This is it guys ... the final episode of Flixistentialism as we know it. The gang plus some old (white) faces of Flixist past get together and reminisce on this long journey of a podcast we've all embarked on. There's fantasy...
Film festivals, man. There are so many of them. Especially in the wonderful world of New York City. Case in point: the 2013 South Asian International Film Festival, which begins tomorrow, December 3rd, and runs through Sunday...
[Just a reminder that this is going on! I was hoping to have my review of So Young up by now to act as a reminder, but I have been at the AMC Empire all day and it's made writing kind of hard. Am still there, actually, and will continue to be for two more films. So come join me! And if you go to one of the Donnie Yen films tomorrow, you may see a ghost of Flixist past, Hubert Vigilla (RIP)!]
See? I told you there were more festivals for New Yorkers to get excited for. The latest is the 4th annual New York Chinese Film Festival, which will be taking place from Tuesday, November 5th through the 7th at various locations around New York City. The festival will be showing seven films over the three days (with the bulk of the showings taking place on Wednesday). It's a pretty good lineup, with a mixture of new films, new-ish films, and Donnie Yen classics.
And like all good film festivals, special guests from each of the films will be attending the festival, including Zhao Wei, Miriam Yeung, and Donnie Yen.
More information about the festival and the films can be found below, and tickets can be purchased here or here.
Can you believe that it's all over? I can't. For much of the past month, the New York Film Festival has consumed my life. And now it's over. But we're finishing it off with a bang. The video above is Hubert and my final thoughts/discussion on the subject, and it was shot in a Koreatown restaraunt called Arirang. The audio quality is subpar but audible. Just a bit of background noise.
And below is our recap and awards. The awards were interesting this year, since there were so many great performances we gave extra awards in every acting category. And even with all that, we had to leave out some awesome stuff. It really was a strong lineup this year. I should mention that for the most part we wrote reviews of the movies that we really loved, so the fact that the reviews are so heavily positive is simply because we skipped the lesser ones (although we reacted to every single one in 30 seconds or less). So catch up on what you missed, and let us know how you feel about the whole thing.
When will there be more festival coverage up on Flixist, you probably aren't wondering? Pretty soon, I'd guess, though I can't say when exactly. There are always more festivals to be covered, even if I'll be flying solo for a while.
Between Hubert and I, we're going to be seeing a whole lot of movies at the New York Film Festival this year. Some of them will be worthwhile, others won't, but we want to cover them all. That being said, we don't necessarily want to review them all. Enter NYFF In 30 Seconds or Less, a new video series that may or may not make its way to other festivals in the future. It's simple: as soon as Hubert or I leave the theater, we talk into a camera about our reactions. It's off the cuff, not extremely thought out, and thirty seconds long. And each talk will be exactly thirty seconds long, measured by a timer animated by the always-excellent Jordan Mann.
If either of us talk longer than 30 seconds (and we undoubtedly will), we will be cut off mid-thought/sentence/word. We have to state our case simply, quickly, and concisely. (I expect that our later videos will be more successful than our earlier ones.)
But because there will be more than two dozen of these videos, I won't be able to put them all on the front page. At the end of each week, we will do a video roundup, but they will be up on YouTube much sooner (our current plan is that a new one one will be up every single day). Already we've got half a dozen videos in the works, so you should seriously subscribe to our YouTube channel.
And of course check back to the Flixist front page, where we will be expanding upon these immediate impressions with full reviews of many of these films. It will be especially fascinating to see if there are any initial impressions wildly contradicted by the final review. That's happened more than a couple of times.
This week, Hubert and I will begin our coverage of the 51st New York Film Festival. We have covered the festival for the past two years, and each year we try to expand our coverage in new and interesting ways. This year, we'...
When you watch a lot of movies in a short period of time, you get a little tired. When you're covering a lot of festivals (and thus seeing a lot of a lot of movies) in a short period of time, you get completely exhausted. Festival fatigue, which is a term usually reserved for music festivals, sets in. Hubert and I first started talking about it over a year ago, and I floated the idea of doing a video discussion of it with the two of us. It didn't happen back then, and it took another half dozen festivals before we were finally able to finally talk this through.
