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   2 3   A P R I L  -
  W E D N E S D A Y   2 9   A P R I L   2 0 1 5  

t h e   f i l m s

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  • The Wellington Film Society takes a break for the ANZAC Mondayised holiday, but returns, Paramount 6.15pm Monday 4 May, with:
    THE BIG CITY (Satyajit Ray, India, 1963).
    Ray's glorious film Mahanagar, is rereleased 50 years on: it is an utterly absorbing and moving drama about the changing worlds of work and home in 1950s India, and a hymn to uxorious love acted with lightness, intelligence and wit. Madhabi Mukherjee is superb as Arati, the demure wife of Subrata (Anil Chatterjee), a sweet-natured, semi-competent bank employee in Calcutta. To help out with the family finances, she takes a job as a door-to-door saleswoman, promoting a new knitting machine - and is electrified by her new self-esteem and cash. Encouraged by her feisty, flighty colleague Edith (Vicky Redwood), an Anglo-Indian of the sort not much loved in the city, she insists on lucrative commissions for her rocketing sales and blossoms as a beautiful professional woman about town. Ray shows how this new freedom enrages the men: her husband is unmanned by his wife's sensational new career. The Big City is sublime, a movie to fall in love with. - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 15 August 2013.
    Members only - memberships available before the screening starts.

  • Nga Taonga Sound and Vision. At the Mediatheatre until Friday 24 April, Dale G Bradley's CHUNUK BAIR (NZ 1991). For more details, check out the calendar of screenings and events.

  • Film Festivals to note:
  • The NZIFF Autumn Events 2015, during May, at the Embassy.
    Saturday 2 May, The NZ documentary THE GROUND WE WON, by Christopher Pryor.
    Sunday 3 May, Richard Lester's A HARD DAY'S NIGHT.
    Saturday 9 May, Bertolucci's ravishing THE CONFORMIST.
    Sunday 10 May, the first of two very different Kubrick epics - SPARTACUS.
    Saturday 16 May and Sunday 17 May, Kubrick's 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY.
    And also on Sunday 17 May, a 3.30pm session of Walt Disney's PINOCCHIO.
    Tickets are now on sale directly from the Embassy. In all cases you can follow the booking arrangements through the individual links above.
  • The Resene Architecture and Design Film Festival 2015 will run at the Embassy 28 May - 10 June. Movie titles and schedule will be released closer to the festival start.
  • 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!

    AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON - Exuberant, funny, silly and crazily exhilarating is this new Avengers movie from writer-director Joss Whedon, which is a pure aspartame rush. Once again, the Avengers have assembled under the mercurial and possibly duplicitous leadership of Tony Stark, otherwise Iron Man, played with the usual single-breath delivery of throwaway wisecracks by Robert Downey Jr. It's all operatically mad, and the city-destroying final confrontation is becoming a bit familiar, but Whedon carries it off with such joy and even a kind of evangelism. Also Roxy, Readings, Queensgate, Lighthouse Pauatahanui and Coastlands.

    TESTAMENT OF YOUTH - This is a handsomely mounted, resolutely old-school work: the epitome of "well crafted". Yet, incrementally, led by Alicia Vikander's star-making performance, the film mines a real depth of feeling. This is an unusual account of World War I, the trenches seen only in abstract cutaways or dreamlike visions while director James Kent focuses on the women left behind. Also Penthouse, Lighthouse and Shoreline.

    LEVIATHAN - On the surface, Andrei Zvyagintsev's fourth feature is about how a dispute over land in a remote Russian township becomes a stone that casts cataclysmic ripples through a family and a community. But there are much greater monsters of the deep moving under the surface of this powerful, craftily allusive and elusive film. Simultaneously a modern essay on suffering, an open-ended thriller, and a black social comedy, it is most importantly of all a thinly veiled political parable drenched in bitter irony that takes aim against the corrupt, corrosive regime of Vladimir Putin. The wacky punchline is that it was made with financial support from the Russian Ministry of Culture. From the NZ International Film Festival.

    BOYCHOIR - The voices are the stars, while Dustin Hoffman is just along to support the gifted preteen sopranos. A welcome return to feature filmmaking by The Red Violin director Francois Girard, this relatively by-the-numbers boarding-school drama distinguishes itself through song, thanks to the exceptional musical talents of the American Boychoir School, whose otherworldly talent lasts for only a few years at most. The mystery of where that ability comes from, coupled with the urgency to share it, lends urgency to an otherwise generic coming-of-ager sure to delight those seeking spiritually grounded, emotionally uplifting entertainment. Advance screenings this weekend. Also Lighthouse.

    LUCKY THEM - Director Megan Griffiths' charming little indie is pleasing on a number of levels, but much if its allure comes from the sexy, flawed, complicated woman at its center. Toni Collette's Ellie Klug, a veteran alt-rock journalist in Seattle, has been around the block more than a few times, made her share of mistakes and is unapologetic. Strong but vulnerable, and always interesting, she is a rare find in movies these days.

    u p c o m i n g   f i l m s
    THE GUNMAN Apr 30 Readings
    IT FOLLOWS Apr 30 Paramount
    BOYCHOIR Apr 30 Penthouse
    PAPER PLANES May 07 Readings
    PITCH PERFECT 2 May 07 Readings
    A ROYAL NIGHT OUT May 14 Readings
    MAD MAX: FURY ROAD May 14 Readings
    WILD TALES May 14 Lighthouse
    SPY May 21 Readings
    GEMMA BOVERY May 21 Penthouse
    SLOW WEST May 21 Penthouse
    SAN ANDREAS May 28 Readings
    NOBLE May 28 Penthouse


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