Category Archives: Movies

News and information related to the moving picture.

“Star Trek” Actor Anton Yelchin Killed In Car Accident

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Anton Yelchin, a young actor best known for appearing in the rebooted Star Trek film series, died in a car accident on Sunday, according to his publicist.

“Yelchin was killed in a fatal traffic collision early this morning,” publicist Jennifer Allen told BuzzFeed News in a statement. “His family requests you respect their privacy at this time.”

Here is the report from TMZ:

Yelchin’s friends became alarmed because he was supposed to meet them hours earlier for a rehearsal. They went to his San Fernando Valley home at around 1 AM and found him pinned between his car and a brick mailbox, which was attached to a security gate.

Law enforcement tells us the engine was running when his body was discovered, and the car was in neutral. The driveway was on a fairly steep incline. It’s unclear why he got out of the car.

Cops do not suspect foul play.

Yelchin played the role of Chekov in Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) and Star Trek Beyond, which is set for release later this year. Originally from Russia, Anton and his family emigrated to the US when he was six-months old and became interested in acting from a very young age.

Yelchin was 27 at the time of his death.

 

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Disney Goes To South Pacific In First Trailer For “Moana”

After much anticipation, Disney has finally released the first trailer for their upcoming animated movie about South Pacific mythology and history. Oh, and it stars Dwayne Johnson. You know, “The Rock”.

Alongside Johnson, Auli’i Cravalho is making her debut as the titular character.

Check out the trailer below:

Here is the official synopsis of the film:

Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast South Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped – and no one today knows why. From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes Moana, a sweeping, CG-animated adventure about a spirited teenager who sails out on a daring mission to prove herself a master wayfinder and fulfill her ancestors’ unfinished quest. During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli’i Cravalho) meets the once-mighty demi-god Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), and together, they traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous fiery creatures and impossible odds.

Moana was co-written by Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Thor: Ragnarok) and features music by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The film also stars Alan Tudyk and Miranda’s Hamilton co-star Phillipa Soo, and hits theaters on November 23.

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Counterpoint: “X-Men: Apocalypse” Is Better Than You’ve Heard

By Jamie Schiffer

The first round of reviews for “X-Men: Apocalypse” was discouragingly negative, particularly after strong critical receptions for the last two films in the franchise (“X-Men: First Class” and “X-Men: Days Of Future Past”), which really reset the series. But having seen the movie now, I can assure fans of the franchise that it’s not bad. Actually, it’s pretty good. Sure, it might be a little bit more overblown than “First Class” and a little looser with its plot than “Days Of Future Past,” but I’d still count it as one of the better films in the franchise.

“X-Men: Apocalypse,” for those who may not be familiar with the comic plot, tells the story of the world’s first mutant, Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), being rediscovered after spending millennia underground. He has the power to transfer his consciousness to a new being before dying, and when he does so he gains that new being’s power as his own (if indeed it’s another mutant). Thus, over the course of his immortal life, he’s gained enough abilities to essentially become an all-powerful mutant. When he resurfaces, he immediately embarks on a quest to gather a small mutant army and cleanse (erm, destroy) the Earth to create a better one. And of course, it’s up to the X-Men and the ever-reconciling frenemies Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Eric Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) to save the day.

So what is it that works well in this film? I’ll just go point-by-point.

To begin with, the leads are terrific. McAvoy has gotten the role of Professor X down to a science, and at this point there’s just something immensely satisfying about his calm, wise leadership of the X-Men academy he so desperately wants to lead. Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), whose possible departure from the franchise has been a distracting rumor (by no fault of her own), does a subtly skillful job of once again portraying her character’s inner struggle between Xavier’s peace and Lensherr’s war. And Fassbender may just deliver the finest acting performance we’ve yet seen in a superhero movie, beginning the film living as a normal man but ultimately being pulled back into the struggle for mutant freedom that always drives him to violence. These three carried an imperfect script, and frankly probably could have carried a worse one.

Next, the general character focus finally feels about right. The X-Men films have really jumped around over time incorporating different characters, and it’s sometimes hard to tell who’s meant to be at the center of the story aside from Xavier and Lensherr. Interestingly enough, the best approximation of the gang that’s migrated to the core comes from an arcade slot machine featured among games with characters from other major films and pop-culture events. There we see Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine at the center of a cast of characters who appear as icons on a slot reel including Storm, Beast, Mystique, Cyclops, and of course Xavier and Lensherr.

That’s not to say the slot game foretold the film’s focus, but it is an intriguing combination of characters from years of X-Men films. And it’s largely that group that dominates “Apocalypse,” though Jackman has only a cameo role while Quicksilver (Evan Peters) has a significant role. Altogether, this central group has great chemistry though, and as a result there’s something about “Apocalypse” that just feels complete.

