Cancel your appointments, it's film festival time
The New Zealand International Film Festival is heading to Hamilton next week, bringing with it an intensive three-week schedule of award-winning local and international films.
Hamilton's Lido Cinema is being praised for making the country's leading film festival a success.
Festival director Bill Gosden said the festival has been "re-established" since the arrival of the Lido Cinema.
Opened in 2009 in the home of the former Rialto complex, the Lido is the only theatre in Hamilton to screen festival films.
"Since the Lido has become the home of the festival, it has fared very well in Hamilton," Gosden said.
"Per capita in each city, the support we receive for the festival is very strong, even outside of Auckland and Wellington."
Gosden said the Hamilton festival comprises a "good selection" of the most popular films from Auckland's programme.
Films include hits from the Cannes Film Festival including a documentary about a Brazilian photographer Salt of the Earth and Argentine comedy Wild Tales.
Others will be shown in Hamilton before people in New York have the opportunity to view them, he said.
Lido Cinema manager Richard Dalton said he always got "very excited" at festival time.
"It went very well last year and the festival seems stronger this year, so we're fairly optimistic," he said.
"The festival brings a different crowd to the cinema. There's people coming day in and day out, all bringing a different dynamic."
The New Zealand International Film Festival will open with a screening of The Lunchbox on Wednesday, August 20 at 7.45pm, with refreshments from 7pm.
The festival runs until September 14. For more information and session times, see nziff.co.nz.
WHAT TO WATCH, WHAT TO WATCH?
The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden
A comprehensive and compelling unveiling of a now little-known scandal surrounding one of the world's most remote locations. Around 100 years after Charles Darwin visited Galapagos, his "survival of the fittest" theory was graphically illustrated via a series of strange disappearances involving the inhabitants of the island of Floreana. And you thought Lost was complete fiction?
Kiwi black comedy that's a kind of cross between Disturbia and the Peter Jackson duo of The Frighteners and Brain Dead. Morgana O'Reilly (TV's Sunny Skies) plays a troubled young woman who after a scrape with the law finds herself in a hell far worse than prison - home detention at his mother's place. Veteran comedienne Rima Te Wiata (Via Satellite) plays the matriarch who is convinced that her house is haunted.
Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter
Inspired by an internet "urban legend", this US drama follows the adventures of a Japanese woman who is convinced that the Coen Brothers' 1996 film Fargo is a true story and provides a map to some buried treasure. Beautifully shot and scored (by The Octopus Project), it also magnificently contrasts the cultures of Tokyo and rural Minnesota.
We've had films set in a single hotel room, a phone booth and a coffin - now here's 90-minutes in a car. Far more audible than in The Dark Knight Rises, Tom Hardy (doing his best Anthony Hopkins impersonation) is on screen virtually the entire time as he makes his way from Birmingham to London while receiving and sending phone calls that will completely alter his life. Gripping, compelling, bravura filmmaking.
Proof that Indian cinema isn't all singing and dancing. Irrfan Khan plays lonely accountant Saajan, who is counting down the days to his retirement when his life is turned around by receiving the wrong lunch in this delicate and delightful romantic drama. Seeking to regain her husband's attention, a young housewife has sent in a tasty dish, which when it mistakenly makes it's way to Saajan's desk piques his interest. A sweet twist on the You've Got Mail conceit.
The countdown to the switching on of CERN's Large Hadron Collider is captured in Mark Levinson's "particle physics for dummies" documentary. While addressing the doomsayers who thought the experiments might end the world, the film is also a celebration of scientific collaboration and a showcase for the enthusiasm for their work of many of those involved.
Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets
Kiwi director Florian Habicht (Kaikohe Demolition, Love Story) turns his camera on the 1990s Britpop band Pulp's finale (a concert in their hometown of Sheffield in December 2012) to their brief comeback. Lead singer Jarvis Cocker and the band engagingly reflect on fame, the stories behind their hit songs and coming home for one last hurrah.
Under the Skin
The Year of Scarlett Johansson continues with this creepy and compelling low-fi sci-fi. She plays a mysterious woman trawling the streets and isolated scenic sights of Scotland looking for male specimens of the Celtic race. What could have been simply an art house version of Species or The Terminator is elevated by liquid and luscious visuals, a slowly unfolding mystery and the hypnotic power of both Mica Levi's score and Johansson herself.
We Are the Best!
Swedish writer-director Lukas Moodyson (Show Me Love, Together) makes a welcome return to comedic form with this hilarious coming-of-age tale about three unlikely female teen punks in 1980s Stockholm. Does for punk what The Comic Strip's Bad News did for heavy metal, while also possessing a sweet heart and sympathetic eye and ear for the trials and tribulations of teenage life.
Yves St Laurent
The famous French designer gets the biopic treatment as director Jalil Lespert charts his rise to the top and his relationship with business partner and lover Pierre Berge. While not as absorbing as 2010 documentary L'Amour Fou, it still serves as an excellent primer on St Laurent and his aesthetic.