So Long, My Son (2019)
Director Wang Xiaoshuai
Screenplay A Mei, Wang Xiaoshuai
Producer Wang Hai, Han Jianv, Yang Wei, Wang Xiaoshuai, Liu Xuan
Cast Wang Jingchun, Yong Mei
The next screening of this film is on Saturday, October 19, 2019.
Two families each have a son born on the same day. Their sons become best friends but the death of one of the sons and a forced abortion before the incident due to China’s one child policy causes a rift between the two families with the pain of that tragedy lasting for decades.
At three hours long, one might hesitate to watch it but there is not a wasted frame in the entire film and it always remains engaging with good pacing. To me, It did not feel like three hours had past as I was engrossed by the story and the characters. The acting is great with lots of subtlety. This is a very naturalistic and realistic film about working class Chinese. There are a few threads that are all mostly resolved with an emotional ending although not all truths are told.
Continue reading “So Long, My Son – film review – Nouveau cinema 2019 [Recommended]”
Director Mika Ninagawa
Screenplay Hirohito Goto, Yoshikazu Sugiyama, Mika Ninagawa
Producer Takuya Ito, Morio Amagi
Cast Tatsuya Fujiwara, Tina Tamashiro, Shun Oguri
An abandoned young woman, Kanako, with no aim in life has the bad luck of becoming a waitress in a restaurant for assassins (because it ran out of waitresses who were killed for various service-related mistakes). This is based on a book and possibly the manga adaptation.
A kooky but mostly derivative movie. While it looks nice and has some stylized combat there are signs of a low budget here. The first sign is that the majority of the movie takes place in a single location, which is the restaurant. It is seen mostly empty with only Kanako & her harsh boss and head chef, Bombero. Despite there being multiple gang bosses, you only actually see the gang of one of the bosses. Two appear to have nobody and one only seems to have the one assassin. Because of this, the world of movie feels very small.
Continue reading “Diner – film review – Nouveau cinema 2019”
Children of the Sea (2019)
Director Ayumu Watanabe
Screenplay Daisuke Igarashi
Producer Eiko Tanaka
Cast Mana Ashida, Gorô Inagaki, Hiiro Ishibashi, Seishû Uragami
This is based on a manga. It is about a young girl with an innate connection to ocean animals. Thinking she’s alone, she meets a couple of boys who were raised in the ocean by dugongs. Besides that unconventional upbringing there is are other odd things about he boys and the mystery related to them goes far beyond their upbringing.
Visually and aurally the movie is quite amazing. With music composed by Joe Hisaishi, that also signals that the soundtrack will be excellent. Scenes of all the variety of sea creatures in the ocean to lush greenery and vibrant flower above ground, there’s no shortage of incredible art. There’s also fair amount of zoom effects and camera shifts which appear to be computer aided. The animation is very high quality overall.
Continue reading “Children of the Sea – film review – Nouveau cinema 2019”
Another edition of Nouveau cinema is fast approaching and runs from October 9-20, 2019 in various cinemas such as Cinema du Parc, Cinematheque quebecoise, Cinema du musee, and Cineplex quartier latin. A listing of screenings of notable East Asian films will be followed by trailers.
Quebec based director Ky Nam Le Duc will have the world premier of his movie, “Canada”, and he along with the cast will be in attendance for a Q&A.
Nouveau cinema also has augmented reality or virtual reality works and one intriguing one is “East of the Rockies”, an interactive narrative written by author Joy Kogawa.
There will be three screenings Chinese movie “So Long, My Son” directed by Wang XiaoShuai, an award winning director who is part of the sixth generation of Chinese directors.
Fans of old school martial arts will certainly want to see the restorations of two films by legendary wuxia director King Hu that will be screening, “The Fate of Lee Khan” (1973) and “Raining in the Mountain” (1979). The latter is a North American premiere of a brand new restored version.
Japan as usual has many entries in this festival such as the world premiere of “Videophobia” directed by Daisuke Miyazaki whom along with actress Tomona Hirota will be in attendance. “Diner” is directed by Mika Ninagawa stars Tatsuya Fujiwara and Tina Tamashiro. “They Say Nothing Stays the Same” is the first film by well known actor Jo Odagiri and makes its North American premiere. “To the Ends of the Earth” is directed by award winning Kiyoshi Kurosawa and stars Atsuko Maeda. “37 Seconds” is the first film directed by Hikari.
There are also two animated features from Japan. “Pom Poko” is a lesser known Ghibli classic directed by Isao Takahata. “Children of the Sea” is a recent movie directed by Ayumu Watanabe.
Update Oct 10: A surprise announcement was just made and “Parasite” directed by Bong Joon Ho will have a screening.
Continue reading “Festival du Nouveau Cinema – Oct 9-20, 2019”
Last year was the first time I went to Otakuthon and I mainly went to attend the Capcom Live! music concert, which turned out to be mostly disappointing. Basically, I only liked the Street Fighter and Okami songs, which are both games that are overflowing with great tracks and easily merit their own concerts.
This year I went for Miyavi’s No Sleep ‘Till Tokyo concert on Saturday, August 17, 2019. I became familiar with him after hearing about Angelina Jolie casting him in a movie but didn’t really pay much attention to him until he started appearing in Japanese movies like the live action Bleach. Discovering that this guy is a major rock star and skilled guitarist swayed me into going to Otakuthon pretty much only to see him. Was it worth it?
Continue reading “Miyavi concert at Otakuthon 2019”
I’m pretty late with this but then again we had to go through all of 2018 without Kim’s Convenience but I guess the shift of the season premiere to January must have some benefits. Although season 4 has been greenlit with Simu Liu’s recent casting as Marvel’s Shang Chi, one does wonders if this will complicate plans for a potential season 5. But in any case, here are reviews for the first two episodes of season 3.
The opening is pretty funny. No gain without pain for Janet although what a sadistic thing for Appa to do. Speaking of Janet, her makeup seems different this season. The main plot of this episode is the search for a new dishwashing machine and the way Umma reminds Appa is pretty creative.
Janet is tries to stand out by changing her name after her teacher can’t find her website because of all the other Janet Kim’s crowding the search results. Umma tells Janet why she gave her that name.
We also see Jung dealing with the consequences of the season 2 finale and attempting to get his old job back. Cue the always enjoyable Shannon – Jung awkward interaction.
Best exchange is between Janet and Umma:
“Can you please call before coming over?”
Most jokes from the side characters aren’t good but the main cast have some good ones. The ending to the dishwashing machine plot is funny although I’m surprised nobody mentions all the money spent.
On to episode 2…
Continue reading “Kim’s Convenience – Season 3, Episodes 1-2”
Fantasia 2019, total films seen: 21 + 6 attempted
I wasn’t too familiar with a lot of the movies this year so I didn’t have any expectations especially considering my disappointments in the movies I watched last year. But much to my surprise I found a good number of movies that I liked a lot. These were mainly Japanese and Korean comedies or dramas. I was moved in some emotional capacity by these films which is something I hadn’t felt in maybe the past two years. This was definitely one of the better fantasia editions for me even if I disliked most of the animated features I saw and didn’t see a really great action or crime movie.
Continue reading “Fantasia 2019 festival in review”
Otakuthon is Montreal’s #1 anime convention featuring live shows as well as autograph and photo sessions with anime/manga guests from North American and Japan. In addition there are viewing rooms, areas to watch & play video games, cosplay contests, anime/manga vendors and much more.
One of the artists who will perform a show is the legendary guitarist, Miyavi, who also had a memorable role in the live action film, Bleach.
It will take place from Friday to Sunday, August 16-18 at Palais des Congres.