Sticking with characters, Oscar Isaac’s take on Apocalypse is a lot better than it looked in posters and previews. Frankly, he appeared to be an even more robotic and soulless version of Ronan The Accuser from “Guardians Of The Galaxy,” and I do have some issues with his costume. He’s supposed to look at least a little bit like a pharaoh (he was last in ancient Egypt before he rises in the 1980s in this film), but the costume looked oddly robotic. The performance, while stiff, was intentionally so.

For his part, Isaac said he was sure his take on the character wouldn’t be everyone’s favorite, but it was actually a pretty clever version. Isaac moves through the movie with a quiet arrogance and visible disconnect from the modern world; you truly get the feeling that he views humanity as an anthill, and yet something about him seems sad and vulnerable. Isaac’s take seems t
o come from the idea that a god-like being on Earth would be all-powerful but lonely, and it works pretty well—particularly as a contrast to Xavier’s assertion that the X-Men don’t have to be alone.

Finally, it’s also important to note that the elements of this movie that don’t work are largely left in the background. For instance, the portrayal of a somewhat-ridiculous ancient Egypt run by mutants and spells sets a pretty rough tone in the opening five minutes or so, but is quickly left behind in favor of a more modern movie. Olivia Munn’s Psylocke was written in abruptly and lazily but she’s really not on screen much unless she’s joining in a fight filled with more compelling characters. And for each cringeworthy one-liner, there was a genuinely funny line to lend the movie a sense of self-awareness.

None of this is meant to suggest that “X-Men: Apocalypse” is a perfect movie. But it’s probably better than you’ve heard, and in my mind it’s perfectly worthy of the two terrific films that preceded it.

This is a guest review from Jamie Schiffer. The views of the author do not necessarily reflect the views of this website or other content creators.

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“Ghostbusters” Reboot Soundtrack Available July 15th

RCA Records is set to release Ghostbusters: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack on July 15th to accompany Sony Pictures’ highly anticipated feature film Ghostbusters, in theaters the same day.

The soundtrack will feature new music, including Elle King’s “Good Girls,” which will be available at all digital providers tomorrow.  “Good Girls” was written by Elle King and Dave Bassett and produced by Bassett.

Other artists to be featured on the soundtrack include G-Eazy ft. Jeremih, 5 Seconds of Summer, Pentatonix, WALK THE MOON, Fall Out Boy ft. Missy Elliott, Wolf Alice and more.  A full track listing will be announced soon.

Ghostbusters makes its long-awaited return, rebooted with a cast of hilarious new characters. Thirty years after the beloved original franchise took the world by storm, director Paul Feig brings his fresh take to the supernatural comedy, joined by some of the funniest actors working today – Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth. This summer, they’re here to save the world!

The film is produced by Ivan Reitman and Amy Pascal, and written by Katie Dippold & Paul Feig, based on the 1984 film “Ghostbusters,” an Ivan Reitman film, written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis.

The film will be released in theaters nationwide on July 15, 2016.

Via RCA Records

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Gravitas Ventures Picks Up Adam Nimoy’s Documentary “For The Love Of Spock”

Gravitas Ventures has acquired worldwide rights to “For The Love of Spock.” The highly anticipated documentary is not only a tribute to the titular character and the actor who portrayed him but also serves as an homage to the dedicated fans who have adored and respected him for decades. The film premiered at the recent Tribeca Film Festival. It will arrive in U.S. theaters and on demand on September 9, 2016.

For The Love Of Spock” celebrates the upcoming 50th Anniversary of Star Trek through a personal, intimate look at the life and career of Leonard Nimoy – and his alter ego Mr. Spock – as told by his son, Adam Nimoy, featuring never-before-seen home videos and family photos. Zachary Quinto, William Shatner, George Takei, J.J. Abrams, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, Jim Parsons and more join in the celebration revealing why the world holds both Leonard Nimoy and his iconic character so dear and how Star Trek still affects the globe 50 years after it’s origin.

Adam Nimoy stated, “I’m very excited about the world wide release of this film which celebrates the life of my father Leonard Nimoy and his most iconic role. Gravitas approached us early on during production of ‘For The Love Of Spock’ and their enthusiasm and commitment to this project was evident from the start.”

“It’s no secret that ‘Star Trek’ is internationally beloved and has shown the world both on screen and off what it truly means to be a global community,” said Nolan Gallagher, Founder & CEO of Gravitas Ventures. “We are honored to be collaborating with Adam Nimoy and look forward to bringing this film to audiences everywhere during a monumental year in the Star Trek timeline.”

“For the Love of Spock” was embraced by more than 9500 Kickstarter backers, raising $662,640.00 which, at the time, broke the record for the most funded Kickstarter documentary.

