Posts Tagged ‘Paradise Broken


Go See Kinetic Films at Consolidated Pearlridge This Week


Outside of HIFF, it feels like there are hardly any opportunities for local filmmakers to showcase some of the great work that they create at home here in Hawaii (or for local moviegoers to see locally made films). That is why local production company Kinetic Films and local theater chain Consolidated Theatres have partnered together to bring three local films to the big screen this coming week.

Paradise Broken, 6B, and Hang Loose are all homegrown productions from Kinetic Productions that tell local stories and showcase local talent both in front of and behind the camera. Here are the synopsis for each, along with our take and ratings for each film from previous Hawaii International Film Festival screenings.

Paradise Broken – 4/5 stars


Synopsis (via

This award winning gritty drama delves into the darker side of paradise and features cult legend Dante Basco and Hollywood actor Khalil Kain. As the sun sets and the sightseers retire for the evening, two drug addicts must work the back alleys of Waikiki to make their modest dreams come true. But after the couple has a big blow out, the regretful Ray searches for a pregnant Misha while she faces off against her abusive father and a kingpin pimp of Waikiki. Although Ray and Misha try to rise above the powers that bring them down, their split may have been the only chance they had to survive.

Our Thoughts from HIFF 2011:

It was the fact that these characters could be people I know. They were walking along sidewalks and streets I myself have walked on. How could this not be real? . . . I’ve always been of the mind that good movies will entertain you, but a great movie will engage and challenge what you think. I don’t want to sound naive, but Paradise Broken definitely made me think about the things we don’t see and that probably do happen so close to home–because of that, this is a film you definitely won’t want to miss.

6B – 3.5/5 stars


Synopsis (via

Experience four unique short films about Hawaii in this anthology revolving around the room, 6B. Each of the four stories examines a darker side of island life: a man struggling with drug addiction has a revelation about his identity; an ex-con must enter an underground poker game to reunite with his daughter; a young woman befriends her neighbor, a former hit man; and a Japanese American family of 3 generations deals with an impending tsunami. 6B features an all-Hawaii cast, crew, and production.

Our Thoughts:

The most diverse out of the three features, 6B will give you a little bit of everything as it is an anthology of four shot films directed by four local filmmakers: Nathan Kurosawa, Ryan Kawamoto, Roy Kimura, and Jay Hanamura. All are dramas, but each piece of the anthology has its own unique style and flair to local storytelling. Also, since 6B is four films in one, you’ll be hard-pressed to recognize you know whether it be a local actor/celebrity, family member, or even a friend.

Hang Loose – 3/5 stars


Synopsis (via

Hang Loose this Spring Break with this coming of age comedy featuring local fave Augie T, YouTube sensation KevJumba and 21 AND OVER’s Justin Chon. Kevin is an average, conservative Asian-American male. Fresh out of high school, he flies to Hawai’ to attend the wedding of his big sister. The day before the wedding, he meets his future brother in law (Dante Basco, HOOK, THE DEBUT) and they head out for a bachelor party with his frat boy groomsmen. A misunderstanding with a notorious drug dealer leads to one crazy night and a series of misadventures that will change Kevin’s life forever.

Our Thoughts from HIFF 2012:

Kevin Wu and Dante Basco were perfectly fine in their roles here, with Basco even stealing scenes a few times . . . I myself hung loose and just went with it and had a few laughs in the process.

Definitely the most accessible of the three presentations, go with Hang Loose if you’re looking for something lighter and fun before venturing into more serious fare with 6B and Paradise Broken.

The Where and When . . .

The Basco brothers, Ryan Kawamoto, and James Sereno at last night's premiere at Ward.

The Basco brothers, Ryan Kawamoto, and James Sereno at last night’s premiere at Ward.

All three films will be shown at Consolidated Threatres’ Pearlridge West 16 starting today for at least a one week engagement (longer if us locals go out and pack the house). Tickets can be purchased at the Consolidated Pearlridge West 16 box office or online at Tonight (March 15) from 5:00-8:45pm, Hang Loose stars Dante Basco and Justin Chon will be on hand for an autograph session at the theaters. If you want to hear more about the special showcase from the creators themselves, both James Sereno and Ryan Kawamoto of Kinetic were on KITV yesterday morning to talk about the films and the work that Kinetic does:

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Paradise Broken (No Rating, 1h 46m), 6B (No Rating, 1h 53m), and (No Rating, 1h 33m) are now playing at Consolidated Pearlridge West 16.


HIFF 2011: Hodgepodge & Festival Wrap Up

I know, I know, I’m still writing stuff on HIFF. It’s such a huge film event here in Hawaii that it warrants a lot of coverage by a movie blog based in Hawaii. I promise you though that this will be pretty much the last post on this year’s festival. So please, bear with me as I put down a few more thoughts on the closing days of HIFF 31 in order to try and wrap things up.

Final Entry into the Diary of a HIFF Volunteer

So my last day/s of volunteering didn’t provide as much writing material and hence, this small section is going to close out my experience working as a volunteer at this year’s festival. The one thing I did want to mention again, is that you can end up working with some really cool people as a volunteer.

HIFF volunteers direct festival attendees to the appropriate theater.

On the lone Tuesday night of the festival, I was put into this team of three and we were posted at theater 12. Sadly I can’t remember my teammates names, but it was me, this other guy that I had worked with on Saturday, and this girl. I don’t know how it came up, but it eventually came out that we were all the same age as we were all born in 1980. I mean, I’m sure the odds of something like that happening were way more possible than say me winning the lottery, but at the time I found it pretty striking. With some common ground between us, we started chatting away as we worked.

Of course, the conversation turned towards where we lived and where we were from. Through all of our conversation up until this point I had just assumed that we were all locals. Nothing that anyone had said would have given me reason to think otherwise. However, the other guy in our group told us that he was originally from Houston, Texas. This sparked an amazing conversation on how he came to be in Hawaii and of his travels around the world.

It started off with the usual questions; we asked him what he was doing here in Hawaii, how long he had been here, where he was before he came here. Come to find out that he was watching his friend’s house while he was deployed. Since his friend had a car as well, he even had a car to get around in. How he got here was pretty cool too (figuratively, not literally). Basically his friend called him up towards the end of last year and asked if him if he wanted to live in Hawaii while he was deployed. At the time he was finishing up his stay in Australia and he didn’t really have anything else to do so he took his friend up on his offer.

Naturally the question of “well what were doing in Australia” came up. This pretty much lead into a whirlwind tour of my teammate’s travels around the world. He told us that he was in Australia for volunteer work and it was through the volunteer service that placed him there that he’d traveled all over. He then told us about his experience volunteering in Ethiopia, what life was like there, and about the Internet cafes they had there. The whole time I was listening I was pretty amazed. He was such a low key guy and he had these interesting stories about where he’d been. He even told us that he was a fugitive in Australia. He got fined for trespassing down there and he was supposed to appear in court. The thing was, his court date was a week or two after his flight to Hawaii. He said they’d probably never let him back into the country for skipping town, but he wasn’t heartbroken about it since he had already seen the country and didn’t really need to go back.

Teammates, volunteers, festival friends, call them what you will. You meet these people possibly one night out of the festival and never see them again till the spring or the following year. Working with a good group of people will make the time just fly by while working with not so great people . . . well, let’s just say that’ll probably make for some fun stories. Whatever the case may be, you’re going to meet interesting people when you volunteer at HIFF.

George Clooney at HIFF

The George Clooney cardboard cutout was a big hit on the final night of the festival.

Going into the festival, I (along with everyone else) knew that Descendants director, Alexander Payne, was going to be here for closing night. It was reported by the Star-Advertiser and other media outlets. Hollywood film, shot in Hawaii, about Hawaii, and the director was going to be here to receive an award and talk about the film . . . yeah, even before the festival started you knew closing night was going to be crazy.

What I wasn’t expecting though, was the rumor mill buzzing about how George Clooney might be coming to the festival as well. I heard people talking about this from opening night! No one really knew for sure if he was coming, but it seemed as if everyone had heard from someone that an effort had been made to bring him out here. Now I’m sure Clooney was reached out to and asked to attend, however from the way people were talking about it, it seemed as if everyone thought he would make an appearance and that it was just this secret that was under wraps.

I knew from the beginning that Clooney wasn’t going to be here. There’s no way something like that could be kept a secret, it would have been reported somewhere. And also, this isn’t Telluride or Comic-Con where stuff is kept secret up until the moment it happens. No, if Clooney was coming, everyone would know.

Fast forward to closing night. I didn’t know it as we walked through the lobby, but George Clooney did show up for this year’s HIFF. He was in the lobby in front of the HIFF sponsor backdrop posing for pictures with guests. Ok, well, it wasn’t the real George Clooney, it was a cardboard cutout of him. It was really fun to see everyone wanting to take their pictures with the cutout and I thought it was a really great way to use the buzz surrounding the rumors of his appearance to engage festival attendees.

So just how did the festival get “Clooney” to show up? Festival director Joshua Nye said he had a brainstorm Friday night about the Clooney cutout and rushed out to get it made in time for the closing night film on Sunday.

Thoughts on The Descendants

And what of the closing night film itself? Call me a homer, but I loved The Descendants. I thought Clooney was great in the lead role of Matt King and I especially liked the relationship that he had with his daughters. Overall I thought the entire ensemble cast did good job, even down to Matt Lilliard who, when I saw his name come up in the opening credits I was like, “Ugh, not the guy from Scooby Doo!” However, I thought he had a great understated performance that didn’t make me think about his previous roles.

During the post film Q&A with director Alexander Payne, he talked a lot about how he wanted to get things right about Hawaii and even went so far as to live here for a few months before shooting began to get a good feel for Hawaii. All of Payne’s hard work definitely shows in the film. The way that our local lifestyle is depicted, from family gatherings, right down to the main character of Matt King–everything felt pretty authentic to me. I personally don’t know anyone like Matt King, but there are people like that here. They may not look local, or they may not act local, but they ARE local. And it was things like that that I appreciated from the film.

Anytime you have a film with George Clooney claiming Hawaiian, I’ll take that movie any day of the week. So yeah, like a lot of other locals, I really enjoyed The Descendants and I’m putting it in my Top 10 films of 2011.

Closing Thought’s on this Year’s Festival

Overall I had a really great experience this year, from both working as a volunteer and as a festival goer. If I had to say, I think I enjoyed more of the festival this year than I did last year. From the perspective of the blog, I definitely covered more than I have in the past. Things were really going good in the beginning when I had five or six days of consecutive posts and for a brief time I thought I could keep that pace. Sadly though reality eventually set in and I decided to choose sleep (and other real world responsibilities) over posting.

As for the final count of films that I saw, I believe the count stands at seven:

  • Paradise Broken
  • 6B
  • Martha Marcy May Marlene
  • Elite Squad: The Enemy Within
  • Knots
  • Bullhead
  • The Descendants

Though I didn’t get to see everything that I wanted to, which would have been physically impossible, I do know which films I want to look out for should they make their way to theaters within the next few month or appear on Netflix.

One takeaway from this year’s festival that will stand out for me is what local filmmakers are doing here in Hawaii. I’ve always been hesitant to check out local productions only because for such a long time there hasn’t been anything all that great. From commercials to the stuff on OC16, there is a lot of locally produced stuff that is really lame, kinda cheesy, or just plain tacky–and it was because of all of this that turned me off from local productions. Paradise Broken changed all that. It made me realize that we do have people who are doing great things in Hawaii. Like anything else, some things are going to be better than others and if you search for it, you will find quality work and storytelling going on here.

So I think that’s going to do it for this year’s Hawaii International Film Festival. Definitely some good times. If you enjoyed the festival this year or if you have anything to add, go ahead and hit me up in the comments.


Catch up with other closing thoughts from this year’s Hawaii International Film Festival from other local bloggers:


HIFF 2011: Thoughts on Paradise Broken

Dante Basco and Nadine Nicole star as Ray and Misha, two drug addicts who battle the Waikiki underworld as they try to make their modest dreams come true in Paradise Broken.

I like movies. I guess that goes without saying since I have a movie blog. But just what is it about movies that I like so much? I guess this is something I should have written about already. However, I bring it up now because it relates to my viewing of Paradise Broken so please, bear with me.

Probably one of the biggest reasons why I like movies so much is because they take me to places I’ve never seen and are able to show me things I would never do. Traveling into space on a starship, discovering the Ark of the Covenant, traveling to the past in a DeLorean, working for the mob, and even bringing back dinosaurs . . . watching movies makes all of this is possible. I know, I know, ultimately it’s all fake and a lot of “movie magic.” However, I’d like to think of movies as modern day fables or legends in that some way, they have to be based on some fact or truth, something real or something tangible.

But what happens when a movie takes you somewhere you already are? Somewhere you already live? What then?

That’s the dilemma I encountered while watching Paradise Broken. This wasn’t a movie that took me somewhere I had never been or a place I wouldn’t go. It was here. In Hawaii. In Honolulu. Now, I’ve seen local shows and hell, topics covered in the film can crop up on the news or read in the newspapers. How is all that so different than seeing the protagonists, Ray and Misha, on screen? Like I mentioned earlier, movies aren’t real so why did this feel so different? It’s because, like I said, movies are in some way based on something real.

Getting to the heart of the matter, I didn’t know how to feel about the film and more specifically, how I should feel about what I was watching. Now let’s be clear here, I understood “the plot” of the film, you have a couple with a drug addiction almost at the end of their rope trying to live and trying to survive in Hawaii. I got that. I understood what the stakes were and I wasn’t uncomfortable with that. I don’t consider myself sheltered or privileged, but like anywhere else in the world I know bad things happen here, to all kinds of people. Everything is not like those postcards Ray talks about in the beginning of the film.

It was the fact that these characters could be people I know. They were walking along sidewalks and streets I myself have walked on. How could this not be real? By the end of the film, it definitely had me asking questions like; is the way Hawaii depicted in the film really how it is for some people? Do people live like that? Do people make those kinds of decisions? Sadly I had to come to the conclusion that it might be a possibility.

It’s hard for me to express exactly how I feel about this movie, on the one hand I’m not shocked by what I saw, on the other hand I can’t deny that the film left me feeling a bit unsettled since this was . . . is, home–and that was probably the scariest part.

I’ve always been of the mind that good movies will entertain you, but a great movie will engage and challenge what you think. I don’t want to sound naive, but Paradise Broken definitely made me think about the things we don’t see and that probably do happen so close to home–because of that, this is a film you definitely won’t want to miss.


Paradise Broken makes its world premiere tonight, 9:30pm at the Hawaii International Film Festival. As of this posting tickets are still available.


HIFF 2011: News Roundup – Oct 13

News Roundup is a collection of news stories and posts on HIFF 31 culled from print and online media.

To kick off opening day of HIFF 31 we start off from a post from Matt DeKneef over at the HIFF Blog who gives us some perspective on the general festival structure and the “Opening Night” film:

They [opening night film, centerpiece, closing night film] add a sense of form and structure to the fun-in-the-chaos that is HIFF. Since the OPENING NIGHT FILM is tomorrow, some myths we want to clean up . . .

  1. Opening Night doesn’t mean this is the first film of the festival.
  2. Opening Night is not sold out. Yet.
  3. Opening Night doesn’t screen more than once.

Just remember to apply Rule #3 to the Centerpiece and Closing Night films as well.

Over at (a division of the Honolulu Star Advertiser) they have a bunch of reviews up for films that are being shown early on in the festival. Features reporter Gary Chun kicks things off with his review of HIFF’s Opening Night Film, a Korean war movie The Front Line:

The film is riveting because it presents the war without false glory and fanfare. There are no bravura, patriotic moments. It’s a slog through a brutal war that leaves everyone, including the audience, emotionally spent at the end.

They also have reviews up for Together, Sabi Sabi, A People Uncounted, and Marathon Boy. I think they’re posting reviews daily so be sure check back for reviews of other HIFF films. Star Advertiser Cel Shaded columnist Jason Yadao has a second Sabi Sabi review for the paper here.

Over at the Honolulu Weekly, Ryan Senaga talks about how there’s something for everyone at this year’s festival and opens with HIFF’s long run of 31 years:

In this age of economic downturn, it’s awe-inspiring when something–anything–in the local arts community lasts for 31 years. Hell, it’s shocking when something in the arts and entertainment sector lasts for even 31 days. Thus, rejoice. The Hawaii International Film Festival Presented by Halekulani celebrates three decades (plus one year) with 216 films, all with the usual eclectic cultural flavors. (Love that logo with the maneki neko holding the flip recorder.)

Senaga possibly has the inside track on the best films of HIFF with programming director Anderson Le giving his 10 picks at this year’s HIFF. Sorry, you’re gonna have to click the link above to see Anderson’s list.

Breaking into section categories, David Nishimoto with the Honolulu Examiner previews the local films in this year’s festival:

But besides The Descendants, I am mostly looking to see what Hawaii’s own local filmmakers have in store for their audience. This year, there are about seven original films made within the state. Among them are a pair of anthology films, a documentary, and dark drama showcasing the underground world of paradise.

Nishimoto goes on to talk about Paradise Broken and the rest of the films that were produced and shot here in Hawaii.

With more from on the Hawaii section, StarAdvertiser film & television reporter Mike Gordon writes about 6B and The Short List, two anthology films produced by two local production companies:

Included in the Hawaii International Film Festival’s “Made In Hawaii” collection of local films this year are two anthologies — “6B” from Kinetic Films and “The Short List” from TalkStory Productions.

HIFF has often served as a venue to showcase homegrown talent and the two anthologies include nine short films by different Hawaii directors.

Head over there to read up on who all the directors are as well as the titles of the shorts in the anthologies.

Over at the Chinatown Newspaper, this month’s issue is dedicated to HIFF, with a special focus on the HIFF Extreme section. HIFF programming director Anderson Le provides a little insight into just what HIFF Extreme is:

As genre fans come out of the woodwork, HIFF EXTREME, a new section that is essentially a consolidation of our former sub-sections EXTREME ASIA and AFTER DARK, is a safe home for the miscreants and deviants of midnight movies from around the world! Full of sex, violence and stretching the barriers of taste and tolerance, HIFF goes for the EXTREME.

Head over there for the rest of Anderson’s description as well as an interview with UH’s ACM chair professor Tom Brislin, HIFF’s executive director Chuck Boller on being like George Clooney, and more on HIFF EXTREME.


HIFF 2011: Must See Preview Pt 2

So since today is going to be kind of a “long blog post” kind of day, we’re going to just jump right into things. Be sure to check out part 1 of the Must See Preview for my number 4-10 most anticipated films at this year’s HIFF.


Top 3 Most Anticipated Films

1) Elite Squad: The Enemy Within

Trailer // HIFF Page // Official Website // Facebook // Twitter

The Enemy Within is a sequel to the 2007 film The Elite Squad. The film is a continuation of the semi-fictional account of the Special Police Operations Battalion of the Rio de Janeiro Military Police. The plot resolves around the maturing Lt Col. Nascimento, who, after a disastrous operation on a prison riot, gets caught in a bloody political dispute that involves not only the Public Safety Departament, the State governor, State Military Police, and paramilitary militia groups. The movie also shows the family issues of Nascimento, with his now adolescent son gradually moving away from him due to his job and the influence of his stepfather. (via

Why I Want to See It:
Everything I have read and seen about this film points to it being really awesome. The trailer is pretty enticing with the right amount of action and basic story setup. The HIFF description talks up its popularity in its home country of Brazil and supports what’s in the trailer by talking about the good mix of action and drama. The film was so popular in Brazil that they’ve submitted it as their selection for the Best Foreign Language Film category for next year’s Academy Awards. It’s also played on the festival circuit this year, and while it hasn’t really won awards, it’s gotten a ton of praise from movie bloggers (/Film, Film School Rejects). With the film being talked up so much, it’s no wonder that director Jose Padilha has been tapped to helm the long gestating Robocop reboot. With all the praise this film and the filmmaker is getting for Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, this definitely my top choice for this year’s fest.

2) Headhunters

Trailer // HIFF Page

An accomplished art thief risks everything to obtain a valuable painting owned by a former mercenary. (via

Why I Want to See It:
Leave it to the Norwegians to give us more gritty crime thrillers. Headhunters is actually adapted off of a book by a Norwegian author that was adapted into a Norwegian film. Stop me if that sounds familiar. While the film’s pedigree shares a lot in common with the Millennium Trilogy (the same production company that produced the Norwegian version of that series also produced Headhunters), to me it seems as if Headhunters is a lot more action packed and a lot more gripping. Usually for a lot of these trailers for HIFF films, they are mostly in the native language that the film is from (meaning no English subtitles). As is the case you mainly have to infer and absorb what is going on in the trailer just from a visual perspective with the actors’ inflections as your only additional clue as to what might be going on. That’s not the case for the Headhunters trailer. The entire time I was transfixed and felt that I knew exactly what was going on even though the entire thing was in another language.

