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{ Tag Archives } reviews

The Cul De Sac (television; NZ, 2016)

I am not really keeping up with the pop culture right now but I was surprised to discover on Sunday that I’d just missed the first episode of a new youth-oriented TV series called “The Cul de Sac”. Further surprised that I couldn’t see anyone talking about it – especially since it features KJ Apa […]

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Pitch Perfect 2 (USA, 2015)

I loved Pitch Perfect. That, to my surprise and delight, was a good film. This sequel is very much a sequel. It’s not as good. It’s not a good film. There’s still some nice laughs and some good tunes, and although the studio pressure to turn this into a series of slumber-party classics is visible […]

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Where The Rēkohu Bone Sings: a few thoughts

I just finished reading Tina Makereti’s novel Where The Rēkohu Bone Sings (2014, Vintage). In a short twitter conversation with the author and another reader, I mentioned an intense passage late in the book featuring some graphic and unpleasant content. (I said I wasn’t sure I could recommend the book to my mother on account […]

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Gone Girl (USA, 2014)

Made it to the movies! A rare treat. Gone Girl is a twisty mystery/psychological thriller. Wife disappears apparently kidnapped, but some things don’t add up, and husband has secrets. Director David Fincher underplays everything, including his directorial style – it felt to me like he was taking some of the moves from Zodiac (probably his […]

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NZIFF: The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came To Eden (USA, 2013)

Doco about a weird unsolved murder mystery in the 1930s Galapagos Islands. There were only a handful of people on the island of Floreana, all eccentric or mad to various degrees, locked in strange jealousies and rivalries. It’s a small cast of characters, none of whom are particularly endearing, all destined to be either victims […]

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NZIFF: Under The Skin (UK, 2013)

Scarlett Johansson is an otherworldly being who seduces Glaswegian men to their otherworldy doom. It’s shot, framed, told, and paced as an art film, but the narrative itself is fairly straightforward. (Which is good! That’s not a criticism!) There are many mysteries, mostly unexplained, although the shapes of answers are given. There’s a lot of […]

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier (USA, 2014)

This was a great action film in the mold of post-2000 action films – i.e. ludicrous stakes, lots of CGI, frenetic pace. I liked it a bunch. So some random notes: * The film has Captain America’s name on it, but it’s a team film. Two black men, two women, and one traditional whitebread action […]

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12 Years A Slave (USA/UK, 2013)

I am part of the film’s third audience, neither American White nor American Black, privileged to watch from outside, safely, to look upon the horrors and the injustice and whisper thanks that my people never devoured themselves with such madness, to observe with smug fascination at the broken ways of some other kind of people […]

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American Hustle (USA, 2013)

First up: read Alasdair’s piece about this film, and how everyone’s talking about the actors and no-one’s talking about the plot. Good stuff. This was headlining at the Roxy the same night Cal & I wanted to use our tickets to the Roxy, so we saw it. And it vexed me. On a different night […]

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To The Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf, 1927

Micro-review. We’ve had Woolf’s classic on the shelves in a 60s Penguin edition for years, and finally the time was right to pick it up. I knew virtually nothing about it, only that it’s often talked about as a partner to Joyce’s Ulysses as one of the milestones of early-20th-century modernism. (It’s also a fraction […]

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