Octavio Paz has said: 'an imprisoned man has only to close his eyes to be able to blow up the world.' I would add, in paraphrase: it would suffice for the white pupil of the cinema screen to reflect the light which is proper to it, to blow up the universe. the cinema is capable of putting him into a state of ecstasy more effectively than any other mode of human expression. but more effectively than any other, it is capable of brutalising him. --Luis Bunuel
Just when we were all getting pretty sick of Zombie films, the co-writer of I Love the Huckabees (2004) and who is also Aubrey Plaza's boyfriend, Jeff Baena, decides to explore the world of the "zom-rom-com" with Life After Beth. We first witnessed the birth of the zom-rom-com genre last year when Warm Bodies made it's cutesy debut and it's clear that this is a genre that is here to stay. Although the zombie genre has been sucked dried, ripped apart, and pummeled to death at this point, props to Baena reviving it in this decently refreshing and endearing take on modern day romance with a black humor twist and the biggest help from its all star indie cast!
The film begins with Zach (Dane DeHaan) distraughtly asking the store clerk if they have any black napkins, it is assumed that he is going to the funeral. It is soon revealed that it is the funeral of his unexpectedly deceased girlfriend, Beth (Plaza) who got mysteriously got bit by a spider/bug (?) of sorts. After Zach has a grieve-induced bonding experience with Beth's parents played by none other than John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon, they soon become distant towards him upon learning that Beth crawled her way out of her grave and came back to life. Unable to process the logic behind such an act, Zach blindly becomes deliriously drunk in love (cue Bey's song!) by Beth's oddly normal and resurrected presence and embarks on adventures he regretted not doing with her when she was alive. Even though Beth has no recollection of herself dying or breaking up with Zach, she is not the same Beth they know and love. AKA, she is exactly everyone's worst nightmare. Beth is supersonically violent, aggressive, absent-minded, and physically filthy. I mean come on, she is a zombie who is technically deteriorating right before our eyes guys.
All though the premise is treading on tepid waters, it is the indie cast that keeps this hellish relationship comedy afloat! For both of the leads, DeHaan and Plaza play characters they have not portrayed from their polar opposite roles in The Amazing Spiderman 2 and Parks and Rec, respectively. DeHaan is a Dracula reincarnated with his all black attire and his undeniably endearing and potently convincing love-strucken act while we see Plaza ditch her usual dead-pan stance to embrace a more dramatically colorful costume such as being a flesh-devouring zombie who is emotional! Horray! And who doesn't want to see Reilly and Shannon play delusional and lovable parents who just want their baby back! Awwww...
Clearly, this is a movie about puppy love because once Beth's mental and physical state starts rotting away, so does Zach's love for her. We all know how this story starts and ends but it's the immensely humorous and eerie vibes in between that keeps the film's heart beating a little bit louder and longer. With so many all-star players who I've mentioned and others I haven't (secret), Life After Beth is one of this year's feel good indie summer flicks that you won't regret watching. And if you do, you have my permission to ravage and ingest my flesh. ;D
WHOA. Could this be it? Could Revenge of the Green Dragons (2014) be the next big all Asian-American cast film since Better Luck Tomorrow (2002)? I mean hell, Martin Scorsese is executive producing this 1990's NYC-set action crime drama with Andrew Lau & Andrew Loo who was inspired by Frederick Dannen's New Yorker article chronicling Asian-American gang life in Queens, NY. It's awesome to hear Scorsese and Lau sort of "reuniting" after Scorsese remade Lau's Hong Kong crime pic Infernal Affairs into his own Oscar-winning 2006 film The Departed!
The story follow immigrant siblings Sonny (Justin Chon) and Steven (Kevin Wu aka KevJumba) who join Chinatown's Green Dragons in pursuit of their own American Dream, only to find themselves at odds when Sonny turns against his brother and the organization. Ray Liotta and Harry Shum, Jr. (Glee) and Shuya Chang also star in this crime drama. It's heart-warming to know that YouTube status super stars like KevJumba was able to jump from the small screen to the big screen. It's known that the Asian American community is pretty knit-tight and it's obvious from YouTube that Chon, Shum, and Wu have all been huge collaborators from the very beginning. This is our generations Better Luck Tomorrow! I am overly excited to see this film because it will discuss some of the same Asian American struggle that I have gone through and still do. Also, I love screaming AMURIKAN DREAM!
