Cinephilia: Opening This Week

by Dan on August 6, 2009

Separation City posterI thought I’d come out of hiding for a moment to trumpet the first Wellington feature film to get a decent release in ages, Separation City. Even though you have to go a long way down the cast list on IMDb to find a Wellington actor (Grant Roa coming in at number 12) the trailer contains enough glimpses of Wellington landmarks to set audience tongues wagging and get some early traction at the box office. Written by Wellington fixture (Dom-Post cartoonist, former Press Gallery journalist, playwright) Tom Scott it’s a "painful lesson about how unrequited love lasts forever and while requited love comes with a use-by date" according to the press material.

Two of the overseas leads have worked in New Zealand before: Rhona Mitra was a leather-clad vampire in the misbegotten Underworld Rise of the Lycans earlier this year and German Thomas Kretschmann played the captain of The Venture in Peter Jackson’s King Kong. Separation City can be found just about anywhere from today: Readings, Empire, Penthouse, Embassy, Lighthouse Petone.

[The rest of this week’s new releases after the jump.]

For something a little more disposable you might like to try G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra which is another attempt to turn a beloved toy and tv series into a franchise. Stephen Sommers is at the helm – he made the first two Mummy pictures as well as Van Helsing so you know in advance the sort of thing you’re going to get here. Interesting casting – Joseph Gordon-Levitt who has gone from "Third Rock from the Sun" to indie darling (Mysterious Skin, Brick) to bona fide movie star (the forthcoming 500 Days of Summer). Readings, Empire, Regent-on-Manners and Embassy.

Henry Selick’s stop-motion 3D masterpiece Coraline opens this weekend, at least it’s in 3D at Readings. The rest of the city (Paramount, Empire and Penthouse) get it in flat old 2D which I can tell you is not the same at all.

With the film still warm from running through the Embassy projector at the Film Festival, Coco Avant Chanel returns for its wide release. Audrey Tautou stars as the fashion doyen: Penthouse and Lighthouse Petone.

The Paramount has scrounged up an obscure Daniel Craig film this week: Flashbacks of a Fool features Craig as a washed-up actor in Hollywood, looking back on a troubled childhood. This one was new to me so I have nothing more to add.

Finally, the Lighthouse Petone has a few screenings of a locally made doco, Earth Whisperers/Papatuanuku. Featuring ten New Zealanders who are taking a positive approach to fixing our damaged environment, a lot of the film was shot by the great Al Bollinger.

Coraline has already been reviewed at the Capital Times (and on Nine to Noon), reviews of the others will appear in the paper on Wednesday and online at Funerals & Snakes soonish (I’m a bit behind in my posting).

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