“For the Love of Spock” was directed by Adam Nimoy with David Zappone as Executive Producer. Zappone, Kevin Layne and Joseph Kornbrodt of 455 Films at Paramount Studios are the producers, having all also produced the Star Trek-themed documentaries “The Captains,” “Get a Life!” and  “Chaos on the Bridge.”

The deal was negotiated by Nolan Gallagher for Gravitas Ventures and Douglas A. Leeon behalf of the filmmakers.

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Quinton Jackson & Michael Jai White Star In “Vigilante Diaries”

Action super star Michael Jai White and MMA veteran Quinton Jackson, who will meet Satoshi Ishii later this month at Bellator Dynamite 2, are working together on a new movie that comes out the same day as Rampage’s return to the octagon, “Vigilante Diaries”. Also featuring Jason Mewes, pro wrestler Chavo Guerrero, and Michael Madsen, this film looks like a lot of violent fun!

Here is the info from the press release:

Anchor Bay Entertainment will release the action-comedy film VIGILANTE DIARIES in select theaters and on iTunes on June 24th, and On Demand, DVD and Blu-ray on July 5th.

The film features an all-star ensemble cast led by Paul Sloan (I Am Wrath, The Night Crew), Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (A-Team, UFC Light Heavyweight Champ), action icon Michael Jai White (The Dark Knight, Kill Bill,Black Dynamite), Jason Mewes (Clerks, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back) and Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill). The film is directed by Christian Sesma (Shoot the Hero) from a script co-written by Christian Sesma andPaul Sloan.

SYNOPSIS: Jason Mewes stars as an in-your-face filmmaker known for his web videos of an urban avenger known only as ‘The Vigilante’ (Paul Sloan). But when The Vigilante terminates a creep with deep connections, it’ll trigger a live-feed bloodbath between the Armenian mob, Mexican cartels, a rogue team of Special Forces commandos, and an international black ops conspiracy that’s about to make things very personal. UFC legend Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, Michael Jai White, Jaqueline Lord, WWE star Sal ‘Chavo’ Guerrero, Jr., James Russo and Michael Madsen co-star in this explosive throwback packed with badass swagger, hardcore firepower and bone-crunching action.

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“New York Asian Film Festival” Announces 2016 Line Up

The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Subway Cinema announced today the complete lineup for the 15th New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), which will take place from June 22 to July 5 at the Film Society and July 6 to 9 at the SVA Theatre (333 West 23rd Street). North America’s leading festival of popular Asian cinema will showcase 51 feature films, including one World Premiere, one International Premiere, 16 North American premieres, 2 U.S. Premieres, and 14 films making their New York City debuts. Featuring in-person appearances by more than 30 international filmmakers and celebrity guests from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia.

The Opening Night gala will be the World Premiere of Kazuya Shiraishi’s wild crime epic Twisted Justice,based on Yoshiaki Inaba’s autobiography and starring Japan’s hottest actor (and Rising Star honoree) Go Ayano as his country’s most corrupt police detective. The Centerpiece Gala is the North American Premiere of Ralston Jover’s Hamog (Haze), an empowering, thrilling and impassioned tale of a gang of street kids, headlined by (Rising Star honoree) Teri Malvar.Closing Night is the International Premiere of Adam Tsuei’s The Tenants Downstairs.Based on a screenplay and story by former NYAFF guest Giddens Ko (You Are the Apple of My Eye), the blackly comic, sexually explicit thriller features Simon Yam as a landlord spying on and manipulating the lives of his tenants. Filmmakers and cast members from the three movies will be in attendance at their respective screenings.
“We set out this year to champion a much broader range of Asian cinema,” said NYAFF Executive Director Samuel Jamier. “For example, we are particularly excited by a new breed of noir film, rooted in social issues, that is emerging in both China and Southeast Asia. With these and other selections in the lineup, we want to show that Asian films are still exploring new directions for world cinema.”

