Cinephilia: Opening This Week

Run Fatboy Run posterThe Festival of the Arts has been soaking up almost every spare minute of my working day so this is going to be a bare bones update.My highlight: Simon “Shaun of the Dead” Pegg back on screen in Run Fatboy Run about a marriage-shy waster who tries to win the love of his life (Thandie Newton) back by running the London Marathon. Readings, Empire, Regent-on-Manners, Lighthouse Petone, Penthouse.

For the kids who like those dance-as-a-substitute-for-gang-warfare movies we have Step Up 2 The Streets, sequel to the massive 2006 hit that launched Channing Tatum on an unsuspecting world. He returns for the sequel. Readings only.

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

Cinephilia: Opening This Week

The Other Boleyn Girl posterAfter the excitement of the pre-Oscar rush it’s another quiet week at the cinema. Opening all over town (that’s Readings, Empire, Penthouse, Regent-on-Manners and Lighthouse Petone) is the historical drama The Other Boleyn Girl featuring the dream team of Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson along with Eric Bana as ‘Enery the Eighth.

Even more historical (at least in terms of distance if not accuracy) is 10,000 B.C. which stars our own Cliff Curtis as a character called Tic’Tic (I kid you not). Directed by Independence Day‘s Roland Emmerich, 10,000 B.C. was partially filmed in New Zealand last year and tells the story of a young mammoth hunter’s desperate efforts to save his tribe. There’s no sign of Raquel Welch but Camilla Belle (When a Stranger Calls) comes off the bench to play eye-candy: Readings and Regent-on-Manners.

If neither of these take your fancy, there are sneak previews again this weekend of the Simon Pegg rom-com Run Fatboy Run (directed by his good mate David Schwimmer). You’ll find that at Readings, Empire, Regent-on-Manners and Penthouse today, Saturday and Sunday only.

All three of these titles will be reviewed at Funerals & Snakes next Wednesday (and in the Capital Times on the same day). Meanwhile, tickets have gone on sale for the 2008 World Cinema Showcase which is an absolute doozy this year – a worthy competitor to the main Festival. And the Film Society got under way on Monday which must mean that Summer is nearly over.

Cinephilia: Opening This Week

Just in time for the weekend, here’s a quick run down of the films opening this week in cinemas across town.

Lady Chatterely poster Returning from last year’s Film Festival is Lady Chatterley, a French adaptation of an earlier (“kinder, gentler” according to Ebert) version of D. H. Lawrence’s famous erotic novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover. It sounds like it could have been titled There Will Be Sex: Rialto only.

Also returning, but from the more recent French Film Festival is big-budget costume drama Molière, about the great dramatist played by Romain Duris.That one is a Penthouse exclusive.

Finally this week, 300‘s Gerard Butler romances Hilary Swank from the dead in P.S., I Love You. Described by one reviewer as having a “high ick factor”. Readings and Regent-on-Manners.

All these films will be reviewed at Funerals & Snakes by next Wednesday (and in the Capital Times on the same day).

Cinephilia: Opening This Week

Rescue Dawn posterIn 1998 Werner Herzog made an acclaimed documentary called Little Dieter Needs to Fly about German-born Vietnam hero Dieter Dengler and his adventures as a US Navy pilot. He obviously had a big connection to that story as he has now gone back and made a feature about the most amazing chapter of Dengler’s life: the escape from a jungle-bound Viet Cong prison camp after 6 months of near starvation. The Dark Knight’s Christian Bale stars. Rialto exclusive.

Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman star together as two old men on their last legs in The Bucket List, directed by Rob Reiner. It opens today at Readings, Empire, Lighthouse Petone and Penthouse. Also, from the commercial department is teleporting adventure Jumper starring Hayden Christensen and Samuel L. Jackson. Rumours that the proposed sequels to Jumper will be called Sweater and Pullover are simply reckless. Readings, Empire, Regent-on-Manners.

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

Cinephilia: Opening This Week

Dewey Cox posterIt’s a quiet week for quality releases so you can all go to No Country for Old Men. Alternatively, if you’ve already done that or want a palate cleansing in advance of There Will Be Blood, you can check out comedy-thriller-romance Fool’s Gold at Readings, Regent or Sky City Queensgate. Matthew McConaughey reunites with Kate Hudson (How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days) as an estranged couple who reunite to search for sunken treasure (as you do). Donald Sutherland and Ray Winstone are the good actors lending their name to the project.

John C. Reilly goes from sidekick (Talladega Nights, The Aviator) to front and centre in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Reilly plays the eponymous rocker in a biopic that follows his up and down career across five decades and spoofs classics like Ray and Walk the Line. Written by Judd Apatow (Knocked Up and The 40 Year Old Virgin), Walk Hard opened yesterday (Waitangi Day special) at Readings, Regent-on-Manners, Empire and Sky City Queensgate.

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

Cinephilia: Opening This Week

200801311444.jpgAs we approach the apex of the international awards season the biggest week for quality cinema releases in memory is upon us. With 8 Oscar nominations, the Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men leads the pack and opens today at Readings, Lighthouse Petone, Paramount, Sky City Queensgate and the Embassy. Based on a Cormac McCarthy gothic crime novel, No Country reportedly sees the Coen’s back in their finest form since Fargo . Josh Brolin (American Gangster) plays a hunter who stumbles on a suitcase full of money and decides to keep it. He doesn’t realise that one of the biggest badasses in screen history (Javier Bardem) is coming to get him – and the money.

