Tag Archive: 2013 New Zealand International Film Festival

Highlights of the 2013 NZ International Film Festival

The immensely enjoyable 2013 New Zealand International Film Festival recently wrapped up in Auckland, and from the very first film (Behind the Candelabra) to the last (The Dance of Reality) there was no shortage of highlights. At least half of the nearly 40 films I saw rank among my favourites of the year so far, and …

Continue reading »

[CAPSULE REVIEW] THE SPECTACULAR NOW is the most refreshing representation of teens in years

Sundance breakout The Spectacular Now might appear to be just another coming-of-age indie on the surface, but this surprisingly unconventional, affecting and authentic portrait of adolescence is in fact the genre’s freshest entry in years. Screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber ((500) Days of Summer) and director James Ponsoldt (Smashed) — working from Tim Tharp’s novel — pull off an impressive …

Continue reading »

[REVIEW] Noah Baumbach & Greta Gerwig’s jubilant FRANCES HA is the feel-good film of 2013

Greta Gerwig gives a sensational, career-defining performance as the titular character of Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha, a consistently witty and charming story of late-20s aimlessness and sisterly love. At once a monochromatic tribute to the French New Wave and a warm celebration of the Big Apple in the tradition of Woody Allen (Manhattan) and Whit Stillman …

Continue reading »

[CAPSULE REVIEW] Pleasantly surprising Saudi film WADJDA is the best discovery of NZIFF 2013

While much of the pleasure of a festival like NZIFF derives from seeing a bunch of highly-anticipated films, there really is nothing better than discovering an under-hyped gem that would have otherwise slipped under your radar. That film for me this year is Haifaa Al Mansour’s Wadjda, which marks the debut of an exciting new filmmaking talent. …

Continue reading »

[CAPSULE REVIEW] THE PAST is another powerful relationship drama from master filmmaker Asghar Farhadi

The dramatic one-two punch of 2009’s impressive About Elly and 2011’s masterpiece A Separation had many praising Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi as world cinema’s new master. In his powerful new relationship drama, The Past — which finds Farhadi relocating to Paris with remarkable ease — this well-earned reputation is never in doubt throughout, even if the film cannot quite match his …

Continue reading »

[REVIEW] MUD confirms Jeff Nichols is one of America’s finest storytellers

Arkansas filmmaker Jeff Nichols landed on the radar of many critics following his impressive 2007 debut Shotgun Stories, and announced himself to a wider audience as a must-watch talent with 2011’s shattering Take Shelter, both of which helped to make a star of Michael Shannon. His magnificent new feature, Mud — which debuted at Cannes last year and screened in …

Continue reading »

Picks from the 2013 NZ International Film Festival programme

Every cinephile’s favourite time of the year is fast approaching as the New Zealand International Film Festival prepares to take over Auckland screens for two-and-a-half glorious weeks from July 18. The festival launched their 2013 programme recently, and after spending more time than I care to admit obsessively studying the line-up and preparing my schedule, …

Continue reading »