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Faithful to its Chinatown roots and central to its lineup, the festival will feature a Hong Kong Panorama, showcasing the most innovative films from the Special Administrative Region, with the support of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office New York. From a coming-of-age drama about high-school girls who become involved in the sex trade (Lazy Hazy Crazy), to a feel-good baseball movie set within Hong Kong’s public-housing system (Weeds on Fire), to a hard-boiled gangster omnibus (the Johnnie To–produced Triviṣa), these films are revitalizing local genre staples with a fresh spin. The program also includes Nick Cheung’s Keeper of Darkness, Herman Yau’s The Mobfathers, and Adam Wong’s She Remembers, He Forgets.
The South Korean Cinema lineup includes a vibrant mix of thrillers (both supernatural and surreal) from first- and second-time directors that are daring twists on genre films (Alone, The Boys Who Cried Wolf, and The Priests), and insightful art-house dramas focusing on social issues from established directors (Jung Ji-woo’s Fourth Place about how much we demand from the next generation, and E J-yong’s The Bacchus Lady about the plight of the country’s abandoned elderly). In co-presentation with the Korean Movie Night New York Master Series, NYAFF will feature the two latest films by Lee Joon-ik, who will attend screenings of Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet (with producer and screenwriter Shin Yeon-shick) and The Throne. Together with Lee Jong-pil’s The Sound of a Flower, the triptych examines the scars of South Korea’s troubled history. The festival’s 11 South Korean films are presented with the support of the Korean Cultural Center New York.
NYAFF’s Taiwan Cinema Now! section defies genres with first films by new directors Adam Tsuei (The Tenants Downstairs), Vic Cheng (The Tag-Along), and Lee Chung (The Laundryman) that expand the horizons of the island’s genre cinema. The section, presented with the support of the Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York, is completed by two powerful dramas from established filmmakers Tom Lin (Zinnia Flower) and Cheng Wen-tang (Maverick) that explore loss and redemption.
Southeast Asian Cinema receives greater focus this year, reflecting how the region is making some of the world’s most innovative films. Highlights include the Tamil-language Jagat (Brutal) from Malaysia, the acutely observed Heart Attack from Thailand, and empowering youth noir Haze (Hamog) from the Philippines. Proving that stars from the region are just as glamorous and talented as their Northern neighbors, we are joined by John Lloyd Cruz, Teri Malvar, Sid Lucero, Gwen Zamora, and Annicka Dolonius (stars of the Philippines’ sensuous surfing drama Apocalypse Child), and Apinya Sakuljaroensuk (from the social-media slasher flick Grace).

Special screenings include a full day of films on July 4 from noon until midnight celebrating the indie spirit of Hong Kong cinema. The day will conclude with the hotly anticipated 10 Years, winner of Best Film at the Hong Kong Film Awards, which examines life in Hong Kong in an imaginary future when Cantonese is a second-class language and where the island has completely fallen under Mainland control. Special screenings also include a Founding Fathers Tribute, a focus on the favorite films of the festival’s programmers, from Michael Arias’s madcap animated feature Tekkonkinkreet to Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Pang Ho-cheung’s Love in the Buff starring Miriam Yeung, alongside a Surprise Screening of a contemporary classic that holds special significance to the founders of NYAFF.

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The 2016 Star Asia Awards honorees are Hong Kong’s Miriam Yeung, the Philippines’ John Lloyd Cruz, and South Korea’s Lee Byung-hun, and all three box-office mega-stars will be in New York in person to discuss their newest films and their careers. Yeung, whose charismatic girl-next-door persona epitomizes the anything-is-possible spirit of Hong Kong, stars in in Adam Wong’s romantic drama She Remembers, He Forgets. The film is her return to the screen after headlining the biggest local hit of 2015, Little Big Master. Cruz, the Philippines’ most popular movie star, who broke box-office records in last year’s romantic drama Second Chance, transforms his image as a father who will do anything in festival selection Honor Thy Father,a powerful crime epic from Erik Matti. Lee, South Korean cinema’s leading man and one of the few to successfully cross over to Hollywood, stars in Inside Men, Woo Min-ho’s takedown of the corruption at the heart of South Korea’s institutions. Lee has been seen in multiple blockbuster action franchises (G.I. Joe, Red 2, Terminator Genisys), is best known for South Korean films The Good, the Bad, the Weird, I Saw the Devil, and Bittersweet Life (by Kim Jee-woon); as well as the tormented soldier in Park Chan-wook’s Joint Security Area and the lowlife-turned-king in Choo Chang-min’s Masquerade.

In addition to the Star Asia Awards, previously announced award recipients include:

·       Lifetime Achievement Award – Iwai Shunji. The first Japanese recipient of the award, he will present his three cinematic epics—Swallowtail Butterfly (1996), All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001), and A Bride for Rip Van Winkle (2016), also starring Ayano—during the festival’s opening weekend. Iwai has proven himself one of Asia’s most influential filmmakers since his mid-1990s Undo, Picnic, and Love Letter. He is recognized for capturing the spirit of the times, and stretching the cinematic language of Asian cinema. Despite his early successes, he has continued to reinvent himself, recently directing his first animated feature.

