2014 NZIFF highlights discussed on FOUR LIVE


Following the launch of the 2014 NZ International Film Festival in Auckland last week, I paid a visit to Four Live to recommend a few festival highlights with broad appeal — namely, Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer starring Chris Evans, Steven Knight’s Locke starring Tom Hardy, and Richard Linklater’s Boyhood. Read the rest of this entry »

Win a DVD prize pack of 2013 NZIFF titles


With the much anticipated 2014 NZ International Film Festival launching in Auckland this week, A Fistful of Culture would like to celebrate by giving away a prize pack of highlights from last year’s programme: Jeremy Saulnier’s terrific revenge thriller Blue Ruin, Asghar Farhadi’s intricate relationship drama The Past, and Sarah Polley’s fascinating family documentary Stories We Tell. Each of these highly recommended titles are now available on DVD, and you can win the lot by entering below thanks to Madman. Read the rest of this entry »


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Matt Reeves’ terrific Dawn of the Planet of the Apes hits New Zealand cinemas today, and earlier this week I made a somewhat impromptu appearance on FOUR Live to discuss the film’s merits with host Drew Neemia, which you can find below. Read the rest of this entry »

Win a Studio Ghibli Blu-ray prize pack

Ghibli giveaway

Following the recent release of Hayao Miyazaki’s magnificent swansong, The Wind Rises, this month sees the long-awaited arrival of what may be Isao Takahata’s final film, The Tale of Princess Kaguya – screening at the 2014 NZ International Film Festival. In anticipation of this, A Fistful of Culture has teamed up with Madman on a prize pack of two Studio Ghibli favourites: Hiroyuki Morita’s The Cat Returns and Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpiece Princess Mononoke, both new to Blu-ray this month. Read the rest of this entry »

Picks from the 2014 NZ International Film Festival programme

NZIFF 2014 Picks

The New Zealand International Film Festival returns this month with your annual dose of the finest cinema from around the globe, including hot titles direct from Cannes, much-anticipated festival highlights from the past year, yet-to-be-discovered gems and of course some strong local content. Navigating the programme and selecting from the overwhelming line-up can be hard work, so in order to ease the decision-making process you can find my list of the festival’s must-see films below. Be sure to check back for reviews throughout the festival, and as always for more frequent updates you can follow A Fistful of Culture on Facebook and Twitter. Read the rest of this entry »

Win a double pass to John Michael McDonagh’s CALVARY starring Brendan Gleeson


Writer/director John Michael McDonagh made an impressive debut in 2011 with The Guard, which served as a hilarious showcase for the great Brendan Gleeson. The pair are returning to NZ screens next week with an even blacker comedy, Calvary, which follows the story of a good priest (Gleeson) who is faced with troubling circumstances brought about by a mysterious member of his parish. If the promise of more McDonagh and Gleeson magic isn’t enough to make you head straight to your local cinema, the film’s stellar supporting cast of Aidan Gillen, Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Dylan Moran, M. Emmet Walsh and Gleeson’s talented son Domhnall certainly ought to be! A Fistful of Culture has three double passes to this must-see film up for grabs thanks to Trigger Marketing, so be sure to enter below for your chance to win. Read the rest of this entry »

Win a GOOD VIBRATIONS prize pack

Good Vibrations

Chronicling the Belfast punk scene that exploded during the peak of The Troubles, Good Vibrations earned rave reviews in the UK last year — particularly for its star, Richard Dormer — and NZ audiences can catch the film at Rialto Cinemas from this week. With a soundtrack that features Good Vibrations acts Rudi, The Outcasts and The Undertones, as well as such era-appropriate icons as The Shangri-LasSmall FacesDavid BowieHank Williams and Suicide, this will be a must-see for music enthusiasts. A Fistful of Culture has five prize packs to giveaway thanks to Trigger Marketing, including a double pass to the film as well as the soundtrack on CD, and you can find the competition details below. Read the rest of this entry »

Win tickets to Jim Jarmusch’s ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE


Jim Jarmusch’s ridiculously cool Only Lovers Left Alive is one of the most enjoyable films of the past year, not to mention a stellar addition to the filmmaker’s incomparable oeuvre — as those lucky enough to catch it at the 2013 NZ International Film Festival will attest — so NZ audiences should get excited to discover (or rediscover) the film as it slinks it’s way back to our screens this week. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston star as an effortlessly sexy pair of immortal lovers who reunite following some time apart, and both give terrific performances, with memorable supporting turns from John Hurt, Anton Yelchin, Mia Wasikowska and Jeffrey Wright. Jarmusch conjures such a rich, decadently cool atmosphere here that you utterly lose yourself to the film’s unique rhythm, and A Fistful of Culture is thrilled to be giving away three double passes courtesy of  Trigger Marketing. Read the rest of this entry »

Win a double pass to Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

The Grand Budapest Hotel

It’s early days yet for film-of-the-year talk, but 2014 already has a significant frontrunner in Wes Anderson’s absolutely wonderful The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is heading to NZ cinemas this week. Following 2012′s festival favourite Moonrise Kingdom, Anderson once again tries his hand at a period piece, reimagining 1930s Europe through the zany adventures of Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), a legendary concierge at the titular hotel, and his trusted lobby boy, Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori/F. Murray Abraham). Fiennes gives one of his most memorable performances as the charismatic and eccentric concierge, and Anderson has assembled another stellar ensemble around him, including Edward Norton, Mathieu Amalric, Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Léa Seydoux, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson. Grand Budapest is every bit as meticulously stylised, deceptively poignant and dryly funny as we have come to expect from Anderson — perhaps his funniest and most accessible effort yet — and longtime fans will not be disappointed. A Fistful of Culture has five double passes to offer lucky readers, courtesy of 20th Century Fox, and you can find more details below.

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Autumn Events 2014 programme guide + THE THIRD MAN giveaway


The good folks at the New Zealand International Film Festival are brightening up our April once again with this week’s return of the Autumn Events, a delightful entré to the festival’s main course in July that presents legends of the big screen on gloriously big screens (The Civic in Auckland; The Embassy in Wellington). Last year’s inaugural programme provided one of my cinematic highlights of 2013: a 4K-restoration of David Lean’s masterpiece, Lawrence of Arabia, in all its widescreen glory (Christchurch, Dunedin and Napier audiences still have this to look forward to). This year’s programme offers more of the same, with restorations of no less than three of my all-time favourite films — Carol Reed’s definitive noir, The Third Man; Werner Herzog’s haunting historical epic Aguirre, the Wrath of God; Stanley Kubrick’s peerless Cold War satire Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb – not to mention the electrifying Marlon Brando in Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront and elegant Audrey Hepburn alongside Fred Astaire in Funny Face. Perhaps even more exciting than revisiting these classics for many is the inclusion of Hayao Miyazaki’s much-anticipated final film, The Wind Rises – itself likely to be considered a classic in due time — which makes its long-awaited NZ debut in both subtitled and dubbed options. This 2014 line-up is sure to make for one overwhelmingly satisfying weekend at the movies, and A Fistful of Culture is lending a helping hand to one lucky filmgoer with a double pass to The Third Man up for grabs below.

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