Movies galore: the NZ International Film Festival is back #nziff

Our beloved winter event the New Zealand International Film Festival 2017 opens 28 July in Wellington offering a wide variety of movies from all over the world. To get into the mood, some of our movie buff staff listed their favourite titles from recent festivals and the results are below.

We have a lot of movies previously showcased at the festival. You can find the titles here – check them out to have your own festival at home.

Our Staff picks from the recent film festivals

Beth
Aquarius
A sensitive portrayal of a beautiful woman, now aging, who stubbornly wants to keep her apartment despite all odds.

Bridget
Free to Run / A War / Paterson / Midnight Special / Chasing Asylum

Jessica
The Rehearsal
A really great kiwi film based on the book by Eleanor Catton. I haven’t read the book but I from my understanding the film only covers part of the story, but you couldn’t tell it was missing anything.

When Marnie Was There
I really loved it. As with any Studio Ghibli film, it was visually stunning.

Mark
Goodnight Mommy
German horror/thriller, part of the new ‘wave’ of non-slasher horror films as represented by films like It Follows, Babadook & Under The Skin. 9 year old twins Lukas & Elias living in an idyllic isolated summer cottage waiting for their Mother to return from having plastic surgery. When she returns her face is covered in bandages, and slowly little things emerge about her seem that seem off. Gradually their suspicions increase… Is that really their mother under the bandages? The nasty twist may be easy for some to spot, but it’s still super creepy.

The Lobster
One you immediately love or loathe, a savage indictment of modern interpersonal relationships, taken to its natural dystopian extreme. In the near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods. The newly single Colin Farrell navigates the surreal Hotel, and survives by escaping into The Woods to live with ‘The Loners’ who have their own sets of rules. Perhaps mislabelled as a ‘Comedy’ or a ‘Romance’. Very very deadpan, but plenty of great lines and moments if you can get into its mindset.

Green Room
Tight indie thriller sees a punk band fall afoul of a bunch of skinheads after accidentally witnessing a murder in an Oregon roadhouse. The claustrophobic setting is put to maximum effect as the skinheads (led by a nasty turn from Patrick Stewart) are determined to eliminate all witnesses. Sadly one of the last roles of the very talented Anton Yelchin.

Neil J
Midnight special
An indie feeling road movie/chase/Science fiction film with family relationship at its core rather than blockbuster special effects. Though it does have one or two nice visual effects to boot.

Swiss army man
Daniel Radcliffe distances himself even further from this Harry Potter days in this truly bizarre yet rather wonderful film about a magical corpse.

Captain Fantastic
A film that works on so many levels . It is touching, funny, serious, intense and a whole gambit more of emotions a really rounded film that asks us to question 21st century life and its true value. My pick of this selection of films.

Rams
This is an off kilter quirky gem of a film . Two Icelandic brothers who haven’t spoken in years conduct their affairs through their prize herds of sheep. Very black and wry humour throughout.

Turbo Kid
A film that revels in mega low budget science fiction of the 80’s ( in a really fun way) . All the tropes are there and one or two of the actors too!.

Inherent Vice
Set in a drug drenched 1970s an L.A. private eye investigates the disappearance of one of his former girlfriends a hypnotic, rambling, impressionistic film, immersive film perhaps not to everyone’s taste , But so vividly realised you can almost taste and touch 1970s Los Angeles .

High Rise
This is 1970s dystopian science fiction at its best, all exaggerated and exuberant bleakness concrete and chrome, hessian and wood, except for one thing this film was made in 2015. Its retro futuristic Science Fiction at its best and a total blast. The kind of film Ken Russell or Nicholas Roeg might have made back in the day.

Shinji
Paterson – Jim Jarmusch masterfully crafts a quiet but lovely warm-hearted movie about a working class poet Paterson who lives in Paterson, New Jersey.
I, Daniel Blake – Anger within but with as little drama as possible, Ken Roach depicts the struggles of a widowed carpenter. One of his finest works.
Our Little Sister – A ‘sweet and lovely’ movie which offers beautiful tenderness and emotion though successive small moments of everyday life.
The Assassin – a sublime, breathtakingly beautiful film in which every scene is a work of art.
My Mother – about facing mortality but Italian auteur Nanni Moretti makes it a charming family drama which has a perfect balance of melodrama and comedy.
Embrace of the Serpent –The powerful tale of Western civilization vs. indigenous value takes us into the mysterious Amazon jangle with a stunning image.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night – often described as ‘the Iranian feminist vampire western’. A little Indie gem.
Tehran taxi – Iranian master director Jafar Panahi ingeniously turns the taxi into a mirror of Iranian society. Serious yet playful.

