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31 Days of #AAPIFilmz (Pt. I)


Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer is finally here! After premiering at last year's Cannes festival, this U.S. debut film from the South Korean filmmaker (The Host, Mother) got acquired by the Weinstein Company and still, it took so long for it to make it in theaters. At last we get to see the first trailer of Snowpiercer, an adaptation of a French graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob about a future where a failed global-warming experiment kills off all life on the planet except a lucky few who boards on the Snowpiercer, a train that travels across the globe which is separated by class systems. It looks utterly suspenseful, emotionally-charged, and visually grim. There is such a huge roster of exceptionally talented and underrated actors who are in this like Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, Kang-ho Song, Ed Harris and etc, etc. It's all going to be so great! Can't wait to see it at the opening night of the Los Angeles Film Festival! Snowpiercer comes out June 27!

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It's been more than a year since revered film critic Roger Ebert passed away after his long battle with cancer. I had read (actually heard through audio tape) Ebert's memoir Life Itself prior to his death and after getting a glimpse into the man who has single handedly influenced the film community so deeply, I felt an immense sorrow by the loss of a great man. After hearing so much buzz, the first trailer of the documentary that is adapted from his memoir of the same name is here! The legendary documentarian Steve James who made Hoop Dreams (1994) is tackling the arduous task of whole-heartedly telling the inspiring biography of Ebert. There is no one better to make a documentary about Ebert than the man behind Hoop Dreams in which Ebert calls "one of the best documentaries of the 90's." (see review)

I was one of the lucky people who got a sneak peek of the documentary at Cinefamily earlier this year. And Ebert's wife Chaz and Steve James was in attendance to talk about the film. I cannot express the amount of bittersweet sadness, happiness, and awe-inducing wisdom that I experienced while watching this movie that justifies the book and his life to wholly show you all the nooks and crannies of his upbringing, career, and marriage. It even shows you behind the scenes of Siskel and Ebert's sibling rivalry which surely caused some major huffs and puffs between the two cinephile heavyweights back in the day that is utterly hilarious and frightening! Film snobs and audiences alike will enjoy watching this documentary but also remember, with laughs comes a lot of tears. So bring some tissues. Life itself comes out July 4th.

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Gia Coppola's Palo Alto is going to be ranked as one of the best representation of High School life along Amy Heckerling's Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) and Sofia Coppola's (her aunt!) The Virgin Suicides (1999)! Adapted from James Franco's book of short stories of the same name, it is the ultimate portrait of these angsty and privileged Californian kids. Palo Alto is honestly a hit or miss with everyone considering how Coppola only decides to scratch the surface of these misunderstood and misbehaved teens. But that is understandable as she tried to sew Franco's stories together to make a somewhat cohesive narrative out of these individual stories and characters. Even though I was swept away by the music by Dev Hynes of Blood Orange, I couldn't help but feel like every scene was just a part of a music video, thus, making Palo Alto like the ultimate hipster anthem video. Regardless, with its beautiful imagery provided by cinematographer Autumn Durald and the actors, I fell in love with Coppola's novice vision. As someone whose blood lines has impacted so heavily in the history of cinema, this baby Coppola has a lot to learn but Palo Alto is definitely a good start!

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DUDE HE IS SO NOT COMING BACK! Christopher Nolan's next project, Interstellar, has an all-star cast featuring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, and Michael Caine! When a wormhole is newly discovered, a team of explorers and scientist go on a mission through it to transcend previous limitations on human space travel (WOW!) After watching the teaser of McConaughey driving away with his beautiful eyes full of tears, I did not expect this film to be some sort of science fiction film but I am so elated that it is! Nolan is once again tackling the science fiction genre like no one has ever done before and this time: time traveling (and beyond)! 

Matthew McConaughey is becoming one of the most sought out actors of our time and who knew that guy from How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days would become this incredibly multi-dimensional actor?! Clearly, he got the attention of Nolan when the notorious director saw him in an early cut of Jeff Nichol's film, Mud (see review), in which he was utterly mesmerizing! With an all star cast, music by Hans Zimmer, and a release date during Oscar season, Interstellar is one film we are going to be salivating and racking our brains over for a while! Just the cinematography alone looks fantastic (Not Wally this time) with a layered and emotional story behind it that is laced with EPIC intensity and doom. The trailer shows us exactly what we should know, nothing more and nothing less. And you definitely know that this trailer is only scratching the surface of the bigger story at hand. A Nolan film is not a Nolan film without complex and intricate story lines that challenge the standard of cinema and go up and beyond the norm. I simply cannot wait! I literally got so many goosebumps while watching this! The film comes out November 7!

