Drama/New Zealand/English/Maori (Japanese Subtitles)/105mins
Cast: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Cliff Curtis
Director/Writer: Niki Caro. Japan Herald
The recent Lord of the Rings frenzy has done wonders
for New Zealand tourism and has also beefed up the respect for the
NZ film industry. However scenery, director and extras aside LOTR
is all Hollywood. But it has opened the door wider for 100% pure
Kiwi flicks like Whale Rider to gain more exposure.
Whale Rider is typical in many ways of a NZ film
and is based on one legend of its original inhabitants, the Maori
People. The title of the movie speaks for itself and unfortunately
most of your premise will be realized. Being one step ahead while
watching this movie is a definite downside. However, its heartstring
pulling themes have been very appealing as it has won audience awards
at the Sundance, Toronto and Rotterdam film festivals.
First time to screen Keisha Castle-Hughes plays
Paikea, a strong willed pre-teen Maori girl. She is ambitious and
innocently challenges the tight Maori belief in rigid male and female
roles. The myth of Paikea's tribe is that the original chief of
her people was brought to New Zealand by a rescuing whale. The birthright
of the chiefs first-born son is to follow in this tradition,
but the line is cut with the birth of Paikea.
Pai is symbolic of the struggle Maori values and
people face in a modern and European dominated New Zealand. The
ideal of the movie is that culture needs to adapt but not be lost
or swallowed up.
A few of the actors are given sold platforms to
develop from and its only international veteran Cliff Curtis (Three
Kings, Blow) does a pitiful job as the chiefs son who fails
The scenery and cinematography are beautiful and
the whales very real. Traditional Maori martial arts, buildings,
music and protocols are dealt with gently and well presented to
the uneducated. There are some humorous moments that could have
been spanned out more cleverly.
It is considered an 'art house' movie although
not absurd or dark and it is as they say in Japan a hiyuuman
dorama (human drama). Being of Maori ancestry myself it gives
me great satisfaction to see Maori on screen getting exposure in
a more positive and intriguing light.
28 Days Later
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Alexander Delamere
Dir: Danny Boyle. Twentieth Century Fox
Director Danny Boyle of Trainspotting
fame has received a great amount of positive vibes about his latest
effort 28 Days Later, even though I struggled to get through it.
This film starts out like any great Science Fiction
flick and sets the scene with a ruthless blood-borne virus escaping
from a British research facility. This virus devastates within seconds
and causes the victim to be locked in a murderous rage. The rage
eventually sweeps over Paris and New York, killing many and turning
most into murderous zombies. Within 28 days England has been virtually
wiped out and thats when we meet our first uninfected hero
Jim (Cillian Murphy).
In an awfully dragged out scene he walks by many
London landmarks and eventually he learns about the virus from an
old newspaper that comes by like tumbleweed. He then meets some
other uninfected survivors who have your standard array of desirable
and annoying characteristics. Jim and the gang decide to head off
to Manchester where they heard the British Army have set up a barricaded
safe zone. But is it a set up? Are they really zombies?
I am not going to ruin it for you, and, you should
check it out for yourself especially if youre a Sci-fi fan.
But be warned the conclusion is very standard.
Production wise, this flick runs like a film students
$500 master-piece. But in all fairness, Boyle wanted this real documentary
feel and so he shot it on video.
Although the script and characters lack depth
the question of human instincts and corruptions loom over the viewers
head. We are left wondering what ifs and why dids
and imagine if at the end. Maybe some of you will doubt
the logic and would have hoped for a loser loses all situation,
but even though Trainspotting and Shallow Grave seem saturated in
blackness, there was a winner
no matter the crap he went through
to get there.
Nowhere in Africa
The likely choice for the best foreign language
Oscar, Nowhere In Africa is a warm and entertaining film.
Taken from Stefanie Zweig's autobiographical bestseller about her
life as a young Jewish girl whose parents fled to Kenya just before
the Holocaust. It is a deep explo-ration into typical hurdles immigrants
face and their relationship with their new home. Dont be put
off by the seemingly over emotional themes. Beautiful cinematography
and strong leads make this the soft touch summer audiences have
been waiting for.
Drama/Germany/German (Japanese Subtitles) /141mins
Cast: Merab Ninidze, Juliane Kohler, Mathias
Dir: Caroline Link. GAGA
A touch up version with better colour and sound
of the Audrey Hepburn romantic comedy. This is the movie that made
her famous and her role is all very delightful. Hepburn plays a
modern princess who escapes while on tour in Rome. She just hates
her tedious duties and wants to be normal and free. She meets a
reporter (Gregory Peck) who hopes to scoop an exclusive from the
princess, but falls in love instead. This is typical of the time
but lets not be too cynical about gentle and puritanical romance-comedies
Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Eddie Albert Dir: William Wyler.
Paramount Home Entertainment Japan
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Dubbed as something special for summer audiences,
TLEG is a production that revives some of the great literary heroes
of the 19th century. Scotland Yard has recruited African Adventurer
Allan Quatermain (Connery) to lead heroes of yesteryear like Tom
Sawyer, Captain Nemo, A vampires and Dr Jekyll to battle the high
terror of the the Fhantom. Great actors, a burly Hollywood
budget and a promising premise make this flick very enticing. But,
beware of the over-the-top action scenes and a lot of noise.