3) Red Dog

Trailer // HIFF Page // Official Website

Based on the legendary true story of the Red Dog who united a disparate local community while roaming the Australian outback in search of his long lost master.

Why I Want to See It:
Ok, so I’ve already talked about this film in my initial blog post about the first 14. However, I’ll simply say this . . . anyone who is a pet owner can back up the fact that a pet can be just like any human. Pets have feelings, they have moods, they even speak to you without having to say anything. This is the biggest reason why I really want to see this film. Red Dog illustrates why humans have pets and why we are so attached to them. From everything I’ve just described about pets, you get a great sense of that from seeing Red Dog in the trailer. This is more than just seeing a cute dog in a movie. It’s about identifying with this special bond that people have with animals.


Just Missed the List

These next few films just missed making the cut for my top ten list. Don’t think these films are bad because they didn’t make it, I actually think they’re still pretty good and would still see these as well. It’s just one of those things when you’re making lists . . . where do you draw the line? I liken these three picks to being Oscar nominees, in the end only one person/film can win. Being in the conversation is definitely not a bad thing.

Paradise Broken (right, top)
Not going to lie, the trailer for the film is pretty sexy. It’s actually quite weird to have a trailer that “looks” like it’s for a Hollywood film, but then you see Waikiki or the Ala Wai in the background and then you’re like, “hey, that’s here.”// Trailer // HIFF Page // Official Site

Why It Just Missed the Cut:
Granted, the subject matter isn’t something an island resident likes to think about (or maybe I just don’t want to), but the story just isn’t speaking to me enough (enough to get in the top 10 anyway). However, the visuals are great and I’m definitely intrigued by the film.

The Forgiveness of Blood (bottom right)
What really struck me was that this film is from the director of Maria Full of Grace. The man can up and shoot just about anywhere. The trailer isn’t anything too special, but you can definitely see similar workmanship between ‘Blood’ and ‘Maria.’ What this film also had going for it was that up until Monday it was Albania’s Oscar submission for the Foreign Language category. I say was because a petition was filed against the film and now it’s been DQ’d from Oscar consideration. // Trailer // HIFF Page

Why It Just Missed the Cut:
This decision came down to pure scheduling conflicts. There’s only one screening of this film and it just happens to coincide with Elite Squad. Since Elite Squad is my first pick, I dropped this one off the list. I know it’s kind of a flimsy argument, but like I said, when you’re whittling down your list, sometimes it’s all you have to go by.

Knots (left)
Aside from Red Dog, this was the only other title in contention that was more on the lighthearted side. Everything else has been a pretty serious pick up until now. Shot locally and starring some notable actors, I can’t decide if it’s a romantic comedy, or a dramatic comedy. // Trailer // HIFF Page // Facebook

Why It Just Missed the Cut:
While I like the story and the people in it, something about the trailer just didn’t connect with me. I can’t really put my finger on it but it just didn’t pull everything together. Now I know that it’s really harsh to judge a film by its trailer. However, this is a film festival we’re talking about here and there are over 200 films to see. How do you stand out in a crowd like that? Show me a mind blowing trailer.


Other Film Notes

So after the top ten, after the films that were just left off the list, these bunch of films were briefly looked over, but ultimately didn’t make it into contention.

33 Postcards–interesting dramatic story and it’s got Guy Pearce in it.

Butter–a last minute addition to HIFF, the film is about a butter carving competition in Iowa that has political undertones. The film is a Hollywood picture that stars Jennifer Garner and Olivia Wilde that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival just last month to lukewarm reviews and a media dust up due to a statement by Wilde on behalf of its distributor, The Weinstein Co;

The Bengali Detective–interesting hook about how people hire private investigators because the police in India are overwhelmed, also focuses on one detective who has a job moonlighting as a dancer?

Bullhead–”Animal feed thriller.” I never knew there was such a thing. Whatever the case the film definitely has a taut and suspenseful vibe to it. Oh yeah, it’s also Belgium’s submission for the Foreign Language Oscar as well.

