The Wellington Film Guide

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  • The Covid alert remains at Level 1. Cinema-going is almost back to normal. Scan yourself in with the Covid-19 Tracer app.

  • The Wellington Film Society:,Embassy, 6.15pm Monday 30 November: TO BE OR NOT TO BE (Ernst Lubitsch, USA 1942).
    Probably the most famous anti-Nazi parody of all. Set in occupied Warsaw, it of course had nothing to do with that unhappy city but simply exploited it as a convenient location for its Lubitchian buffoonery. Edwin Justus Mayer's brightly written script used many of the devices of traditional French farce - disguises, mistaken identity, etc., to unravel its complex plot, which revolved around the alleged Polish equivalent of the Lunts (Jack Benny and Carole Lombard, the latter in her last screen appearance) and their efforts to outwit the conquerors. Chief conqueror was again the delectable Sig Rumann ("So they call me 'Concentration Camp Erhardt'?") and Felix Bressart did his usual turn as a mousy nonentity, Mr. Everyman personified. The film, however, belonged principally to Benny, proving himself again one of the American cinema's most accomplished light comedians. - Charles Higham/Joel Greenberg, Hollywood in the Forties, Zwemmer/Barnes 1968.
    Anyone can join the Film Society at any time on line.

  • Film Festivals to note:
  • The British Film Festival 2020, runs till 29 November at Penthouse, Lighthouse Petone and Monterey.

    This site relies on the various cinemas having their own websites up to date to access their screening times. The paragraphs describing the films starting this week are in most cases adapted from the linked reviews.

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    s t a r t s   t h i s   w e e k!

    SIX60: TILL THE LIGHTS GO OUT - Director Julia Parnell has proven more than adept and adroit at crafting taut and interesting tales and eliciting passion, emotion and unguarded moments from her subjects. She skilfully weaves together a raft of archival footage with contemporary interviews with all band members past and present who are given the chance to tell their side of the story, air their past concerns and grievances and - just for a moment - bathe in their success. Also Penthouse, Empire, Lighthouse, Readings, Monterey and Coastlands.

    THE COMEBACK TRAIL - Max (Robert De Niro) is broke and he and his deputy Walter (Zach Braff) set about making a Western starring washed-out aged star Duke Montana (Tommy Lee Jones) once big in Westerns and staging a stunt that will result in a claim when the old bloke dies. As Robbie Burns put it: The best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley". And that, friends, is what writer/director George Gallo's movie is about. Also Lighthouse, Monterey Coastland and Shoreline.

    HAPPIEST SEASON - Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis play a lesbian couple rattling the closet door during a family holiday visit in Clea DuVall's queer spin on the Christmas rom-com. The movie's conventional nature turns out to be a virtue, staking a queer claim on an American Christmas tradition in which LGBTQ characters have long been relegated to the sidelines. Also Empire, Lighthouse, Readings, Monterey and Coastlands.

    LET HIM GO - Starring Diane Lane and Kevin Costner as an aging rancher couple out to rescue their grandson from a clan of varmint in-laws, this is set in Big Sky Country about 50 years ago, and it's like a family-values, homespun-nostalgia version of The Searchers crossed with Midsomma on the range. If that sounds like an oddball of a movie, but one that's going to keep you watching, it is. Also Monterey.

    POSSESSOR - In just his second feature, Brandon Cronenberg, son of David, has delivered the first great sci-fi horror movie of the decade. In the future, corporations use internal agents to inhabit innocent people's bodies to carry out high-profile assassinations for strategic gains. But when a brain implant process takes its toll during an assignment, agent Tanya begins to lose a grip on her own identity. Exploring self and identity, this deftly explores heady material in a sci-fi horror candy coating, delivering a challenging ferocious film.

    u p c o m i n g   f i l m s
    MISBEHAVIOUR Dec 03 Penthouse
    FREE GUY Dec 10 Reading
    THE WITCHES Dec 10 Reading
    PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY Dec 10 Reading
    WONDER WOMAN 1984 Dec 26 Event
    THE CROODS: A NEW AGE Dec 26 Readings
    THE KING'S MAN Feb 25 Lighthouse
    NO TIME TO DIE Apr 02 Readings
    BLACK WIDOW May 07 Readings


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    Classic and contemporary cinema from around the world, from NZ's only non-profit network of film exhibition