Heavenly Creatures – Film Review

Watched an early Peter Jackson film,¬†which was also a big-screen debut for very young Kate Winslet. Heavenly Creatures is based on the true story of two teenage girls in 1950s New Zealand who commit a terrible crime. You see the immediate bloody aftermath in the opening scene, so the movie then becomes a relentless, suspenseful countdown to the horrible act, while you hope against all odds that it doesn’t come to pass.



Once Were Warriors – Film Review

Brutal, powerful and at times hard-to-watch drama about a Maori family wrecked by the domestic violence. You get an indication of what you’re up for in the opening shot: a picture-perfect view of the New Zealand landscape set to a wistful tune that quickly reveals itself an advertising billboard near an ugly and noisy construction site. If you want the pretty, look elsewhere.


The Happening – Film Review

Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan back in the dark days when he was making one stinker after another, The Happening has too many dull stretches to be a proper good bad movie. Still, I find Shyamalan’s bad movies fascinating in the same way I find Star Wars prequels and films like Jupiter Ascending weirdly fascinating. Say what you want about them, but they’re not your generic bad movies and they bear the individual stamp of their creators.


The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Film Review

I’ve decided to catch up on Disney’s traditionally animated films I never saw, so I watched this 1996 odd duck which, along with Pocahontas, heralded the end of the early 90s Disney Renaissance and the beginning of the diminishing returns. If you asked me to name a literary source that could serve as a jumping-off point for a family entertainment blockbuster, Victor Hugo’s classic novel Notre-Dame de Paris probably wouldn’t be it. The Powers That Be at Disney obviously had a different opinion and greenlit the project; while the results are rather mixed I thought the film was definitely worth seeing.


What We Do in the Shadows – Film Review

I’m not fussed to watch the latest Thor extravaganza, but its release at least reminded me to track down director Taika Waititi’s earlier film, a mockumentary about house-sharing vampires in Wellington, which he made with Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement.