Wu-Tang Saga (2010) Film Review

I have nothing against Cappadonna. I respect his skills as an emcee and consider him a real part of the Wu-Tang Clan. Even though Wikipedia calls him a quasi-member. Even though he was in prison when they signed. Even though he doesn’t really contribute anything unique to the crew. He’s a good guy and I wish him well. His lines on Cuban Linx I and II are hot; I would miss them if they were cut. Cappadonna can rap, and he should rap, and he should be a part of Wu-Tang. All this is clear to me. But seriously, packaging a Cappadonna documentary as the Wu-Tang Saga and saying it stars all the main members of the clan is downright

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First Annual Chicago Food Film Festival

After four years and 20,000 guests served, filmmaker George Motz and the team behind the NYC Food Film Festival are pleased to announce the first annual Chicago Food Film Festival, taking place September 24-25 at the MCA Warehouse. Packed with mouth-watering documentaries, features, short films and food, the festival brings you the opportunity to taste what you see on screen for a multi-sensory, full-bodied experience. Kicking off with Edible Adventure #002 on September 24th, each film is paired with a tasting of its subject matter. Nuggets of fried cheese curds, corn dogs, and other fair foods are served with the film Eat Your Fill, directed by Mark Irving, where a man eats every menu item that is fried and/or on

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Sally Tomato’s Toy Room (2010) Film Review

Sally Tomato’s rock opera, Toy Room, arrived with a cover that boasted of four acts and ten accumulated laurels from the 2009 festival circuit. I pretty much always watch rock operas with hesitation, for their qualities are largely determined by the quality of their music. Toy Room was met with similar levels of hesitation. The music of Toy Room is mostly competent, falling under all genres, from synthpop and alternative to hard rock and new age. There’s even an electronic track replete with Autotune! Not all of it is top-notch, but there are a couple songs that stand out; the rest are generic songwriting central, but they seem to fit pretty well with this film. Take that as you will.

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Mogwai’s Burning (2010) Film Review

Mogwai’s claim for being the “loudest live band on the planet” gets thrown around quite often — and why shouldn’t it? If your band is reliant on distortion, just crank those knobs and make some eardrums bleed. That is, at least, the mentality for a lot of bands. And while the Scottish post-rock tour de force Mogwai don’t quite fit into that mentality, they are one of the loudest live bands you’ll ever see — a fact that is no doubt agreed upon by everyone who has witnessed the sonic force. Burning was recorded over three shows Mogwai played in April of 2009 in Brooklyn, New York City. The subsequent black and white film by Le Blogotheque directors Vincent Moon

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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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