NZFF Day 4

‘My Joy’. Is definitely not.

My Love

Wait, so, what? What does the opening have to do with the rest of the film? What does the kid have to do with the rest of the film? Was the kid the mute? Was the mute the same mute? WHAT? How much longer do I have to watch this film?

Coming home, I watched the trailer (above). Yeah, the one that explains a bit of what’s going on. Georgy is on a journey… he gets stuck in a town… they don’t like outsiders… there are flashbacks to just after WWII… yeah.

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NZFF Days 2 and 3

Days 2 and 3: ‘Page One: Inside The New York Times’, ‘The Man From Nowhere’, ‘Stori Tumbuna: Ancestor’s Tales’, ‘Something Ventured’, and ‘The Black Power Mixtape: 1969-75’

Reviews from the New Zealand International Film Festival, 2011, Wellington

Saturday 30 June.

Page One: Inside The New York Times

Interesting doco on the world’s most prominent newspaper, the decline in advertising revenue coupled with the increase in blogging. How does the paper stay afloat? One of the best documentary subjects is David Carr – his interview with Vibe Magazine was fantastic. I’d recommend it to those interested in journalism (especially you, Shannon), blogging, the relationship between the two. 4 out of 5.

The Man From Nowhere

Aka THE BEST FILM OF THE FESTIVAL SO FAR!!! Brilliant! I loved it! I want it in my collection! The perfect amount of violence and technique and twists. There’s this one shot where the lead character jumps out a window, and the camera follows him. COOL! And the lead actor looks like a young Keanu Reeves. I. Loved. It.

Korean action film about a loner who is befriended by a stripper junkie’s daughter. Said daughter and mother are kidnapped after a drug deal goes wrong. Loner goes after them. Straight actioner, I wonder whether it would have been in the festival if it was in English (probably not, but I might not have seen it otherwise). I’m giving it 5 out of 5. It was going to be 5.5 out of 5, but the music was a leetle cheesy at times.

Amendment: see Andy’s post on this movie for a better explanation.

Sunday 31 July

Stori Tumbuna: Ancestors Tales

I know Paul Wolffram, the filmmaker. It was a good ethnomusical/anthropological film. I’d recommend it to ethnomusicologists, anthropologists, those interested in Papua New Guinea and Pacific Culture, and those interested in insects. (Seriously, Paul, I’m just saying there were a lot of close-ups of insects.) 3.8 out of 5.

Something Ventured

Doco on Venture Capitalism: the men who put money into early companies that exploded –  Silicon Valley, Apple, etc. One woman. Some good graphics, a couple of good laughs, some interesting stories: what more do you need in a good all-round doco. I’m sure it would have been better had I been more interested in the subject. I’d recommend it to people interested in making money. Really good soundtrack composed by Laura Karpman (by the way, follow that link. Awesome graphics on her website. Cool!) 3.5 out of 5.

The Black Power Mixtape: 1969-1975

Footage by Swedish filmmakers shooting in the US during 1969-75 was recently found and turned into this documentary. I’d recommend it to those interested in Civil Rights (or any Rights Movement), US or Black History, and foreign (or Socialist) interpretations from the outside. Comparisons can be made to today (Vietnam War vs. Invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq). Definitely interesting. 4 out of 5.

NZFF 2011 Day One

Day One: ‘Fire In Babylon’, ‘Guilty Pleasures’, ‘Greensplat’, and ‘Let The Bullets Fly’.

Day One of the 2011 New Zealand International Film Festival (Wellington).

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The Try Hard, The Ghost I Know, Rockets and Robots

Promotion of friends’ blogs.

My friend Dan’s Blog, The Try Hard, is getting 60 hits an hour because  New Young Pony Club tweeted his review. He’s writing a review for each of his top 20 albums of 2010. The blog is at

My friend Andrew Savage has a blog about songwriting called  The Ghost I Know. He writes about the background on some of the songs he’s written, his thoughts on songwriting, and all about bands and music and stuff. Check it out at

And another friend called Andy has a blog called Rockets and Robots. He does reviews of all the films he sees, and writes about the 16mm film course that we’re doing together. He’s writing reviews of all the Wellington Film Society screenings as well: perfect reading for when I’m too busy to see the films I want to or to get to the Film Society. I just read Andy’s blog. You can too, at


Unstoppable, the latest Tony Scott film.

I recently won tickets to an advanced screening of ‘Unstoppable‘ – thanks 20th Century Fox NZ.

Basic story – an unmanned train on high power, heading into a residential area. How to stop it? Argh! It’s based on a true story.

Director: Tony Scott (Deja Vu, Man On Fire)
Stars: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson.

UnstoppableI would recommend this film to people who like watching action flicks. And anyone who wants to make a good action sequence. Seriously, the entire film seems like an action sequence. Even the slower, more intimate moments. The camera rarely stops moving. Perhaps its because I’ve been reading more on mise-en-scene, but I really noticed how Scott was constantly using crane, dolly, and helicopter moving shots; he almost always put things in the foreground of the shot – which creates more movement, and makes the trains/cars appear to be moving faster.

Plus, crash-zooms. Lots of them. Ah, zooms – something that has been lost from cinema since the 70s.

Actually, I didn’t read that Tony Scott directed the film before I saw it. Writing this review, and looking at Tony’s body of work, I think I need to look into more of what makes a Tony Scott film – there are definite similarities in ‘the look’ of his films. Give me some time to research…

[Ooh, I’ve found lots to read. I’ll put what I find in a different post. In the meantime…]

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