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Beyond Fest '16: The Bad Batch


Kristin from SalesOnFilm is my AFI FEST correspondent and we watched Asghar Farhadi's The Past starring Berenice Bejo and Tahar Rahim. Although, A Separation resonated with me more, The Past is an intricate story about the miscommunication, nostalgia, and imperfections we as humans face in our day to day lives. This film will be a huge frontrunner for the Oscar's Foreign Film section! One of AFI FEST's best films!

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Secretary (2002, Steven Shainberg)

Lee: In one way or another I've always suffered. I didn't know why exactly. But I do know that I'm not so scared of suffering now.  I feel more than I've ever felt and I've found someone to feel with. To play with. To love in a way that feels right for me. I hope he knows that I can see that he suffers too. And that I want to love him.
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HOLY HELL! Lars von Trier's new film trailer of Nymphomaniac just came out and IT IS CRAZY WILD! (NSFW WILD!) I'm in filled tears my friends, I am in tears! Previous Trier collaborators like Charlotte Gainsbourg as the Nymphomaniac, Stellan Skarsgard, William Dafoe, and Udo Kier return for another crazy ride injected with unfiltered sexcapades, mental breakdowns, and naturally, a unrelenting cynicism in every scene. Apparently, Nymphomaniac is the final part of the "Trilogy of Depression" that also includes Antichrist and Melancholia, all of which stars Gainsbourg. I'm truly excited to see any Trier film but in particular this one considering my fav Shia LaBeouf is engaging in unsimulated sex!  Their use of metal music is making me want to bash my head against the wall in excitement! There is no exact release yet but I am obviously filled with excitement! Also check out the ORGASMIC posters that were released.

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Kristin from SalesOnFilm is my official AFIFEST correspondent and here we review Jeremy Saulnier's Blue Ruin. Blue Ruin is Saulnier's second feature and it is a significant achievement from his debut film, Murder Party. He takes the overplayed theme of vengeance and gives a unique spin to the genre by playing with its conventions and our expectations. One of the best films shown at the festival!

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Eraserhead (1977, David Lynch)

Mrs. X: Henry, may I speak to you a minutes? Over here. Did you and Mary have sexual intercourse?
Henry Spencer: [stammering] Why?
Mrs. X: Did you?
Henry Spencer: Why are you asking me this question?
Mrs. X: I have a very good reason, and now I want you to tell me.
Henry Spencer: I'm, I'm very... I love Mary!
Mrs. X: [interrupting] Henry, I asked you if you and Mary had sexual intercourse!
Henry Spencer: Well, I don't... I don't think that's any of your business!
Mrs. X: [interrupting] Henry!
Henry Spencer: I'm sorry.
Mrs X: You're in a very bad trouble if you won't cooperate...
[nuzzling at his neck]
Henry Spencer: Well, I...
[calls]
Henry Spencer: Mary!
Mary X: [grabbing her away] Mother!
[sobs]
Mrs. X: Answer me!
Henry Spencer: I'm too nervous.
Mrs. X: There's a baby. It's at the hospital.
Mary X: Mom!
Mrs. X: And you're the father.
Henry Spencer: Well, well that's impossible! It's only been...
Mary X: Mother, they're still not sure it is a baby!
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I'm late on this but check out these unused posters for Spike Lee's remake of Park Chan-wook's classic film, OldBoy. Although,  I had been very skeptical of the remake considering that I hold the original film very close to my heart, but Artist Juan Luis Garcia's designs evoke the eerie and desperation that the film entails. I am currently reading the OldBoy manga and knowing that there are various differences from the book to Park's film, it gives me a sprinkle of hope to know that Lee will try to adapt more of the comic than the South Korean version. I would've loved if they made the official poster any one of the above but they chose the one below. Not bad eh? Spike Lee's OldBoy comes out November 27

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I recently visited Netflix after not being on it for while and almost fainted when I realized that one of my top films of 2013, Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha was on Netflix Instant! Not even just on Netflix but it is streaming! Amazing. Then naturally, I saw a plethora of other amazing films I've been DYYYYING to see and am elated that Netflix is making my life that much easier. So here's a list of films that were newly released (see list) and some that caught my eye that I think are worth watching.

