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The Best Films of 2016


OMG!!! IT'S HERE!! Sean Baker's Tangerine made behemoth waves at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year with its riotous LA story about a transgender prostitute on a rampage to find her pimp that broke her heart. Not only did this particular story showcase a different side of Los Angeles never seen on screen before but audible gasps seared through the audiences when Baker revealed that the entire film was shot on iPhone 5s! I loved Tangerine so much that I had named it one of the best films I had seen at Sundance and even went so far as to inspire me to shoot my own vlog of the festival all on my iPhone as well. I feel like I have been fiending to see a trailer of the film for so long that the sheer notion of its arrival has me all jacked up on adrenaline!



Sean Baker is truly on another level especially with his own distinct filmmaking style and stories that dares to go where no filmmaker has gone before to bring the humanity and heart in the most unlikeliest places. Tangerine is a ferocious monster that will rip you another asshole all while you're dying from it's uproarious humor! This trailer is everything I wanted and more to show the maddening and bat-shit crazy shit show that's about to go down! Also the fucking music!!! Can we also take a moment of silence and just gaze at this gorgeous poster? I've been swooning over its romantic yet throwback feel to the 80's that has been all gushing left and right especially to the magical tunes of Dev Hynes. I seriously cannot wait to see Tangerine again on the big screen once it hits theaters on July 10th! Better hold on to your panties, it's going to be a wild one!

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Netflix is quickly becoming my go-to when it comes to its roster of sensational and eye-opening documentaries so it's no surprise that they already snagged Oscar-nominated director, Liz Garbus' latest project, What Happened, Miss Simone?. The film premiered the first night at Sundance Film Festival this past year and I heard it was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews. I don't know much about Nina Simone besides that fact that she sang Feeling Good and numerous other unforgettable hits. But the doc explores the life and career of the legendary recording artist, looking at her musical genius, inner demons, and spectacular career. 



Having watched numerous music documentaries about artists, it's always fascinating to see the "real" person behind the iconic persona. Classically trained pianist, black power idol, and a legendary artist, Nina Simone lived a life like many musicians do in the limelight as a tortured soul. Using never-before-heard tapes, rare archival footage, and interviews with close friends and family, What Happened, Miss Simone? highlights the brutal honesty behind a woman whose figure and talents influenced a whole generation of music and musicians alike. The documentary will hit Netflix on June 26th and I can't wait! 

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Badass Femmes is a bi-weekly column that I write on Crome Yellow about all the Badass Females in pop culture that has shaped my life.

Looking back at the most iconic high school teen flicks, the one quality that shines the most is the idea of dedication and loyalty. In high school, my best friend and I would pig out on Hot Cheetos, watch Romy and Michele and banter about the day we would attend our high school reunion to show up all the shitty kids that tormented us. We were a iconic duo and she was the Michele to my Romy. As a pair, Romy and Michele were the perfect reflection of our intensely strong bond to each other, a powerful reminder that friendships outlast high school and get us through the most awkward times of our lives.

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Year: 2015
Director: Frédéric Tcheng
WriterFrédéric Tcheng
Cinematographer: Gilles Piquard
Cast: Raf Simons
Country of Origin: France
Rating: NR
Time: 90 mins.



I've yet to have Arshad on my channel so when it came down to deciding who would want to watch Dior and I with me, he immediately came to mind as one of my few friends who is just as passionate about fashion and film as I am!  Frédéric Tcheng's sophomore feature film yet again dives into the world of Fashion and this time to show the behind the scenes of the iconic and colossal fashion brand, Dior. Raf Simons who is known for his minimalist style and for being the former creative director of Jil Sanders, embarks on an ambitious and tremendous task of taking over Dior as their creative director. With just eight measly weeks to create his first collection of dresses and suits, Tcheng takes us on an emotional and personal journey of the inter-workings of one of the biggest fashion brands in the world. 



Daphne Merkin of Elle Magazine said Dior and I was "simply the best movie about fashion I've seen!" And before you think that is an over-statement, just watch the trailer to get a glimpse of what is in store for you. Exceptionally constructed and directed, this story goes beyond the superficial glitz and glam of the fashion world to show an universal and intimate story about Raf Simons, the seamstresses, the models, and even Christian Dior himself that emotionally resonants with everyone. Arshad and I are madly in love with this film not only for its breathtaking visuals but for showcasing a truly inspiring and humanistic story about dreaming and achieving your wildest dreams. 

See the full spectacular runway show. 


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The Cannes Film Festival line-up came out earlier this week and guess who is on the insane roster?! None other than extraordinary talented auteur, Matteo Garrone who has done one of my favorite films which is the naturalistically shot crime story, Gomorrah and the satirical reality show-based film, Reality. Drawing inspirations from the 17th-century fairytale collection The Tale of Tales, compiled by Giambattista Basile, the film is a feast for my salivating eyes that mixes the real and the unreal mystical land of the fables. Starring American and International talent like Salma Hayek, John C Reilly, Vincent Cassel, the film is delectably pleasing with its sinister and odd aesthetics that feels like a fairy tale set in a the dark underworld. It is bound to freak you out or make you all giddy inside!



The Tale of Tales is Garrone's first English-language film and had been selected to competition for the Palme d'Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival with other heavy hitters like Jia Zhang-ke, Hirokazu Kore-Eda, Jacques Audiard, and so much more! Even though Garrone is known for his naturalistic style, he has always had a fondness for incorporating fairytale-like aspects to his films as seen in Reality and now, in The Tales of Tales. This film looks absolutely insane in its intricate production design, ominous and grim storytelling, and ethereal characters. The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 13-24, so I guess we should just impatiently wait till what the critics have to say. But I'm sure we all know what the film is going to be like: absolute bonkers!

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If you haven't heard of The Human Centipede by now,  you are the lucky few whose eyes weren't forever burned from the atrocities of these films! Tom Six's The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence) is coming at cha bigger and longer than ever before! Bully prison warden Bill Boss (Dieter Laser) leads a big state prison in the USA which statistically has the highest amount of prison riots, medical costs, and staff turnover in the country. In order to shape up the infrastructure, his loyal right hand man proposes an idea inspired by the 'Human Centipede' movies. To create the ultimate punishment and deterrent for any criminals, they will create a jaw-dropping 500-person prison centipede. That premise seems too ridiculous to be true but you have to see the trailer to believe it! It is quite a FEAST for the eyes! The film comes out May 22, my birthday! What a great birthday present, don't you think?!

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Year: 2015
Director: James Wan
Writer: Chris Morgan & Cary Scott Thompson (Characters)
Cinematographer: Marc Spicer & Stephen F. Windon
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Dwayne Johnson, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel
Country of Origin: USA/Japan
Rating: PG-13
Time: 137 min.



James Wan takes over Justin Lin as director of the Fast & the Furious franchise and with Furious 7, he does the series some serious justice. There may have been skepticism for Wan as he makes a huge transition from Horror to Action films but he utilized what he learned from Death Sentence and basic rules of storytelling to bring Furious 7 another level of emotional weight that haven't been seen in the previous films. With Wan's taste for theatrics, the emotions, the stunts, and camera movement are bigger and badder than ever before! And with very little CGI, it's incredible see these stunts come alive, really shoved in yo face! 



As you know Paul Walker passed away during the production and I'm so glad that Wan decided to turn Furious 7 into a heart-felt tribute instead of killing him off like how most vicious Hollywood heads would've done. It was done in a very tasteful and poignant way that preserves Walkers legacy in the franchise. I couldn't help but bawl at the very end when Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth's song "See You Again" came on which didn't leave a dry eye in the audience! It kind of sucks to know that they won't leave the Fast franchise  as is considering how much money they made and probably will consider creating a spin-off of sorts. And as much as I'm part of the problem, I am forever dedicated to the series so bring it!

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Badass Femmes is a bi-weekly column that I write on Crome Yellow about all the Badass Females in pop culture that has shaped my life.


Cat-calling, being forced to smile or unwanted advances are just a few of the unavoidable, shitty things that happen to women on a daily basis. Some might argue a few of these as flattering, but in the eyes of a woman, most are the unwanted perks of living in an overwhelmingly sexist environment. In times like these, I ask myself, “What Would Lisbeth Salander Do (WWLSD)? As one of the most influential and powerful female characters in pop culture (at least in my eyes), the Swedish Millennium Series’ Lisbeth defies all conventions in societal beauty, behavior and status quo when it comes to being a woman. When I first watched the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I was enamored by her uncompromising attitude towards a world that offered her no favors. Through her sharp temperament and cool demeanor, Lisbeth is a Badass Femme that urges women and men all over the world to never hide who they are to themselves and others, a survivor in every definition of the term.

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I'm baaaaccckkk! The trailer to Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's Sundance hit film Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is finally out! This film sold for a record-breaking 12 million dollars in a brutal bidding war that finally ended with Fox Searchlight winning the gold! The film won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance and critics and audiences alike have been talking my ear off about it! And considering that this is one of the few films that I did not get to catch at Sundance, I am expecting a lot from hearing all this hype! The film is about a teenage filmmaker who befriends a classmate with cancer. It sounds pretty much like The Fault in Our Stars that came out last year but seeing the trailer now, there is a dash of Wes Anderson + Noah Baumbach feel to the film. With the hipster whimsy comes a pinch of real-life cynicism that plays into this kind of story that seems to be more complex and layered than your average young adult films. Regardless of anything you see in the trailer, I'm expecting to be blown away! Me and Earl and the Dying Girl comes out June 12, 2015!