William
From 2016: A War and Green Room – both are recommended for those with strong stomachs.
From 2015: Dope and The Mafia Kills Only in Summer – both are fine for anyone

Fiona
Girlhood / Helvetica / Cabin In The Woods / Only Lovers Left Alive / Drowning By Numbers

Marilyn
Life Animated / Boyhood / The music of strangers : Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble / Amour / The Daughter

Sound & Vision: New CDs

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs in our AV collection. To reserve these items click on the title link below, and to find out a bit more about them click on the cover images…

Radiohead OK computer : OKNOTOK 1997 2017
Alt-J Relaxer
Teenage Fanclub Here
Jeff Tweedy Together at last
Jason Isbell The Nashville sound
Laurel Halo Dust
Arve Henriksen Towards language
Yasmine Hamdan Al jamílat
Prince Purple rain : [music from the motion picture] Deluxe



Recent DVD arrivals

New movies include popular Biographical adaptations ‘Lion’, ‘A United Kingdom’ & ‘Jackie; award winning drama with ‘Manchester by the Sea’, ‘Moonlight’, ‘Fences’ & ‘Paterson’ & new critically acclaimed TV with the latest season of ‘Un village français’ & ‘The Americans’.

Lion.
“In LION, five-year-old Saroo gets lost on a train travelling away from his home and family. Frightened and bewildered, he ends up thousands of miles away, in chaotic Kolkata. Somehow he survives living on the streets, escaping all sorts of terrors and close calls in the process, before ending up in an orphanage that is itself not exactly a safe haven. Eventually Saroo is adopted by an Australian couple, and finds love and security as he grows up in Hobart. Not wanting to hurt his adoptive parents feelings, he suppresses his past, his emotional need for reunification, and his hope of ever finding his lost mother and brother. But a chance meeting with some fellow Indians reawakens his buried yearning. With just a small store of memories and his unwavering determination, Saroo embarks on one of the greatest needle-in-a-haystack quests of modern times.” (Product description, Amazon.co.uk)

A united kingdom.
“Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana causes an international stir when he marries a white woman from London in the late 1940s. When they decided to marry, just as apartheid was being introduced into South Africa, it caused an international uproar. However, their passionate romance triumphed over every obstacle and changed the course of African history.” (Syndetics summary)

Un village français. Vol. 6.
“And so, after years of war, the peace has arrived, and with it comes the court cases, the public hearings that will attribute blame. The divisions that damaged Villeneuve so very much are brought to the surface. Daniel Larcher and Sub-Prefect Servier are first in the dock. And out in the village, people jockey for positions in the new order. We will see characters who disappeared during the war return, we will see characters making deals to avoid execution. The war may be over, but the struggle for dignity continues.” (Syndetics summary)

Jackie.
“A searing and intimate portrait of one of the most important and tragic moments in American history, seen through the eyes of the iconic First Lady, then Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. The film places us in her world during the days immediately following her husband’s assassination. Known for her extraordinary dignity and poise, here we see a psychological portrait of the First Lady as she struggles to maintain her husband’s legacy and the world of a “Camelot” that they created and loved so well.” (Syndetics summary)

Fences.
“In 1950s Pittsburgh, a Black garbage collector named Troy Maxson–bitter that baseball’s color barrier was only broken after his own heyday in the Negro Leagues–is prone to taking out his frustrations on his loved ones.” (Syndetics summary)

Manchester by the sea.
“A man returns to his hometown and faces his past when he unexpectedly becomes the guardian of his teenage nephew after the boy’s father dies.” (Syndetics summary)

Moonlight.
“A young black man struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.” (Syndetics summary)\

Paterson.
“Paterson is a bus driver in the city of Paterson, New Jersey – they share the name. Every day, Paterson adheres to a simple routine: he drives his daily route, observing the city as it drifts across his windshield and overhearing fragments of conversation swirling around him; he writes poetry into a notebook; he walks his dog; he stops in a bar and drinks exactly one beer. He goes home to his wife, Laura. By contrast, Laura’s world is ever changing.” (Syndetics summary)

