Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

It’s been five years since the last Mission that proved possible for Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, after M:i:III got it’s fuse relit by JJ Abrams. This welcome fourth quarter is part powered by the Bad Robot while Brad Bird takes the directors seat ditching his pixel pallete for a pound of real life flesh & bone actors with Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
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12 Days of Canuckmas – Week 2 – Servitude, The Chocolate Farmer & Millions

It’s midpoint in my merry challenge with six movies under the belt which also includes my favourite so far.  How often do you start a Monday morning watching a R rated comedy at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in the company of legend Ivan Reitman?  This time last week I was doing just that after seeing an invite pop up on the Facebook fan page for Servitude – a new Canadian comedy set in the world of  waiting tables.  I’d first heard about the movie last year when a contest was running to win a cameo in the project, where the best video confessional about working as a server could rescue your from dish delivering duties & land you on the big screen in a meta movie moment.  Servitude is the story of Josh the star waiter at the Ranch Steakhouse as he tries to quit his job & head back to school.  With a rodeo for the theme of the restaurant it’s more than the mechanical bucking bronco in the waiting area that he & his colleagues have to tame in a weekend from hell, full of hungry patronizing patrons.  About to hand in his server’s bib, Josh is called on for one last favour from manager Godfrey (Dave Foley) as the Ranch has an inspection from a new German owner.  If you’ve ever worked in the industry of filling ungrateful bellies you’ll get an extra kick out of seeing the exaggerated characters that really are out there.  Serving up dirty potatoes & “cuppies” on the team are Tommy – a pretty boy with more mature taste for the ladies, Barb – a frazzled working mum who’s patience  clocked out before her shift even started, Krissy – a gum chewing by the book cowgirl who uses mostly text message/internet speak abbreviations rather than syllables & Simon – the wannabe actor who gives his best performances in the washroom.  As if balancing these personalities & plates wasn’t  enough alone cue a ravenous rabble of customers and the restaurateur version of the  Third Reich threatening to deplete more than a 15% tip at the end of the meal.  Staging a mini revolution Josh & cohorts decide to start giving as good as they get & stop biting their lips when they discover their jobs are for the chop.  Speaking of lips Margo Kidders are plumped & pouting as the martini gargling table for one lady that steals the show in every scene.

It’ll probably get a lot of comparisons to American Pie but this maple flavoured tart is a full course serving of funny rather than a just desserts, gross out gag routine audiences have come to expect.  The wait time to be seated for Servitude is a little while away, February/March 2012 is what we were told in the screening.  Be sure to Like & Follow the movie to be kept up to date.

Second up was a more serious situation at the NFB Mediatheque for the last of this year’s Green Screens.  The Chocolate Farmer was quite apt for December considering we’re all about to stuff ourselves full of the stuff during the festival season.  A moment on the lips & a lifetime on the hips but how much time between those two are you spending on thinking where this sweet treat came from?   Eladio Pop works the land in southern Belize, recognising that he isn’t cash rich on a monetary level but the land sustains him and his fifteen children and wife.  The documentary follows his machete swipes through the jungle foliage as he farms cocoa beans.  These were once the gold for his Mayan people and now in present day are traded for modern currency.  Two of his son’s, a female cultural activist & a co-op owner are also introduced in to the story of the community being changed by globalization.   After the screening a presentation by ChocoSol Traders gave some added insight to the processes & the responsible trading & interactions with these communities.

Last up in the week that was, I called the NFB Mediathque home again for a sneak peek of Millions, a kickstarter webisode/TV based project about twenty-something Asian-Canadians living in Toronto who decide to reignite a high school pact & become millionaires by the age of 30.  The 15 min teaser introduced a few characters on the road to establishing this quest as we learn about their unfulfilled lives working the 9 to 5.  The cliff hanger ending of the pilot left me wanting to find out more, which luckily the website expands upon & relieves some of the frustration left as such a short running time.

Six movies left in my festive quest, any recommendations of other Canadian films screening in the weeks ahead?  What did you see over the weekend?


@emaninTdot

12 Days of Canuckmas

Inspired by last year’s programming of “Good Canadian Cinema?” at Toronto Underground Cinema last year I decided to set my own little challenge related to the festive season with the 12 Days of Canuckmas where I aim to watch at least twelve Canadian movies over December.  Big screen, small screen, portable pocket screen all count.  Starting on December 1st here were the first three I’ve watch so far on my mini mission – as if December wasn’t busy enough already?!

Surviving Progress – Cumberland 4 – Alliance Cinemas 159 Cumberland Street, Toronto

I survived Surviving Progress!  Normally I check my brain at the door ready for pure jaw dropped drooling mindless escapism fun at the movies.  I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get away with such a mind set going in to this film.  If anything this was confrontism (is that even an ism?) on the big screen, presented in the style of a hand on your shoulder gently informing you rather than a giant wagging finger & tutting in surround sound.

Starting by trying to define the term progress the documentary seeks answers from a host of notable intellects and reflects on how this is draining the planets resources.  Still chugging along from the industrial revolution we’re gauging more machines as a success measurement.  While our devices are getting smarter we are still running the same primitive hunter/gatherer operating system behind our eyes.  The human mind needs an upgrade before it’s too late.  While thoughts are connected via the internet there is a new moral perspective filtering through, the bigger companies & economic situations still out there are akin to brain damage.

It was great to watch with an audience who applauded during several scenes featuring David Suzuki.

Much like the poster, it’s easy to dig a hole and pretend to be an ostrich ignoring the problems.  If you’re going to involve an ostrich I’d suggest problem solving like the Swiss Family Robinson & ride one in to the future with a new route of hope.

Everything & Everyone – Screening at Projection Booth East Until Dec 8 1035 Gerrard St. East, Toronto

Bittersweet Complexity replaces the words behind the BC abbreviation of British Columbia, where Everything & Everyone was filmed.  Opening on an eventful afternoon Rose & William snatch a few moments for a funny bedroom fumble while their yet to fly the nest son, Noah, has a special delivery from a care worker in the form of his 8 year old son.  His new found Fatherhood manual seems to have been lost in the mail & a dog training book delivered in it’s place, as he’s helped by Rose to raise Ben after the sudden passing of his mother.

When best pal Eric visits Noah on the street during his unsuccessful charity collection he meets Max a hot headed businessman who soon becomes more than a partner for sharp banter.

Life being turned upside down by those entering & leaving, ripple across the interconnecting relationships between family members and friends.

An added pressure from an unannounced illness balances the comedic elements showing that the people we love are never a burden.

Showtimes  Mon 5pm Tues, Wed at 9pm Thurs at 5pm

NURSE.FIGHTER.BOY –  DVD

Deciding to take a break from the theatre going experience, where it’s often hard to find a Canadian film outside of a film festival or special set of programming, I decided to find a movie to take out & home.  Luckily Toronto has a host of indie video stores, much like Rep Cinemas, that specialise in hosting a great library of titles.  Big Daddy’s DVD Shop on Dundas Street West was the closest place to browse the boxes hoping for something to jump out and catch my eye.  The “Canadian Eh!” easily assisted me on my mission to watch.  Noticing the bright type capitalised title on the spine of the case I chose NURSE.FIGHTER.BOY, the first time feature from Charles Officer.  Each titular punctuated character is introduced through colour as we meet Jude raising her son Ceil.  She’s working in a hospital taking on a night shift when she treats Silence a trained boxer & street fighter.  Mature for his age Ceil finds magic everywhere from conjuring tricks to his hidden den of a stage like space.  By chance Jude & Silence connect again as she rides her bike between the alleys of neighborhoods in Toronto on her way to work, pausing to listen to the music leaving the window from his apartment.  At first unwilling to let her guard down they both take the chance to let each other inside their lives.  I normally prefer watching a movie with an audience as a communal event but this film felt perfect for a more intimate viewing.  I’d almost forgotten about special features on a disc & enjoyed learning about the production experience & watching a family of crew members retell their memories on set with some stills and video diaries.  Two short films were also included that worked well as an introduction & follow up to the feature.

