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Person to Person

that was meh. and its meh-ness annoys me. it had a bunch of stories happening on the same day in New York City and I spent the entire film waiting for them to intersect. they don't. I should have gone home early.
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Finding Kukan doc about Kukan, the first "best documentary feature" (1941), which is considered a lost film, and Li Ling Ai, credited as "technical advisor". the filmmaker makes a case for Li Ling Ai as the true producer. it's a nifty detective story and uses shadow play under some of the narrative, to great effect. Kukan itself was about the second Sino Japanese war and was remarkable for its color footage of the bombing of Nanking, shot at ground level. this doc was chock full of interesting stuff about the lives of Chinese-Americans in the 30s, plus great footage of the director presenting her research to a weeping audience in modern-day Chongquing. notable comment from Q&A: Kukan wasn't that old and its history has mostly been lost. five of the people interviewed in the film are dead as of this viewing. the director urged us to record our parents and grandparents while we can.
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Cook Up A Storm

loved it. a chef with a chip on his shoulder takes on a chef with a chip on his shoulder. then they unite in order to deal with their daddy issues. molecular gastronomy, Chinese street food, and Iron Chef-style cooking competition are all a feast for the eyes. There's also a charming neighborhood crowd and evil developers. no romance, just bromance and so much awesome food. if you love Iron Chef or Chef's Table, and all the people who live in the building in Kung Fu Hustle (as I do) then this is for you.

in other news, I found a seat in Pac Place with a power outlet. score.
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The Little Hours

adaptation of a bit from the Decameron, set in a nunnery. raunchy, funny but low joke density. it was shot on location in Tuscany, which is stunning (and surprisingly Northwest-like). Aubrey Plaza and the writer/director did a q&a afterward. ([personal profile] sistawendy, it will be released in Seattle at the end of June.)
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The Odyssey
pretty biopic about Jacques Cousteau's family. like, someone wanted to do a Phillipe Cousteau movie and couldn't get funding. I want to rewatch Cousteau docs now. it's funny, I remember Phillipe from my childhood, but the memories would have been formed after he was long dead.
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Vampire Cleanup Department sheer pleasure. Hong Kong comedy adventure about a young man who joins a special branch of the sanitation department. it's sentimental and charming, and the hopping vampires are at turns silly and scary. recommended.
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I get why someone might like it, but I hated the idiot main character, and his Andy Warhol hallucinations couldn't make up for it.
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Becoming Who I Was

Korean-made documentary about a child Rinpoche in Northern India. he's believed to be the incarnation of a Tibetan lama. Of course those monks can't come find him, and he can't go to them. the real story is about his beautiful relationship with the man who discovered him. peronal, raw, and full of stunning landscapes punctuated with their red monk robes. i take back bitchy things ive said about drone cameras. They were used well and appropriately here. the kid's bio mom was a knitter. the village is incongrously full of people wearing really nice hand knits. North American premiere, good Q&A with the director.

Science Fiction Vol 1: The Osiris Child

Throwback Australian SF that was pretty fucking good. Like, original Mad Max good. Creative world-building, well executed, with solid acting. the evil corporation is running their terraforming projects with prison labor...and doing experiments. Divorced dad's awesome little girl is visiting the colony planet. Mayhem ensues. Yes, it is mostly a string of tropes, including the washed-up pilot, the good guy prisoner, and an armored bus, but that's fine. It ended at a good stopping spot, and I would be very happy to see volume 2.
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Handsome Devil
Irish coming-of-age film about the friendship of the lit nerd and the rugby star at a boys' boarding school. this had good reviews but I was wary because it was likened to Sing Street and I didn’t get very far with that one. (Sing Street had this kind of misery porn going on that I couldn't stand long enough to get to the music.) anyhoo, great framing device of an essay about "your most embarrassing moment" and a notable absence of romance. and women, really, but it's the one setting where that made perfect sense. delightfully funny, a light touch with the cringe, and a sweet message. it shows again, worth seeing.
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Heal the Living
accidental bonus film! beautifully made French film about a heart transplant. not my usual, but another pass holder recommended it, and he was right. solid performances, beautiful. I cried.
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this was originally a multi-screen art installation. I would like to see it in that form, but this was beautifully edited. Cate Blanchet plays 13 roles, declaring and commenting on the Manifesto of each of a dozen art movements. (the festival crowd didn’t fully get into it until we got to the Dogme 95 part.) it was wry and funny and visually stimulating. it deserved more focus than I was able to give the late show on a school night.
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The Wedding Plan
A nice Orthodox girl sets the date for her wedding, in spite of not knowing who the groom is. bittersweet and funny, fascinating insight into a culture I don't know well.
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I was so whipped yesterday I forgot to mention Ivan Tasrevich and the Changing Princess. it was a charming anthology of retold folktales done in shadow play style. I, however, was more exhausted than I realized and nodded off here and there. after that, I decided to go home and veg.
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Tea Pets
good-looking Chinese animated film about the usual finding your place in the world and friendship. Pixar's success is about character building. if I don’t have the feels, it doesn't matter how good the animation is. no feels here.
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Small Town Killers
Danish black comedy about some hapless dudes who hire a hitman and then change their minds. it was my kind of awful and wrong, and featured the skinhead and the fat guy from Adam's Apples. I'm starting to wonder if those guys are the Danish Nick Frost and Simon Pegg.
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The Farthest

Fucking awesome doc about Voyager, with director and a JPL engineer from the project for Q&A. There's a showing left. Seattlites should go.
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Beatriz at Dinner
intimate, talky film that felt like a play. blurb gave the impression that it would be a comic ideological clash over dinner, between New Age healer Selma Hayek and wealthy developer John Lithgow. the laughs were spread far apart and, well, there was almost no sparring, just this slow reveal that Hayek's character had a tough life. and no, there's no connection or redemption or change for anyone. very meh, in spite of excellent acting. and the end blows.
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The Fabulous Allan Carr
doc about the larger-than-life producer of Grease, Can't Stop the Music, La Cage aux Folles, and the infamous 1989 Oscars. shiny nostalgic fluff.
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thank the maker, they finally have house lights in the Egyptian. also, this year's preshow music seems to be Awesome Mix Vol 2. (like, the new Hasslehoff song just played.) Fox o-on the run...
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the manic pixie dream girl was never real.


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