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What’s coming up at the movies


New owners of Mercury Twin Cinemas, Anne-Maree and Matt McDougall, have selected some great upcoming movies for the next few weeks. Here’s my take on future viewing with something for everyone, whatever your age and stage.


Operation Mincemeat (currently screening)

Any movie starring Colin Firth and Matthew McFadyen has automatically got my vote, especially when it’s based on a true story and has handsome heroes in World War II uniforms. Throw in one of my favourite Scottish actresses, Kelly Macdonald (you’ll know her when you see her) and talented, multiskilled Penelope Wilton (Isobel Crawley in Downton Abbey), and it’s sure to be compelling. The fact that it turned out to be a very successful WWII operation is a bonus for those who like happy endings.


Top Gun: Maverick (first screening on Thursday, 26 May - advance screening Wednesday, 25 May at 6.15pm, phone 07 8671001 to book)

Thirty-six years is a long time to wait for a sequel, but for Tom Cruise fans, the wait is worth it. Covid made its contribution to delaying this movie for a couple of years, but it’s finally ready for its first outing in Whitianga, starring not only the legendary Cruise but also Val Kilmer, Jennifer Connolly, Mad Men lead actor John Hamm and old stalwart Ed Harris. A new generation of pilots is introduced in this sequel and Lady Gaga adds drama with her rendition of the theme song “Hold my Hand”. I have to say Tom is looking just as good as he did nearly four decades ago!


Jurassic World Dominion (first screening on Thursday, 9 June)

Yep, our very own Sam Neill has still got it as he teams up with the original Jurassic stars Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum in this sixth and last film in the Jurassic franchise. Contemporary star Chris Pratt provides the required “hunk” quota in the form of dinosaur trainer Owen Grady, and Bryce Dallas Howard (daughter of THE Ron Howard) plays Owen’s love interest in her third Jurassic movie. Another release date delayed by Covid, this Jurassic movie is set in Malta and suggests dinosaurs are co-existing with humans. I wonder how that will go.


How to Please a Woman (first screening on Thursday, 16 June)

You’ll recognise a few Australian and New Zealand actors in this light comedy filmed in Fremantle starring British actress Sally Phillips (for fans of TV comedy Miranda, she’s the annoying upper class friend “Tilly”). In a reversal of traditional male/female roles, Phillips stars as a middle-aged woman who sets up a cleaning business with men doing the “servicing” - in more than one sense of the word. A movie for those feeling like an escape from deep and meaningful.


Nude Tuesday (first screening on Thursday, 16 June)

More familiar faces in this New Zealand Film Commission-funded movie starring Jackie van Beek (a favourite comedian and actress on the NZ small screen) and Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) speaking… wait for it… gibberish. Subtitles have been added so you know what they’re actually saying. It is apparently very funny and as yet hasn’t been given a censorship rating. My advice is don’t take the kids unless you want to answer a lot of questions about the birds and the bees afterwards.


Elvis (first screening on Thursday, 23 June)

It’s hard to imagine a movie about Elvis starring anyone but Elvis, but you can never discount a film where Tom Hanks is playing the primary support role of Elvis’ manager, Tom Parker. Former child star Austin Butler puts in a creditable performance as Elvis and you can expect plenty of glitz and glamour with any film directed by Australian Bas Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge! and The Great Gatsby).


Whina (first screening on Thursday, 23 June)

Another Film Commission-funded Kiwi movie, but this time the true story of legendary Māori woman leader, Dame Whina Cooper. Rena Owen delivers a creditable performance as the older Whina and familiar face Miriama McDowell plays the compelling role of the younger Whina, which she does with distinction. An important historical context with our very own scenery and a take on recent New Zealand history that some might find disturbing, but a great watch.


Pictured is Matt McDougall, the owner of Mercury Twin Cinemas, with a poster of the movie, “Whina” in the background. See page 31 for all movie times.

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