You can follow my progress finding the other nine movies over on tumblr – 12daysofcanuckmas.tumblr.com

The FP

As part of Gamercamp, Toronto’s Festival celebrating the artistry innovation & the power of play, Toronto Underground Cinema hosted 1UP Films After Dark.  The FP by the Brother’s Trost (Brandon – known for cinematography on Crank 2 as well as the forth coming Ghost Rider sequel  & Jason – last seen acting/directing Vs. which screened at Toronto After Dark Film Festival) was the main centre piece in the film component of the three day event.

There’s no denying video game movies have a reputation for being bad due to their button bashed breeding.   From a Dennis Hopper dinosaur in Super Mario Brothers to a Kylie Minogue Cammy cameo in Street Fighter the 90’s tried it’s darnedest to bash some real gold coins out of pixel bricks.  While these hands free conversions sit fondly in the memory blocks of my mind, when you dust them off for a modern day outing it’s easy to see where they went wrong – you need more than  ↓, ↘, → in your script to make things work.

The FP (the abbreviation Frazier Park – a mountain community in California)  takes inspiration from a rather different coin-op lurking in your local arcade.  In a similar brain wave to Disney adapting the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in to a motion picture, the Brother’s go for another unusual vessel for their movie.  Dance Dance Revolution the tune syncing feet stomper is rechristened Beat Beat Revelation and takes on a far darker use than the bubble gum pop song body rhythm generator.  Opening with rivals gangs taking to the machine to battle it out like a stripped down one on one version of Michael Jackson’s Bad music video.  Leaders from each district step up, Zangief-esque, L Dubba E with his gold grills, mohawk & mutton chops toe taps against BTRO, sporting a silver starred bandanna & best moon boots since Napoleon Dynamite.  When BTRO’s knees buckle & goes gamer over forever his brother JTRO vows never to place a foot back on the neon lit arrows.  A year later the JTRO is tracked down reducing trees to logs by family friend & game commentator KCDC.  He’s brought back to a changed town where the liquor store is now run by  jump suit wearing L Dubba E, with the booze tap in town under his control the residents have taken to hard drugs to pass the day.  JTRO sets about winning the girl & the champ title street cred back for his fallen brother.  Trained in a secret prohibition underground HQ there are some really hilarious montage sequences as he gets his game back to ultimate combo caliber.  The wardrobe is surprisingly important as the ludicrous concept and gang talk is visually punctuated with the most outlandish gems from a thrift store receiving hipster donations via Thunderdome.  Over the top and awesome this is how a video game conversion should be.

Two video game movies to look out for with a local connection in 2012 are Resident Evil: Retribution & Silent Hill: Revelation.

Which console title would you like to see hit the big screen or movie made playable?  While you take a moment to think about it check out what I witnessed on College street over the weekend.   Say hello or shoot me a Hadouken on Twitter – @emaninTdot

Invisible City

I decided to stay away from the sexing & the suckers of cinema this week as Shame previewed & Twilight premiered.  Crossing off effing & fangs I went with the third F from the NFB – Free Favorites at Four.  Much like the movie they showed, Invisible City, I really feel The NFB Mediatheque is a hidden gem in the city.  Just across the street from the Scotiabank Theatre there are literally hundreds of movies waiting to be watched without losing a loonie.  While their digital database can be viewed on custom coupled chairs, the larger auditorium hosts their main presentations.  The screening of Invisible City caught my eye due to the nature of the local story.  After a year here I’m still getting to know Toronto, so this seemed a perfect opportunity to use the documentary to get an informed visual representation of the community in a different area.  Invisible City follows the story of two boys growing up in Regent Park housing project.  From school grades 10 – 12 the film accompanies Kendell & Mikey, candidly interviewing them about the events of their life in a low income social housing project.  The peer pressure of entering adulthood soon leads to bad decisions.  Both mothers and school mentors are the guiding forces in their life trying to steer them toward a better future away from trouble.  If you look for the good in Regent Park you’ll find it but the same applies for the bad.  “There’s love for the community but not for the building structures” says Ainsworth Morgan who is looking out for the boys trying to positively influence as a teacher at the Nelson Mandela Park Public school. He also grew up there, finding success as a Canadian Football League player, now returning in this role.  Who are the heroes in your community?

The next Free Favourite at Four is Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie.  4pm not the right movie time?  Check out the NFB apps for iPad & iPhone/Touch.

R.A.W.R – Reel Asian Wicked Recap

The Fifteenth annual Toronto International Reel Asian Film Festival downtown event came to a close on Sunday.  With a Richmond Hill satellite festival planned for the 18th & 19th  November here’s my blog diary from the showcase of contemporary Asian cinema.

Day One

The Isabel Bader could have quite possibly hovered, if not lifted a little off the ground with the high spirits of the crowd, special guests and some helium filled birthday balloons as opening night finally took flight.

A few extra peddles down from the renovating Bloor, the fifteenth year really graduated to another level at the lush venue. While I loved last year, the Bader really gave the red carpet a space to breath without the line competing for the busy Bloor sidewalk.

The anniversary theme was carried through out the evening with the poster boy Franco Nguyen donning the frilled shirt once again to bring the festival trailer to life with a bouquet of inflatables.

After messages from the committee and supporting sponsors the curtain raised with a surprise, CHOIR!CHOIR!CHOIR! serenading the audience with a hit from 1997 to turn back time to the festival’s origin date as well as another number.

With music being the food of love then the main course for everyone to visually feast on was served by actor and first time director Derek Tsang Kwok Cheung & an absent Jimmy Wan with Lover’s Discourse.

Love is the drug of choice as the opening credits seemed surprisingly scientific to set the scene for the movie posing the question that as much as we know, some mysteries are more than chemical reactions under our skin.

Told in segments that crisscross cleverly I was prepared for a mushy love story but was pleasantly surprised at how all sides of the spectrum from the power of love, whimsical to hurtful were expressed on the screen.

Starting with the story of two old flames meeting up, getting playfully drunk before a lip lock on a pebbled path, the predictability stops there and the intertwining of characters aware or in unrecognized life proximity begins.

Fantasy infatuations in a laundromat by the suds specialist behind the counter make for some amazing hilarity as her daydreams are cultivated by one male customer who she falls for while fluffing and folding for him.

This attachment and getting to know someone at a distance takes a darker shade during a flashback by twelve years when the detective work of a smitten teen is besotted by the mother of a friend. His unwitting malice and stalking comes full circle as the story ties it’s self in a bow connecting the dots, proving not everyone survives once struck by Cupid’s bow.

Day Two

Day two of the festival let me sample the sensation of a little opening night nerves, although on a smaller scale.

My heart fluttered a little faster as I hosted Reel Asian’s Industry series panel on Social Media Strategy for Film Makers to discuss how the role of digital communication can impact marketing and engage audiences with story telling alongside guest speakers Anthea Foyer, Shasha Nakhai & Sol Friedman.

The love theme from the festival movies spilled over in to the debate with Anthea’s companion piece to Sarah Polley’s forthcoming Take This Waltz, Conversations About Love using the core theme elements of the movie to be supportive without directly referencing or spoiling the actual feature. Shasha from The Sugar Bowl discussed the approach from a perspective of entering the festival with a film & the lead up from initial funding processes to dispensing content at a rate of sustaining interest. Sol, who won last years winner Reel Asian Movieola Best Short Film or Video Award for Junko , talked about Junko’s Shamisen and the perfectionist involvement on behind the scenes footage as well as some of the tactics behind getting your film seen in contrast to the art of the piece.

Mumbling to myself about the wet weather that had appeared while inside I headed to the Innis Town hall for Summer Pasture which abruptly put my spot of rain complaining in to perspective. Documenting the life of a nomadic couple in Tibet with their small daughter their daily routines are intimately captured with an amazing openness and stunning visuals. The tasks of living in this manner is fast changing with traditions being eroded as modern life is reaching out. The advantages any family would want for their child are at the core of surviving. I never thought trading & yak poop spreading would sound like something appealing to watch but Locho & Yama are captivating characters. You can view the question and answer session here.

Normally it’s sweet sixteen but The Sugar Bowl brought more than a spoon full to the table of the 15th Anniversary for the first set of shorts I’d seen at the festival in the Trailblazers presentation alongside A Drummer’s Passion, Totte Mitsu, Let’s Go To Russia, Grandpa’s Wet Dream & Granny’s Rock.

I’d previously watched these alone so was craving to see these super charged seniors dashed across the big screen with extra audience involvement. It was definitely an added experience sharing the movies en masse. Grandpa’s Wet Dream provided the most laughter as a 76 year old is documented on his secret accident life as a mature star of a niche adult porn film industry. The juxtaposition of his collected vintage movie posters with his own catalogue of X-rated accomplishments were an interesting legacy to be left behind. Another less secret legacy came up in A Drummer’s Passion. Mr. Kwon is the name of the Korean Drummer who set a beat to over a million views on YouTube. While it was easy to smile and share the clip, this was the time to hear about the reason behind his style and his life before the internet shone a spotlight on him. Stealing the show is what he does best as a personal warmth transcended the screen. Granny’s Rock reminded me of a real life Harold & Maude with a true bond between young and old generation. With an outsider art style of capturing portraits Miya Yumemi is the streaking legend who’s work can be found worn on people’s t-shirts & scattered all over bars in her area. Satoru Yasuda befriends her and joins her drinking & art antics making his film in to a gallery of her work and personality. The Sugar Bowl was the most anticipated section of the series for me. Having seen their winning pitch in 2010′s So You Think You Can Pitch contest it was very satisfying to have seen the start of the journey come to conclusion in the same event space. The Negros Island, provider of the sugar supply to America is a prince to pauper story on a grand scale effecting everyone of the inhabitants. The lavish lifestyles that accompanied the plantation abruptly ended as Government and sweet alternatives sunk the price of sugar like a dissolving cube in a cuppa. The industrial elements remain on the lush green island as rebuilding and hope returns. A once decadent dwelling is now a museum and the occupier now the tour guide advanced in years that provided the eccentric fit in to the overall presentation.

Day Three

Hard to believe it was already the mid point of the festival, day three was the final visit to the Innis Town Hall before moving to the Royal for the weekend festivities.

Greeted by a large furry lion head I knew I was in for more than a conventional screening. Lily Eng: Real Asian Canadian Warrior Woman was Reel Asian’s Canadian Spotlight. In attendance Lily Eng and writer/filmmaker Peter Dudar were honoured for the evening with a traditional dragon dance brought to life with the costumes from the corridor. Sitting in the front row I received a playful fluffy mauling which was another cheeky highlight of the festival so far.

Having no reference for Eng’s work I was very lucky to witness a special piece acted out live by the performance artist. Taking the open stage space before the screen she provided a kinetic controlled interpretation of music almost playing it with her fingertips and limbs in movement. The screenings which followed were documentation and recorded extracts from a vast career that moved chronologically from the 70s – 80s. Powerful expressive body movements rippled over the screen in the restored retrospective. The question and answer session was a perfect end to the presentation with tales of interrupted performances at the AGO and relentless concurrent takes. She truly can find in a universe inside a small space and masters the invisible constrictions.

Fortune Teller was the follow on documentary film to finish the evening. Li Baicheng takes the titular profession which is technically illegal to practice and is treated akin to prostitution in the eyes of the law. Sex workers and others seek him out to find a solution in advice from another level. The film is split in to segments of clients starting with a Madame who wants to learn about the prospect of future happiness. Li Baicheng is very blunt and to the point with his forecasts. Changing your name as well as releasing animals in to the wild are some of the rituals needed to alter your set course. While going about his life we are introduced to his wife Pearl who is mentally handicapped and mute yet the pair share a bond. Their relationship is the focus of the documentary as we learn how Li Baicheng rescued her from an abusive family. His compassion was premeditated for company which at times he regrets. Images of the Fortune Teller feeding a bird with saliva and the drama around those seeking predictions make the film a curious winding tale behind the lives & stories of those overlooked.

Day Four

11/11/11 only comes once on a calendar which was a reminder to Seize the Moment with the presentation of the same name. This round of shorts were the best Asian Canadian selection.

Starting with a PRESS START and 1 player mode was Insert Credit the 8bit narrative. The Side scrolling Nintendo-esque beat-em up tackled growing up from boy to manhood. This is my favourite film of the festival so far. Maybe the medium is tapping in to the buttons I tapped growing up on a controller. This is the perfect primer before going in to a viewing of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. If that was a love letter to Toronto this must be a low res LOL at Vancouver with Whales spraying hockey sticks through their blow holes and Maple leaf lasering death rays.

Much like the season it start to get dark early in the presentation. The next short was also animated with a retro, in the sense of traditional hand crafted, style by last year’s Master Class maker Koji Kamamura. 2010 saw him show Franz Kafka’s A Country Doctor informed by the director’s misadventure to Prague. 2011 presented his take on another historical figure, Eadweard Muybridge the pioneering motion photographer. Various beasts take their footsteps triggering a camera capture with a tale told about the process and life of the man which included a true tale of his wife taking a secret lover which Muybridge shot as well as the paternity questions over a child. Mixed with surreal beauty the strings of life are indeed very tangled

Introducing the selection in perhaps the funniest video memory testimonial, Randall Okita’s No Contract was even more amazing on the screen of the Royal with the venue feeling like an extension of minimal set. A twisted Houdini seemingly invites friends to witness his combustion (which sounds like the plot from a old classic horror no?. .I could imagine envelopes arriving at the household of each person). What connections they have is only known by the director. The eerie sound design and glimpse cuts make the mystry even more uncomforting before a beautiful ballet of flames dance from each side.

Plants Out of The Sunlight was the work of the poster boy for this year proving that the funny man is more than a cinephile with a penchant for taking balloons on a date to the flicks. The serious issues of Mia a mother in Toronto finding isolation in her home as her son is out and unwilling to help let alone communicate the events of his day. Work is tough with a language and cultural cuisine understanding missing from the attitude of her boss.

Left-Behind Woman and A Winter Song closed the screening. The penultimate visited China where men are leaving the family home to seek work that is well paid leading their wives to work the land and take on other more labour intensive jobs. There’s a war like resonance where these task are undertaken in their absence. While the traditional head of the family is gone what impact this has remains to be seen. A Winter Song felt like the right conclusion with the medical worries of a store owner during the Christmas season in Montreal. More hard work and long hours are complicated by the potential of returning ailment hidden from family members. Was it the right choice to come to Canada for a better life?

Saigon Electric pumped a little extra body heat & sweat in to the crisp air outside as my main feature of the evening. The Vietnamese dance movie set on the bustling streets of Saigon lets us arrive to the big city with Mai a young Ribbon dancer, leaving her countryside life to try out for dance school. Her neon pink ribbon twirling is looked down upon at the interview but her endearing qualities are accepted by Kim a hip hop dancer who befriends her and introduces her to the urban environment with the help of her troupe Saigon Fresh. Much like the open scene of dueling roosters in a spray painted ally the dance demeanor of Kim is bold & boisterous which is contrasted by the gentle fabric rotations of Mai. As Kim lets her guard down to the advances of a rich guy who’s never ending attempts to woe her finally work she leaves her friends in the lead up to the big Samsung sponsored dance off. Things are also in jeopardy as the practice venue is threatened by redevelopment. The fancy footwork and other body parts popping to the beat were undoubtedly the highlights punctuating the character journeys beyond the initial desire to make it to the big time with traditions showing them that team work and community are more important.