1. Frances Ha (2013, Noah Baumbach) Streaming & DVD
Surprisingly, this film vlog of mine is the most viewed on my channel and it's no wonder why because this is one of his most accomplished films to date. It resonants on so many levels. A

2. Only God Forgives (2013, Nicholas Winding Refn) Streaming & DVD
I actually enjoyed this one (peep this review) despite that after my first viewing of Drive, I was one of the few that didn't like it as much. Only God Forgives on the other hand, really was like a perfect acid dream. B+ 

3. Europa Report (2013, Sebastian Cordero) Streaming & DVD
Europa Report showed at LAFF '13 and I should have done a review of this but obviously got too lazy (not a good enough reason!). But no doubt, this was one of the best low budget science fiction stories I've seen in a while. It plays on the reality of being in space and all the responsibilities and risks that come with the challenges of venturing in space. I loved it for the sheer fact that it didn't go for cheap tricks but just told the story like it is through found footage. A

4. Pacific Rim (2013, Guillermo del Toro) DVD
Pacific Rim was one of the big blockbusters this past summer that I truly loved (oogle at this review) Despite what other film critics say, this is one film in which the CGI overrides the story content and makes the movie that much better. Definitely worth watching but please watch it on the big screen with a deafening sound system. B+

5. The Heat (2013, Paul Feig) DVD
This estrogen-charged buddy cop film couldn't have been done better than Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. Even though, they followed a lot of buddy cop genre conventions, it was hilarious and refreshing to see these two unlikely pairs in action. (Gander at this reviewB-

6. Blackfish (2013, Gabriela Cowperthwaite) DVD
Blackfish is one of the most important documentaries to come out in 2013. Excruciatingly devastating and potent, it shatters the happy facade of SeaWorld as it unveils the horrid condition and treatment of their killer whales. I did had a little beef with the construction of this film but overall, very effective. (Sob with this review) B+

7. Prince Avalanche (2013, David Gordon Green) DVD
It is humorous and touching but this film didn't fulfill me as a viewer as much as I wanted it to. Great soundtrack from Explosions from the Sky. (Gawk at my review) B-

Other films I've been wanting to see (streaming):

What Maisie Knew (2012, Scott McGehee)
Computer Chess (!!!) (2013, Andrew Bujalski)
Kon-tiki (2012, Joachim Ronning & Espen Sandberg)
V/H/S 2 (2013, Various Filmmakers) 
A Band Called Death (2012, Mark Christopher Covino & Jeff Howlett)
Haute Cuisine (2012, Christian Vincent)
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Kristen from Sales On Film is my AFI FEST correspondent and here we review Hayao Miyazaki's last film, The Wind Rises! It's a bittersweet moment as it is Miyazaki's last film it is one of my favorite films of his. He tackles adult themes and its a biopic of Jiro, an aircraft engineer. Definitely see it, it's one for the books!


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It is rare when a film makes you reexamine what you thought you knew about yourself and your beliefs. That's exactly the effect that Yeon Sang-ho's animated film, THE FAKE, provokes. What follows is my conversation with Yeon at AFI FEST 2013 about his challenges with faith, Studio DADAshow and comic books.

What inspired the story?

There was an incident some time back in 2002 that involved a celebrity making a statement that angered the Korean government. It was a sensitive political issue that caused a public outcry. But what he said wasn't completely untrue. That's where the inspiration came from.

Was this political figure in the film?