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I have no idea how I heard about this film but I can't stop thinking about it! Victoria is a German film by actor turned filmmaker, Sebastian Schipper that premiered at this year's Berlinale Film Festival where it won the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution for Cinematography. For the film to receive that award makes sense considering how Victoria was completely shot in a SINGLE TAKE! It's none of that fake Birdman stunts but wholly kinetic and frenetic experience that needs to be seen especially in theaters! Victoria is about a Spanish runaway party girl who meets three friendly men on her night out on the town. Their wild night of partying quickly turns into a criminal adventure. That premise alone is enough to get me to watch but wait till you see the footage below!



The film was shot in one single long take by Sturla Brandth Grøvlen from 4:30 to 7:00, across 22 locations, in the Friedrichstadt neighborhood with the script consisting of merely twelve pages while the rest of the dialogued was improvised. That is truly impressive filmmaking at it's best! It's made it's festival rounds around the world and even debuted in America at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival but I CANNOT WAIT to see when this film is released in LA. I'm a total sucker for cinema verite style filmmaking, especially in the form of long takes! With the story consisting of late night debauchery of crime, drugs, booze and with a female lead, sign me right up! Till it comes out, I'll just be here cracking my knuckles and impatiently waiting.

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UPDATED: 4/20/15

I had the immense privilege in partaking in the programming of the largest and most renowned Asian American Film Festival in the world based right here in Los Angeles! The 31st Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival kicks off on April 23 to the 30th showcasing the best cinema that Asian and Asian Americans have to offer! It feels awesome to see so many talented people come together to support minority filmmakers, actors, content creators, and much more! I had made some suggestions on the LAAPFF website but there are way too many films that need to be seen that I really did not want to restrict myself to just two! Obviously, every one of these films are worthy of viewing but here are a list of films that continue to contribute to the forward-thinking, edgy, and bold voices in the landscape of Asian and Asian American cinema! 

There are so many films to suggest so instead of blabbing on and on about why I love these films, I'll let the trailers do all the talking! Shall we?

Tour de Force Performance ---> MARGARITA, WITH A STRAW




Intimate & Powerful story about the Unlikely ---> TWINSTERS




Good ol' Broming of Age in K-town ---> KTOWN COWBOYS




One Word: Donnie Yen ---> KUNG FU KILLER




Refreshing & Emotionally Bold Sci-fi & Social Commentary ---> ADVANTAGEOUS




Hilarious & Fierce Take about Being #1 ---> MISS INDIA AMERICA



An Important & Harrowing Look at China---> THE CHINESE MAYOR




Super Kawaii & Badass Mystery Story ---> THE WORLD OF KANAKO




No One Does Romance Like Wong-Fu ---> EVERYTHING BEFORE US




XXXTreme Teen Spirit + Girl Power ---> TOP SPIN




Breathtaking Cinematography in Futuristic Vietnam ---> 2030



The One Documentary S. Korea Didn't Want You to See ---> THE TRUTH WILL NOT SINK WITH SEWOL



There are also other films like (Sex) Appeal that I definitely got to see! Just because I didn't list other films doesn't mean I don't recommend them but these are the top films that resonated with me the most. There are so many films that will cater to every audience whether it is the LOL bromedy, Man Up starring Justin Chon and Kevin Wu or a story of a former Yazuka who decides to change his life and help other outcasts in June Bride: Redemption of a Yazuka, or the ever so relevant subject of gentrification that is plaguing numerous places including Chinatown, Vancouver as seen in Everything Will Be

No matter what you decide to see, it is most definite that you will leave very pleased at your selections! So come through to Little Tokyo, Koreatown, or Hollywood to see these! & if you do see me, don't forget to say HIIIIIIIIIII!

P.S. Turns out I'm doing the intro and Q&A for Twinsters, Top Spin, Miss Indian America, and 2030 so come by!!!
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You already know I'm about that LA LYFE! So the tale of one of hip-hop's notorious groups N.W.A. (Niggaz with Attitude), growing up in the mid-1980s on the streets of Compton, California is definitely a story I'm excited to see! Following the monumental rise and fall of N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton tells the meteoric story of how these young men revolutionized music and pop culture forever when they told the brutal truth about the life in the hood that ignited a cultural war. O'Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, and Jason Mitchell star in this film directed by F. Gary Gray (Friday, The Italian Job).



We already got a little taste of what to expect when the Red Band trailer came out last month which had an introduction by none other than Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. The mini doc gave us an sneak peek into how they grew up with even a word or two from my favorite, Kendrick Lamar. Not only does it chronicle their dangerous environment and the injustice that comes with being Black but the trailer touches on the LA riots that entirely changed the ethnic landscape of Los Angeles. Naturally, I am excited to see this because it doesn't seem like they're sugar-coating any of the bullshit that comes with being a Black Male, the dire times in the 80's, the grueling downfalls of fame, and just the unique perspective of the colossal influence and life of the N.W.A.! I'll be camping out in my lawn chair for this one come August 14th!

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