The Wellington Film Guide

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Funerals and Snakes
Cinemas of New Zealand

 T H I S   W E E K   I N   W E L L I N G T O N

T H U R S D A Y   1 8   D E C E M B E R  -
  W E D N E S D A Y   2 4   D E C E M B E R   2 0 1 4  

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  • The The Wellington Film Society has concluded its 2014 season. In the meantime Film Society members are enjoying discounts at most cinemas in the city over the Summer break. The 2015 season will commence at the Paramount on Monday 2 March. The brochure describing the new programme will be launched mid-February. Details will be posted on the website early in the New Year once it is confirmed.

  • Nga Taonga Sound and Vision. In the Mediatheatre, untill Saturday 20 December, Michelle Joy Lloyd's SUNDAY (NZ 2014). For more details, check out the calender of screenings and events.

  • Film Festivals to note:
  • If your festival is not listed here, please advise the Cinemaster

    This site relies on the various cinemas having their own websites up to date to access their screening times. The paragraphs describing the films starting this week are in most cases adapted from the linked reviews.
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    For comments and movie news, contact the Cinemaster at

    s t a r t s   t h i s   w e e k!

    PADDINGTON - An exceedingly family-friendly film about an exceedingly friendly family, Paul King's movie is exceedingly family-friendly, as well as a Pixar-level delight that's whimsical quirkily British, and one of the year's most pleasant surprises. Consistently funny, surprising and with a heart as big as its hero's appetite, it deserves to be the start of a new franchise. Also Paramount, Penthouse, Roxy, Readings, Lighthouse Petone, Queensgate and Coastlands

    LOVE IS STRANGE - New York-based filmmaker Ira Sachs creates a special kind of urbanity: softer and more inclusive than Woody Allen's, openly gay but family-focused. His latest movie also features a Chopin piano score, adding an exquisite sense of proportion. What in the hands of most other directors, emerges as a total triumph for Sachs and his co-leads, John Lithgow and Alfred Molina, who, despite lengthy filmographies, turn in career-topping work. From the International Film Festival. Also Penthouse.

    THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS T S SPIVET - French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet's film is a fantastical fairytale which swims in the romanticism of childhood and the decay of the American Dream. As with his previous films, Jeunet makes sure to allow the shadows to creep in, adding a darker edge where possible. With the tragic death of the brother, it markedly demonstrates that it's not pitched for children - despite appearances - and is more of a cautionary tale for adults about how to communicate with children. This may not convert Jeunet's dissenters, but for those who have admired the auteur's past oeuvre, this is another sumptuous curio. From the International Film Festival.

    FOLIES BERGERE - Cows, boredom and infidelity form part of an interesting jigsaw in Marc Fitoussi's highly enjoyable outing that delves into the emotional puzzles of a long-term relationship. It's the complex nuances between Isabelle Huppert's bored house-wife Brigitte and Jean Pierre Darroussin's cattle breeder Xavier that allow the credible shifts to spring from the bedrock of everyday routine. Keenly observed, the film is funny, warm and often unexpected. Also Lighthouse Petone.

    THE WATER DIVINER - Making his directorial debut with this brawny and big-hearted Australian war drama, Russell Crowe taps a deep well of symbolism, cultural empathy and good old-fashioned storytelling. Crowe, who also stars as a grieving father stoically bulldozing through Turkey in search of three sons missing in action after the WWI battle at Gallipoli, is on shakier ground with a gooey romantic subplot. With the centenary of Anzac commemorations on the horizon, Australians will likely clasp this locally made, handsomely mounted melodrama to their collective bosom. Advance screenings this weekend. Also Lighthouse and Readings.

    OBVIOUS CHILD - Writer-director Gillian Robespierre's film arrives with the buzz of Sundance behind it, and the unfortunate buzz of being billed as the first "abortion comedy." But the approach is not glib or casual. It's a film that is really about the behavior of its main characters, the rhythms of conversations, the unexpected moments that surprise. It touches on themes of arrested development, needing to grow up and to accept responsibility for who you are.

    ANNIE - If the fact that this was among the films selected by allegedly punitive North Korean forces to leak online is any indication, hackers are definitely not movie critics. Because, unless their point was to illustrate how embarrassingly crass Sony's crown jewel for the holiday family-movie season actually is, one could scarcely imagine a less artistically valuable commodity to distribute to the masses. Also Queensgate, Reading Porirua and Coastlands..

    NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB - Ancient Egyptian magic, father-son bonding and monkey piss abound in this solid, satisfying conclusion to Ben Stiller's family entertainment juggernaut. There's little in the way of secrets or surprises, but it should add much holiday cheer to Fox's box-office coffers. Advance sceenings this weekend. Also Queensgate.

    u p c o m i n g   f i l m s
    EVERYTHING WE LOVED Dec 26 Paramount
    BIG HERO 6 Dec 26 Readings
    HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 Dec 26 Readings
    Dec 26 Readings
    THE WATER DIVINER Dec 26 Readings
    MR TURNER Dec 26 Lighthouse


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