·       Screen International Rising Star Asia Awards – China’s Jelly Lin, Japan’s Ayano Go, and the Philippines’ Teri Malvar. Lin made a powerful debut this year, showcasing her natural comedic skills in Stephen Chow’s fish-out-of-water tale (China’s highest-grossing film) The Mermaid; 15-year-old Malvar has already proven herself one of Asia’s most naturally gifted actresses, and stars in festival selection Hamog (Haze), in which her violent street kid character is kidnapped into a twisted household to work as its maid; and Ayano, Japan’s hottest actor of 2016 is being recognized for his chameleon-like range, stars in two of the festival’s key films, Twisted Justice and A Bride for Rip Van Winkle.

·       Daniel A. Craft Award for Excellence in Action Cinema – Yue Song. The Chinese actor, director, and stunt choreographer will be honored for his old-school, balls-to-the-wall instant-classic kung-fu flick The Bodyguard. Yue found fame online by uploading action-packed training videos and short films that became cult hits in China, before making his first feature King of the Street. His new film has found a natural home in our anniversary edition.

The New York Asian Film Festival is co-presented by Subway Cinema and the Film Society of Lincoln Center and takes place from June 22 to July 5 at Film Society’s Walter Reade Theater, and July 6 to 9 at SVA Theatre.

FULL LINEUP (51):
*Guests in attendance; see next section for complete list
CHINA (4):
– The Bodyguard (dir. Yue Song, 2016)*
– Mr. Six (dir. Guan Hu, 2015)
– Saving Mr. Wu (dir. Ding Sheng, 2015)
– What’s in the Darkness (dir. Wang Yichun, 2016)*

HONG KONG PANORAMA (9):
Presented with the support of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office New York
– The Bodyguard (dir. Sammo Hung, 2016)
– Keeper of Darkness (dir. Nick Cheung, 2015)
– Lazy Hazy Crazy (dir. Luk Yee-sum, 2015)
– Love in the Buff (dir. Pang Ho-cheung, 2012)
– The Mermaid (dir. Stephen Chow, 2016)*
– The Mobfathers (dir. Herman Yau, 2016) w/short Killer and Undercover (dir. Lau Ho-Leung, 2016)
– She Remembers, He Forgets (dir. Adam Wong, 2015)*
– Triviṣa (dirs. Frank Hui, Jevons Au & Vicky Wong, 2016) *
– Weeds on Fire (dir. Chan Chi-fat, 2016)

HONG KONG SPECIAL SCREENING (1):
– 10 Years (dirs. Kwok Zune, Chow Kwun-wai, Jevons Au, Ng Ka-leung & Wong Fei-pang, 2015)*

JAPAN (13):
– All About Lily Chou-Chou (dir. Iwai Shunji, 2001)*
– A Bride for Rip Van Winkle (dir. Iwai Shunji, 2016)*
– Creepy (dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2016)
– Hentai Kamen 2: The Abnormal Crisis (dir. Yuichi Fukuda, 2016)
– Kiyamachi Daruma (dir. Hideo Sakaki, 2015)
– Miss Hokusai (dir. Keiichi Hara, 2015)
– Swallowtail Butterfly (dir. Iwai Shunji, 1996)*
– Tekkonkinkreet (dir. Michael Arias, 2006)*
– Tetsuo: The Iron Man (dir. Shinya Tsukamoto, 1989)
– Twisted Justice (dir. Kazuya Shiraishi, 2016)
– What a Wonderful Family! (Yoji Yamada, 2016)
Plus, an additional two titles to be announced at a later date

SOUTH KOREA (11):
Presented with the support of Korean Cultural Center New York
– Alone (dir. Park Hong-min, 2015)
– The Bacchus Lady (dir. E J-yong, 2016)
– The Boys Who Cried Wolf (dir. Kim Jin-hwang, 2015)*
– Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet (dir. Lee Joon-ik, 2016)*
– Fourth Place (dir. Jung Ji-woo, 2015)
– Inside Men (dir. Woo Min-ho, 2015)*
– The Priests (dir. Jang Jae-hyun, 2015)
– Seoul Station (dir. Yeon Sang-ho, 2015)
– The Sound of a Flower (dir. Lee Jong-pil, 2015)
– The Throne (dir. Lee Joon-ik, 2015)*
– A Violent Prosecutor (dir. Lee Il-hyeong, 2016)

SOUTHEAST ASIA (7)
– Apocalypse Child (dir. Mario Cornejo, 2015)*
– Grace (dirs. Ornusa Donsawai & Pun Homchuen, 2016)*
– Hamog (Haze) (dir. Ralston Jover, 2015)*
– Heart Attack (dir. Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, 2015)
– Honor Thy Father (dir. Erik Matti, 2015)*
– Jagat (Brutal) (dir. Shanjhey Kumar Perumal, 2015)*
– Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass (dir. Victor Vu, 2015)