The Americans. The complete third season.
“Technological advances have escalated Cold War tensions to an all-time high, and undercover KGB operatives Elizabeth and Philip Jennings face the growing threat of discovery. As their assignments grow more deadly, their family is in more danger, and their loyalties are tested like never before.” (Syndetics summary)

Collateral beauty.
“Retreating from life after a tragedy, a man questions the universe by writing to Love, Time and Death. Receiving unexpected answers, he begins to see how these things interlock and how even loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.” (Syndetics summary)

Passengers.
“Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt are two passengers onboard a spaceship transporting them to a new life on another planet. The trip takes a deadly turn when their hibernation pods mysteriously wake them 90 years before they reach their destination. As Jim and Aurora try to unravel the mystery behind the malfunction, they begin to fall for each other, unable to deny their intense attraction… only to be threatened by the imminent collapse of the ship and the discovery of the truth behind why they woke up.” (Syndetics summary)

The founder.
“Tells the true story of how Ray Kroc, a salesman from Illinois, met Mac and Dick McDonald, who were running a burger operation in 1950s Southern California. Kroc was impressed by the brothers’ speedy system of making the food and saw franchise potential. He maneuvered himself into a position to be able to pull the company from the brothers and create a billion-dollar empire.” (Syndetics summary)

Sound & Vision: New CDs

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs in our AV collection. To reserve these items click on the title link below, and to find out a bit more about them click on the cover images…

Early Years II
Sylvan Esso What now
Forest Swords Compassion
John Williams The ultimate collection
Orchestra Baobab Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng
Bruce Springsteen Unplugged 1992


Sound & Vision: New CDs

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs in our AV collection. To reserve these items click on the title link below, and to find out a bit more about them click on the cover images…

Lindsey Buckingham Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie
Paramore After laughter
Fujiya & Miyagi Fujiya & Miyagi
Ryuichi Sakamoto Async
Linkin Park One more light
Roger Waters Is this the life we really want?


Sound & Vision: New CDs – Box Set

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs in our AV collection. To reserve these items click on the title link below, and to find out a bit more about them click on the cover images…

Lloyd Cole Lloyd Cole in New York : collected recordings 1988-1996
Elvis Presley Platinum : a life in music
Kitchens of Distinction Watch our planet circle

New Books on Movies and TV for June

We have received a wide variety of new books on movies and TV programmes, including beautifully designed visual guidebooks for Rogue One, The Jungle Book and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Must-read titles are the biography of much-missed actress Carrie Fisher, as well as a history of Wellington’s iconic theatre BATS by Ken Duncum and Rebecca Rodden.