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is one of my most anticipated films for this year! Many people may have not liked the first film with James Franco being all "I'm a nurturing father/scientist" but besides that I truly loved the naturalistic non-verbal storytelling that took place half of the film due Andy Serkis' excellent performance. That man definitely deserves an Oscar! So here is my trailer reaction to the second film and it is CHIIIIILLING. At WonderCon Matt Reeves the director tof Dawn of the Planet of the Apes came out and let us have a sneak peek at a clip and it was utterly jaw-dropping. I definitely have a fear of wild animals and witnessing the human and animal world colliding where there are no boundaries was absolutely horrifying. Good thing this is just a story right? Right?! The original film Planet of the Apes (1968, See Review) starring Charlton Heston is one of my favorite films of all time. I wasn't so happy that they decided to do a remake but I knew with the right kind of filmmaker, the possibilities of expanding this world was endless. And so far, it seems as if the studios are doing a great job at dissecting this world and taping into our human emotions regardless of which species we come from. I can't wait! The film comes out July 11!



 - Film Review
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HOLY SHIT! I'm slightly late on this spanking new film by David Cronenberg called Maps to the Stars starring Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Carrie Fisher and Sarah Gadan. Maps to the Stars follows the twisted lives of Weiss family, a Hollywood dynasty-- a successful self-help guru Dr. Stafford Weiss and his wife Cristiana, who manages the careers of their burnt out child star kids Agatha and Genjie. It seems as though that the film will a commentary on the entertainment industry's relationship of fame and the western civilization. 

Maps of the Stars will premiere at Cannes this month and I can't wait to hear what kind of buzz it'll receive because with a trailer like that, there should be sufficient amount of chitter chatter. This is Cronenberg's second collaboration with Robert Pattinson since Cosmpolis and seems like this film is going to take on the same kind of satirical insanity the previous film possessed. I mean what about that opening shot of Julianne Moore yet alone, the rest of the wonkiness that ensues. Hello?! John Cusack?! That's totally bonkers. It seems as though we haven't seen Cusack on screen in quite some time but surprisingly he has been consistently shelling out work every single year and in 2014 year alone, he has a whooping 9 films coming out! It's interesting to witness Cronenberg's progressive genre choice of satire after making films like Crash (1996), A History of Violence (2005), and Eastern Promises (2007). Cannot wait for this craaaazy film to come out!

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If you haven't seen my review of Nymphomaniac: Volume I, just scroll down and ta-da! Nymphomaniac: Volume II felt far superior to its predecessor considering there were an actual thoughtful yet tragic exploration of female sexuality that went into uncharted territories and less of the preposterous theories from the first film. There were terrific performances all around from Charlotte Gainsbourg to Mia Goth to Jamie Bell. It's incredible how dedicated Gainsbourg is to Lars von Trier's vision. You would think that after she went through some mental and physical trauma in her participation in Antichrist (2009) that she would be somewhat "good" not go for another runaround but man, is she dedicated!!! This is not my favorite film of his but it is still a great representation and final installment to his Depression Trilogy that includes, Antichrist, Melancholia, and now Nymphomaniac: Volume I & II.

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Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac: Volume I is probably my least favorite film of his. Lars von Trier has been one of the few males filmmakers who has focused on the suffering of woman through intensely realistic and brutal portrayal of self-hatred, depression, and sex. Nymphomaniac: Volume I & II. is no different but this time running more than two hours for each film. Volume I starts at the beginning of Joe's (Charlotte Gainsbourg) life of being a Nymphomaniac. If it weren't for the obscene and ridiculous metaphors made by Joe and Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard), it wouldn't have come off as such a farce. I know von Trier is known to be somewhat pretentious and it really wasn't until this film where I saw the pretentiousness. Regardless, I had to finish the movie and luckily, it got progressively better and better so have no fear! Make sure to check out my next review of Volume II! (see posters here...)

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(2013, Zach Clark)

Grade: B+
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Naturally, only a pervert like me would choose to watch a movie called Vibrator. I must admit, most people would only decide to watch this film for it’s attractive title in hopes of possibly seeing some female action. But surprisingly, Vibrator (2003) is one of the most endearing films about the exploration of female sexuality and self-discovery I've seen in recent memory. The film opens with Rei (Shinobu Terjima), a lonely 30-something freelance writer who is shopping at a convenient store when her train of life contemplating thoughts gets halted when she locks eyes with Takatoshi, a truck driver (Nao Omori) with sun-kissed blonde hair. Together they embark on a journey of her sexual self-discovery and human relationships. Based on the novel by Mari Akasaka of the same name, Ryuichi Hirokim, a pink filmmaker, directs this critically acclaimed road movie about two stranger with dark pasts who bond for the moment. 

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