TAIWAN (5):
Presented with the support of the Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York
– The Laundryman (dir. Lee Chung, 2015)
– Maverick (dir. Cheng Wen-tang, 2015)
– The Tag-Along (dir. Cheng Wei-hao, 2015)
– The Tenants Downstairs (dir. Adam Tsuei, 2016)*
– Zinnia Flower (dir. Tom Lin, 2015)

LIST OF GUESTS ATTENDING:

CHINA (3):
– Jelly Lin (actress); The Mermaid
– Wang Yichun (director); What’s in the Darkness
– Yue Song (actor/director); The Bodyguard

HONG KONG (8):
– Jevons Au (director); Triviṣa & 10 Years
– Andrew Choi (producer); 10 Years
– Chow Kwun-wai (director); 10 Years
– Kwok Zune (director); 10 Years
– Ng Ka-leung (director/producer); 10 Years
– Adam Wong (director); She Remembers, He Forgets
– Wong Fei-pang (director); 10 Years
– Miriam Yeung (actress); She Remember, He Forgets & Love in the Buff

JAPAN (6)
– Michael Arias (director); Tekkonkinkreet
– Go Ayano (actor); Twisted Justice & A Bride for Rip Van Winkle
– Yoshinori Chiba (producer); Twisted Justice
– Hideo Sakaki (director); Kiyamachi Daruma
– Iwai Shunji (director); All About Lily Chou-Chou, A Bride for Rip Van Winkle & Swallowtail Butterfly
– Kazuya Shiraishi (director); Twisted Justice

SOUTH KOREA (4)
– Kim Jin-hwang (director); The Boys Who Cried Wolf
– Lee Byung-hun (actor); Inside Men
– Lee Joon-ik (director); Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet & The Throne
– Shin Yeon-shick (producer/screenwriter); Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet

SOUTHEAST ASIA (9)
– Annicka Dolonius (actress); Apocalypse Child
– John Lloyd Cruz (actor/producer); Honor Thy Father
– Monster Jimenez (producer); Apocalypse Child
– Sid Lucero (actor); Apocalypse Child
– Teri Malvar (actress); Hamog (Haze)
– Dondon Monteverde (producer); Honor Thy Father
– Shanjhey Kumar Perumal (director); Jagat (Brutal)
– Apinya Sakuljaroensuk (actress); Grace
– Gwen Zamora (actress); Apocalypse Child

TAIWAN (3)
– Adam Tsuei (director); The Tenants Downstairs
– Ivy Shao (actress); The Tenants Downstairs
– Li Xing (actress); The Tenants Downstairs

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Dan Aykroyd Responds To Haters Of New ‘Ghostbusters’ Films

There has been a lot of unnecessary hate for the new ‘Ghostbusters’ reboot, much of it based in misogyny and the other based around people that think it will viciously go back in time and stab their childhood to death with a rusty pair of scissors. Both are stupid.

Dan Aykroyd, who wrote the original film with Harold Ramis and starred as Ray Stantz, has had enough, and put out his comments about the new film after seeing it – something that none of the pundits can say they have done yet.

His full statement from WhoSay:

As originator of the original: Saw test screening of new movie. Apart from brilliant, genuine performances from the cast both female and male, it has more laughs and more scares than the first 2 films plus Bill Murray is in it! As one of millions of man-fans and Ray Stantz, I’m paying to see that and bringing all my friends!

Internet trolls immediately turned on Aykroyd, the same people that once said they refuse to watch ‘the girls version’ of Ghostbusters because it besmirches the original. Once Aykroyd told the fans how it really was, they rebelled and took to social media to hurl baseless insults at the legendary comedian.

The new Ghostbusters opens on July 15, 2016, and we will be reviewing it – whether it rocks or sucks will be based on its own merits and no bias.

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Shane Black Plans On Changing Look For “The Predator”

Shane Black recently said that his next film, “The Predator”, will be different from the previous films in the franchises history, and one of the main things that will be affected is the look of the titular species.

Shane Black told ComingSoon that he won’t be the first to make changes to the original design, and it doesn’t sound like he’ll be doing anything drastic to it.

It’s not to ‘improve,’ it’s [to] make it fun, make it different, make it organically different. So what’s the extension of it that makes sense, that’s exciting? There have been a lot of changes to Stan’s design over the years. These different Predator movies have done different things. Ultimately it’s not about design to me, it’s about the story you want to tell. There are people who are always going to agonize over Iron Man, what color his suit is. Maybe this weapon does a new thing, but if the story is not good I don’t give a sh*t what color the suit is. In The Predator we’re doing a lot of upgrades to what you would consider to be the traditional Predator technology and look, but hopefully the story is what’s going to drag people in, not just the attention to the minutiae.

As always, if a story is good, then you can dress up your characters however you want.

Here is hoping that the next film will indeed be a good one, and that the new design will be a visual upgrade rather than a downgrade.