Syndetics book coverBats plays / Ken Duncum & Rebecca Rodden.
“Six seminal plays from Ken Duncum and Rebecca Rodden, whose playwriting partnership powered the vibrant theatre scene round Wellington’s BATS Theatre in the 1980s and 90s. Boldly inventive, darkly comic and ceaselessly imaginative, the plays collected here present a chilling one-woman vision of alienation (Polythene Pam); the comic and tragic impossibility of human connection (Truelove); an irresponsible punk couple horrified to find they’ve become parents to the Messiah (Flybaby); conjoined twins plunged into an off-kilter world of rampant advertising, animal terrorism and a perfume made from monkey semen (cult-classic JISM); a real-life 20th-century martyr tested to his limits in the afterlife by a vengeful gang of defrocked saints (The Temptations of St Max); and the not-so-quiet desperation of a fearful hoarder fighting to survive the night hours (Panic!). Supporting the plays are introductions and selected images from the writers and other BATS practitioners which vividly recapture a crucial time and place in New Zealand’s theatre history.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe princess diarist / Carrie Fisher.
“With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time–and what developed behind the scenes. Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of Rogue One, a Star Wars story / written by Josh Kushins ; forewords by Doug Chiang, Neil Lamont, and Gareth Edwards.
“This book is a visual chronicle of the Lucasfilm art department’s creation of new worlds, unforgettable characters, and newly imagined droids, vehicles, and weapons for the first movie in the Star Wars Story series — Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. In the same format and style as Abrams’ The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the book gives readers unprecedented access to hundreds of concept paintings, sketches, storyboards, matte paintings, and character, costume, and vehicle designs.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of The jungle book / written by Ellen Wolff ; foreword by Jon Favreau.
“Beautifully designed and packed with behind-the-scenes details, The Art of The Jungle Book provides an in-depth look at Disney’s latest film. In this finely crafted book, dazzling concept art, behind-the-scenes photography, CG designs, and more come together to highlight the visual spectacle of the film. Delving into the film’s interpretation of iconic Jungle Book elements, from beloved characters such as Baloo and Bagheera to the jungle itself, the book features full-color images and gorgeous double-page spreads to illustrate the magic behind the art of the film.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFantastic beasts and where to find them : the art of the film / Dermot Power ; foreword by Stuart Craig.
The Art of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, edited by Dermot Power, concept artist on the film, takes you on a magical journey through a design process every bit as wonderful as that encountered by Newt Scamander in the wizarding world. Bursting with hundreds of production paintings, concept sketches, storyboards, blueprints and matte paintings, and filled with unique insights about the filmmaking journey from Stuart Craig and the artists themselves, this superb book – officially licensed by Warner Bros. Consumer Products – presents a visual feast for readers, and will welcome fans of Harry Potter films into the world of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBorn a crime : stories from a South African childhood / Trevor Noah.
“Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTim Burton : the iconic filmmaker and his work / Ian Nathan.
“Tim Burton is one of the most popular and remarkable filmmakers of the last 30 years, being responsible for such films as Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride and Alice in Wonderland. He is famed for the visually arresting style of his films that combine with highly original storylines. A truly international filmmaker, Tim Burton has carved a reputation as one of the world’s greatest creative directors. This stunning treasury explores the influences on his development as a filmmaker and assesses how he has captured the fruits of his imagination on screen.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGeorge Lucas : a life / Brian Jay Jones.
“On May 25, 1977, a problem-plagued, budget-straining independent science-fiction film opened in a mere thirty-two American movie theaters. Conceived, written, and directed by a little-known filmmaker named George Lucas, the movie originally called The Star Wars quickly drew blocks-long lines, bursting box-office records and ushering in a new way for movies to be made, marketed, and merchandised. It is now one of the most adored-and successful-movie franchises of all time. Now, the author of the bestselling biography Jim Henson delivers a long-awaited, revelatory look into the life and times of the man who created Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Indiana Jones.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI loved her in the movies : memories of Hollywood’s legendary actresses / Robert J. Wagner with Scott Eyman.
“In a career that has spanned more than sixty years Robert Wagner has witnessed the twilight of the Golden Age of Hollywood and the rise of television, becoming a beloved star in both media. During that time he became acquainted, both professionally and socially, with the remarkable women who were the greatest screen personalities of their day. Monroe, Gloria Swanson, Norma Shearer, Loretta Young, Joan Blondell, Irene Dunne, Rosalind Russell, Dorothy Lamour, Debra Paget, Jean Peters, Linda Darnell, Betty Hutton, Raquel Welch, Glenn Close, and the two women whom he ultimately married, Natalie Wood and Jill St. John.” (adapted from the book jacket)

Syndetics book coverTelevision : a biography / David Thomson.
“In just a few years, what used to be an immobile piece of living room furniture, which one had to sit in front of at appointed times in order to watch sponsored programming on a finite number of channels, morphed into a glowing cloud of screens with access to a near-endless supply of content available when and how viewers want it. With this phenomenon now a common cultural theme, a writer of David Thomson’s stature delivering a critical history, or “biography” of the six-decade television era, will be a significant event which could not be more timely. With Television, the critic and film historian who wrote what Sight and Sound’s readers called “the most important film book of the last 50 years” has finally turned his unique powers of observation to the medium that has swallowed film whole.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe platinum age of television : from I love Lucy to The walking dead, how TV became terrific / David Bianculli.
“Television shows have now eclipsed films as the premier form of visual narrative art of our time. This new book by one of our finest critics explains–historically, in depth, and with interviews with the celebrated creators themselves–how the art of must-see/binge-watch television evolved. Television has triumphantly come of age artistically; David Bianculli’s book is the first to date to examine, in depth and in detail and with a keen critical and historical sense, how this inspiring development came about.” (Syndetics summary)