Death Proof posterI have it on good authority that Quentin Tarantino gave his personal permission for the Film Festival to screen the complete Grindhouse exploitation double-feature as he and Robert Rodriguez intended, despite it being yanked early from American cinemas due to dismal box office: however Roadshow intervened to prevent the screening and the only way NZ audiences can see Grindhouse will be on DVD at some future time. That big screen experience has been replaced by an expanded version of Tarantino’s Death Proof, opening today at Readings and Sky City Queensgate. The tale of a crazed stuntman (Kurt Russell) stalking two sets of beautiful women including kiwi stuntie Zoe Bell and Sydney Poitier, Death Proof looks like more of that patented Tarantino-like fun.

The rest of this week’s new releases after the jump…

We’re Here To Help is a little kiwi movie based on the true story of Dave Henderson, the Christchurch businessman who took on the might of the IRD, lost, and then won. The film stars ex-pat kiwi Erik Thomson as Henderson with Michael Hurst as Rodney Hide. Empire Island Bay, Rialto and the mighty Embassy.

Robert Redford returns to the director’s chair for the first time since The Legend of Bagger Vance in 2000 with Lions for Lambs, a heavy-hitting drama about US politics and the type of manipulations that took them to war in Iraq. Described as “an ethics lecture” by one IMDb commenter it stars Redford himself, Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise and plays at Readings, Rialto, Penthouse and Sky City Queensgate.

The Joy Division movie that is actually about the band Joy Division opens today at Rialto and Paramount. Control is the first film directed by famed rock photographer Anton Corbijn and has been acclaimed as the best british film of the year by many critics. Arriving unheralded this week is a film called The Last Trapper, a documentary about a year in the life of 50 year old trapper Norman Winter, who lives in the wilds of Canada. He lives a simple life hunting and fishing, with Nebaska, a Nahanni Indian and that’s all I know, except its a Penthouse exclusive.

Finally, the third annual DOCNZ documentary festival gets under way at both Regent-on-Manners and the Paramount today – the official web site is here and there should be something for everyone despite the idiotic marketing material.

The usual story applies: all these apart from DOCNZ which I don’t have time for will be reviewed at Funerals & Snakes next Wednesday (and in print at the Capital Times).