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REEL ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL

The 17th REELASIAN Film Festival runs from November 5th to the 15th in downtown Toronto and Richmond Hill.  Besides films, the festival offers other events such as dance performances, galleries, talks and industry seminars.

There is a retrospective of Toronto filmmaker Richard Fung’s works that include the screening of 3 of his films as well as his personal appearance.

This year the festival expands to include films from South Asia.  Countries now include India and Pakistan.  The opening night gala is BOMBAY TALKIES that comprise four films from 4 well-known Mumbai directors.

For prices, ticket venues, full listing of programs, please check the website at:

www.reelasian.com

Capsule Reviews from selected films are provided below.  Online streaming of these films is provided, courtesy of Reel Asian.

CONFESSION OF MURDER (South Korea 2013) ****

Directed by Jeong Byeong-gil (director in attendance)

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This impressive edgy action packed film includes an over-the-top exciting car chase that will put Hollywood blockbusters to shame.  The story concerns a cat and mouse chase between a detective, Lt. Choi (Jeong Jae-yeong) and a serial killer of 10 women.  10 years after the murders were committed and after the statute of limitations has passed, Lee Du-seok (heart throb Park Si-hoo) reveals himself as a killer only to publish a book on the murders that turn out to be a massive best seller hit.  But another character J also reveals himself as the killer providing doubt if Lee is an imposter promoting his book.  The script has many plot twists that should keep audiences thinking.  The fight scenes are a little too animated but it fits into the general feel of the film.  But CONFESSION OF MURDER is top notch entertainment – never mind the foul language, which at least is not translated into subtitles.

DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’: EVERYMAN’S JOURNEY (USA 2013) ***

Directed by Ramona S. Diaz

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Winner of the Audience Award at Palm Springs International Film Festival, this crowd pleasing documentary charts the rise to fame of Filipino Arnel Pineda.  Arnel is the charismatic but odd replacement (being Asian) of the lead singer Steve Perry whose voice is recognized in classics like the song name of the film’s title.  With exclusive footage of Arnell – singing goofing it up; talking about his life and experiences – it might seem that the film is an ego trip for the man who found fame through his voice.  But his adrenaline flowing performances are nothing short of stunning and should get your juices flowing.  Arnel’s rough childhood following the death of his mother, his rehabilitation from drugs an alcohol, diligence and humility amidst racism and expectations all make this documentary even more interesting.

 

FARAH GOES BANG (USA 2013) **

Directed by Meera Menon

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FARAH GOES BANG is a free-wheeling road trip movie that follows three 20somethings as they embark on a John Kerry campaign trail.  FARAH is also intent to lose her virginity and her two friends are here to help.  They meet an assortment of characters, a few good and a few bad, and they learn a few life lessons on their way.  The trouble with Menon’s movie is that it tries too hard to be cool and ends up pretentious.  All the characters the trio meets pop up too conveniently and one knows that Farah will eventually meet ‘the right one’.  The trio also swears too much for its own good as if swearing depicts the desired freedom one desires in girls who past their late teens.  Annoying to a point, these are three creatures that would have done John Kerry more harm than good.

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