Monday, July 28, 2014

Trailer: Mad Max: Fury Road

The web's been abuzz this morning with film writers/bloggers going gaga over the Comic-Con trailer for George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road -- I have to count myself in. Though there have been some massive announcements at the entertainment/pop culture convention over the weekend -- including a King Kong spin-off movie from Legendary, and confirmation of Tarantino's next film straight from the horse's mouth -- the long-gestating Miller reboot-cum-sequel of his classic Mad Max trilogy was definitely the one that grabbed my interest the most. Conceived as one long chase sequence, or as Miller has also described, "a western on wheels", the film won't be out until May 2015, but this blistering trailer should get you all jazzed up for it.... (more info on the film here)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy: Best Marvel Film Yet?

As Marvel heads into Phase 3 of its Cinematic Universe, there's a sense -- for me at least -- that a little novelty has been lost with their recent, workmanlike sequels. James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy could be the one to change that. Introducing a set of fresh characters -- and pretty left-field ones at that -- this "space opera" is garnering great early reactions, some of which can be found here and here. I'm intrigued just for the involvement of James Gunn, a director whose previous, much smaller films -- the gore-soaked monster flick Slither and brutal, bleakly funny comedy Super -- displayed a irreverent sensibility that could bring a distinctive edge to Marvel's slick, generally cookie-cutter factory. If you've ever wanted to see Vin Diesel play a tree and Bradley Cooper a raccoon, have a peek at the eye-popping trailer now:
Next week we will be giving away 10 Guardians of the Galaxy prize packs, containing an in-season double pass to the film, a sticker roll and a key chain. Look out for the email in your inbox!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

NZIFF '14: Picks of the Fest

It's now just over week away before the New Zealand International Film Festival kicks off in Auckland, and as per tradition, time to share a few picks from the programme -- which I might add, is really solid this year. I've done some picks over at Flicks, but here are five more you might not want to miss...

Bong Joon-ho's sci-fi thriller, set on a moving train in a post-apocalyptic future, has been garnering rave reviews and fervent social media support since its recent release in the States. Equally at home doing a monster movie (The Host) or a crime drama (Memories of Murder), Bong is one of South Korea's finest, most effortlessly genre-jumpin' filmmaker, and everything points towards Snowpiercer being another winner.

When was the last time we had a Kiwi horror film worth celebrating? It appears Housebound might be one for the ages. This debut by writer/director Gerard Johnstone was the sensation of SXSW when it played back in March, and the programme notes suggest at it "could easily be the most energising fun you've ever had at a New Zealand movie." Johnstone will be present to introduce the film.

One of those textbook must-see classics that somehow I've never got around to seeing, and I imagine this 4K digital restoration of Cocteau's 1946 film will look exceptionally beautiful at the Civic and be the ideal way to see it for the first time.

Alejandro Jodorowsky -- the visionary Chilean madman behind '70s cult mind-melters El Topo and The Holy Mountain -- once came very close to making his version of Frank Herbert's sci-fi novel Dune. So what happened? Documentarian Frank Pavich tells the story behind Jod's unrealised vision, and it's kinda heartbreaking for anyone who loves movies.

Wow, this sounds insane. Fans of bizarre true crime tales will get a kick out of this doco, a fascinating whodunit involving "utopian ideals, sexual intrigue and murderous jealousy" on the tiny island of Floreana in the Galapagos. Say no more, I'm there!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Breaking Down "Bayhem"

Is there currently a more widely lambasted director on this planet than Michael Bay? Though critics softened slightly for his last film, the dark true-crime comedy Pain and Gain, the knives are out once again -- perhaps even sharper than before -- with the release of Transformers: Age of Extinction, the fourth entry in the blockbuster franchise that has continued to stuff Bay's pockets with ridiculous amounts of moolah. So is there anything more to Bay than what we already know, i.e. fast cuts, sexy chicks and explosions? In this video essay, Tony Zhou incisively analyses what makes Bay, essentially Bay, and love or hate him, there's no question that the man's a step above the the blander, hack-ier likes of McG or Brett Ratner, at least on an aesthetic level:
Meanwhile, the critical mauling of Age of Extinction has been so bad that talk show host Jimmy Kimmel decided to get a few critics together to say something nice about Bay: