Posted in Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Trailers, Video

Fantasia 2017: First wave announcement

Here are the East Asian films that were announced among the first wave of films that will be screened at this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival. This 21st edition will run from July 13 – August, 2017.

Opening night screenings

Jung Byung-gil’s THE VILLAINESS

Takashi Miike’s JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE: DIAMOND IS UNBREAKABLE

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Posted in *Recommended, Reviews, Theater, TV

Kim’s Convenience: Stage Play review [Recommended]

This is a review of Kim’s Convenience the theater play (very minor spoilers) but will also briefly mention some elements of the TV show for comparison, which I saw first. The play opened this past Wednesday and continues its engagement until March 19 in Montreal at the Segal Centre. It’s produced by Soulpepper, created & written by Ins Choi and directed by Weyni Mengesha with set & costume design by Ken Mackenzie.

Also as an aside, the theater play will make its US debut this July in New York!

KimsConvenienceProgramTicketThe play starts off with Mr. Kim aka Appa (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) walking into the store. If you’ve seen the TV show, he’s the familiar genial Appa with his jokes and accent but I would say there’s a bit more to him in the play, which is not restricted by TV rules. Much of the first act is comedy as he and his daughter Janet (Rosie Simon) clash and argue over various topics. There is early mention of a Walmart arriving soon and an offer to buy the convenience store from a customer. This is more background info as the main theme of the play is intergenerational conflict between parents and their adult children. Mrs. Kim aka Umma (Jean Yoon) appears from time to time often humming a tune. The fourth member of the family, Jung (Richard Lee), is however not around the store at all, having left the store/home many years previously due to a past incident.

One of the first arguments begins when Appa asks Janet to call 911 about an illegally parked Honda because it’s a Japanese car and he holds a grudge against Japan due to its past history of occupation of Korea. Later on when a customer with a Carribean accent comes into the store there’s an amusing confusion of different accents which leads into some race issues. Appa tries to “educate” Janet on which combinations of race, gender, sexuality will mean a customer is likely to steal. Some of these jokes will be familiar to TV show watchers but there are some differences. In fact, I find they work better in the play because unlike the TV show which tries to stretch some of these jokes into themes for an entire episode, they’re maybe one or two liners in the play.

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Posted in Music, Video

Hyuna – Live in Montreal – Kpopme

Despite the popularity of Kpop in North America, shows are still uncommon on this continent although there are definitely more in USA than Canada. Even within the land of maple leaves and beavers music acts only go to the usual cities, Toronto and Vancouver. The last big Asian star I remember to headline their own show in Montreal was Eason Chan. There have been other acts in Montreal but usually part of a bigger festival or as opening acts for other bands like One OK Rock, BabyMetal (I regret missing that to this day) and Crayon Pop.

Much to my surprise, Hyuna will be performing in Montreal on Sunday, February 26 at 8pm at L’Olympia. She will also be touring the other Canadian cities (Vancouver on the 22nd and Toronto on the 24th before she comes to Montreal) and then USA. It’s organized by Kpopme.

Also local Kpop dance cover group East2West won the chance to perform as the opening act for Hyuna.

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Posted in Documentary, Film Festivals, Film Screenings, Trailers, Video

RIDM – Nov 10-20, 2016

The Montreal International Documentary Festival / Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montreal (RIDM) will be running from November 10-20, 2016. Here are some of the East Asian & Asian American documentaries.

Gatekeeper by Yung Chang (Canada, Japan)

95 and 6 to go by Kimi Takesue (USA)

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Posted in *Recommended, Film Screenings, Trailers, Video

The Handmaiden in cinemas now!

The Handmaiden opened on Friday October 28, 2016. It is currently playing in multiple cinemas in Montreal at both Cineplex Forum and Cinema du Parc in English. It’s playing in French at Cinema Beaubien. I’ve seen it and it’s great with its twists. It’s definitely best to go into the movie knowing nothing about the story. There are a few fairly explicit sex scenes and a gruesome torture scene. Park Chan-Wook is an amazing director and the cast are equally up to the task.

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Posted in Film Festivals, Film Screenings, Trailers, Video

Festival du nouveau cinema – Oct 5-16, 2016

Le festival du nouveau cinema just released its schedule. In regards to East Asia, Japan is well represented with many features, a couple from China (one is listed under Hong Kong) and a couple from South Korea. In Southeat Asia, there are a few from the Philippines and Cambodia and Thailand each have one film.

Here are a few of my personal picks but be sure to check out the full lineup.

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