It’s Grits Short Film Review (1978)

It was the perfect setting for the classic food film, It’s Grits: a sweltering 90+ degree Sunday in a big tent, with everyone fanning themselves with their program booklets, in a venue called the Tobacco Warehouse. It felt like being in the Deep South, the home of grits themselves, with one exception; it was the middle of Dumbo, Brooklyn, and it was mostly Yankees in attendance. A bonafide Yankee born and raised, I have only tried grits a few times and found it difficult to believe that a short film from the ’70s was going to convince me that they were the perfect food item. It was a pleasant surprise to be proven so wrong.   It’s Grits is a

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SIFF 2010 The Rest of the Fest Film Recaps

And so another year’s Seattle International Film Festival comes to a close. You might be saying “Hey! You only watched like eight movies? What kind of publication is this?!” Tut tut, readers.  We here at Redefine watched a boat load of movies! We just couldn’t find the time/space/wherewithal to write about every single one. But because we love you guys, and to prove to my editor that I really did watch all those movies I said I watched, here’s 29 mini-reviews of all the films I saw that I didn’t get a chance to write about. Air Doll – Japan Korean actress Bae Do Na (The Host) stars as a sex doll given a soul. “Nozomi” partakes of all the

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Get Low (2010) Film Review

Director: Aaron Schneider USA, 2009 Back when Saturday Night Live was still funny, Robert Duvall appeared in a sketch called “Who’s More Grizzled,” where contestants on a game show riff on subjects to show their grizzled-ness. Of course, Mr. Duvall won handily. No one does old and ornery better than Duvall. Get Low is his latest entry into the Grizzled Hall of Fame, with Duvall playing Felix Bush, a woodsy, ornery, secretive hermit in Depression-era California. Sensing that his passing is near, Felix uses a large, dirty ball of money to convince Bill Murray and Lucas Black (of Tokyo Drift fame!) to hold a big fancy funeral for him. While he’s still alive. The majority of the movie is a

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Au Revoir Taipei (2010) Film Review

Director: Arvin Chen Taiwan, 2010 Taipei is a gorgeous city at night. Writer/Director Arvin Chen obviously knows this, and reveals this (poorly kept) secret to the world in his debut feature Au Revoir Taipei. This unrelentingly adorable film focuses on a single night in the titular city, following a young man named Kai (Jack Yao) and his quest to win back his ex-girlfriend who is studying in Paris. This involves him acquiring a one-way plane ticket to his former love, which he can only get with assistance from a local “made man” who is quietly trying to go legit. With the help of his tall but meek friend Gao (literally “high”), and the mousy but surprisingly forward Susie, Kai dodges

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Seattle International Film Festival: 06/07-06/13 Week Round-Up

This week’s recommended picks! Go to the website for the Seattle International Film Festival for more details. 8: The Mormon Proposition A documentary studying why Proposition 8, the constitional amendment banning gay marriage, passed in California. The primary reason they point to is the Mormon Church’s heavy involvement in the movement to stop gay rights. SHOWTIMES Mon, June 7 @ 7:00pm (Egyptian Theatre) Tue, June 8 @ 4:15pm (Egyptian Theatre) Gordos Five overweight individuals struggle with images of self in this black comedy, and it doesn’t help that their skinny therapist feels more and more revulsion towards larger individuals as time goes on — especially for his pregnant wife. SHOWTIMES Wed, June 2 @ 9:30pm (Egyptian Theatre) Fri, June 4

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Bodyguards and Assassins (2009) Film Review

Director: Teddy Chen Hong Kong, 2009 Bodyguards and Assassins is a long film. Too long. It’s about 45 minutes too long. It’s also overwrought. There’s a lot of grown men crying about pride and integrity. Things that matter to a lot of people, but not stuff we as the audience particularly care about. In the beginning there are a lot of assassins, not many bodyguards. Lots of people die. Then, there are a lot of bodyguards and not a lot of assassins. Lots of people cry. Eventually the bodyguards and the assassins all appear on the same set. You get 50 minutes of pretty awesome action. Do you want to see a dude* stop a horse with his head? It’s

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The Wild Hunt (2009) Film Review

