Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Mighty Bay

Michael Bay cannot be stopped. And he knows this. Industry watchers are now observing that his box office-demolishing Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen maybe the worst-reviewed $400 million hit ever. ROTF is packing theatres like nobody's business, and while box office results and critical consensus have rarely been on the same page, the disconnect in this case is larger than ever before. I love this L.A. Times interview with Bay where he addresses the negative reception his film's been getting. Favourite quote: "I am convinced that they are born with the anti-fun gene." Yes, Michael, that's the one...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

48HOURS Competition Winner Charlotte Gets Picked Up

I missed most of the 48Hours action this year and only just caught up with the Grand Winner Charlotte, but I totally concur with the judges' decision: this is a truly fantastic and beautiful short that's easily among the best that's ever been made in the competition's history. And it's so good it's now attracted the attention of the New Zealand Film Commission's Short Film Team, whose Juliette Veber says it "deserves to be seen by an international audience". According to the press release, they'll be working together with its creator Parry Jones and 48Hours to get the film out there to a wider audience. Check it out:

Cameron Screens Avatar Footage

After months and months of keeping us in the dark, some concrete evidence of what James Cameron's sci-fi spectacle Avatar will look like has finally surfaced at Amsterdam's Cinema Expo. In a 24-minute presentation, Cameron screened a number of scenes from the film which has left several minds blown, if this report from comingsoon.net is anything to go by. Words like "jaw-dropping" and "amazing" are being used to describe the effects, which is said to combine CGI, motion capture technology and live action. The film, starring Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver, is set to be released on December 18. Here's a stunning-looking still that's doing the rounds:

Hyped? Hell yes.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lost: The Sitcom!

So what's a Lost fan supposed to do in the (excruciating) downtime until Season 6 starts next Feb? If all the suffocatingly obsessive forum discussions are getting a bit too much, there's always the abundance of fan-created material on youtube to tide you over. The latest I've stumbled across is a great mix of Lost's Season 1 opening credits with Full House's theme song (there's a few more at TV Squad). It's kind of interesting how easily Lost lends itself to the late '80s/early '90s sitcoms, though it probably speaks to how cheesy the show can be at times (and no doubt the editorial wit of the clips' makers). But I dunno, maybe it's the hair or something. Either way it's pretty funny stuff. Love how they got the Full House typeface in there.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Coming of Antichrist

Lars von Trier's art-horror pic Antichrist, the most controversial, critically polarising film at this year's Cannes Film Festival, has been confirmed to close the NZFF!! Terrific news, 'cos after leafing through the guide several times last week I thought that the programming really could've done with a jolt, something that would grab you by the throat and cause a bit of kerfuffle (The confirmation of this film - which stars Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg - might even see the return of David Lane and his moral watchdog fraternity, the so-called "Society for the Promotion of Community Standards", who've been pretty quiet in recent times).

Apparently making the film was a therapeutic process for the often-derided, often-divisive Danish arthouse titan, who was battling depression for a couple of years. I think of all the press I've read about the film, the most illuminating might be Roger Ebert's blog where he says "Lars von Trier's new film will not leave me alone". Obviously it's not a film for all tastes, but if you're a von Trier buff or a sucker for confrontational art movies, I'd say seeing Antichrist on the big screen with a crowd is something not to be missed. Here's the trailer (again, do not watch if you're squeamish or easily offended):

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Shock News: Worst Movie Ever Made to Play NZFF

Could NZFF be the only "prestigious" international film festival in the world to screen Troll 2, one of the most notoriously, lovably awful movies ever made? If so, I have to say I'm proud to be living in a country where we have film fest programmers who can make such a wonderful thing happen. At the Civic, there'll be showing the latest lovely period art-pic by Jane Campion, then down the road there'll be a bunch of vege-munchin' goblins turning humans into green goo.

We actually have Troll 2 (paired with unrelated Troll 1) on our site but if you've never seen the movie, I totally recommend buying a ticket to the ONE-OFF screening at SkyCity Queen St. on July 10 at 10:00pm. The film goes down like a riot with a packed audience, and it'll be a special experience you won't forget anytime soon - plus its star, former child actor Michael Stephenson will be there to introduce the film and probably do a Q&A after and sign your Troll 2 mousepad or whatever.

Stephenson also made the FANTASTIC documentary Best Worst Movie, which is also playing at the fest, about the rabid Troll 2 cult phenomenon that's grown exponentially over the last decade or so - something best appreciated after you've seen the movie. Best Worst Movie might also be the best feelgood movie of the year - it's that good! Check out this sneak peak...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"So um, why do you have Spooks - Season 6 and not Season 5?"

