining, shitty beacons amongst all these is Clerks, the foul-mouthed, funnier and shorter B&W answer to ‘Ulysses’. Continue reading

MAN OF IRON

1981; directed by Andrzej Wajda; written by Aleksander Scibor-Rylski; 147 mins

With the passing, late last year, of director Andrzej Wajda, and with Cannes 2017 well underway, I thought it time to check out Palme d’Or winner Man of Iron – interestingly, the only sequel ever to win the prize. Previously, I had only seen Wajda’s 1958 masterpiece, Ashes and Diamonds and beyond that, my knowledge of Polish cinema is pretty poor, so let’s delve in… 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

THE UNKNOWN GIRL

2016; written and directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne; 106 mins

Receiving what was, for the Dardennes, an uncharacteristically unfavourable response at last year’s Cannes film festival and hot off their Oscar-nominated 2014 effort, Two Days, One Night, it seems that The Unknown Girl has dropped off the radar both commercially and critically. That in the background, I was prepared for disappointment… Continue reading