Unlike last time, we didn't have anyone holding the camera. I had to MacGyver a tripod out of a bag, a random fence in Chinatown, and a copy of World War Z. Because of its placement, there are a few moments of wind. Considering this is the camera's built in mic, I'm actually surprised there isn't more. So good on you, camera.
As for other things on Flixist... well, it was another light week this week (summer starting to wind down and all that), but there was still stuff worth paying attention to. That can be found below.
So here we are, the culmination of the past month of our Asian obsession. We did thirty reviews, three interviews, and a whole lot of other stuff. It was certainly a crazy time, but it was a lot of fun. Above is a video of Hubert and me on the final day of the festival talking about what we saw, what we thought, and whatever else. The actually conversation was about nine minutes longer, but I cut out some of the extraneous banter for the sake of time and relevance. Maybe down the line I'll edit together some of that other stuff and put it up separately, because it was definitely interesting.
But that's beside the point. The point is that we're done. Below you will find our festival awards as well as a full roundup of everything festival related that we've done. It's kind crazy to think that all of that work can be compiled into a single (albeit large) box of text.
We hope you enjoyed our coverage. If there's anything you'd like us to do in the future, more videos, more discussion reviews, or whatever, let us know. This is for you as much as it us for us, so we may as do it the way you want. Or try anyway.
I need a nap.
[During the past few weeks, we covered the 2013 New York Asian Film Festival and the 2013 Japan Cuts Film Festival, which together form one of the largest showcases of Asian cinema in the world. For our NYAFF 2013 coverage, click here. For Japan Cuts 2013 coverage, click here.]
The New York Asian Film Festival wraps up tonight at the Asia Society and we're only halfway through Japan Cuts, but apparently the programmers behind Fantasia didn't consider that us Flixist writers might want to take a few days off before covering another enormous festival. Jerks.
Starting this Thursday, July 18th, the three week long marathon that is the Fantasia International Film Festival begins in Montreal. Yeah, that's right: Canada. We're covering a festival in Canada.
Although the few days of overlap with Japan Cuts means Hubert and I won't be able to really get into this right away, we're going to be chipping away at as many of the more than 120 films playing as humanly possible. Excitingly enough, we might be getting some help from other Flixist writers too. So if you see "Fantasia Fest Review:", it may not just be one of us.
But it probably will be.
Because there are so many movies, attempting to put them in one post would be silly and making multiple would just be redundant. So I will turn you to the official Fantasia website for any further information.
[Note that there is a slight chance this entire thing will fall through. If that does happen (unlikely though it may be), that doesn't mean you shouldn't check the fest out if you're in Montreal. It's going to be pretty awesome, whether we're covering it not.]
So, we've been in and out of the Walter Reade theater at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, seeing movies, talking to people, writing reviews, whatever for the 2013 New York Asian Film Festival, but after Thursday we will be saying goodbye (at least until the next New York Film Festival starts...). But that's not the end. Not even close. On Thursday, July 11th, the Japan Cuts film festival starts, and it runs until Sunday July 21st. So at the end of this week, Hubert and I will be heading over to the Japan Society in New York City to inundate ourselves with all kinds of Japanese bizarreness.
It seems like a pretty good lineup this year, including the live action Ruroni Kenshin adaptation (which I have been looking forward to forever), a new Takashi Miike film, and something called Hentai Kamen. It also features A Woman and War, which nobody should ever see ever. As with NYAFF, we'll be bringing you advance reviews when we can, but that's not always possible.
If you're interested in buying tickets, you can do that over at the Japan Society website. And if you see either of us at any of the screenings (we're in the header, both of us this time), come up and say hello. We'd love to meet you.
Two years ago, the New York Asian Film Festival changed my life just a little bit. It was my first serious introduction into the world of Asian cinema, something I'd dabbled in over the years but never really considered. Fast forward to now and I barely watch movies made in my own language.
For that reason alone, getting to write about the festival's next iteration is an exciting moment for me, but it's more than that. The people behind NYAFF, more than any other festival I've been a part of, really get what makes a film worth showing. And for every crazy action movie with the word "Hentai" in the name, there is a slow, introspective art film. Getting to see and write about these films has been one of the highlights of my summer ever since I started . This year will be no different.
The festival kicks off this Friday, June 28th, but our coverage begins sooner than that and will continue well past its Sunday, July 14th closing. Why's that? Because it leads into (and overlaps with) the Japan Cuts film festival, which we will be bringing you more information about once we get closer. The schedule for NYAFF's screenings and descriptions of the films can be found below, and you can buy your tickets over at the Film Society of Lincoln Center website. It's a pretty awesome lineup, and I can't wait to get started. It's going to be one hell of a month.
And if you see either Hubert or myself (in the header image, that was taken at the end of last year's fest. Sorry Hubert's face was cut off...) at any of the screenings, say hello. I suspect we'll be hanging around the Walter Reade pretty damn often, and we'd love to meet you guys.
Time to out myself: while I believe that income inequality is a serious issue, I could never get fully behind Occupy Wall Street. I suspect this makes me the unfortunate petty bourgeoisie of today's educated liberals, and yet I don't think I'm alone in my reservations about Occupy.
Even though I couldn't fully get behind Occupy, I would never entirely slag them off either. I'd sometimes argue with people who derided them as hippies, hipsters, and moochers, or those who would simply say "They should just get a job." At the core of Occupy was a worthwhile cause given the realities of the working poor and the way that wealth is currently distributed throughout the globe. (A study in late May found that the 1% now controls 39% of the world's wealth.)
I think being in this in-between state on Occupy is actually what made me appreciate 99% - The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film. Since it's preaching to the choir and it's obviously liberal red meat (or maybe seitan for the vegans), I don't see the film changing anyone's mind on Occupy. And yet the film does manage to offer a critical voice in Naomi Wolf, who succinctly expressed the same qualms about Occupy that I had: yeah, this is great in theory, but maybe it's also bulls**t in practice.
[For the next two weeks we will be covering the 2013 Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York, which runs from June 13th to June 23rd. The films at the festival are dedicated to bringing awareness to human rights issues around the world and laying the groundwork for justice and change. For more information and a full schedule, visit ff.hrw.org.]
This week, the Lighthouse International Film Festival kicks off in Long Beach Island, New Jersey. The festival will run from June 6th to June 9th.
Though I usually focus on NYC-based festivals, I wanted to highlight this one ...
With the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival behind us and the New York Asian Film Festival & Japan Cuts not happening until late June into July, something needs to happen this month so Flixist's New York crew doesn't get ansty. That's why I'm looking forward to the Brooklyn Film Festival, which runs from May 31st to June 9th up in my old stomping grounds of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
More than 100 films from 24 countries will be screened at the festival, including 33 world premieres. The opening night film is HairBrained, starring Brendan Fraser and Parker Posey, and the closing night film is a gritty noir film called Cut to Black. On first glance, three documentaries have really caught my eye at the fest: Dragon Girls, Mr. Angel, and Furever.
After the cut is the official press release about the 2013 line-up. For more information about the Brooklyn Film Festival, visit brooklynfilmfestival.org.
And so another film festival comes to a close. This year's Tribeca wasn't the most spectacular fest of all time, but it had a solid lineup and we saw some good movies. As per usual, Hubert rocked things hardcore, and Alec picked up the scraps. There was quite a bit of variety, and as per usual, we didn't see eye-to-eye with all of our colleagues. But that leads to interesting discussions about the role of critics and criticism, and if those discussions are civil, it can only be a good thing.
As far as the actual criticism goes, we tried a few new things. For a number of films, we wrote some shorter, pseudo-capsule reviews as well as one review of two films. Although we're proud of what we wrote, we don't know how they worked out, but if anyone has any thoughts, we'd love to hear them. This is for all of you as much as it is for us.
Below you will find our festival awards. There are fewer this year than last, but we wanted to highlight the movies that made us really happy and the ones that made us absolutely irate. Also, a list of all of our reviews and interviews from the fest. It was a pretty crazy time. And now it's time for a break.
Another day, another festival. This one's a big one, though, one of the biggest. The 2013 Tribeca Film Festival (the long awaited sequel to the not fantastic 2012 fest). This year, we're one man shorter on the coverage, but Hubert and I are going to buckle down and rock this thing as hard as we can. We have already seen half a billion movies and begun writing about them. It's an exciting time for us, and we hope it'll be one for you too.
The festivities start on the 17th, but our own coverage begins a few days before and will continue through the end of the fest on the 28th (and presumably even longer, as we finish up reviewing and transcribing all those films while juggling the minimal lives we have outside of doing those things).
[From March 9th - 17th, Flixist will be providing coverage from South by Southwest 2013 in Austin, TX. Prepare yourselves for reviews, interviews, features, photos, videos, and all types of shenanigans!]
We came, we saw, we conquered. Matt, Hubert, and Geoff visited Austin and came back a little weirder because of it. SXSW 2013 was truly just as great, if not better, than SXSW 2012. With a fuller team of people, we were able to rock more than two dozen reviews and a dozen interviews. My only regret was not being able to take more photos that I wanted to; simply put, SXSW is an experience that photos will never do justice for.
Below is all of our SXSW content neatly organized with your convenience in mind. We still have some really awesome pieces of content that, unfortunately, we won't be able to put up until later on due to embargoes and behind the scenes stuff. But trust us, you'll love them all when they go up!
[From March 9th - 17th, Flixist will be providing coverage from South by Southwest 2013 in Austin, TX. Prepare yourselves for reviews, interviews, features, photos, videos, and all types of shenanigans!]
Last year's SXS...
Last year's New York Korean Film Festival was awesome. It had a great selection, including one film that I now count among my favorites of all time. I have been looking forward to NYKFF's return ever since, and I don't have to wait much longer. This weekend, February 22nd through the 24th, the Korea Society will be screening eight new films at the BAM Rose Cinema in Brooklyn. I've heard of most of the films, and several have been on my radar for some time, so I am very excited that they are going to be playing together.
The lineup includes Kim Ki-Duk's Pieta, which was South Korea's entry into the 85th Oscars (obviously, and unfortunately, it didn't make the final cut); Masquerade, a period piece that I've just barely missed being able to see at least a couple of times in the past couple of months; and Dancing Queen, which I have never heard of but I'm an ABBA fan so I'm excited anyway.
The festivities start at 7:00 PM on Friday with Pieta and will run through the weekend. Unfortunately, each film is only screening once, so if there is something you're particularly dying to see, you've got to make sure you're available at that time. The fact that it's playing over the weekend should hopefully alleviate some of that scheduling stress though. Depending on our own scheduling, we will hopefully be able to bring you reviews of at least a couple of the films throughout the fest, so even if you miss them here, you know to look out for them in the future.
The screening schedule and descriptions of the films can be found below. For more information about the festival, head over to the Korea Society website or the BAM website.
As cool as it is to be one of the first people to see the next thing by established filmmakers at film festivals, it's the new stuff that's really exciting. Debuts are rarely the most polished or effective efforts, but they s...
Though this is only my third year, Sundance 2013 is by far the greatest one I attended yet. Even bolder, I'll say that it may be the greatest in the festival's history. Looking back on previous years, I don't think there is a stronger line-up of films displaying artistic integrity, transformation, or powerful imagery in Sundance's history. Even the films I didn't get to see will be talked about for some time to come, such as Escape from Tomorrow, a surreal drama shot at Disneyland without Disney's permission and thus bound to never reach retail in its current state.
I am happy with the films I did choose to see, as you can tell from the high praise given below.
Going through the catalog of Sundance films feels a bit like Christmas. Discovering the latest actor-turned-director debut, long awaited sophomore effort, and film description too bizarre to pass up almost makes scheduling this beast of a festival durable.
Due to an early flight back to Texas, I'll be missing Jobs, the Ashton Kutcher Steve Jobs biopic (which will likely be terrible). Other than that noticeable omission, I'm pretty content with the ten films you'll find below, each unique and full of promise. Check back throughout the week to discover how they, along with 20 other films, meet my expectations.
Let me know what films you are excited to hear about, in the comments.