Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Lazy Hazy Crazy
Released October 29th 2015; June 25, 2016 (NYAFF 2016)
1 hr 40 mins
Not Rated
Drama

Trailer:

Director: Yee-sum Luk
Writer: Yee-sum Luk

Cast:
Kwok (Ashina) Yik-sum as Tracy
Mak Tsz-yi as Chloe
Fish Liew as Alice

Review by Stephen M.

Lazy Hazy Crazy is incredibly frustrating to watch as a parent of two young girls.   Sexual exploitation or woman empowerment movie?  I'll leave that for you to judge if you have the chance to watch the film which played at the New York Asian Film Festival this past week.  Well acted by the young talented actresses, the story is a bit on the fluffy side cuddling up to the idea of prostitution while dealing with friendship and coming of age for three friends.



The story which centers on three young school girls from Hong Kong who are all friends.  Two are sexually active, with one in the sex trade and other just beginning.  We have the super smart and ultra shy friend who likes what her friends have as far as popularity and being liked by guys, decides to try first as a hostess.  Playing into stereotypes of girls fighting over a guy, things turn south for the girls as friendship are tested.

Aside from the great acting job by the three girls especially Ashina Kwok, there's little to offer as far as substance in the film.  More of a soft core film with gratuitous nudity, fans of films like Aubrey Plaza's The To Do List may enjoy this film. But chances are you won't.  This has probably been my least favorite of the New York Asian Film Festival's films that I have screened thus far.
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


She Remembers, He Forgets
Released October 28, 2015 (HK Asian Film Festival), June 29th 2016 (NYAFF 2016)
1 hr 48 mins
Not Rated
Comedy, Romance

Trailer:

Director: Adam Wong
Writers: Saville Chan, Adam Wong

Cast:
Jan Lamb as Shing Wa Pang
Miriam Chin Wah Yeung as Feng Zi, Yu
Neo Yau as Shing Wa Pang (Young)
Cecilia So as Feng Zi, Yu (Young)
Siu Hin Ng as Bok Man, So

Plot:
Unfulfilled at work and dissatisfied with her marital life, a middle-aged woman attends a high school reunion and finds a floodgate of flashbacks of her salad days open before her mind's eyes. She was inseparable with two boys 20 years ago but married one of them eventually. All the memories eventually zero in on one critical incident that changed her life and those of the boys forever.

Review by Stephen M.

She Remembers, He Forgets as the title implies is a trip down memory lane in a romantic film of what ifs.  Miriam Yeung plays Feng Zi a wife that is disenchanted with her husband whom she fell in love in school many years ago.  As she thinks back to those faithful days, she recalls her other friend and what could have been.


Director Adam Wong breaks the mold of boy meets girl romantic comedy by starting off with the boy and girl already having married.  The unique perspective of looking back and what could have been touches is touching especially when well acted by both the present day actors and their youthful counterparts.  The cast, both present and past are incredible in their roles, making it difficult to pick a favorite. 

My gripes for the film would be the inconclusiveness to certain subplots of the movie such as Feng Zi's husband infidelity and her nonchalant attitude toward this.  Aside from this, I have to say I really enjoyed the film as did my wife who watched it with me.  It makes a great date movie and is playing at the New York Asian Film Festival tomorrow where Director Adam Wong and Actress/Singer Miriam Yeung will participate in a Q&A after the film.

Rating 3.5 out of 5 Stars


X-Men: From Stan Lee to Present

X-Men are one of the most successful creations of Marvel Comics. They are a group of superheroes who appeared in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The X-Men are the creations of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, co-writer and artist. They were first presented to the comic-loving public in The X-Men #1, dated September 1963. Called Uncanny X-Men, (Uncanny added to the title subsequently but not at first) they had to be cancelled because comic enthusiasts were not that enthusiastic about it, with old issues being reprinted at one point.  Nowadays it is quite a contrast as the demand for the X-Men gave rise to a number of online games, merchandising, and of course movies.  A number of popular online games are currently based on the X-men.