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“Captain America: Civil War” Review

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been building up to “Captain America: Civil War” for some time, a film that fans were yearning for years ago before they even knew how it could be set up. While the movie was not as encompassing as the comic event was (since the cinematic universe is much smaller in scale), “Civil War” had a huge amount of hype behind it, and the early reviews were not wrong – for the most part.

Heralded by many as a “game-changer” for the film series, I could not disagree more and simply see it as a chapter closing in the tale of Cap and The Avengers, one that will likely be glossed over by the time the next film rolls around.

Don’t mistake my snarkiness for dislike of the film. “Captain America: Civil War” is the ideal Summer blockbuster, loaded with action, astounding special effects, great acting from an ensemble cast of superstars, and one of the best plots that Marvel Studios has given to us so far. It was an easy two and a half hours to sit through and I was very excited by the end of it and enjoyed it, but once the initial shock and awe of the surprises wear off, I came back to revisit what I saw to figure out how I really felt about it all.

WARNING: HERE COME THE SPOILERS

I still liked it a ton and rank it high up there with my favorite Marvel movies, but there were some big problems that left me unhappy – a pattern very common with this series. They build me up with hype, and while they usually deliver, there is always some lingering downside that makes one wonder what could have been.

Tony Stark and Steve Rogers have some very complex storylines going on in this film, especially Tony who has arguably the strongest emotional and character arc of the entire series. Robert Downey Jr. goes through a ton of ups and downs in this movie, something that has been growing ever since the first Iron Man film and finally gets dealt with in Civil War. This is a character wracked with guilt – guilt over not being able to have a healthy relationship with noticeably absent Pepper Potts, guilt over the innocents deaths that he inadvertently has caused, and guilt over not being able to do something to prevent them. Top that off with trying to come to terms with his parents demise, and you have a character in serious turmoil. This is almost Tony’s movie more than it is Captain America’s.

Meanwhile, Captain America is working through his issues with Bucky, who can not seem to keep himself in control and was caught at the scene of a massive crime later in the film that leads to the death of the King of Wakanda. Enter Black Panther, but we will get to that later. After the events of “Age of Ultron”, the evil US government has decided to create a checks and balances system with The Avengers, giving control of the team to the UN and allowing them to dictate where the heroes will go and who they fight. Cap disapproves, Iron Man is all for it. Strife ensues, punches fly, and things get broken.

The story of Civil War is as complex as the characters, and in terms of balancing all of the characters, this team movie got it right. Directed by the Russo brothers, who also did “Captain America: Winter Soldier” (another favorite of mine), and written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, this movie beats all of the Avengers film in terms of keeping all of the characters in as equal of a spotlight as possible. They never feel shoehorned or doing things that are out of place, and considering how many of these characters do not show up until act three, the amount of what they do and how they do it was spot on. Frankly, this was the perfect balancing act between A-plot characters, and the B-plot characters who both intertwine into the main story and have their own things going on.

449337-captain-america-civil-war-spider-man-shield-official-cropThe Black Panther is the stand-out here, played by Chadwick Boseman, and makes a big impact in his on-screen debut. He looks awesome, he fights awesome, and goes toe-to-toe with the best of the Marvel movies. I look forward to seeing much more from him in the upcoming movies, and he will add a lot to the team once they get his stories moving along.

Likewise, Tom Holland as Spider-Man was quite enjoyable and much less annoying that I anticipated. I was against the idea of such a young Peter Parker, but Holland was funny, exuberant, and a good casting choice – plus, how he is brought into the film was excellent. No time wasted on origin stories, we just jump right into using him as part of the main story, and it works. I was a fan of James Garfield’s version of Parker (even if those movies should never be discussed), but Holland brings the character into modernity and offers a younger version of the character that should be interesting to see how he grows up.

Scarlet Witch and Vision get a little time to develop their potential romance, which was nice to see and while it was quick, felt like the perfect amount of time because of how well-written it was. Ultimately, everybody had something to contribute to the story, and that is the keyword. “Contribute.” No one is just there to drop a one-liner, every character moves the story along and also has time to develop who they are. It was very refreshing to see this, especially after how disappointed I was with “Age of Ultron” when it came to ineffectively trying to accomplish that.

There is so much action in this movie, I thought I would feel over saturated with it by the end of the movie. That proved to be far from the truth, as every scene was unique in appearance and also in tone. Every action sequence had a reason behind it and a deeper emotional investment from the characters. There were stakes on the line with each fight, and you could feel those stakes more than just battling an army of robots.

As you can see, I have plenty of good things to say about “Civil War”, but here is where the bubble bursts.