Normally, I wouldn't feel so hopeful for another gangster-type of film especially with an all Asian American cast because come on, we all know for some reason there is a serious lack of Asian American films that are intelligently crafted, acted, and executed besides probably erm.. (mutters under breath) Better Luck Tomorrow (In love with this movie OBV). But considering Scorsese, Lau, and A24's stamp on it, I can only hope to turn this cynicism right-side up! It will also premiere at TIFF this September and will be available on DirecTV for 30 days starting September 11 before A24 takes it to theater in October.
Just as you thought the zombie genre was dead, Aubrey Plaza and Dane DeHaan are here to resurrect it from the dead with Life After Beth! I didn't think I could take another zombie movie but seeing how these two Indie star powerhouses are starring in a movie where they play lovers, I might just reconsider. Along with Warm Bodies, this new "zom-rom-com" is making its waves and possibly here to stay. It premiered earlier this year at Sundance and is finally coming out this week! I already watched it so watch out for my review later on this week! I won't give anything away but if you like these two stars, I recommend you to watch as it shows a different side of their acting chops that you might've not witnessed before. And seriously, who doesn't want to see the usual Queen of Dead-pan, Aubrey Plaza be a flesh-eating zombie! At least you'll see more emotions from her than you would normally see in Parks and Recs! Life After Beth comes out this week.
Sundance's #NextFest is already here! I went this past weekend to watch Kumiko The Treasure Hunter (2014) and Listen Up Philip (2014)! To be honest, I went to watch Kumiko The Treasure Hunter because I heard the there was going to be a Q&A with the director and writer, the Zellner Bros and WERNER HERZOG. If you did not know already, Herzog is one of my all-time favorite auteurs EVER! Of course, I had to go to this event! And I was not disappointed! Just being in Herzog's presence and hearing his iconic voice for the first time was enough to
This is #NextFest's second year in the City of Angels and this time, they held it at the revamped Ace Hotel Theatre which is a drop-dead gorgeous piece of architecture! I felt transported to a European estate considering how majestic and old world it looked! I am only so lucky to have experience just being within it, let alone watch a film!
Both of the films I watched, Kumiko The Treasure and Listen Up Philip will be out soon and I will be doing individual reviews for both of them but what I can say now is that even though they are from two different genres, they bring such originality to their respective materials that invoke personal introspection. And that's such a beautiful aspect to watching a movie and possibly, one of the most important aspects. I recommend you seeing these two films once it hits a theater near you. I had a BLAST going to this festival cause I love going to Downtown LA (minus the traffic & parking!) I finally got to go after missing its first year which I ended up double booking because I went to Outsidelands!
Today, we lost one of the greatest human beings on this planet. Not to get too sentimental but in all sincerity, Robin Williams played a huge part in shaping many of our childhoods. So hearing the news of his sudden death was undoubtedly the most devastating, tragic, and painful shot to the heart I have felt in a while from the news of a "celebrity's" death. But mind you, Robin was more than a household name or a comic genius but a man with boundless integrity, heart, and wisdom. I cannot even fathom a pint of the immense pain he must have been going through but I thank him for helping many of us see the humor and horror within us all in his iconic characters that will never be forgotten. In memory of his passing, I have compiled a list of his films that has touched me so dearly and clips from each one of those films.
I own this movie on VHS and have watched it so many times, I can recite to you the whole script. (But don't test me!) There is such a magical quality about this film that I hold so dearly to my heart. Maybe, it is nostalgia but everything about this film IS perfection from it's script, cast, story, and just the tone. This is Steven Spielberg at his prime!! It helped create a generation of kids who if you screamed "Rufio" or "Bangarang" to, they would've totally nodded in agreement and no other words would've been necessary. I thank Williams for helping me harvest the kid in me all while conquering the deep seeded fear of being an "adult."
Robin Williams and Jim Carrey are comic legends to me who exude such unparalleled enthusiasm and charisma that they could instantaneously make any film better just by their performance. William's performance as Genie exploded with vehement energy and vitality! Just listen to him sing and rant and shout! Even if his image is masked behind an animated cartoon, his vibrant personality will pierce right through any cynical person's heart. GUARNTEED!
After watching him in countless children movies, I had rented at the prime age of 11 to see Robin Williams in what seemed to be another incredible performance regardless of the genre. Or at least show a different range of his talent. (SPOILER): I was not only scarred to the core but it was the first time I had ever seen someone give or receive a blow job. And to make matters worse, my parents had walked into the room during that scene in which I quickly fast-forwarded till index finger could not bend any further. Of course, seeing how this particular scene was the climax, I had to excuse myself to another room so I can resume watching this unrelentingly haunting film about a lonely and creepy man all while being a pervert myself unwilling to let go of the movie till I saw the conclusion!
THIS SCENE. I DIE!! ( I watched this like 20 times already. Someone stop me!!)
This entire film cracks me up so damn much, I cannot even begin to name the endless humorous one-liners that is blurted by Williams. This may be one of his most iconic roles and it's no surprise. JUST LOOK AT THE MAN!
As you can see, I was a baby of the 90s. But I am not forgetting other iconic roles of his like in Jack (1996), Flubber (1997), Good Will Hunting (1997), What Dreams May Come (1998), Patch Adams (1998) and others which I have not seen like Mork & Mindy, Dead Poets Society (1989), and The Fisher King (1991). I really need to see these ASAP. Also, be sure to check out Netflix considering that most of his films are streaming!
Also I'm going to take the time out to say that even though I have no say in this matter, depression is not something to be ashamed of and if you encounter someone or (if yourself) suffers from depression, have the strength to ask for help because people will be there to help you even if you don't think so in the slightest. I cannot express the amount of sadness that overwhelmed me hearing that Williams committed suicide but despite that fact, I always like to think about people in their best moments and reflect on the immense impact Williams has made in everyone's lives. It has been said that pure comedy comes from a place of darkness and I don't doubt that. I can only be thankful that as a performer who is most well known for his comedic roles, he was able to show us the humanity in every role he tackled, in light and in darkness. Thank you Robin Williams. You will be greatly missed.
I had heard about Frank when it premiered at Sundance Film Fest earlier this year but before I saw it at LA Film Fest, I wasn't so sure if I even wanted to see it considering it's far-fetched premise was about a leader of a eclectic music band who sports a fake head. But after I watched it, I wholly fell in love with its pensively profound premise that spoke such volumes about our generation of artists living in this digital age. This is one of the rare times I have ever seen Fassbender (possibly a first) in a comedic role and he pulls it off wonderfully. The premise actually goes deeper than the advertised premise that is equally refreshing and enlightening. It is the perfect musical comedy to end your summer with! And who else wouldn't want to see Maggie Gyllenhaal in all her aggressive and badass glory?! Definitely be sure to check out this week!
This week on Badass Femmes on Crome Yellow, I talk about Sarah Connor in Terminator: Judgement Day (1991) and her significant role in helping me dismantle my perception of gender roles as a young age! She's been the badass muthaaa (literally) that I never had. Or at least to this extent!
This is one of my most highly requested trailer reaction video and it is finally here! Interstellaris about a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel in order to conquer the vast distances via interstellar voyage. I was in absolute disbelief discovering that Christopher Nolan could've made a film so closely after his previous one, The Dark Knight Rises (2012). Especially a film of this scale: production, actors, story, post-production, and so on. And with that kind of premise which is visually and thematically so reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) which was made 4 years after Dr. Strangelove (1964), it only solidifies Nolan's talent and immense genius status of being able to complete with razor-sharp precision and pensive thought on the fly. Here it is folk, you will not be disappointed. Interstellar comes out November 7th!
THIS IS THE BLOCKBUSTER OF THE SUMMER! Guardians of the Galaxy have proved to be the most wildly received blockbuster from critics and viewers alike this year! And it's no wonder with its eccentric humor laced throughout this zany and witty action film that has one of the most incredible soundtracks in recent film history. I mentioned it was the 80's but most of the tracks are from the 70's. I mean how could I forget?! They had The Runaway's Cherry Bomb and 10cc's I'm Not in Love! Nonetheless, with a nostalgic soundtrack to boot, Guardians of the Galaxy have proved they're the new kids on the block in the Marvel realm that everyone should fear.
What I also loved was the individually unique characters that brought such humor and truth to the screen. Rocket's lack of sympathy showed that self-pity is worth nothing considering that everyone to a certain extent has gone through turmoil. It might be a small thing but I admired that potent remark that brought perspective to it's audience. It was a hell of a ride that I'm probably going to go on again and again until the next film comes out. With the success of this film, Gunn will be able to bring out even bigger guns (in terms of wonkier banter & action) and have the Marvel outcast troublemakers become the big kids on campus! Also I'm sure we're going to be quoting lines from the film till the end of time. "I am Groot!" see?