Thursday, November 29, 2012

Love Story

Director: Florian Habicht

Starring: Masha Yakovenko, Florian Habicht, Frank Habicht

A romantic comedy set in New York City from the avant-garde, Kiwi filmmaker Florian Habicht (Kaikohe Demolition and Land of the Long White Cloud). Delightfully quirky he manages to convince virtual strangers to play roles for the camera in a patchwork love story. Habicht sees a woman (Masha Yakovenko) walking on the streets holding a plate with a piece of cake on it and introduces himself. He persuades her to be part of his film. Script less the plot develops on the fly and with the help of his father (in real life) via Skype, cinematographer Maria Ines Manchego, and the extroverted denizens of New York City Habicht cobbles together a movie which is randomly nuts, hilarious and touchingly funny. Wonderfully absurd with a cool score this is well worth a watch.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

God Bless America

Director: Bobcat Goldthwait

Starring: Joel Murray, Mackenzie Brooke Smith, Tara Lynne Barr

A revenge comedy fantasy about a middle-aged divorcee, Frank (Joel Murray), who goes on a killing spree, joined by teenage malcontent, Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr). The concept is bold and black with occasional flashes of brilliance and shock value. However in light of recent events the movie’s appeal maybe somewhat lessened .


Director: Ben Wheatley

Starring: Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Eileen Davies

A black comedy involving a bumbling Birmingham couple’s caravan tour through Yorkshire. Tina (Alice Lowe) and Chris (Steve Oram) set out for a adult holiday much to the consternation of Tina’s infirm mother, Carol (Eileen Davies). Soon the romantic getaway descends into black farce after Chris reveals his disturbing pathological impulse and Tina keen to pleasure her man unleashes her inner sadomasochism . Funny and perturbing the road movie is similar to Mike Leigh’s Nuts in May 91976) only more violent.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Liberal Arts

Director: Josh Radnor

Starring: Allison Janney, Elizabeth Olsen, Elizabeth Reaser, Josh Radnor, Michael Weston, Richard Jenkins, Zac Efron

A charming romantic film about ageing. Thirty something Jesse (Josh Radnor) meets and clicks with Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen), a 19 year old student when he goes to the retirement celebrations of his favourite college professor Peter Hoberg (Richard Jenkins). Meantime Jesse still has a crush on one of his old lecturers, an elegant older woman called Prof Judith Fairfield (Allison Janney); and Hoberg becomes irked when he realises Jesse is coming up to college regularly but not to see him. All the major characters are having issues with their age and stage in life but as relationships develop they all grow up one way or another. The movie is funny.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Late Quartet

Director: Yaron Zilberman

Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken, Mark Ivanir, Catherine Keener

Not to be confused with The Quartet although they do explore similar themes. The Fugue is a famous chamber quartet from New York but on the eve of their 26th season cellist Peter Mitchell (Christopher Walken) informs his colleagues he suffering from Parkinson's disease and plans to retire. The other members of Quartet (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, and Mark Ivanir) are devastated at the grim news. The stress begins to show as the group begin to implode. Slow moving and over talky this is pure arthouse. Good performances and excellent soundtrack.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Rise of the Guardians

Direction: Peter Ramsey

Voicing: North (aka Santa - Alec Baldwin), Tooth (aka Tooth Fairy - Isla Fisher), Easter Bunny (aka E. Astor Bunnymund -Hugh Jackman), Jack Frost (voiced by Chris Pine), and the silent but powerful Sandman.

What have the Tooth Fairy, Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny got in common? They are all part of the Immortal Guardians determined to stop the villainous, rotter Pitch (Jude Law) and his “night mares” (shadowy dark horse figures that gallop in the darkness) and their dastardly plot to rid the world of magic and hope. Will mischievious Jack Frost (voiced by Chris Pine) join the dark forces or become a goodie ? Well you need to see this movie to find out. Another 3 D Dream Works marvel and a heart warming and exciting animated feature it is. Will suit all believers in Santa.

Red Dawn

Director: Dan Bradley

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Adriaane Palicki, Isobel Lucas, Connor Cruise, Jeffrey Dean Morgan

A remake of John Milius 1984 movie. Teenagers put up armed resistance to an occupying force which invades their community. Originally it was All American kids versus the Commies movie (hence the title) but nearly three decades on the enemy is the North Koreans. Vet, Jed Eckert (Chris Hemsworth) leads the freedom fighters called the Wolverines and with the help of Matt (Josh Peck), Toni (Adrianne Palicki), and Daryl (Connor Cruise), as they foight tooth and nail in this rooting, tooting shooting movie. Outgunned and outnumbered the young partisans from their wooded hideout take their best shot. So so.


Director: Dustin Hoffman

Starring: Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins, Michael Gambon

If you have ever wondered where old performers go to spend their eventide years then wonder no more because Quartet has the answer. Based on a play by Ronald Harwood set in a plush retirement home for musicians, Beacham House faces financial ruin but the solution lies with the residents. For the once-celebrated operatic quartet has been reunited and if convinced to reform could save the day. To hilarious effect Jean (Maggie Smith), Reg (Tom Courtenay), ageing lecture Wilf (Billy Connolly) and the sweetly demented Sissy (Pauline Collins) all come together after years of separation for a reunion concert to celebrate Verdi's birthday. There are of course a lot of old scores to settle first (and I don’t mean music). Smashing performances from an all star cast and if you enjoyed the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel then this is for you. Directed by Dustin Hoffman with Michael Gambon as Cedric thrown on for good measure.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

American Mary

Director: Jen and Sylvia Soska

Starring: Katherine Isabelle, Tristan Risk , Twan Holliday Antonio Cupo , Jen and Sylvia Soska

Medical student, Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle) wants to be a surgeon but when she realises she cannot afford she takes to stripping to continue her studies. When club owner Billy Barker (Antonio Cupo) discovers her background he offers her a bundle of cash to perform illegal surgery down in the basement. Mary is soon elbows deep in the murky community of extreme body modification. Evil brings its rewards but at what a cost. Written and directed by a pair of twin sisters from Vancouver, American Mary is easily one of the most fascinating horror stories since Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. Katharine Isabelle is wonderful as the fascinating Bloody Mary but the movie is not for the faint hearted.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Robot & Frank

Director: Jake Schreier

Starring: Frank Langella, James Marsden, voice of Peter Sarsgaard, Susan Sarandon

A retired jewel thief (Frank Langella) is presented with a robot caregiver (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) by his son (James Marsden). Wary at first the old man begins sereptiously to explore the robot’s abilities in lock-picking and safecracking. Under the watchful eyes of the local librarian (Susan Sarandon) the two plan a heist. The subject is not unfamiliar and similar in sentiment to Bicentennial Man (1999) but does have a contemporary feel with the potential for robotics and Alzheimer's disease. Funny and hopeful.