Cast: Sean Connery, Nasseruddin Shah, Tony Curran
Dir: Stephen Norrington. Twentieth Century Fox
This is a fine yet macabre piece of production
by writer-director Michael Basset. This limited budget horror has
nine British soldiers caught behind enemy lines during World War
1. While seeking refuge in a complex network of German trenches
they realise they are being hunted by something more evil than a
German soldier. Due to budget constraints the movie relies on psychological
ima-gery with an equally spooky soundtrack. However, timing is questionable
and it lacks subtlety.
Jamie Bell, Lawrence Fox, Kris Marshall Writer-director: Michael
Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
The closest thing we have to a female Bond is
back with more moves, gadgets and attitude but less bust (not digitally
enhanced this time). Lara Croft goes in search of Pandoras
Box, which she eventually loses and then chases it form left to
right and from villain to villain. All baddies are stereotypical
and the script is bad. But its still a cool adaptation of
the very cool video game. Great destinations, lots of action, solid
tunes and funky fashion make this worth watching on the big screen.
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Gerard Butler, Djimon Hounson Dir: Jan de
Kirikou et la Sorciere
An enchanting French animation that has resurfaced
as worldwide admiration for it has kept it afloat. Set in an imaginary
Africa, a special but stubborn little child named Kirikou comes
along with an array of sweet and obscure questions. He is very demanding
and even as a foetus he commands his mother to give birth to him,
and she does. Great ideals and characters with a groovy soundtrack
provided by Pan-Afro Jazz singer Youssou Ndour. But beware
Disney fans! The Lions dont sing.
Family/France/French (Japanese subtitles) / 74mins
Voice: Antoinette Kellerman, Theo Sebeko
Dir: Michael Ocelot. Albatros Film
Stu (Colin Farrell) is a NY Publicist, who is
married but is dying to have a relationship with a Manhattan waitress
(Katie Holmes). In order to dodge tricky keitai bill questions from
his wife, he uses a phone booth to call the waitress. However, someone
is watching him and knows all about his so called affair. The watcher
(Kiefer Sutherland) threatens him with his secret and since a murder
recently took place at this phone booth and Stu being the likely
suspect he bows at the barrel of the watchers gun.
Cast: Colin Farrell, Katie Holmes, Kiefer Sutherland/Forest Whitaker
Dir: Joel Schumacher. Twentieth Century Fox
Madonna plays a 40 year old rich, fat-phobic,
bored wife who is hideously rude and always uses her mula and rank
to constantly insult others. With this deep character development
over now she goes on a private cruise around the glistening Mediterranean
(in a bikini of course) with two other couples. She takes an instant
dislike to the Italian Stallion first mate and he cant stand
they are all stuck on a deserted Island and the
tables turn on Maddy. She and the first mate play lots of Comic
games and then the movie ends.
Cast: Madonna, Adriano Giannini, Elizabeth Banks Dir: Guy Ritche
Sony Entertainment (Japan) Inc.
The Kid Stays in the Picture
Extremely candid documentary based on the highs
and lows of Hollywood producer, Robert Evans. He narrates this doco
with reference to big names and movies. In all fairness though,
professionally he has something to share, being responsible for
classics like The Godfather and Rosemarys Baby. The doco then
takes us on his cliché tinsletown intox, detox, babes and
scandal-plagued life tour. All in all its a mash of tabloids
Cast: Robert Evans
Dir: Nannet Burstein, Brett Morgan. Amuse Pictures Inc.
Sgt Nathan West (Samuel L. Jackson) who is detested
and feared is sent with elite Special Forces trainees to the jungle
in Panama. They go missing during a routine military exercise and
from here an intense psychological thriller unfolds.
Ex Army Ranger, Tom Hardy (John Travolta) must investigate the disappearance
with only contradi-ctory testimonies and hearsay as his platform.
This film moves fast and is edgy, although complex.
Cast: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Taye Diggs
Dir: John McTiernan. Sony Entertainment (Japan) Inc.
An ode to fang fans this summer, although this
attempt to revive werewolf movies and feed them
to mainstream audiences in hopes they will cause
a wolf frenzy, bear fruitless. A British squad are sent on a mission
in the Scottish Highlands but are confused when they come across
bloody remains of a Special Ops Squad. What could possibly beat
to a pulp a Special Ops Squad? A werewolf maybe? This flick is strictly
for fang fans.
Cast: Sean Pertwee, Kevin Mckidd, Emma Cleasby
Dir: Neil Marshall. Xanadeux
Pirates of the Caribbean:
Curse of the Black pearl
This is typical of a summer release, but there
is more to it than a big budget and good timing.
If youre the type to be hooked by movie trailers then give
in again. Pirates is a gorgeous movie with no leaf unturned. Thick
accents, slimy characters, artistic combat scenes, scary ghosts,
misty seas and all that is worthy of a fine pirates tale. See it!
See it! And see it on the big screen!
Action, adventure, fantasy/143min/USA
Dir: Gore Verbinsky
Cast: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley