Director: David Leitch
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, Morena Baccarin, Eddie Marsan, TJ Miller, Stefan Kapicic, Briana Hildebrand, Shioli Kutsuna
It seems a strange, almost perverse thing to say of a film so coarse and violent, but the incredible success of Tim Miller’s Deadpool, which turned a comparatively modest US$58m budget into a US$783m worldwide gross, was one of the film industry’s feel good stories of 2016. It was both vindication for Ryan Reynolds who had worked tirelessly for the chance to redeem the character after its butchering in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and reward for 20th Century Fox’s willingness to take a chance on a superhero movie whose R-rating automatically ruled out a key demographic for superhero movies. A sequel, however, presents an entirely new challenge. Could a second film capture that same sense of freshness and difference, or would it just end up mimicking itself? Fortunately, Deadpool 2 not only lives up to the original, it arguably exceeds it on many fronts. Continue reading
Director: Taika Waititi
Starring: Julian Dennison, Sam Neill, Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House, Oscar Kightley
For most casual film fans the New Zealand cinema of the last decade-and-a-half has been defined by Peter Jackson and his adventures in Middle Earth. But this period has also seen the rise of one of the world’s more fun and interesting cinematic voices, writer-director Taika Waititi. Nominated for an Academy Award in 2005 for his short film Two Cars, One Night, his 2010 feature Boy was up until recently New Zealand’s highest grossing domestic film, his vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows won acclaim all over the world, and he has been tapped to enter the blockbuster big time as director of Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok. His current film, and the new highest grossing New Zealand film at the domestic box office, is his most complete, fully realised film to date, Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Thirteen-year-old Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) has spent his life bouncing from foster home to foster home. As child services officer Paula Hall (Rachel House) observes, he’s a “very bag egg,” with a track record of stealing, spitting, kicking things, breaking things and loitering. Continue reading