Very good question. One of the reasons why a lot of films aren't available in New Zealand simply comes down to this: it's too bloody expensive to rate them. The basic gist of how the NZ Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act works at the moment is that material rated G, PG and M in Britain and Australia can be cross-rated here relatively cheaply, but if something is RESTRICTED, distributors have to fork out thousands of dollars to get it rated. Hence you have ridiculous cases like the missing Season 5 of Spooks, or the absence of the rest of the L Word series because suppliers can't justify spending that much to get them released.

However, one hopes things will change soon with the start of a new campaign to review the current legislation so that more films can be made available. Click here to read about it and register your support for the cause - it's a really interesting read if you've ever wondered how that side of business works, and how it affects you as a DVD consumer. Or if you don't like reading, watch this Nightline piece on the topic.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Trailer Befuddlement: After Last Season

This film is positively blowing minds in the film blogosphere at the moment - or to be more precise, the trailer is; only a few fortunate (or unfortunate) souls have actually managed to witness the whole thing (it only played a few theatres in the states). So WTF is it? Watch this trailer first and tell us what you think:

I've already seen it a few times and am still trying to process everything that happens in it: the naked, cheap-ass sets (CARBOARD MRI MACHINE!), the robotic acting, the wonky compositions, the weird computer graphics. It's shot on 35mm to boot and if IMDB is anything to be believed, made for $5 million!!! Who are these people? Where did this film come from? Is it for real? Or is it an elaborate joke??

Someone's already started a facebook group; if you go there you can see a clip of some people who've actually seen it and their reactions. Whatever After Last Season is, I hope who ever made it will keep us guessing for a bit longer. It's incredible.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Carradine Conspiracy?

It was pretty shocking and saddening to hear of David Carradine's death last Thursday - the details of how it happened even more so. Auto-erotic asphyxiation? Found in a closet? In a Bangkok hotel? Predictably, the media are going to town with it. There's some chatter about a conspiracy (apparently he was looking into "secret societies"). Was it an accident, or was he murdered? Some reports are indicating that his hands were tied behind his back. There's also something about a footprint on the bed. Hmm. Here's a CelebTV report:

Meanwhile, Carradine's family are upset and disturbed that the photos of his body were published in a Thai newspaper, and have asked the FBI to investigate his death.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Reboot Blues: Alien

These days Hollywood aren't content just to remake films - they're now REBOOTING them (whatever that means). The Incredible Hulk, Star Trek, Terminator: Salvation, the forthcoming Predators... The latest example of the studios' dirth of imagination is a proposed upgrade of the original Alien film produced by none other than its original director Ridley Scott, along with brother Tony. But hold on - before you start crying, it's actually a PREQUEL, so it's not technically a REMAKE. Carl Rinsch, a commercials/music video dude, is going to be directing the film for Fox, who apparently feel the recent Alien spin-offs - the ones with more than one alien - didn't really work. Top solution, guys. This Polish Alien poster sums up my reaction to this news:

PS: A Tomb Raider reboot/prequel/whatnot is on the way too.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Winnebago Man Confirmed for Film Fest!

"WINNEBAGO who?" you say... If you've never heard of him, he's the star of one of the most side-splittingly funny viral videos ever: Jack Rebney, a 40-something Gerald McRaney-lookalike who's trying to remember his lines for an RV promo video but keeps screwing up, leading to a torrent of expletives hilariously edited into a blooper reel by the crew he hired to shoot the vid. I originally became aware of Rebney through the Found Footage Festival DVD, and since then the clip has become an internet phenomenon, so much so that filmmaker Ben Steinbauer was compelled to track down Rebney and make a documentary on him! The doco has played to some very good press in the US, and word has it that it is now confirmed to play at this year's Auckland International Film Festival as part of the Incredibly Strange Film programme. Anywho, here's the original clip (WARNING: contains offensive language):

Trailer: The Road

The long-delayed adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road finally gets a trailer and it's a corker! I'm a sucker for post-apocalypse movies so your mileage might vary - but it does look visually stunning and like director John Hillcoat (The Proposition) spared no cost to preserve McCarthy's vision of the end of the world (though I can only presume as such, since for reasons I cannot explain, I have never been able to finish the book! One day...). The film stars Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron and Michael K. Williams (Omar from The Wire), and currently has a US release date of October 16, which puts it comfortably in the running for next year's Oscars.