Proving that after a year I still don’t know the city well without WiFi I finally made it to the music night to see Goh Nakamura perform ahead of his movie Surrogate Valentine (screening Sunday). Providing something outside of simply film is such a great way to diversify the festival content and allowing free entry with a ticket stub from any movie really makes Reel Asian special and accessible.

Day Five

Sounding a little like a new Indiana Jones Adventure – Lost Secrets of the Royal opened at the home of Reel Asian, 401 Richmond, in the A Space Gallery. The exhibition was a rebirth for old salvaged film prints that Colin Geddes had rescued from what was to become the Royal Cinema.

These prints were identified and given as the pallet to artists to interpret. There were two projects in the gallery (the sister site is in Mississauga’s Blackwood Gallery is the home to more). The first encounter is through black curtains passed a glowing lightbox poster case for the piece, Officer Tuba Meets the Happy Ghost. A Character taken from the two films interact in new landscapes shot by artist soJin Chun in Toronto and Sao Paolo. Her love of grain and super eight adds a beauty & bleakness to Toronto which makes Brazil and other other footage pop like a frog flying at the screen. The other projection is a triple threat when your eyes won’t know where the action with fly from next.

Pumped for Jump Ashin! I returned to the Royal with an new extra curiosity of what else was hiding in the bowels of the building. The gymnast gone bad redemption story was the action element I was hoping to find at the festival after last years kick off with Gallants. I wasn’t disappointed as JA provided lots of action, drama & comedy. This was the busiest screening I’ve attended thus far with the Taiwan support raising the roof for the director.

Based on the true story of the director’s brother Ashin starts his childhood gate crashing a traditional stage show with some added cartwheels and bouncing where it didn’t belong. Finding more mischief he spies on a gymnastics class after finding an escape in to fantasy while bouncing on a trampoline. It isn’t long before he’s enrolled in the class. Jumping forward in time his skills are growing yet his landings leave a lot to be desired. His doubting Mother finally reveals to his coach that his legs are not equal and insists he leave the spring boarding behind to help the family fruiterer business. Taking this badly he rebels using his natural bounding to fight with gangs in his town. With his best buddy Pickle they both find themselves in a dire situation when things get out of control. Forced to run away they escape to the city to flee their crimes. Set before 1994 there’s a sweet story revolving around a pager messaging service operator who is the human message delivery service before SMS. Their lovely interactions anchor some light hearted moments as it comes time for Ashin to return to face his past. Previously seen in Lover’s Discourse, Eddie Peng is the pin up hubba hubba anti-hero Ashin who bulked up between roles. His heartthrob status was cemented when the girls in front of me at the screening took photos at various points in the movie. An energetic question and answer session followed that had everyone one their feet and shouting jump!

Piercing 1 was the next interesting later night film that I was open to but unsure about.  Beavis and Butthead had been the token comparison animation style linked to the movie. Short enough to give the benefit of the doubt too I’m I stayed in the squeaky seats at the theatre. Much like my folkes not being able to see past The Simpsons being a cartoon, it did take at least 20 minutes to adjust to the simple line drawings. Zhang is a little out of luck like the rest of the world in recession. Beaten a few too many times and not believed for honest actions lead him and his friend in to funny plot between shady goings on with the corrupt police and fat headed business owner. The injustice experienced by the main character is really felt. The situations he finds himself in become so comical with an edge of grit.

If you’ve made it all the way to the bottom you can read about Day Six over on Reel Asian’s Blog !  I might even explain this…