Tuesday, December 25, 2012

POLA NEGRI - A woman of the world

A Woman of the World (1925)

Well I tried but woefully fell short on the word count for Nanowrimo. Then finals. Then moving...omigosh christmas is tomorrow...

SO...what better time to review a movie that I saw at the end of summer?! Eh?!Eh!!!

 Thanks to FilmRadar,  I was able to attend a silent movie screening of "A Woman of the World" at Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills. Much gratitude to a very even-tempered boyfriend, we were made the loooooooooooong trek into the mountains to catch the movie. The windy roads and isolated areas were a little freaky at first but after we parked and walked up, it was worth it! Paramount Ranch is a restored and protected landmark of a western set that was owned by Paramount. This is the same location that Dr.Quinn Medicine Woman was filmed. In the few minutes we had before the screening, I had alot of fun darting around the sets taking pictures.If I ever had to do a Firefly photoshoot...

Anyhoo, the atmosphere was great for a silent movie.An old projector was used and everybody sat outside under the brilliant stars. Comfortable in out chairs and a fresh bag of popcorn, we settled in.

Before the movie, we were treated to a cartoon short of bees. Something about bees being in love. I was too busy munching on popcorn. It was so delicious...

"A Woman of the World" involves a heartbroken European Countess who decides to nurse her feelings at the small American home of her cousin. Her "flashy" attitude and ways spurns the attention and wrath of the District Attorney who makes it his personal mission to run her out of town.The more he interacts with the Countess, the more it becomes apparent that there are some passionate feelings hiding under his crusading facade.

I've only seen a couple of silent movies so I am  pretty ignorant of this era. So I was pleased as punch to find that I really loved this movie. There was some excellent comedy bits especially between the male cousin and the Countess. Typical miscommunication antics.

Even thought this was a product of the twenties, the themes are still strong today. No matter what decade, people will view visitors differently: with welcome, scorn, or happiness. It's how the movie handled sexuality that amused me. The Countess came from an environment of sexual freedom and power. The town is unsettled by her charismas but it's not until her TATTOO that it all comes to surface. Yes. Her smoking, makeup, dress caused raised eyebrows but oh holy smokes, the tattoo just confirmed it. She was a "woman of the world"! I guess the slimmest connection could be that she's a prostitute but I don't see any negative connotation of being a "woman of the world". I must be misunderstanding some cinematic slang. All I saw was just rampant jealousy. The Countess just oozed bad ass charm.

How bad ass was she? Angered by the actions of the DA, she grabs a WHIP and runs to hall where she WHIPS him in front of the board. A WHIP. Holy hell. I hated that they kissed right after that and the movie ended. I would have rather she threw the whip at his face then drove off in a shiny carriage or something. A good solid middle finger would have worked. Eh. I guess all the 1920s movies had to end on a good note.

I was fascinated by the actress who played the Countess. She was played by the famed femme fatale, Pola Negri (what a cool name...). With some digging, I found that Negri was freakin' famous.Mega famous. She was gorgeous and a great actress. She was loved in Europe and coveted in US. Long story short: she ran in high societal circles. Her last appearance was in the "The Moon-Spinners" (which I just added and shall watch soon).

Unfortunately this movie isn't available on DVD. I would suggest keeping an eye out for it at restorative theaters such as the Egyptian theater or Silent Movie theater or Silent Movie festivals. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

NanoWrimo 2012

I have relunctantly put this blog on hiatus due to school and more importantly: NANOWRIMO!!! If you would like to become my writing buddy, my writing name is : dragonprincess. toodle-loo!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Evil Dead 2 : Dead by Dawn Original Theatrical Trailer

Evil Dead II (1987)

Yikes! Life has once more taken thrall of me and sucked into its mediocre hustle! Busy Busy Busy.. That is the life of a person.

Well it's October!!! Whooo!!!!! Scary season time!! Costumes!! Excuses to buy costume accessories! I love Halloween and I am one of the biggest weenies in the world. I am terrified of anything scary. Yet being the hypocrite that I am, I am fascinated by the genre. I squeal, shriek, my heart pumping out of my eyeballs but I still go back for more. Weird? Oh yeah

Lets start off October with one of the most referenced movie in Geekdom. A movie that I long believed to be gory beyond humanity. A movie that has spawned a HUGE cult following. And it stars one of the best ham actors of all: Bruce Campbell.

You must know that I am referring to "Evil Dead 2" (I'm assuming you read in the title. As for "Army of Darkness"? I will watch that soon enough. Relax).

I've known about "Evil Dead 2" for a very long while now. A memory pops up: walking through a VHS rental store that my mother's friend managed, I always challenged myself to walk through the horror section. As my mom chatted up in the fast talking gossip cloud, I would wander away from the saccharine covers of children's movies to the dark aisle filled with terrifying covers. I would muster enough courage to pick up maybe 1 or 2 VHS covers before jerking my fingers back, I always felt this overwhelming sense of doom emanating from the boxes. As if by touching them, I was slowly corrupting myself (Eh, it wasn't that far from the truth). I remember almost touching the "Hellraiser" box before freaking out and accidentally knocking over other covers. One of the covers I picked up was "Evil Dead 2". I remember staring at the cover. A smirking skull with eyes peering at me. I remember wondering why it looked so funny yet scary. Then my mother yanked the cover away from my hands and placed it back on the shelf. In an instant, another "Land Before Time" movie was in my hand.

It took many, many, many years to be convinced to watch this movie. It took a stubborn horror buff boyfriend and a food coma induced by his delicious cooking to plunk me down into the futon and pop in the DVD.


Ok lemme back up and explain the movie. "Evil Dead 2" is a sort-of-but-not-really re-make of "Evil Dead". Which I haven't seen nor am I interested in watching it. As far as I'm concerned, this is a stand alone movie.
We are following the horrific adventures of Ash, played by Bruc Campbell. Who is hot beyond compare!!! Chiseled jaw and everything!! Ash and girlfriend are about to have a romantic outing in a lone cabin when they accidentally invoke demon that possesses everything and some zombies.

That is all I'm gonna say on the plot. This movie is something that has to be experienced. It uses very clever camera angles, techniques, gimmicks, and gadgetry to create this amazing horror atmosphere. I am really impressed with how complicated and crazy these puppets were. Growing up in a time where 3D manipulation is touted as evolutionary, it was with bittersweet feelings that I wish more movies like this existed. Everything about the production spoke of passion and appreciation for genre. You have to be a huge fanatic to spend that much time and energy to obsess over a detail like a how head being flung over a log should look. Sam Raimi is just an absolute genius.Bravo!!

Bruce Campbell. What can I say that hasn't been said? Watch this movie and you'll see why he's so loved in the geek community. He's such a great facial actor and an unbelievable stuntman. There is this amazing scene where he is fighting his possessed hand. He is thrashing himself all over the kitchen smashing his body in such a way that you truly believe he is possessed. And to top it off, he manages to flip himself over. No mat, no wires, no nothing. He just grabs himself and flips him over. And the flight through the car? Wowza!

There are definitely some good scary moments. I jumped so many damn times. I was genuinely terrfied of the evil mists. I can tell it's fake but the atmosphere was so well done that  my heart was pumping everytime Ash tried to run or fight the evil. For an evil that wasn't throughly established other than being summoned from the book of the dead and possessing people, it was freakin' scary!!! And the zombies??! Or vampire zombies? Or whatever they were?!?! Scary!!!! It's amazing how many people die in this movie....

The movie ends kinda odd involving some time travel that was foretold earlier in the movie. This ultimately leads to "Army of Darkness" which I will get around to watching.

How much more can I gush about this movie without making you vomit? All I can end with is : Watch this movie if you haven't already!! And it's October so if your available to catch it at a midnight showing, do so! I will definitely be keeping my eyes out for a showing!!

Ok folks, The countdown for LONG BEACH COMIC CON has begun! This is a great comic convention to go to! It's manageable, the area is awesome, and it has great atmosphere! Plus a very special artist that is important to me is exhibiting that everyone should check out!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dorian Gray (2009)

Word that best describes this summer : UGH.
 I have been the gauntlet of pain, surgery, heat, and anxiety. And I don't seen an end in sight. So I will take the words of my favorite inspirational speaker: Andrew W.K.: You Gotta Keep Up...You Gotta Keep Going.

But damn, it's hard to focus on anything when you live in the freakin' valley.It's HOT.

So I guess it would make sense for me to watch a movie with a really HOT actor. Ahh...ah....see what I did there...

I almost passed this movie up. I couldn't remember why I added this movie. At all. Thank goodness I was in my marathon of sewing. Actually this movie wasn't good for my sewing. I didn't get that far in it.

What comes to your mind when you see "Dorian Gray"? Is it:
1. The classic story written by Oscar Wilde
2.  That guy in League of Extraordinary Men
3. Something about a picture...

Guess what? That's as much as I know  of it too! I will embarrassingly admit that I completely gave up on the novel after about 10 pages. I gave up after the twentieth time that Dorian Gray was beautiful. Sheesh. This movie adaptation was much more entertaining to swallow. I truly apologize Mr. Wilde. I am not as sophisticated as I would like to  be in classic literature.

The story (as explained by the movie):
    A young, impressionable man named Dorian Gray (played by the delectable Ben Barnes) arrives in England to take over his deceased fathers estate. He is befriended by an artist and a corrupted aristocrat. As the beauty of Gray becomes established thanks to the art of his friend., Gray finds a dark way to retain his youth. The consequences of a satanic bargain bleeds through Gray and everyone around him.

I had no idea that the story was a compelling, horror story. This may be in large part to the movie but daaaaaaamn. I was hooked. On top of that, COLIN FIRTH is in it!!! I was so happy to see him play the corrupted friend. Firth is sexy when he's being manipulated.

Ben Barnes really sealed the movie for me. Dorian Gray was able to do all his immoral deeds because of his immortal beauty. It wasn't hard for me to believe that Gray could do all this because Barnes just did it so damn well. I believed his innocent eyes, his grin at his new power, and his SEXINESS.

Oh there is ALOT of sex in this movie. Immoral, threesomes, multi-partners, same sex partners, and dancing. Omigosh my jaw dropped. I could not tear my eyes away. It's hard to sew a straight stitch when your seeing some hardcore action.....hoorah for the stitch ripper.

Oh...um...Ben Barnes is PRINCE CASPIAN. From Narnia.....Yeah...the religious subtext series. The one with the lion and the streetlight. It didn't even hit me because he was so....dimmed in Narnia. All that sexy hiding underneath chain mail. How dare you Aslan. How dare you.

Not only was this movie great eye candy but it was just damn compelling to watch. Easily has become one of my favorite adaptions of a classic novel. That I haven't read....

Every year, it gets a little bit harder. Every year I lose a strength and I gain a weakness. I just have to keep finding what makes me step away and just relax. Thank goodness for books and movies.

Enjoy everyone!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Monkey Business (1952)

Sorry for the long delay. I've just had surgery and I finally feel well enough to just sit down and write. 

One of my pet peeves right now is seeing classic movies being packaged with huge pictures of Marilyn Monroe and she really doesn't carry that much weight in the movie. Sigh. This was the victim of such packaging. The main force and comedy power is Cary Grant and Ginger Rodgers.

Yeah, Cary Grant was pretty funny in this one. He did some great comedy stunts and was pretty likable. I will credit all that to the amazing Ginger Rodgers. Not only can she keep up the dancing guru Fred Astaire but she has amazing charisma and comedic timing.

"Monkey Business" is a simple,comedy movie. Grant plays an absent-minded scientist intent on finding the solution for youth. Rodgers plays his loving wife  who puts up with him. Monroe just plays a secretary...

Anyhoo, a monkey mixes some chemicals together that actually becomes the tonic for youth. First Grant drinks it and becomes this crazy youthful guy and then it wears out.Rodgers then drinks it for good measure and then they both drink. The movie follows their silly regression into youth and what they learn from it.

It's such a romantic movie. The antics that this married couple endured should have broke them apart once they come into their senses. But they still find reason and come to love each other even more. That's a huge comparison between "Youth and Old Age" that the movie makes. Youth does stupid things, adults are more reasonable. That's too simplistic and definitely begs alot of arguments but sometimes it's true. Sometimes.

This movie is littered with wonderful lines and scenes.The regression begins slowly and then wham! They're crazy teenagers! Grant is driving like a maniac and dressing stupidly. Rodgers is jealous and overly emotional.Combined,they chase each like little kids all over the board room.

This movie was just so much fun to watch. A simple, comedy between two great stars.

I would write more, but i'm starting to feel some more pain coming on. Toodles!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Pure Hell of St. Trinian's (1960)

It was pure hell to try to watch this. Something about a sheik wanting the girls.

The only part I watched was the opening sequence. The girls burned down the school.Why? WHY?! This is their stronghold. This is they're base. Their headquarters. Why would they burn it down?!?!?

I was pissed.

Then I fell asleep.

I was that bored.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Blue Murder at St. Trinian (1957)

Onward to the next installment of the St. Trinians hellions!

To be honest, it's been awhile since I watched this one so my memory may be a little spotty.

The movie played out like an extension of the first movie except for a few major changes.For some, undisclosed reason the headmistress is jailed.In order to maintain some resemblence of order, the education department is sent to "guard" the girls. Unsuited for war, the education dept is left ragged and wounded as they defend themselves from the office. The second change is that Flash Harry has a more guardian role in this one.He was introduced as a shadowy but lovable side character in the first. Now  it seems that he has begun to swell into his role as the girls only line to the outside. For in the beginning of the movie, he is chattin' it up with an Italian Prince by advertising the older girls for marriage. Flash was pimpin' out the girls in pin-up style photo book. For some reason, I was thinking of Grace Kelly. I have no idea why.

Strangely enough, the girls are ecstatic with Flashs return and are eager to hear news of the Princes reaction. This was pretty boggling. I would think the girls would chafe at having some guy pick a wife from mere photos. Or that they would even want to be a  wife. These were established to be naughty, crazy, as females armed with wit and guile to suit their own selfish needs. I guess they just wanted to establish some royal money or take over a country. Or maybe they're just hopeless romantics...

Meanwhile, a seemingly pointless introduction of a jewel thief  grabs the attention of the police chief and the sad but annoying undercover policeman on the train. As the chase gains way, it is connected that the thief is the father of the one the St Trinian girls. As the father hides out in the girls dorm, the police quickly figure out the obvious connection and surround the place.

Well since they're under "house arrest" (how is it that they bodily harm large groups of people but they can't fight their way through weak cops?). Now they are truly stuck. How can they ever get to Italy?

Ahh, the introduction of a plot point in the guise of an essay contest with an Italian trip as the main prize. So....get this....they are unable to leave the school but they are ABLE to break into the Ministry of Education to rig their essay as the winning essay.


Although I can dismiss that bottomless plothole by mentioning one of the wackiest sequence I've seen so far. In an attempt to get the results, the girls drill a hole from the floor above. They stick an umbrella through the hole and open it to catch the debris. They switch the essays. They're almost caught but the police are called elsewhere. They cover the hole with a carpet and scamper off. The Ministry of Education discover the horrific "winner" of the contest. As they wonder who could've done it, they step...right...into..the...whole...

No wonder these girls can get away with anything. Everyone is an imbecile.

Are you with me so far? Ok..onward with the crazy.

Way to get to Rome? Check! Way to get out of the school? However will they manage? Ahhh....blackmail the father into dressing up as the New headmistress and lead them to Italy. Once again, another wacky scene:
  The new headmistress has driven off. She walks away from the car bewildered and wary at the large number of St. Trinian girls that have come out to greet her. And they're singing. They're parting ways for her and singing oh so sweetly. As the headmistress walks up the stairs, a secret panel slides open from the wall and yanks her in. In a few moments, the father emerges as the new headmistress and the girls continue to sing on. That was just pure diabolical fun to watch that segment.

So pretty much, they end up in Italy. Something about the dad trying to run. One of the girls being married off. Jewels being the ball. Honestly, the rest of the movie became forgettable to me.

The movie felt more like an extended episode than a movie . I enjoyed seeing more of Flash Harry but his grand important role among the girls is starting to feel more disturbing. Almost like a pimp looking over his harem.

I hate the inclusion of the undercover woman cop now. Am I supposed to feel happy that she spurns away the love of reasonable men for the one man who would rather do battle than marry her? I am becoming seriously irritated with the way her character is handing this. There is a pretty diverse plot where she, Flash Harry, and some other guy have been stranded in the ocean. The policeman is shown that not only does she have romantic appeal but handiness in dealing with situations. She was so strong. Then she sees that worthless shit and she goes stupid.Is this supposed to be a nod towards how women can be? A contrast between her and the girls? A possible difference in what happens when one takes control of the situation? Pis posh.

There was also alot more focus on the older girls. Who are sexier, cunning, and intelligent. I could see inspirations of this in the modern version.

Except for the scenes I mentioned, this version fell pretty short of meeting the atmosphere and fun of the first movie. Why did they take out the headmistress Alistar?  I don't get it. It's not great. It's ok. I was able to watch it all the way through. If I stopped screaming "WHAT? WHY?" at the screen then I was able to enjoy it somewhat.

Oh....and why the hell was it titled "Blue Murder at St. Trinian"!?!??!There was no murder!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Belles of St. Trinians (1954)

So much has prevented me to keep up with my blogs: medical and technical issues. Alas, I shall endeavor to find a way to write about my movie treasures!

Have you heard of St. Trinians?

I stumbled upon this after watching the contemporary version with Colin Firth (oh I will blog about about that one...don't you worry). I was absolutely smitten with the movie so I did my usual digging around extras and imdb and realized that this was only a newest edition to a long standing series based off of cartoons! Well....I just had to dig deeper...

St. Trinians is a boarding school from hell as imagined by Ronald Searle (who just passed away in 2011). The cartoons involved very wicked boarding school girls in acts of murder, violence, and sheer mayhem. The teachers are just as wicked encouraging or improving such acts. The cartoons are awesome. Definitely check out the compiled version called "St Trinians: The Entire Appalling Business". The style reminds me of the covers of Roald Dahl's books: spindly and somehow creepy. I love it. 

There have been about 4 or 5 comedy films based off the cartoons. The contemporary version even has a sequel coming up with DAVID TENNANT!!!!! oh hell yeah I'm gonna watch it! So I have taken it to task to watch every single one of them leading up to the newer ones (hopefully the sequel would have been released in the US by then).

"The Belles of St. Trinians" was the first movie based off the cartoons. After watching the others, this has been the truest adaptation to the source material I have seen. The students are conniving, sneaky, violent, and immoral. The teachers are lazy, ex-convicts, and drunk.

An arabian princess (for some reason) arrives at St. Trinians. The girls soon learn that the princess's horse will be racing. After quickly learning the basics of betting and racing, it is estimated that the horse has a huge chance of winning the race. The younger class quickly work together to pool their sources to bet on the horse. The older girls, led by the headmistress's niece, come up with a counterplan to take the horse away and rig the race. Meanwhile, the headmistress is in huge financial debt. Not knowing of the students manipulations of the race, she also places her whole savings into the race. While all this is going on, the police send in an undercover female cop posing a teacher to ferret out details to bring the school down. 

 The students are played almost as if they stepped off from the comics. They have such adorable voices and faces but in one scene, they have a girls tied  up to a torture device as they elicit details from her. The older girls constantly use sexual appeal to seduce stable men to give up details on their horses. They're wearing garter belts underneath their uniforms. In chemistry class, they're distilling gin to be sold through their outside man, Flash.

Flash is the added character to the story (in the modern version, he's played by Russell Brand ::shudder:: ). He was some boy that grew up on the grounds and now just runs illegal errands for the girls. Flash really grew on me. At first, I couldn't understand a word he was saying. But then he just became this lovable helper that eventually saves the girls. The way he walks when he's summoned is so cute.

The other staple addition to the story is the headmistress and her twin brother.Both by the same man, Alastair Sim. This trend is so far continued in the contemporary version. I love the headmistress but I feel that her character is kind of at  odds with the school. She knows the wickedness of her students since she dodges their tricks but she still loves them. I would have expected an aloof and uncaring headmistress but Alistair Sims played her amazingly. So many times I forgot it was a man. The headmistress is a posh, "delicate" woman who has a very quick mind. On one hand, she tries to encourage the girls to have decorum but then she looks away when they knock out the referee and opposing team out cold during a game.

The annoying thing for me was the undercover cop. She does the job because her superior is her fiance and won't marry until St. Trinian's is closed up for good. I felt kinda bad for her but she was so damn annoying that I started to feel bad for the superior for being engaged to her. She was obvious in her snooping and she spent most of the movie getting knocked out. Hoorah.

As a first movie based on the series, it was a lot of fun to watch. My favorite part was when the "old girls" come in to rescue the school. You never seen their faces since they bunch up in a tight group holding tribal weapons. Then they go into all out battle mode. That was so much fun to watch!It does trod on a bit slow sometimes but it still grew on me. Maybe because I'm watching the newest ones first that I can't help but do fond comparisons. Either way, I was pretty happy with it.

Besides,  the whole idea of a boarding school where all hell just breaks loose is so freeing. I've never been to a boarding school but I've watched enough British movies to know that I would go insane in such a rigid structure. I would probably end up at St. Trinians.

I just found out what the school motto was: "In flagrante delicto". A legal term used in divorcei cases loosely meaning : getting caught while in the act of sex. Hell yeah.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Over My Dead Body Official Trailer with English Subtitles

Over My Dead Body (2012):LA Asian Film Festival

 Ahh it's been too long of a gap between the last post. I duly apologize but finals ultimately too precedence. It is over and now I am free.

Even though the film festival is long over, I still wanted to blog the final movie I saw during the festival. I forgot to mention this at the last post, both "Nice Girls Crew" and this movie were screened at the fabulous CGV theaters. It's a theater nestled in koreatown in LA. The theaters are absolutely beautiful and shiny. Plus the parking is free, sweet. The have american movies with korean subtitles and korean movies with english subtitles, so hoorah for me. The seats are soooo comfy. There are two-seaters up at the top that just make you feel like royalty. If you do visit, try the coffee ice cream. It is divine!!

I watched this movie right after "Nice Girls Crew", so I was pretty tired. I also came in disappointed because this movie replaced a k-pop movie. Dammit, I'm so glad they replaced it. It was a great surprise.

This movie is essentially a game of tag. A rich, corrupted man attempts to smuggle a valuable microchip out of the country. He pretends to be ill so he could go to the US where the investors are waiting. Meanwhile, the workers are  threatened to lose their jobs if the microchip is gone, so they stage a huge protest as the rich man is led off to the hospital. Two of the workers chase down the ambulance and ultimately prove in a big way that the rich man is not ill at all. One of the coworkers is gravely injured by the rich mens henchmen. Meanwhile, In an attempt to keep the scheme going, the vice president KILLS the rich man and plans to grab the microchip from the body afterwards. During this time, the injured coworker's daughter and the other coworker (sorry they have korean names and I just cannot remember) hitch their own plan to steal the rich mans body and hold it for ransom. While their at the lab, they are interrupted by two clown debt collectors. During a scuffle, the lab man had switched the placards to the one where his friend is hiding (the one who owes the debt), so the daughter and the coworker had taken the wrong body. And then the vice president tries to come and take the body. But the body is gone because the lab guy took it!!Ahhh!!! The chase for the body begins!

Damn this is hard to write about!!! Not only is hard to keep track of all the korean names, the plot just kept getting more and more intricate. Instead of losing it completely, the plot was so wonderfully woven that there was no loose end, no plot hole. I'm not kidding. From growing up in a town where plot holes seem to be a requirement, this was absolutely phenomenal. I had a great time just trying i guess who had the body and how the hell the main characters were going to get out the mess.

There were many characters trying to steal this body but the three main ones are the injured coworkers daughter (the one with the pink hair), the coworker friend, and the lab guy's friend. The pink haired girl really reminded me of Lisbeth Salander in terms of aloofness but that changed when she crashes the SUV and just smokes her nerves away. That was the glimpse of vulnerability and  bravery. She turns out to be reasonable and resourcfullness. The coworkers friend is a great combo of smart and sheer bad-ass-sery. He nerds out the plan with his photgraphic memory so he should be just delegated as the nerdy character. Oh no, he is the bad-ass action guy. He's leaning out of movie cars, jumping all over the place, and punches everyone. The lab guys friend is goofball but he's a pretty slick and clever slimeball.

I am barely doing this movie any bit of justice. This was such a great bit of a movie. It was fun, thrilling, and had a  great ending. I did not see the ending coming at all. Although I never the ending coming anyhoo. If your able to catch this movie, then do so. It's definitely full of action, fun, and comedy.

So concludes my own adventures at this years LA Asian Film Festival. I would have loved to catch more movies but what I did see, I am completely satisfied and inspired in the asian filmmaking community. Maybe, I will get to showcase my own work at the festival. Who knows....

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Nice Girls Crew Trailer!

Nice Girls Crew (2012): LA Asian Film Festival

So this is a weird blog. I barely knew anything going in before I went in.  I almost bypassed it until I saw ....

 "As Asian American media moves to greater prominence in the online space, web series are becoming the norm thanks to the likes of Wong Fu Productions, NigaHiga and KevJumba. However, like most filmed entertainment, female-centric stories driven by women content creators are still a rarity. This is antipodal to a recent Nielsen report on social media that shows the largest demographic of the most active social networkers are Asian American women between the ages of 18-34 years of age. Filling this void are transmedia tastemakers like Felicia Day (THE GUILD), online make-up guru Michelle Phan, and Aussie Natalie Tran (Community Channel), but they're outnumbered by the dominant man-child machismo that infests the current internet entertainment landscape. Into this void comes Christine Kwon, Festival Managing Director of the Center For Asian American Media (CAAM) and longtime Film Festival darling Tanuj Chopra (PUNCHING AT THE SUN, Festival 2006), who team up for the original web series, NICE GIRLS CREW!"

........a mention of Felica Day! Well I am a huge fan of Felicia Day so I had to attend.

     "Nice Girls Crew" is composed of Geraldine, Sophie, and Leeta. As the intro simply explains, they have been friends since second grade and have reunited for a book club. Well, hell yeah...I love book clubs! I'm part of....three at the moment I think...

     The series was damn FUNNY.  Each episode starts off with a book that the girls decide upon. And it just goes off the complete tangent curve from there. For the first episode, the club begins with the third book of Harry Potter, chosen by Geraldine. Geraldine had decided that this was the best book in the series ( I agree) and there is no sense in reading the others. Ultimately denying the others a chance to discover it on their own. And the bickering flies off! It's just hilarious how the episodes have the thinnest connection to the book chosen.

The comedy in the episodes are based entirely off the wonderful acting and physical comedy timing of the actresses. These women were absolutely phenomenal. The personalities of the characters were solid. Geraldine was the fun, out-there drinker. Leeta is the bad-ass edgy chick.Sophie is my absolute favorite as the bubbly and air-headed member. The physical comedy was stellar.

As an awesome experience,  there was a Q and A with the cast, director, and producer. The Q and A was emceed by the man behind angryasian.com. The embarrassing part is that all three actresses were sitting near me during the whole screening. I really hope they enjoyed my laughing and snorting...

From what I gleaned from the Q and A:
* the director, Tanuj Copra, is hilarious
* there was alot of improvisations
* The women have known each other before, but this is the first time they've been given a chance to do physical comedy
*Copra did the series on the condition that the three women would be given the roles
* There was an intention to add more female presence on the web (that was my question!!!)

Currently, the videos are not  on the web yet. The first five episodes are combined together and being shown around the film festival circuit.  I definitely encourage everyone to catch these at a nearby festival and to support this to become a webseries. It's a an absolute treasure!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

SHANGHAI CALLING - Official Trailer

Shanghai Calling (2012): LA Asian Film Festival

This movie is absolutely AMAZING!!!

I can definitely understand why this movie was chosen to open the LA Asian Film Festival. I managed to attend the second sold out screening of this movie. I had to stand on my worn out feet for about 40 minutes in the rush line but I did it! And damn am I glad that I did!

"Shanghai Calling" starts off with the success of Sam (played by the scrumptious Daniel Henney), a New York attorney on the brink of being named partner of his prestigious firm. Flushed with success of winning a major case, he believes that he will be named, until the partner firm drops a doozie: they will be sending him to China, to lead their firm. Why? Sam is not only a very successful attorney but he is Chinese. Not to let an opportunity slip by, he takes it even though he speaks no lick of chinese. None. Doesn't even know how to drink tea.
With the help of a pretty relocation specialist (played by Eliza Coupe), a fantastic assistant (played by Zhu Zhu), an ex-pat Mayor of Americatown (played by Bill Paxton), and a quirky english teacher (played by Sean Gallagher), Sam discovers not only his own identity but his own principle.

Where can I begin to explain how awesome this movie was? It has been a long time since I've seen a decent rom-com. This movie is so much than a rom-com. It has a great story, great characters, and stunningly beautiful scenery. 

What really gives the movie a depth are definitely the characters. Zhu Zhu was stunning as the assistant. She was phenomenal and her hair is amazing. Seriously, I wish my hair could stay like that. I absolutely adored the comedy antics of the love interest of Zhu Zhu. There were so many cute scenes of the poor IT guy trying to capture the attention of Zhu Zhu. He even brought epinadas to her family house to impress them.

I have no shame in admitting that I have developed a major crush on Gang Le and Daniel Henney. Geng Le played Awesome Wang, an amazing journalist who is able to snoop out any details on anyone. He was so damn adorable in his quiet confidence and intelligence. I am absolutely serious! I adored him.

Oh...and...oh Daniel Henney. Oh my gosh DANIEL HENNEY. He is unbelievably, mockingly HOT. He is tall, asian, built, and has a deep voice. And he's funny...omigosh he is so funny! There is this adorable scene where he's bouncing on the edge of the bed with a goofy grin on his face. Just so. damn. adorable. And there is this beautiful (thank you director!) glimpse of his hiney. Oh beautiful...

There I have now stopped drooling and calmed down.

This movie will definitely speak to the young mixed races growing up this country. Especially the asian americans who do not speak their own cultural languages. Many of us have grown up without knowing the guidelines and rules of our other culture.How many of us have been embarrassed on making a cultural snafu? Oh look at the sea of hands.

Not only is Sam HOT (wiping mouth now), his character arc is great. He starts off as this bloated head of a prick and ends up centered. The journey to get to that point was fun and clever. I seriously thought I figured out who the villain would be. I was wrong. Pleasantly wrong.

There are very few movies where I can completely forget where I was, what I was doing before, or what I doing tomorrow. I just simply enjoyed and loved being in the moment. I have not felt that for a very long time.

On a random note, I thought the intro to the film reminded me of the promo of "10th Kingdom" with the upside down view of China and New York.

Love this movie. If your able to catch it at a film festival do so. Watch it. And watch for that hiney.