George Clooney as Best Actor is one of seven Oscar nominations gained for Michael Clayton, a paranoia-thriller about a corporate fixer who uncovers a plot that cannot end well for his clients – or for him. Written and directed by first-timer Tony Gilroy (co-writer of the Bourne trilogy), Michael Clayton brings to mind 70s classics like The Parallax View and Three Days of the Condor (directed by Sydney Pollack who stars in Michael Clayton). Readings, Empire, Lighthouse Petone, Penthouse and Sky City Queensgate.

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

Wellingtonista on the Wheels of Steel

VBC logoSpinning the platters that matter on VBC from 7 to 9 tonight on behalf of the Wellingtonista will be… Dan S.

Hardy souls happy to be enraged or enlightened by some blasts from the past (many tunes will be conjured from actual vinyl artifacts) can tune in on 88.3FM or by visiting where they will stream the content direct to your PC speakers. I’ll try and make a recording of the show for podcast conversion but, in the likely event I am consumed by panic, I make no guarantees.

Stephen’s intro to version 2.0 still applies:

The show will go from 7 – 9 pm, NZDT (GMT+13). The studio line is +64 4 463 9994 if you feel like ringing up and abusing/encouraging me.

Cinephilia: Opening This Week

200801241353.jpgThere are at least two crackers in this week’s line-up. Firstly, Johnny Depp re-unites with Tim Burton for faithful adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s acclaimed musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Depp is in his finest form (despite not having a Broadway-strength voice) and is joined by a wonderful cast including Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall and Sacha Baron Cohen. Readings, Empire, Sky City Quensgate.

“The West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin returns to DC to script Charlie Wilson’s War: the true story of a renegade but principled playboy Congressman (Tom Hanks) who almost single-handedly funded the Afghan resistance to the Soviet invasion in the 1980s. I was surprised to see this wasn’t nominated for an Oscar in the Best Adapted Screenplay category but Philip Seymour Hoffman is in there as Supporting Actor for his excellent turn as impolitic CIA operative Gust Avrakotos. You can see this one at the Embassy, Readings and Sky City Queensgate.

[The rest of this week’s new release summarised after the jump…]

Cinephilia: Opening This Week

Cloverfield posterAfter a few weeks off listing new releases I’m returning to record a typically eccentric mix of blockbuster and art-house for you to while away those long, balmy summer evenings.

First up is Oscar-winner Ang Lee’s first film since Brokeback Mountain, an erotic espionage thriller set in wartime Shanghai. Already nominated in last week’s Golden Globes Lust, Caution is a Paramount exclusive.

New York gets yet another terrible pounding in Cloverfield, as a monster of some description rips the head off the Statue of Liberty among other atrocities. The catch here is that the entire tale is told by “ordinary people” with their camcorders, a little like Blair Witch a few years ago. It’s produced by J. J. Abrams (“Lost”) and directed by another t.v. alumni Matt Reeves (best known thus far as creator of “Felicity”). At Readings Courtenay Central and Sky City Queensgate.

Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan have been up nights devising yet more sadistic tortures for deserving and undeserving suckers and have come up with Saw IV. Jigsaw carked it at the end of Saw III but that doesn‘t appear to slow things down at all. You’ll find it at Readings, Sky City Queensgate and Regent-on-Manners: look for the teenage boys trying to sneak in on borrowed ID’s.

Bond villain Mads Mikkelsen crosses over to the side of the angels in Susanne Bier’s acclaimed After the Wedding (Paramount and Penthouse). He plays Jacob, an aid worker who returns to Denmark on a fund-raising mission but instead discovers a life-changing family secret. After the Wedding was nominated for an Oscar last year in the Best Foreign Language Flick category. Finally, a geriatric romance is on offer in Elsa and Fred, from Spain. Described by one critic as “simultaneously heartbreaking and heartening” this one seems tailor-made for the Penthouse.

Readings, in their wisdom, have decided not to offer the Capital Times any reviewer’s passes in 2008 which makes writing about their films very close to being more trouble than it’s worth. So, Cloverfield and Saw IV may not be reviewed there (and thus also at Funerals & Snakes) next Wednesday but the others will.

Coffee in Newtown?

Can anybody help me locate a decent coffee in Newtown during these interminable public holidays? Peoples’ is shut until Monday, as is the café at the Med. The only option I have located thus far is Eva Dixon’s at the Zoo (which was a lovely walk in the sun) but resulted in a small latté in a large takeaway cup topped by prodigious amounts of froth, cost me $5.20 including the surcharge, and tasted like filth.

So, tomorrow I need a better option. Any ideas?

UPDATE: Thanks to the helpful comments I headed north today to find that The Ballroom, The Recovery Room and Pranah are all closed (which I suspected after having the same problems last Easter). And I did feel fairly strange prowling the corridors of the hospital looking for the Fuel kiosk which was also closed.

So, I’m off to the movies at Island Bay where, hopefully, the Empire can serve me up a brew before Alvin and The Chipmunks.