Morgan Neville’s spirited music doc 20 Feet From Stardom won over audiences during the NZ International Film Festival earlier this year, and this insightful and often moving film is now returning to NZ cinemas for those who missed it. Just as 2002′s Standing in the Shadows of Motown shed long-overdue light on the overlooked session musicians of the era, 20 Feet details the varied careers and lives of several talented back-up singers — including Darlene Love, Judith Hill, Merry Clayton, Claudia Lenner, Lisa Fischer, Táta Vega and Jo Lawry — who collectively worked with the likes of the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Bette Midler and Sting (each make appearances throughout). Featuring exciting archival footage, enthusiastic performances and most importantly some great characters, this loving tribute to unsung heroes is a must-see for any music history buffs and A Fistful of Culture has three double passes up for grabs courtesy of Trigger Marketing.
Sundance favourite Nicole Holofcener (Please Give) returns this year with Enough Said, a very promising romantic comedy starring a resurgent Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep) and featuring one of the final performances by the late, great James Gandolfini. The film centres on a divorced single parent (Louis-Dreyfus) who falls for a sweet man (Gandolfini), only to have matters complicated when she befriends his bitter ex-wife (Catherine Keener). This looks to be a charming, insightful comedy about grown-up romance and A Fistful of Culture has five double passes to giveaway thanks to 20th Century Fox.
One of my more anticipated films of the year is The Counselor, a star-studded thriller — including Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz and Brad Pitt – that tantalizingly pairs author-turned-screenwriter Cormac McCarthy (No Country For Old Men) and director Ridley Scott (Blade Runner). The film has been divisively received by U.S. critics, with several comparing it to Andrew Dominik’s similarly uncompromising Killing Them Softly (one of my favourite films of 2012), which makes me all the more curious. A Fistful of Culture has three double passes up for grabs courtesy of 20th Century Fox, and you can find the entry details below.
Chasing Ice – one of last year’s must-see documentaries — has now hit Blu-ray in New Zealand, and if you missed it A Fistful of Culture is giving you the opportunity to win one of three copies. The film follows esteemed National Geographic photographer James Balog as he documents the increasingly rapid decline of our planet’s glaciers, employing unprecedented usage of time-lapse cameras to capture extraordinary and devastating images. By simply focussing on ice, this film is one of the most straight-forward, compelling and urgent pleas to address climate change at a time when America is still alarmingly polarised by the issue, and the astounding visuals Balog delivers are unlike anything you have seen on the subject before.
Paul Greengrass’ acclaimed new drama Captain Phillips is out today in New Zealand cinemas, and A Fistful of Culture has three double passes to giveaway thanks to Sony Pictures. This intense, urgent and realistic biopic stars Tom Hanks as the courageous titular captain whose cargo ship was taken hostage by Somali pirates in 2009, and the iconic American actor gives his best performance in well over a decade here — one which is understandably being hyped as an Oscar frontrunner, and ensures that this film is a must-see.
Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan returned to The Colbert Report last night to discuss his hit show’s feverishly anticipated finale. For those not completely up-to-date, the interview obviously contains spoilers — which Colbert makes light of part-way through — as Gilligan opens up about the ultimate fate of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), living with the character in his head for six years, and compared Walter to John Wayne’s character in The Searchers as well as The Lord of the Rings‘ Gollum. The show concluded with a fun epilogue in which Colbert has Gilligan imprisoned in a basement, forced to write more episodes of Breaking Bad, and you can also find that below.
Christian Petzold’s tense, atmospheric and transfixing Cold War thriller Barbara was undoubtedly one of the best European films of 2012, and A Fistful of Culture has three DVD copies up for grabs courtesy of Madman. The film stars regular collaborator Nina Hoss as a doctor banished to a rural East German hospital as punishment for applying for an exit visa, and she soon finds herself entangled in unwanted romance and suspicions. Petzold’s latest is an intelligent and haunting character study, with a remarkable performance from Hoss, and those with a preference for slow-burn cinema will find themselves richly rewarded.
The charming-as-ever Joseph Gordon-Levitt is currently doing the rounds for his directorial debut, Don Jon – see also his entertaining AMA, and a hilarious Fallon appearance below – and tonight he stopped by The Colbert Report. The actor-turned-writer/director explained how his film examines the unrealistic expectations perpetuated by porn and romantic comedies — which gave Stephen an opportunity for a great quip (“Pornography masturbates to me!”) — and Gordon-Levitt revealed that his character in Rian Johnson’s Brick is probably the closest on-screen equivalent to his real-life persona.
Thom Yorke’s side project Atoms for Peace paid a visit to The Daily Show tonight in support of their upcoming US tour. The Radiohead frontman was accompanied by RHCP bassist Flea for a chat with Jon Stewart — with the former looking as uncomfortable about the whole thing as ever — and discussed the genesis of the band. The pair was then joined on stage by Nigel Godrich and co. for a lively rendition of their AMOK single ‘Default’, followed by a web exclusive performance of ‘Harrowdown Hill’ from Yorke’s The Eraser.
Annual animation event Reel Anime returns to Auckland this week with another impressive line-up of much-buzzed films: Hideaki Anno’s third entry in his landmark Evangelion rebuilds (Evangelion: 3.0), the new film from Jin-Roh director Hiroyuki Okiura (A Letter to Momo), the latest from Children Who Chase Lost Voices director Makoto Shinkai (The Garden of Words), a new sci-fi from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Eden of the East director Kenji Kamiyama (009 Re:Cyborg), and the first of four new Ghost in the Shell installments (Ghost in the Shell: Arise). To celebrate Madman‘s great event, A Fistful of Culture has three exciting prize packs to giveaway to some lucky anime fans out there, which includes previous Reel Anime highlights From Up on Poppy Hill, Summer Wars and Evangelion 2.22 on Blu-ray as well as a 2 4 1 pass to any Auckland screening!