Ebert was perhaps the most well known film critic as far as English audiences are concerned. His picture probably comes up if you look up “film critic” in the dictionary. He had some health issues including having part of his jaw removed. Anyone who is even remotely aware of Asian American cinema will know exactly why there is a post about him on Asian/Asian Canadian/American film blog. Said people and others will be saddened by Ebert’s passing.
His input during a post-screening discussion of Justin Lin’s Better Luck Tomorrow helped it gain wider recognition and expressed succinctly why such Asian American films are necessary. It’s too bad that even after all this time, there hasn’t been an Asian American film that has garnered the same (or more) recognition. Let’s remind ourselves what Ebert said that day. Also check out AngryAsianMan’s post about it.
If you check out the Amazon.com and Amazon.ca pages you will find that the DVD of The People I’ve Slept With is up for preorder to be released on March 22. The US Amazon site has the DVD listed for $9.99 while Canada is nearly twice as much at $18.99 (probably because they just import it from the US site). You can check out my review of the film.
Also check out the first part of A Film Festival Odyssey in which director Quentin Lee talks about his experiences as an indie filmmaker going to various festivals to screen his film to audiences.
The People I’ve Slept With (2009)
directed by Quentin Lee, written by Koji Steven Sakai
starring Karin Anna Cheung (Better Luck Tomorrow), Wilson Cruz (My So Called Life), Archie Kao (CSI), James Shigeta (Flower Drum Song, Die Hard, countless TV episodes), Lynn Chen (in almost every single Asian American film in the past 12 months it would seem)
Let’s get the synopsis out of the way first. Plot A: Angela (Karin Anna Cheung) is a single Asian American female who loves sex but is forced to face the consequences of her promiscuous tendencies when she becomes pregnant. She decides to find out who the father is with one of the candidates being Jefferson (Archie Kao) with whom Angela prefers over the others. Plot B: Angela’s best friend, Gabriel (Wilson Cruz), is a gay man whose casual attitude to relationships also causes him to think about changing his ways when Lawrence (Rane Jameson) breaks up with him. Continue reading “Review: The People I’ve Slept With”
Better Luck Tomorrow (2002) [80% on rottentomatoes] trailer
directed & co-written by Justin Lin
starring Parry Shen, Roger Fan, Sung Kang, Jason Tobin, Karin Anna Cheung, John Cho
For anybody who cares about the portrayal of minorities in film, this is an essential film to watch. It was revolutionary for simply portraying Asians as everyday Americans rather than foreigners, something that even today is rare. There’s also no lamenting about being caught between two worlds and all that identity stuff which can be too common in Asian American cinema. It is an entertaining film that anybody regardless of race can enjoy and relate to.
The majority of the main actors are very good particularly, Jason Tobin, Roger Fan and Sung Kang. The camaraderie between their characters is a real highlight. It’s just unfortunate that the story falls apart towards the end with a few contrivances and an abrupt ending. If anything this film proves that the usual hollywood excuse of there are no good Asian American actors (unless they can do martial arts) is false. This was Justin Lin’s breakthrough film which paved the way for him to helm various Hollywood films.
This film can be purchased at your favorite online retailer or any regular dvd store.
Charlotte Sometimes (2002) [82% on rottentomatoes] trailer
directed & written by Eric Byler
starring Michael Idemoto, Eugenia Yuan, Matt Westmore, Jacqueline Kim
If I were to sum up this film in one word I would say, “slow” and if I could it sum it up in three words I would say, “really damn slow.” The idea of unrequited love is as fine a subject as any and while the low-budget film actually looks respectable and the acting is solid, I don’t think a lot of people will have the patience to sit through the film let alone attempt to uncover the hidden feelings that the characters hide. It’s a film that is very minimalist in its dialogue. It’s great that it doesn’t just spell out everything but it really was hard for me to finish watching this film and by the end of it I really didn’t care about any of the little mysteries. However, as rottentomatoes indicates, a lot of reviewers gave it good ratings so if you’re into these artsy, character films, your opinion may differ from mine.
This film can be purchased at amazon.ca or any regular dvd store.