The X-Men have been with us from the early sixties, but they have evolved over the decades. Several X-Men have died and returned to life, changed shape and form, their numbers have risen and dwindled, but their popularity has never waned. They have inspired several television shows, books and movies. In the gaming field you also see lots of Marvel's influence. More and more online games are emerging all the time, as Marvel's popularity grows. There are even X-Men online slots games such as Wolverine and X-Men, found in all popular online casinos. You could play to make money, but you could also play for free.



In the mid-seventies, the X-Men were rejuvenated under the guidance of Chris Claremont and David Cockrum. The new X-Men team had an international appeal and began with Uncanny X-Men #94, dated August 1975. The next sixteen years turned out to be the golden age of the X-Men comics. The comic series became very popular at the international level, leading to the creation of X-books, X-Men, X-Factor, New Mutants, X-Force, Generation X, and Excalibur. Some of the titles were just X-Men with interesting prefixes such as Astonishing X-Men, New X-Men, Extraordinary X-Men, All-New X-Men, and Essential X-Men.



Today, there are so many X-Men series that the average comics reader doesn’t know where to start. But this need not worry comics enthusiasts as there are plenty of online guides that teach readers exactly how they should read the X-Men comics. Reading them all without any guidance could turn out to be a daunting task.

So who are the X-Men? They are genetic mutants who are born with superhuman powers. Their mission is to fight for equality and peace between mutants and humans. Their leader is Professor X aka Charles Xavier who has the uncanny ability to read people’s minds and control them. Their biggest enemy is Magneto who is capable of controlling magnetic fields and regeneration. He's changed sides on more than one occasion, with his ideas of defending mutant kind often at contrast with Professor X's.  Mutants from all over the world are recruited and trained at X-Mansion, a school founded by Professor X.



Although the founding members of the X-Men are Beast, Angel, Marvel Girl, Iceman, and Cyclops, X-Men comics down the decades have been packed with mutants from all over the world and from different walks of life, entertaining millions of comic book lovers worldwide.  The current incarnation of the team led by their former enemy Magneto is a much darker team post Secret Wars with another team led by Storm in Extraordinary X-Men.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


First trailer for KEEPING UP WITH THE JONSES which hits theaters October 21st 2016!



Starring Zach Galifianakis, Jon Hamm, Isla Fisher, and Gal Gadot! An ordinary suburban couple finds it's not easy keeping up with the Joneses - their impossibly gorgeous and ultra-sophisticated new neighbors - especially when they discover that Mr. and Mrs. "Jones" are covert operatives.





Monday, June 20, 2016


Finding Dory
Release Date: June 17, 2016
1 hour 43 minutes
Rated: PG
Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Trailer:


Director: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Writers: Andrew Stanton, Victoria Strouse, Additoonal Material Bob Peterson, Angus MacLane

Cast: 
Ellen DeGeneres as Dory
Albert Brooks as Marlin
Ed O’Neill as Hank
Kaitlin Olson as Destiny
Hayden Rolence  as Nemo
Ty Burrell as Bailey
Diane Keaton as Jenny
Eugene Levy as Charlie
Idris Elba as Fluke
Dominic West as Rudder
Bob Peterson as Mr Ray
Kate McKinnon as Inex
Bill Hader as Ned
Sigourney Weaver as herself
Alexander Gould as Passenger Carl

Review by Ashley Steinberg

Finding Dory is a movie 10 years in the making. It’s been a long time coming and Nemo’s friend has finally returned, only to set off on another adventure. It’s easy to dismiss Pixar as a company that only makes movies for children, but they are so much more than that. While it’s not the original, Finding Dory is a heartwarming and feel good movie in its own right. The great part about it is it’s pretty close to as good as Finding Nemo, but can also stand on its own.


We follow Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) as the ever forgetful fish struggles to remember the family she eventually forgot. DeGeneres is entertaining as always. She brings an, albeit sometimes annoying (characteristically so), but loveable whimsy to Dory that is so characteristic of her every day life. And as far as the flashbacks to Dory’s childhood, lets just say that if you didn’t wish your animals could talk, mini Dory will make you reconsider. She is so adorable, you want to hug her every step of the way and almost forget to connect her to the older fish we’ve grown to love in the previous movie.

Early into her search, Dory makes a new- let’s call him a friend, Hank (Ed O’Neill), an octopus. When an aquarium staff catches Dory, she is put in quarantine to be checked. Hank finds her and wants the tag on her fin, so he can be taken to a facility in Cleveland to live alone in his own tank. Together they travel through the aquarium facility, trying to find Dory’s family, while Hank tries to not let Dory drive him crazy by her forgetfulness. He’s sarcastic and snarky and the perfect foil to our favorite blue fish.

Nemo (Hayden Rolance) is also a big part of this movie, along with his father, Marlin (Albert Brooks). It’s about a year since Nemo was taken away and Dory joined Marlin on his quest to find his son. Nemo has learned his lesson, but clearly Dory hasn’t. They adventure with Dory on a quest to find her mother and father whom she suddenly remembers after some triggers on a school trip with Nemo and his school of fish. Marlin, always pragmatic, has to learn some new tricks, and even learns a thing or two from his son. They have their own story after Dory swims away to follow a lead and they are separated and have to find her. 

Through hilarious hijinks, meetings with new and old friends and a growing love for the main characters, this movie is a full package. You will laugh, cry and get angry at times, but the best movies take you on a wave of emotions like this. It is, as its last word describes, unforgettable.

Stars: 4 stars out of 5


Seoul Station
Released April 5 2015 (BIFFF); June 24th 2016 (North America Premiere at NYAFF 2016)
1 hr 32 mins
Not Rated
Horror, Animation
Language: Korean w/ Eng subtitles

Trailer:


Director: Yeon Sang-ho
Writer: Yeon Sang-ho

Cast: 
Ryu Seung-ryong as dad
Shim Eun-kyung as daughter
Lee Joon as boyfriend

Review by Stephen M.

Seoul Station is the surprising animation submission for New York Asian Film Festival 2016.  It is surprising I guess more so since I haven't been following the NYAFF that long but this is the first animation that I have seen from them and I really enjoyed it.  It helps that the subject matter is zombies, with the film playing out like World War Z isolated to South Korea.  While there's no Brad Pitt, the voice actors and superb animation more than makes up for 1995 and 2000 People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive.



The story starts out with a homeless man infected.  His brother seeks help for his "sick" brother and when he dies and disappears, we know sh*t is about to hit the fan.  The story focuses on a few characters, running around the city avoiding the undead as they come to realize what they are up against while the city goes on a lock down.  The unique city of Seoul plays a big part of the film as much as the characters.  The scene in which the daughter passes through the subway station full of zombies is mesmerizing.  The filmmakers does an excellent job in building up suspense throughout the film.

Overall, I would recommend watching this film if you have the chance at the New York Asian Film Festival especially if you are a fan of the zombie genre.  While the film really doesn't bring anything new to the genre, and the animation could be better, there just aren't too many zombie animations out there to compare with.  As a whole, the story is a compelling one full of interesting characters you would root for and some to die.  And that in itself with some interesting zombie scenes make for a good animation.
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Weeds on Fire
Released March 26, 2016 (Hong Kong); July 4, 2016 (NYAFF 2016)
1 hr 35 mins
Drama
Language: Cantonese w/ English subtitles

Trailer:


Director/Writer: Chi Fat Chan

Cast:
Liu Kai Chi as Principal Lo Kwon Fai
Lam Yiu Sing as Tse Chi Lung
Wu Tsz Tung Tony as Fan Chun Wai
Poon Chan Leung as Mr. Tsang (Sha Tin's Chief Commissioner)
Sun Li Man as Lung's Father
Shui Jie as Lung's Mother
Sham Ka Ki as Chan Keung
Or Wai Lam as Dung
Li Yui Hon Aris as Ka Leung
Wong Cheuk Lun as Monitor
Wong Ting Him as Lik Wong

Plot:
In the year of 1984, Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed and the future of Hong Kong became unclear. In the stream of history, this story of a baseball team beneath the Lion Rock had gradually been forgotten: In that year, 'Shatin Martins', the first Hong Kong youth baseball team, was formed. The 10 young players were living an uneasy and restless life as Hong Kong. Being humiliated by one defeat after another, the faith of 'Shatin Martin' their strong rival, the Japanese Buffalo ins' hanged in the balance. However, the hardship only brought out their bravery to surmount themselves and overcome the struggles. Living in the golden age, these players ignited their glory with every game as they grew together with their city. Eventually, it all comes to the final game facing.

Review by Stephen M.

Weeds on Fire, a coming of age baseball story loosely based on true events in Hong Kong in the 1980s about the first youth baseball team in a small developing town.  What starts off like the Bad News Bears quickly shift gears by filmmaker Chi Fat Chan to focus on the tale of two friends with different temperaments heading in opposite directions in life.  Great story-telling complemented by great acting makes this film a great drama especially if you're a fan of baseball.



Overall, there is little to dislike about the film.  Yes, the underdog misfits rising to the top has been told in many different forms before like the before mentioned Bad News Bears and even Charlie Sheen's old Major League.  But while those are grounded in pure fiction as well more comedies than drama, Weeds on Fire has a genuine historical background to base off of which is the Shatin Martins.  Also what the story does well is meld a baseball tale with a coming of age story for the Shatin Martins star pitcher Tse Chi Lung played outstandingly by Lam Yiu Sing.  Liu Kai Chi as Principal Lo Kwon Fai was a bit mechanical, but okay.

The film plays at the New York Asian Film Festival on July 4th 2016 and would recommend watching this film if you have the chance.  Non baseball fans may not enjoy the film as much, but the baseball elements play an integral part in the set up and development of the characters making it a good drama to watch.  The after movie updates on the real team that the story is based off of is uplifting and not to be missed.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 Stars

Saturday, June 11, 2016


Article and photos by Stephen M.

Art of Brooklyn Film Festival in its 6th year made its way to Bay Ridge yesterday night.  They had their Comedy & Animation Shorts programming followed by the premiere of Second Chance at PS/IS 30.  Shorts included:

Animation: Beat Generation, Think Ink, Cage
Comedy: A Chick Called Wanda, Marceline Blurr, Lucky and the Long Walk Home

The Brave volunteers and the movie goers that had a great time yesterday...






The filmmakers at the (non) red carpet including Directors/Music Coordinators for Beat Generation, A Chick Called Wanda and Think Ink.






And of course the super friendly co-organizer...



Filmmakers during the Q&A...


Overall, a good time last night despite some sound difficulties to start.  My favorite comedy short would have to be A Chick Called Wanda whom the Director says no chicken was hurt in the filming.  My favorite animated short would have to be Cage, a bit bizarre but just amazing animation.  The festival continues through tomorrow.  For the rest of the schedule and ticketing visit here: http://www.theartofbrooklyn.org/tickets.html

Sunday, June 5, 2016


By Stephen M.

Brooklyn Film Festival which has been running since 1998 had it's 2016 opening night film BOREALIS this past Friday, June 3rd at the Wythe Hotel.  The festival which showcases some amazing films with Brooklyn as the spotlight for cinema.  Borealis which stars the amazingly talented Joey King was shown to a packed house on the main event hall of Wythe Hotel as well as their screening room.

Walking the red carpet for Borealis included Joey King, Kevin Pollak, Jonas Chernick and Emily Hampshire along with Director Sean Garrity.  Also glamouring on the red carpet was various Film Festival programmers, and filmmakers.

Please enjoy our exclusive photos and look for our review of Borealis soon.

The film festival continues until June 12th, more info can be found here: 
http://www.brooklynfilmfestival.org/

















Friday, June 3, 2016


We are super excited to be offering a Batman v Superman Prize Pack to give away!  The movie had mixed reviews from critics and fans, but these prizes are super nice, brand new, all with the Batman vs Superman logo!

  • Reversable Beanie
  • Electronic Keyboard
  • Watch

Enter below, please follow all instructions carefully including listing your FULL NAME when asked to!  One entry per household.  Please only enter once.  You may tweet using the below more than once for additional entries.  Open to US residents only.  Please do no enter if you have won something from us within the last 30 days to give others a chance to win.  Good luck!

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