Let’s talk about the villain, if you can really call him that. Daniel Bruhl had the dubious task of playing Baron Zemo, a classic Cap baddie that ends up being a sympathetic heel more than a maniacal madman. It is a very subtle role and a welcome change to the usual bad guys we have seen in past movies (ie., crazy guy from “Ant-Man”). Bruhl was excellent at creating a character that is devoured by guilt (much like Stark) and hungry for revenge, but gets pushed into the background a bit to make more room for Cap VS Iron Man.

Zemo is the puppet master behind the entire conflict, and I wanted more of him. To me, it felt like there were scenes missing when it came to his story, although I stand by what I said about everyone having just the right amount of time overall. Still, I wanted more of Zemo and felt he could have been like The Joker in Nolan’s “Dark Knight” movie. A cerebral bad guy that is pulling the strings and always one step ahead of the good guys. Unfortunately, things had to be squeezed around to fit so many characters and especially to push the Tony VS Steve feud, so it was surprisingly the main villain that has to take a back seat in the plot.

Speaking of that, Zemo’s plans were to defrost a bunch of other Winter Soldiers that were put on ice by Russia in 1991 to kickstart a new world order, which was a tantalizing tease at what could have been a whole bevy of villains from the Marvel comic universe that would have been immediately tossed into the mix. Instead, they end up dead and that story goes nowhere. It was a disappointing wrap-up to something that could have panned out to be huge, but the focus once again goes back to Tony VS Steve and less about shaping up the future of their bad guys. This reinforces how little importance the villains really had in this movie, despite being the driving force behind the entire struggle.

Also, can we talk about how lame Crossbones’ appearance was? Another bad guy brought in to the series, and he gets killed at the start of the movie. Add him to the ranks of Batroc the Leaper, Arnim Zola, and other villains who could have been recurring, but instead are one and done.

Captain-America-Civil-War-movie-image-jpg_8305667_ver1.0I also had some problems with the tone of the movie, especially with how jokey it was. Whedon’s film always had his sense of humor smothered all over it (whether you liked it or not), and I prefer the comedy in the Cap movies, but I felt perhaps the mandate from Disney meant adding more laughs where it was not needed. In particular, I am taking about the epic fight scene between all of the heroes at the airport that was mostly spent with everyone having more fun than fighting seriously. This is where the stakes of the movie fall apart and basically reset themselves. The result of the battle changes the direction of the protagonists, but it felt like a sparring session more than a civil war.

This is the scene where Spidey makes his debut, and I have to add that I really enjoyed the big battle. I just believed that it should not have been as soft. Everyone is making cracks at each other and other than Cap, Bucky, Iron Man and War Machine, no one is taking the fight too seriously. This is bothersome since it leads to a hugely important and serious moment – when War Machine gets shot down.

Was the scene epic? Yes. Could it have felt heavier instead of everyone playing around and once the battle is over, probably sharing a plane to get home? Yes, and that is what I wanted to see. The effects of having to fight your friends over something that you have a strong belief in, but when you look at things, some of these characters did not even have a feeling about the stakes and therein lies the problem. Hawkeye, Ant-Man, and Spider-man all have no relation to the Sokovia Accords, and Black Panther is still just in it to fight Bucky at this point. 1/3 of your combatants do not even matter to the overall plot and were just brought in as ringers and have no idea what they are fighting for. Literally. Spidey says Tony told him that Cap was wrong and that was it.

The biggest letdown for me is the “game-changing” element of the film. As I said before, this was hyped up as “OMG EVERYTHING WILL CHANGE AFTER THIS MOVIE”, but I disagree. Things will change, but by the next time we see these characters, very little of the results of this movie will matter. The proof is in the past movies. “Age of Ultron” in particular neglected to explain a lot of what happened in between movies, and I am hoping that this will not be an issue by the next film but I have a bad feeling it will be. War Machine is already walking around and should be recovered more or less by the next movie, the only major difference will be that most of the band is broken up, and unlike “Age of Ultron” where everyone is mysteriously back together, they will need to address the inevitable reunion on-screen to make me feel better.

In the grand scheme of things, these complaints are not a big detriment to me and I still walked out enjoying “Captain America: Civil War” and thinking it was one of the best Marvel movies to date. The struggle between Iron Man and Cap went the distance and was a real roller coaster ride, and fleshed out these characters to depths I did not expect the series to go. I liked the debut of Spidey and can not wait to see how they handle him in his own movie, much like Black Panther who has given me a lot of interest in a character that I liked in the past but was not super-fascinated by. I want to see where all of this goes next and how it will lead up to the inevitable interstellar battle with Thanos, and don’t know where things will go from here – and that is one mystery that I like having and can not wait to be resolved.

Also, next time just let Bucky buy his damn plums.

 

 

 

 

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