Sunday, July 5, 2009

A LONG, GLORIOUS EXPOSURE - "Love Exposure" reviewed and my NYAFF wrap-up

oly Maria indeed! My very first New York Asian Film Fest came to a close Friday evening with the epic 4-hour screening of Sion Sono's uber masterpiece on love, faith, fighting, and up-skirt photography, "Love Exposure."
It is a breath of super cool fresh air, my friends. A film that will get tongues wagging and eyes bulging for a long time to come, and is once again the place for my review. It plays one more show this Tuesday, July 7th, so if you're in the NYC area, get yer ass to Japan Society in Manhattan! UPDATE - It just won the Grand Jury Prize! HOORAY!

Also be sure to check out my coverage on Feng Xiaogang's "If You Are the One" - all time champion of the Chinese box office - as well as full coverage on a host of films by some fine writers and cinephiles. The NYAFF ends today at Japan Society, but a few more Japanese films play under the society's "Japan Cuts" banner until July 12th.

My "Love Exposure" review.
My "If You Are the One" review.
Full Twitch coverage on NYAFF 09.
NYAFF website

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Good God! This blog has been (semi) resurrected by the New York Asian Film Festival!

ey everybody, and nobody. Back in black (kinda) to shoot some links your way. I'm covering the New York Asian Film Festival for, one of those "idol" sites of mine. It has been a real pleasure and honor to be posting some reviews (and soon interviews) with others from the fest.

Below is a general link to all fest coverage and individual links to my reviews so far.
But first!

The 2009 New York Asian Film Festival runs till July 1st at the IFC Center and then until the 5th over at Japan Society. Their site:

Full Twitch coverage of the fest
My "Written By" review
My " High Noon" review
My "Dream" review

There will be more to come!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Needle in a Haystack: Choque (Crash)

Needle in a Haystack: a continuing look at low to no budget features, shorts and alternative cinema.

paniard, Nacho Vigalondo made his feature directorial debut with one of my favorites of 2008, the twisted and whimsical time travel via way of Hitchcock
Timecrimes . Nacho, a highly inventive person of film related talent and technique, has a slew of shorts under his belt and today I'm wanting to draw attention to his 10 minute short Choque AKA Crash. A man with an ego ripe for revenge + bumper cars = this little gem.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Remakes: They ain't just for genre pictures.

Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as two intelligent young adults who share a night of charged conversation and romance amongst the streets and river walks of Vienna, Austria. It's a film full of realistic optimism and philosophical musings.
Would the youth of today go for such a film? The simple answer is, no they would not.

Linklater's film came out in 1995, well before the advent of ipods and web 2.0 social networking, and thus it has dated poorly, translating to near complete gibberish in 2009. The sight of this strange world without camera phones and skinny jeans make heads spin in confusion.
So the first thing to consider when financing a remake is this... Let's have Levi's, American Apparel and H&M provide the wardrobe for the movie. It's healthy product placement. Don't doubt such a thing.

The next thing to consider:
We're in an economic downturn and college and European travel are really out of the question for many young people these days. They won't be able to identify with things that promote forward thinking and growth, let along something that uses one's earnings for anything other than itunes downloads, so it is far better (and safer) to set the film in an "everyman's" suburb. Hell we know it'll just be shot somewhere north of LA, so why not just set it in the valley... and have the young adults *ahem* kids work at the mall. There, location problem solved.

Now, the young people in question... Hawke and Delpy were 23 when they made the '95 flick; far too old.
Though they are getting close to 23 (they wouldn't look it!) let's have High School Musical alumni Zac Efron and Vanesse Hudgens headline this time out. Heck, they're a couple in real life, so the chemistry is already in place... boom.
They can trade hair care tips over playlists and peach smoothies with protein boosts from Jamba Juice.

Side note: Efron is in fact appearing in Linklater's forthcoming Me and Orson Welles!

You might ask what would keep two fine young wax figures like Efron and Hudgens working in a mall till sunrise... the mall is having some midnight madness salesathon for the kiddies to celebrate the advent of summer break. It could even feature concert appearances by fellow Disney commodities Miley Cyrus and (the) Jonas Brothers, and how about a pesky mall security guard played by ex-husband of Roseanne, Tom Arnold or better yet current U.S. Box Office champ, Kevin James.

The one thing I can't figure out is what kind of role facebook and myspace would play... Perhaps after hours of tween safe lusting and surface chatter about polar bears dying out in the arctic, Efron and Hudgens can come to the sensible agreement that it's best to "friend" each other online in six months. Scratch that, six weeks. There, that sounds reasonable.

Kenny Ortega get crackin'!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Today, for part 2 of our remake feature we're talking about giant ants. Yes... THEM!

Gordon Douglas'1954 flick is considered to be seminal sci-fi on celluloid and one of the best of the cautionary creature features. The first atomic bomb goes off in the desert of New Mexico and slowly but surely causes the mutation of teensy weensy normal ants into... yes that is right... GIANT ANTS!
Your basic parade of police, military and scientist types have to deal with this insect annoyance, tracking down some newly escaped queen ants. And queen ants can fly! The film gets bogged down by some police procedural work and the general talky-ness of the era before getting back to some good ol' fashion ant blasting in the Los Angeles sewers.

The film has been a definite influence on Sci-fi/horror cautionary tales over the years, most recently/notably with Joon-ho-Bong's The Host. So why in the world has this not been turned into a big, noisy American remake? Truth be told the title (without question mark) has been used many times over the years, for all sorts of films and TV shows, but alas, no straight up giant ant action in any of them.

Mr. Transformers himself, Michael Bay has been circling around a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds for years now. Not to diss ol' Hitch, but The Birds, while having a few good set pieces, is one of his films that has not held up all too well over the last decades. I could go into details but I won't because the bottom line is this: Mr. Bay stop thinking about those pesky seagulls and canaries and start thinking about giant killer ants in the desert of New Mexico. You've already done giant killer robots (in the desert), so why not go ahead and blow some shit up while angering a whole new slew of geeks. Your general lack of substance and character fits right in with the insect life style.

The original's giant ants were vicious to be sure; gnawing chumps with their pincers, shooting acid, general tunneling, burrowing and even Navy ship attacking, but the puppets used ( as amazing as they were at the time) were slow as molasses. Of course we'd CGI these suckers now, and just like the updated zombie, make them super fast, thus twice, thrice, as deadly!

This one is such a no brainer, it hurts.