The world premiere (for paying audiences) of a Kiwi Gothic movie very much in the style of The Coen Brothers. For the roleplayers in the audience it was like watching an excellent example of a game of Fiasco. The basic story: smart, gawky teen Cedric is befriended by shady grifter Merv and together with his oddball friend The Spook they start a blackmail scam which goes predictably badly. The film is gorgeous, very stylised and beautiful. Set in small town New Zealand in the 30s it also has Tim Finn as Cedric’s loopy father.
Funny, cringey and great to look at, I’d recommend it. Lee found it a bit slow and I thought there was something a bit ‘off’ about the beats of the film (not sure the climax had the appropriate gravity for example) but it was a satisfying story all the same. Fantastic acting from the leads, too.
An excellent bad movie. It was Manos: the hands of fate -esque in the opening, because of the slow slow start with lots of shots of the lead just driving. Oh the driving. The film was one of those ones where it shows *every step* of what is going on, just in case we can’t follow the story. So we see our lead, Rod, driving into town, getting a park, getting out of his car, locking his car, walking to the diner, being seated by a waitress, looking at the menu, etc. By this time the audience was mostly already laughing.
It was a brilliant audience for the film, not too big, not too raucous, but happy to play along with the film and make silly comments about it. Some of them were even funny. Some of them were made by me or Lee. I was sitting next to a middle aged woman who had not seen terrible cinema before and was laughing like crazy.
So, what’s the story? Rod meets a girl and goes on some dates (we saw all of them), his job in sales at a small start up flourishes and the company is bought for One Billion Dollars! He has solar panels installed on his house. He meets his girlfriend’s mother. Then, over 45 minutes into the film, although it felt longer, terrifying eagles attack for no reason! The eagles were apparently armed with bombs, because they set fire to some buildings, but most of the attacks were ineffectual hovering. The special effects were terrible, really bad animation pasted onto the film. It was all sorts of awesome, I can’t even tell you.
Check out this awesome review from Lumiere that says it all in a much more eloquent way than I can.
Animation for Kids
Some weird stuff this year, but also some very good wee shorts. I particularly liked Ormie about a pig trying to get the cookies off the top of the fridge, Tally ho pancake, which was about a pancake that flew away and all the people who wanted to eat it and the spectacularly beautiful Garbage Angels, which was a nature doco recreated in a rubbish dump. The highlight though, was The Lost Thing, which is my favourite Shaun Tan picture book and translated beautifully to film.
Watch this trailer for it now, seriously:
Fantastic Russian film. A janitor who used to be a conductor steals an important invitational fax and recruits his old orchestra to pretend to be the Bolshoi and perform in Paris. It was funny and moving and lovely and I don’t want to tell you too much because of spoilers, but it was full of classical music being played wonderfully and everyone in it was great and you should really go and see it. It’s on at the Embassy theatre at 1pm on Tuesday, if you can make that.
We actually left this one after about 50 minutes. It was kind of dull. It was meant to be a sex comedy but it was kinda, not funny. Anyway, we left.
A woman travels to Lourdes, hoping to be healed of her crippling MS. It was a quiet, slow kind of movie with one of those endings (like Before Sunrise) that could be used to measure how much of an optimist you are. I find movies about religion very calming, even though I don’t really have any religious affiliation at all. It was easy to get drawn into the lives of the characters and it was quite tense at times.
A lovely, lovely, lovely and tense anime. Half family drama, half end of the world future internet crisis, all awesome. Very beautifully animated, it tells the story of Kenji who is invited by a cute girl to spend the summer with her family. She says it’s for a job but actually she wants him to pretend to be her boyfriend. Then there’s all this stuff with OZ, a virtual world that you can enter into and explore. I don’t want to head into spoiler territory so let me just say, this is an awesome film and you should see it.