By Andrew Hamlin Northwest Asian Weekly “Please set your volume high,” urges Japanese director Go Shibata in his introduction for the DVD release of his second feature film, “Late Bloomer.”
The Internet Movie Database, with listings for roughly 755,000 films and TV shows, lists only four movies featuring the Hmong language.
“Slumdog Millionaire” opens with our hero, Jamal (Dev Patel), getting smoke blown into his face by a police interrogator. Then he gets his head slammed into a bucket of water, and electrical shock is applied to his feet. English director Danny Boyle always makes Jamal’s fast grin, quick mind and mischievous pranks fun to follow. However, he never reconciles this fun with the film’s often-devastating spin throughout India.
A languorous meditation on free will versus destiny, Chris Smith’s fine film “The Pool” traces a few weeks in the life of Venkatesh, a teenager who labors at a modest hotel in the dusty city of Panjim, Goa.
Thirty-five-year-old Japanese animator Makoto Shinkai often gets called “the new Miyazaki.” Having learned this, you should forget it. Hayao Miyazaki represents the gold standard of Japanese anime to the West.
Diana Lee Inosanto describes herself as a multi-tasker. The Filipino American stuntwoman, martial arts instructor, actress and mother of two is also the writer and director of a new independent movie, “The Sensei.” Screened in packed theatres at numerous film festivals, “The Sensei” will be playing in the upcoming Seattle Gay and Lesbian Film Festival on Oct. 24.
The Taiwanese lesbian drama “Drifting Flowers,” written and directed by Zero Chou, isn’t intended to be a horror movie — but it certainly could be.
Having traveled alone to New York City, Ye Xian (An Nguyen) hopes to earn money to send home to her ailing father by working in a beauty salon run by Mrs. Su (Tsai Chin), her father’s distant cousin. But the bitter and manipulative Mrs. Su doesn’t actually run a beauty salon. She runs an X-rated massage parlor.
The Pang brothers turned in a credible grimy thriller with 1999’s original “Bangkok Dangerous.” Eight years later, only the brothers and the city remain the same. Western screenwriter Jason Richman took the Pangs’ original and pumped up the volume, the budget and the violence, losing most of the pathos in the stampede.
Filmed in Spokane, Wash., Wayne Wang’s new film “A Thousand Years of Good Prayers” marks the director’s return both to independent filmmaking and to telling stories about the Chinese experience in America.