Cannonball Wedlock–A Japanese RomCom that looks pretty funny and quirky. Myong Choi, Nonstop Honolulu’s resident movie guy, has it on his list of films to see at HIFF. We’re definitely interested as well, and could be a fun date movie at the festival.

Delhi Belly–Could be an interesting action comedy.

Kill List–Freaky deaky hitman movie from across the pond. Once you’re in, there’s no backing out.

Le Havre–I keep hearing good things about this movie. HIFF programmer Anderson Le has it on his list of films to see at HIFF and it even got a shout-out from Chicago film critic Michael Phillips. It’s gotta be pretty decent with all that praise and being France’s Oscar Foreign Language submission to boot.

Punished–Chinese revenge film. Not sure it’s the same as a Korean revenge film, but it’s got some action and one pissed off dude in it.

Smuggler–Part of the HIFF Extreme section, the movie looks like it could be a fun Japanese action flick.

Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale–It’s über long (290 minutes), but looks über awesome. Kind of reminds me of a Taiwanese version of Braveheart . . . just without Mel Gibson.


Must See Events

The Karate Kid Part II

1980s nostalgia seems to be everywhere these days and what better way to showcase it than with a film that was shot in Hawaii. Every time I drive by a certain stretch of road along Kam Highway at the beginning of Kahalu’u, it always gets me thinking of Karate Kid II (certain outdoor scenes were shot out there and you can see it from the highway). While I haven’t seen the film in ages, it should be fun to see it again in a theater with people who enjoy the film. Actress Tamlyn Tomita, who played Daniel-san’s love interest in the film, will be on hand to do a post film Q&A.

Super 8 + Michael Giacchino

This is actually a pretty interesting screening to attend. While Super 8 was the JJ Abrams’ summer nostalgia movie that was just in theaters as little as four months ago, it’s actually the post film Q&A with Giacchino that I think is going to bring out people to this film. While Giacchino might not be as recognizable of a name as John Williams (composer for Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Superman), Giacchino is definitely making a name for himself and building a solid resume with composing credits on LOST, a number of Disney Pixar films, Mission Impossible 3 & 4, and obviously Super 8. The man does have a unique style (not to mention an Oscar for his work for original Score in UP) and hearing what he has to say about the Super 8 production and JJ Abrams should enhance the film experience.

Roundtable Discussion with Top Composers
Music and score definitely add a lot to a film. It can set the mood, convey feelings, and it can also take you out of a movie as well. With that in mind, HIFF has gathered five composers with cinema background to discuss what it’s like to compose music for a motion picture and the decision and planning that’s involved. Should be really insightful.

An Afternoon with Hawaii 5-0
Saving the best for last, I’m not sure what’s going to be bigger at this year’s fest: the closing night film The Descendants with Alexander Payne Q&A, or the Hawaii 5-0 panel at the Halekulani. I won’t be surprised if it’s the latter. I’m of the opinion that the local Hawaii 5-0 fan base has a more devoted and rabid following than our other most recent TV series LOST. As of this posting, I’m actually kind of surprised that the free panel hasn’t yet sold out (you still need to go online and get tickets). I’d figure the 5-0 fans would have snatched up all the seats to grab a glimpse of their favorite stars and potentially lead producer Peter Lenkov talk about what it’s like to put on this series. One thing I will guarantee, if you don’t get your ticket sooner rather than later, this panel will sell out.


Phew. After all that there’s nothing really left to do but go out and see some movies. Through the ten days of the fest, I hope to work four, maybe five days as a festival volunteer. If you’re lucky you might catch me out on the front lines working Theater Ops–it’s the only place to be and it’s where all the action is. For the other five days, I’m not quite sure. I have a few work commitments that will take me away from the festival for a few days, but if I can help it, I’m going to try to see as much as I can.

The festival starts tomorrow and like many, I still haven’t determined what I’m going to be seeing. Yeah, I made up this list of films ‘I’d like to see,’ but reality doesn’t always meet expectations I’ve come to learn. You just have to make most of what you have. If you’ve followed me this far through the post I’d love to know what you’re going to see at this year fest OR if there’s something I blatantly left off my list I give you full permission to set me straight in the comments below.

So, until next time, happy HIFFing!

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