No, not exactly. I was asked this question a lot in Korea about where I got the inspiration for the film. But it was such a sensitive issue, I wasn't able to talk about it. The figure I'm talking about used to be an actor and said something negative about FDA [Food and Drug Administration] issues. The public was swayed against him because they were confused by what he was saying, and he was saying these things while he was shooting advertisements for loan sharks. Since that time, he hasn't been able to pursue his career as before, and I was watching this person speak for himself when no one was listening. I wanted to take this incident and dramatize it in an extreme way.

I just watched THE KING OF PIGS (2011) and was totally blown away. It was so much heavier than I thought possible. You deal with the theme of being a monster. What draws you to this theme and why is it so present in your films?

Considering my work is in animation, I want to draw out the emotions expressively. That's why the story is more dramatic than most live-action films and why the characters look more monstrous.

Like the characters in THE FAKE, has there ever been an incident where you had to deal with the dilemma of loss of faith?

I face this feeling very frequently. It even comes with the most minor things in life, like when I'm trying to wake up but can't, or when I'm trying to do something but don't. A feeling of failure arises that sways my faith and determination to achieve bigger goals. Trivial things put me in a more unstable position in regards to bigger things.

Do you plan on making a live action film?

Not at the moment.

For people who don't know about your production company, DADA Show, can you tell us a little bit about it?

It is very different from other production companies. I tend to work with very low budgets with a small staff. For me, it's easier to work alone, using my own methods for animation that is cost effective. I realized there weren't many companies that could work with my methods, and some people I knew helped create this production house and I have come so far. Animation often involves getting others to help, but we mostly do everything in house. So yeah, we do things a little differently at DADA Show.

Do you plan on expanding the company and working with other filmmakers?

Yes, I am willing to do that. At the moment we are creating another filmmaker's animation under DADA. He is also the line producer on THE FAKE, and this is his debut film.

There are not many animated films that come out of Korea, and they aren't always very good. You are like a pioneer for animation in Korea.

Yeah, I guess I would say so.

Your films are so hard-hitting and grim to the point where I am completely exhausted from the heartbreaking story. What is the message you want to give to the public?

There are a lot of comics and animated films that I like and I just wish the audience could feel the same response from my films as I do with those comics. I would say if my film drives people to think and rethink, it'll be great. My wife asks me where I learn about all these diverse subjects and I say comic books.

So what are some of the comic books you read that inspired you the most?

There's this particular comic book that I can't think of right now that inspired THE KING OF PIGS. Sion Sono recently made a film called HIMIZU that's based on Minoru Furuya'smanga that I like. But if I were to recommend something for you to read, I would suggest my friend's comic book. His name is Chae Gu-suk and he was the character designer for THE FAKE. There's also another book called “Korea's Native.”

Do you have anything you are working on now?

I am working [on a] project about Seoul Station. It is an animated film about the homeless people around Seoul Station.

I feel like your work is a commentary on Korean society, like Lee Chang-dong's films. Anyone that watches your films can learn so much about the culture.

I am a big admirer of Lee Chang-dong. Like SECRET SUNSHINE.

Yes, it is very reminiscent of your film because that film and THE FAKE both deal with faith in different ways.

I like OASIS, too. I feel that his films are told in a very tight way.

Are there any other Korean filmmakers who inspire you?

Lee Chang-dong, Park Chan-wook. For filmmakers my age, they would all say the same.


Be sure you also read my review of the film! (via. AFI FEST)
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Crome Yellow and I went to Beyond Fest to watch Mike Dougherty's Trick 'r Treat (see review!). I had not seen it before and it was absolutely one of the best Halloween films I've ever seen! Beyond Fest transformed the American Cinematheque into a haunted playground and it was awesome! I also got a free poster so I want to do giveaway so the rules are: 

1. Share this vid on Twitter and tag either me (@ssoyunum) or @CromeYellowWeb
or
2. Share this vid on facebook and tag either me or Crome Yellow
or
3. Share through Google+ and I'll be able to see who shared it! 

I will be picking a winner on the 20th of November!