The Wild Hunt Director: Alexandre Franchi Canada, 2009 Geexploitation has been a Hollywood trademark for years. From “Revenge of the Nerds” to “Superbad” to “Fanboys,” even when geeks are the heroes they are still tragi-comic characters with barely a single dimension to their name. Geeks are not real to the Hollywood scriptwriter. Their feelings and motivations are not like normal people; they act and think according to geek reason. Geeks do not come of age, they simply “sneak into the Skywalker Ranch” or “Have sex with a cheerleader” or “get to play Super Mario 3.” That is the ultimate goal, the Valhalla of a geek, according to Hollywood. Geexploitation does nothing more to advance a maligned subculture than Audrey Hepburn’s

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Seattle International Film Festival 2010 : 05/31-06/06 Week Round-Up

This week’s recommended picks! Go to the website for the Seattle International Film Festival for more details. Some Days Are Better Than Others Four Portlanders with different — yet very Portland, Oregon-esque — lives spend their days trying to find meaningful human connections. The sell here is the acting debut of The Shins’ frontman James Mercer and Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein. SHOWTIMES Mon, May 31 @ 9:00pm (Pacific Place) Tue, Jun 1 @ 4:00pm (Pacific Place) Garbo: The Spy Certainly there is no shortage of stuff we don’t know, and Garbo: The Spy is a reminder that we really don’t know anything. An account about a Spanish double agent during WWII who manipulated just about everyone, Garbo compiles archival footage, interviews,

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Turtle: The Incredible Journey (2009) Documentary Film Review

Director: Nick Stringer United Kingdom, 2009 I am a Loggerhead turtle. I break out of shell and sand. I traverse the land to reach the sea. The crabs and gulls see me as prey, but I am determined, I must satiate this driving hunger that permeates my being, I must continue forward. It is along the Gulf Stream that I navigate. Heading north on my float-sum raft with companions in the shape of sea horses and fish that have camouflage exteriors to mimic the vessel we reside upon. I am still soft shelled. I need to grow and rest. A strange stillness envelopes our journey. We have been driven off course into a timeless Sargasso sea. Within moments a great

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Cyrus (2010) Film Review

Directors: Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass USA, 2010 Brothers, and Cyrus co-directors, Jay and Mark Duplass have not shied away from their stated intent to make ‘genre films.’ It’s an odd conceit from a duo who’ve been lumped in with the for-better-or-worse-entitled ‘mumblecore’ movement; a style more prone to moody atmospheres and sparse dialog than showboat character acting and predictable plot developments. I suppose it’s fitting then that Cyrus splits the difference between the two. The plot is fairly formulaic – lonesome divorcee John C. Reilly befriends equally lonesome single mother Marisa Tomei at a swanky LA dinner party.  Their courtship quickly escalates, only to be sabotaged by Tomei’s needy, 21 year old man-child, Cyrus (played by Jonah Hill). Photo by Chuck Zlotnick

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Henry Of Navarre (Henri 4) (2009) Film Review

Director: Jo Baier Cast: Julien Boisselier, Joachim Krol, Hannelore Hoger, Ulrich Noethen, Armelle Deutsch, Chloé Stefani, Gabriela Maria Schmeide, Roger Casamajor, Sven Pippig, Sandra Huller Country: Germany Year: 2009 Henry Of Navarre is a historical dramatization that attempts to document the period of Henry IV’s ascension to the throne and the religious wars which preceeded it. But despite the film’s loftiest intentions, a weak script and an even weaker crew burden it to the point of no recovery. All of the characters in the film are just that — characters — and they fulfill their general beings with mind-blowing one-dimensionality. Take, for instance, Henry Of Navarre (Henry IV) himself. While generally loved throughout his reign, Henry is shown in the

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Mao’s Last Dancer (2009) Film Review

Mao’s Last Dancer Director: Bruce Beresford Australia, 2009 Based on his bestselling autobiography, the dramatized story of Li Cunxin escaping from Communist China is not a particularly unique one. Handpicked from a dusty village in rural China, a young Li is forced to abandon his family and attend the most prestigious (and rigorous) arts school in all of China. At first, Li is inattentive, unmotivated. But, after viewing a tape of Baryshnikov (another ballet dancer who defected from his communist homeland), Li is inspired to become the greatest ballet dancer in the entire world. His fame eventually leads him to an exchange program with the Houston Ballet Company. It is here in America where his talents and love for ballet

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