Posted in *Recommended, Festival du nouveau cinéma, Film Festivals, Nouveau cinéma 2019, Reviews, Trailers, Video

So Long, My Son – film review – Nouveau cinema 2019 [Recommended]

So Long, My Son / 地久天长 [dìjiǔtiāncháng] (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.

Synopsis

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.

Review

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.

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Posted in Art & Animation, Festival du nouveau cinéma, Film Festivals, Film Screenings, Trailers, Video

Festival du Nouveau Cinema – Oct 9-20, 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.

Trailers below:

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Posted in Reviews, Trailers, Video

Master Z: Ip Man Legacy – movie review

Master Z: Ip Man Legacy / 葉問外傳:張天志 (2018)
Director: Yuen Woo-ping
Cast: Max Zhang aka Zhang Jin, Dave Bautista, Liu Yan, Xing Yu, Michelle Yeoh

This movie is currently available on blu-ray, dvd and digital on demand from Well Go USA.

Synopsis

A former martial arts master, Cheung, (Max Zhang Jin) and single father has given up martial arts and lives a humble life running a grocery store. But when he fights some gang members who targeted a couple of women, the gang later retaliates against him. He uses his martial arts to fight back and soon becomes involved in a bigger criminal organization selling drugs.

Review

As one can guess from the title, this is a spinoff of the Donnie Yen Ip Man series. Yen only appears in a flashback taken from the third Ip Man movie to give us a brief summary of Cheung’s past and why he gave up martial arts. But you don’t need to have seen any of the previous Ip Man movies to follow this movie’s story.

The story is nothing special but has a simple theme of redemption and a character arc for Cheung as he regains some measure of pride and self respect, which he feels he lost in the past. Michelle Yeoh also appears and has a bit of her own little arc as well. The drug story line gets obviously preachy but isn’t intrusive.

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Posted in *Recommended, Art & Animation, Fantasia 2019, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Reviews, Trailers, Video

White Snake – movie review – Fantasia 2019 [Recommended]

White Snake / 白蛇:缘起 [Báishé: Yuánqǐ] (2019)
Director: Amp Wong, Ji Zhao
Writer: Da Mao
Cast: Xiaoxi Tang, Tianxing Yang, Zhe Zhang

Synopsis

A snake demon, Xiao Bai / Blanca, who has attained human form loses her memory and is rescued by a human man, Xuan. They begin to fall in love but Xiao Bai’s fellow snake demons including her sister, Xiao Qing / Verta, track her down in order to remind her of her mission. Humans and demons are enemies and cannot be allowed to fall in love with each other.

Review

The inspiration of this story has roots in Chinese folklore and mythology. This movie is apparently meant to be a prequel to the Chinese legend, Madame White Snake, an extremely popular tale in China. Like that legend, this movie’s story is very much a forbidden romance type of story. It’s also more adult oriented. There’s nothing that is necessarily sensitive for kids to see but there is an obviously implied sex scene at one point but nothing is shown at all. There’s no blood (or at least I don’t really remember it) but some fight scenes can be pretty violent and one involves something being cut into multiple pieces.

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Posted in Art & Animation, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Film Screenings

Fantasia International Film Festival, July 11 – August 4, 2019

Another edition of the Fantasia festival will start very soon. The full schedule is available on their website.

For the 2nd/final wave announcement of films see the following Fantasia press release.

Here are some of the East Asian films announced.

Continue reading “Fantasia International Film Festival, July 11 – August 4, 2019”

Posted in Reviews, Trailers, Video

Big Brother – movie review

Big Brother (2018)
Dir: Kam Ka Wai
Cast: Donnie Yen, Joe Chen

This title is available now on DVD and Bluray from Well Go USA.

Synopsis

Mr. Chan (Donnie Yen) who is an ex-soldier is hired as a liberal arts teacher and uses unorthodox methods to earn respect from a particularly unruly class of students. He goes as far as helping one particular group of students with their personal issues. One student gets involved with a gang and the teacher has to do some teaching with his fists.

Review

Any movie with Donnie Yen makes one assume it’s going to be a martial arts or action movie. This is not the case here. This is a drama with comedy and two pretty good fight scenes. Focus is on several students in the class and how Mr. Chan helps each of them to find their own path. It’s a very familiar premise but it’s in the details that determines if the movie will feel forced & formulaic or genuine & enjoyable.

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Posted in Art & Animation, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Film Screenings, Trailers, Video

Fantasia 2019 – First Wave Announcement

Fantasia International Film Festival just announced their first wave of films. Here’s a list of the East Asian movies. Trailers will be below the list.

Idol
The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil
Door Lock
Chiwawa
House of Hummingbird
We Are Little Zombies
Ode to Nothing
No Mercy
The Fable
She
21st Century Girl
Fly Me  to Saitama
G Affairs
The Island of Cats
The Moon in the Hidden Woods
White Snake

To see the full list check out the press release below.

https://fantasiafestival.com/en/news/first-wave-2019

Trailers below

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