By Siân Melton
Real talk: time travel hurts my brain. Sometimes I sit and wonder about the logistics of it all. If I travel back in time, is there still a Present Me or did Present Me vanish? If the latter, what happens in present time without me there? And how can I, instead of Chuck Berry, end up responsible for the discovery of rock and roll music? I think that’s why I hesitate before seeing a time travel movie. Sometimes I can enjoy the story and time-travely-ness (very official) and not get too distracted by it and other time’s I’m all, WHOA, WHOA, WHOA.
By Siân Melton
There’s no better signifier of a great movie than being more than willing to see it twice. That was the case with my love affair with Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter. Sigh. Seriously, I have so much love for this movie. I saw it at Sundance and was so blown away by well, everything: the story, the cinematography, the music (the music!!), and of course Kumiko herself, played by the ravishing Rinko Kikuchi. There’s also a bunny, but I’ll get into that later.
Even though I’ve never seen Nacho Vigalondo’s Timecrimes, I’d heard enough good things about it to interest me in Open Windows. The premise was intriguing on its own: the story of an actress, a murderous stalker, and an unwitting voyeur all told through computer screens. The cast was also a draw: Elijah Wood and Sasha Grey. Unfortunately, Open Windows is a huge disappointment.
If, like me, your knowledge of New Zealand cinema is limited to Peter Jackson and Taika Waititi, then Housebound will both delight and surprise you. I went into Housebound with zero knowledge of the plot, but you should know that it’s essentially a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside a red herring. Just when you think you’ve figured out what kind of movie it’s going to be, it turns into something else. Rather than being confusing, it makes the movie that much more fun to watch.
Even though it’s a movie that still feels fresh and influential, Beetlejuice came out almost a quarter of a century ago. It’s no secret that many of Tim Burton’s biggest fans feel like he hasn’t done anything in the last 20 years to rival it. Those people need to see Suburban Gothic immediately.
When Jimi Hendrix’s estate refused permission for writer/director John Ridley to use any of Hendrix’s songs in his movie, it seemed like the film was doomed. Yet, while watching Jimi: All Is By My Side, the lack of original Hendrix music seems nearly irrelevant. Like Todd Haynes did with Velvet Goldmine, his loosely-based-on-David Bowie love letter to glam rock, Ridley manages to make it work. Without the specter of “the hits” looming over the film, All Is By My Side plays like a stadium-filling band performing deep cuts in a tiny club. It’s more snapshots and impressions than a by-the-numbers biography.
What would happen if the only other person remaining after the apocalypse was your annoying co-worker who always had his headphones on? What if the only other person smelled terrible? It may sound comical, but these are the hard questions you have to ask yourself when watching The Battery. Despite taking place after an apocalypse (of the Z-word variety), there are definitely funny moments, but on the whole, The Battery is a brutal movie. Things get fucked up and people die.
iNumber Number is a thoroughly enjoyable heist film from writer/director Donovan Marsh. There’s not a bit of flab to be found in its taut 96 minutes, all of which crackle with tension.
“Rich people design it; poor people build it.”
—João in Brazilian Western
If you’ve heard the song “Faroeste Caboclo” by Legião Urbana, the storyline of Brazilian Western will be familiar to you. For those who haven’t, it follows the song’s same storyline: a poor young man named João moves to the city for a better life, becomes a drug dealer, and falls in love, only for his life to end in tragedy.
Revealing this information won’t ruin your enjoyment of the film. From the opening scenes—which are very much in the style of a Western—we already know the ending is a sad one. Watching the events unfold is what makes Brazilian Western worth seeing.