Thursday, August 23, 2012

presents i could get myself for after uni

  1. nice fabrics to make bunting with 
  2. wooden pegs for a hat wall
  3. knee-length dresses
  4. set of nice glasses 
  5. summer sandals 
  6. seafood platter
  7. snare drum + cymbals 
  8. get rid of clothes (maybe if people wanna do a clothes swap or something that'd be cool)
  9. liquorice 
  10. trip to christchurch 
  11. lots of photocopying for zines 
  12. make a lil pokemon machinima movie
  13. wine (pinot gris/noir (love them pinot grapes))
  14. play ps3 games (not a present but a thing that will bloody well happen i tell you no doubts about it)

Monday, August 13, 2012

nzff recap

I didn't see nearly as many films as I wanted to, but that's okay because I have other things to do like study and figure out what to do next year and also movies are expensive. These are the ones I really wanted to see but didn't (but will soon):

  1. Sound of my Voice
  2. Holy Motors
  3. Moonrise Kingdom
  4. From up on Poppy Hill
  5. Lore
  6. Bernie
  7. Two Years at Sea
  8. The Artists Cinema
  9. Compilation of NZ shorts
  10. Platige Image shorts

How to Meet Girls from a Distance

(the audience went nuts over this nz, wellington-set film directed by Dean Hewison (was made in like six-months or something really short like that)).

Dreams of a Life

I got to go to Dreams of a Life with my friend, Brydie and her mum and her mum's partner. I saw it at the Te Papa theatre, which I never knew existed. Afterwards we went and had cocktails at the Black Sparrow where the menus are refurbished old leather-bound books and the drinks are named after movies. I got a Big Lebowski.

The picture I have included sums up the premise of the film. The director, Carol Morley attempts to unpack the mystery in 'Errol Morris' documentary fashion where Joyce's friends are interviewed and a picture is painted about who this 'Joyce' really was and maybe 'how' she died. Because she had fully decomposed there was no evidence/body to carry out a coroners report but it was assumed to have been from natural causes, hinted at through the film as maybe an asthma attack. The descriptions Joyce's 'friends' gave of her was that she was vibrant, outgoing, stunningly beautiful, an object of lust and attraction, flirtatious, intelligent, well spoken. No one could understand why someone like Joyce (or at least the Joyce they knew (or thought they knew)) would have been left to die all alone in her apartment and not been contacted in that amount of time. However, what the film garnered was that she was inherently lonely, mysterious, depressed, and emotionally stunted. The film, while masquerading as a documentary had more feature-film qualities, the footage that was not interviews, was recreated and so an imagined interpretation of Joyce, her life etc. The danger of documentary is the representation of facts, which have (inevitably) been sprinkled with artistic license and so the question should always be posed 'is this actually 'real'? (A: No). What I enjoyed the most, and what I think other people in the audience liked a lot as well, was the slow and gradual revelation of the characters of the interviewees; their own lives, how they intersected with Joyce, the impact she had on them and vice-versa, their relationships with each other, their desires and so on. I think I would be fairly accurate in saying that 'Martin' (Joyce's (first?) boyfriend) was a crowd favourite, as was the lady in red who had some pretty funny mannerisms, Alister the music producer and the guy that went clubbing a lot in the 80s.


I saw V/H/S at 4pm in the afternoon, which may not be the most ideal time for horror buffs to have seen it. Thankfully I am not one of those, and so coming out of this film and being (mostly) certain that was I saw was not 'irl' was a comforting relief. V/H/S is a compilation of found-footage (think The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield) horror shorts that have been cleverly incorporated into the films reality. I like episodic things so I particularly enjoyed the form of the film. Each segment was made by a different director: Ti West, Joe Swanberg, Radio Silence, David Bruckner, Adam Wingard, and Glenn McQuaid. The different shorts were all pretty weird, hideous, vulgar, sick, slimy, bloody and frightening, working within the bounds of the genre. Being 'found-footage' certainly added to the immediacy/intimacy and also I think gave me a little bit of motion sickness. V/H/S is R18 so if you get a chance to see it at the cinema, don't forget your id (I got asked twice (once at the ticket booth and then upon entering the theatre)), and be prepared to be scared and grossed out. My two favourites were the 'skype' and 'haunted house' segments.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Ben Wheatley directed this film, I haven't seen any of his other two film but I would really like to. In saying that the best thing for me was the script and story which was written by the two actors (Alice Lowe and Steve Oram), their deadpan delivery and the gory, early Peter Jackson-like (think Braindead and Bad Taste) killing scenes. Sightseers is a humourous tale of casual romantic murdering, as the Chris and Tina (played by Alice and Steve) traverse the lush English countryside in a caravan. At the beginning the film shows an oppressive relationship between Tina and her mother, akin to that in the play, The Beauty Queen of Leenane. She is whisked away by ginger-bearded Chris, to her mother's dismay and along the way as well as killing innocent people as if they were getting a coffee and a biscuit at a tea-room, they partake in numerous cheesy tourist activities. I didn't like the cinematography so much. There were a couple of obscure angles which seemed like they would have had their home back in Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, but weren't frequent enough here to be a deliberate aesthetic. It's okay though, 'cause the acting was great, the script was great, it was funny, and frustrating and the costuming was satisfyingly horrific (think acid-wash jeggings). I liked this heaps.

(Another thing: Sightseers was preceded by a short film called 'Bear', made by Nash Edgerton, which was just as funny/frightening/unfortunate).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Your Sister's Sister

Can't believe how many mums and grannies were in this audience and how much they all slobbered over Mark Duplass afterwards. YSS was a really lovely character-driven film with some good acting by Mark Duplass and Rosemary DeWitt, in particular. The script overcooked Duplass' brother's death at the start a bit, I think - it was merely a narrative device to get all the characters together and wasn't mentioned in the second half of the film. This was the film's biggest failure, and yet the naturalistic dialogue was achieved so effortlessly by both screenwriter and actor that it dispelled this hole and even compensated for it by promoting an idea of something like 'realistic recuperation' where the thing you are mourning whether a relationship or a person who has passed away kind of just fades slowly away from your memory. If that was the point then it was well-achieved. Synonyms presumably associated with this film are probably: delightful, charming, hot ass Duplass, cool bike.

Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present

This has got to be one of my favourite films so far from the festival. This documentary followed Marina Abramovic as she prepared for an exhibition curating all of her previous performance pieces and introduced a new one where she sat for three months during gallery hours, facing anyone who sat opposite her. It was a massive hit, there were queues of people waiting overnight to be first into the art gallery to get a chance to participate in the piece. The film contained some archival footage of previous performance pieces such as 'The Lovers', the one where she cuts a pentagram on her abdomen, the one where the naked man and woman stand close to each other and people have to squeeze through them, the one where the audience uses various objects on her naked body, the one where her partner and her fast and sit opposite each other for ages. There was a general consensus from people interviewed, whether they were fans of her work or art exhibitionists, that she is a (if not 'the') most significant and influential performance artist. I really enjoyed seeing her communicating with the camera and cooking and talking about her life/ childhood etc. She has this enviable self-awareness and optimism for life, where she accepts that everything is unpredictable and yet she is un-phased by surprises. It was a long film, however suspenseful, funny and moving all at the same time.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Any attempt to articulate this film is 1) a wasted attempt and 2) already been done by people who are better-read in film and movies and reviews, or whatever than me, but I have this goal to write a little about the films I see at this years film festival so I'll just give it a go. It has been touted as the pick of the festival, and I wasn't expecting anything so visually and viscerally captivating. There are some similarities between first time director Benh Zeitlin's film and other movies such as Malick's Tree of Life, that I saw last year and maybe even Whale Rider. I preferred Beasts to both of those by far. I am generally a fan of magical realism and that's what I loved about this film, that a unique world was fashioned out events similar to 'real-life'. Plus the metaphorical and subsequently literal 'beasts' were really great. I think the thing I liked the most about this film was the cinematography. Most of the time it was hand-held which gave the film more of a documentary-like quality, but also distanced from Hushpuppy, hardly ever her point of view. Most if not all of the cast are unknown, but excellent performers and despite the destruction of their homes/eating of cute animals they bring a sense of optimism that is just quite inspiring.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Cabin in the Woods

Even if you don’t see Cabin in the Woods, it will come out soon enough and there is nothing I would recommend more than to firstly watch it, and secondly, preferably with some snacks and some friends. I don’t usually watch horror films, they’re maybe my last choice at the video store, but even I, in my ignorance ‘got’ it, albeit not all the references but at least I understood that they were references, which is mainly the point. Joss Whedon (script) and Drew Goddard (direction) (technically they both co-wrote it) have been heralded as ‘geniuses’ before, and according to other reviews of CITW, seems like they still hold that title. If anyone is interested, Anna Hutchison is in it, famed for her somewhat perverted relationship years and years ago with infamous serial killer ‘Shane Cortez’ in New Zealand’s ‘magnum opus’, Shortland Street. Seems like anything more I say in regards to what I liked about it the most will be a massive spoiler and what I loved was how everything was so unforseen and yet so classically formulaic, but it is madly imaginative and definitely one of the highlights so far, for me.