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Beyond Fest: @BeyondFest
Follow Crome Yellow: Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram
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Whoever said animation was just for kids clearly hasn't been introduced to the grim work of South Korean filmmaker Yeon Sang-ho. His sophomore feature, THE FAKE, showcases the kind of South Korean social ills seen in his debut film, THE KING OF PIGS. But this time, he dissects another subject – religious cults – through his realistic animation style.

The story centers on an unlikely anti-hero, a drunk abusive father named Min-chul who reappears into his family's life, only to feed his gambling habits with his daughter's college savings. Meanwhile, their small country town is on the brink of devastation as their land will soon be flooded by a dam construction project. Apprehensive of their future, the townspeople turn to the leaders of a church that promises them a haven-like housing development in another town. However, the church leader, Choi Kyung-suk, is a wanted man seizing the opportunity to lure the entire town to give their fortune to him. In his maddeningly drunken state, Min-chul smells something foul in the air and tries to expose Choi as a fake.

As with any cult, the only way to have subservient devotees is by stripping their soul bare, only to slowly give back what was already theirs. The whole town becomes susceptible to irrationality when they are starved by desperation and fed false hopes and illusions about the power of God. Ordinarily sober people become inebriated with the intoxicating sense of God's will, and it blinds them from taking responsibility for their own lives. The townspeople oscillate between good and evil – a distinction that becomes murky as good-intentioned people become monsters.

As human beings, we shake our heads and think that this could never happen to us, but director Yeon holds a mirror to the audience to suggest that at any moment, desperation can gnaw and puncture our toughest layers, turning even the utmost "nonbeliever" into a "believer." Like a powerful religious leader himself, director Yeon does not let us go so easily and instead creates a simmering tension for the entirety of the film that compels us to wonder if we are any better than the characters on screen.

It's no news that Yeon's films are not easy to swallow, but as with any arduous journey, there is a transcendence that allows us to look beyond ourselves and question our preconceptions of who we are. THE FAKE is a dark and provocative commentary on modern South Korea that never ceases to shock or challenge viewer's perception of religious cults and themselves.

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Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive trailer is finally out! After posting numerous clips and stills  from the film, the trailer gives us a glimpse at Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as century old vampires who are in love. Even with a plethora of Vampire films that have come out in the past years, the overdone theme seems to have a fresh and interesting look when spun in the hands of Jarmusch and his stellar cast also including Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin, and John Hurt. There's a dark yet romanticism that dispels from the vivid images of the dark world they are engrossed in. The film premiere at New York Film Festival in October but there has not been a released date announced yet! I desperately want to see this film and just the closing image of Swinton and Hiddleston passionately lying naked together is enough to sell me on this film!


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It's that time again! It's AFI FEST time and this upcoming week is going to be absolutely crazy! Definitely check out the line-up and let me know what you would like me to watch so I can review those films first for you guys! This year as always is another exciting year as I will be blogging and doing interviews for them! I am incredibly ecstatic about this and it's gonna be one hell of a week! Check out the films I am most anticipated about!
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The Apartment (1960, Billy Wilder)

Fran Kubelik: When you're in love with a married man, you shouldn't wear mascara. 
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Shia LeBeouf has been laying low these days to star in art films like Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac and now, Fredrik Bond's Charlie Countryman. At first glance, Charlie Countryman seems like a generic love story about an American who falls in love with a foreigner but within minutes of the trailer, the story spirals deeper and deeper into a darker place than I had ever anticipated. With a stacked indie cast of LeBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Rupert Grint, Melissa Leo, this film is surely to have memorable performances! I can't wait to see the film especially after seeing that still of the almost naked LeBeouf crouching on the floor, baring himself all for the sake of love (or, im assuming!) I'm a huge fan of LeBeouf so obviously, I can't wait to see these considering the amount of violence, chaos, sex, and love thats drenched in every frame of the trailer. It will be released in limited theaters November 15!

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