Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Taking Inventory as of March 28

I went 8-0 in March; I saw eight films and would recommend all of them. I saw seven at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF) and The Rules of the Game.

Summer Palace; Chinese with subtitles; (2006)
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time; Japanese with subtitles; (2006)
Mistress of Spices with Aishwarya Rai; (2005)
Shanghai Kiss with Kelly Hu; (2007)
Pavement Buttlerfly with Anna May Wong, directed by Richard Eichberg; Silent film; (1929)
King and the Clown; Korean with subtitles; (2005)
Hollywood Chinese; documentary directed by Arthur Dong; (2007)

Non-Festival Film:
The Rules of the Game directed by Jean Renoir; French with subtitles; (1939)

I saw all eight films at the Castro Theater.

A few tidbits. Mistress of Spices was directed by Paul Mayeda Berges, the husband of Gurinder Chadha (the director of Bend it Like Beckham). They met at a previous SFIAAFF (I can't recall the year). It may have been the year that Bend it Like Beckham played at SFIAAFF.

Also, Mistress of Spices was filmed near where I used to work. In the film, the stunning Aishwarya Rai plays a mystical woman that runs a spice shop. The shop's exterior is on Washington St. (between 7th & 8th Streets) in the area called Old Oakland. If you can't quite place it, Washington is parallel & one block over from Broadway. The most prominent landmark in the area is the Marriott on Broadway between 10th & 11th. I used to work at 9th and Washington. I saw my old office window in one shot (2nd floor, 3rd window from the corner, along Washington).

Hannibal Chew was in two of the SFIAAFF films that I saw. James Hong played the alcoholic father in Shanghai Kiss. He was also a talking head in Hollywood Chinese. Jason Wiener went to see Big Trouble in Little China in which Hong plays the main villain. I would have liked to have seen that movie on the big screen but it didn't start until 11 PM.

I am still without a computer. I'm writing this via an internet cafe that my gym provides to its members. Hopefully, I'll be up & running this week. There was quite a delay in getting my laptop fixed. First, I futzed around with it for a few days hoping I could reinstall the OS. Then it took Geek Squad a week to tell me that my hard drive was toast and nothing could be recovered. Finally, it took a week for me to decide on a desktop or a laptop (I was busy with other things). I decided to go cheap & stick with my XP laptop. I want to wait for the Vista bugs to be worked out.

I don't think I'll see anymore movies this month. I'm busy planning a banquet on Saturday.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Down but not Out

My computer crashed so I don't have access to the internet at home. It's at the repair shop now. I hope they can recover the hard drive. It wouldn't boot up because it couldn't read the hard drive.

In addtion, I started a new job on March 5 so I was very busy in the weeks leading up to that trying to get some stuff done.

New job notwithstanding, it's been rough on me the last few weeks - the car was leaking brake fluid and that cost $900 to repair (new pads also), the computer crashed (no cost yet), I may have to buy a new computer if the old one can't be repaired (I don't want to switch to Vista yet because a lot of software and peripherals aren't working on Vista), I'm organizing a banquet for my professional society, I feel overwhelmed at my new job, and I haven't had time to go to the movies (much less write about them).

I'd like to see Black Snake Moan. In addition, the Castro is showing Jean Renoir's The Rules of the Game (1939). The San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival starts Thursday (March 15) and I haven't bought any tickets. I've barely been able to peruse the program guide. One film that looked interesting is the Japanamine The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006).

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Taking Inventory as of February 28

Here is a list of films I've seen since January 1. I have listed the year the movie was made because frequently people will ask me some variation of "Is that a real movie or one of those old ones you like to watch?"

As you can see, I've been more busy watching films than writing about them. By my count, I saw 61 films in 59 days. Many of those films were parts of film festivals or double features. Believe it or not, I wanted to see several more films but time did not allow - The Makioka Sisters (1983), a Hitchcock double feature consisting of The 39 Steps (1935) & The Lady Vanishes (1938), and 2006 Oscars nominees The Last King of Scotland & Pan's Labyrinth.


Inland Empire directed by David Lynch with Laura Dern and Jeremy Irons; (2006)
Dance Pary USA (2006)
Viva; (2007)
Rock'n Tokyo; (2006)
Desperate Measures - Short Film Compilation
Green Mind, Metal Bats - Japanese with English Subtitles; (2006)
Inframan Produced by the Shaw Brothers, Dubbed in English; (1975)
Dante's Inferno with the voices of Dermot Mulroney and James Cromwell, paper puppets; (2007)
The Mermaid of the River Plate 40 minute film based on Charles Bukowski's Copulating Mermaids of Venice, CA; (2007)
Ballad of Greenwich Village, interviews with Norman Mailer, Tim Robbins, Maya Angelou, Woody Allen, et al.; (2006)
Ten Canoes Ganadingu (Australian Aboriginal language) with English Subtitles; (2006)
Special (Creepy) Talents - Short Film Compilation
Stalking Santa - mocumentary narrated by William Shatner; (2006)
Breath, Death and Prayer - Short Film Compilation
Yellow; (2006)
The Substance of Things Hoped For; (2007)
Unholy Women Japanese with English Subtitles; (2006)
The Shore; (2005)
Animation Amalgamation - Short Film Compilation
Cutting Edge; (2006)
The Hawk is Dying with Paul Giamatti; (2006)
Ripple in the Wind; (2007)
Gobshite; (2006)
The Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell; (2006)
Neighborhood Watch; (2005)
All the Lonely People - Short Film Compilation
Fido with Carrie-Anne Moss, Billy Connolly; (2006)
Your Mommy Kills Animals; (2007)
25-Cent Preview; (2007)

Noir City 5 (Film Noir Festival):

Raw Deal (1948)
Kid Glove Killer (1942)
Cry Danger (1951)
Abandoned (1949)
99 River Street (1953)
Hell's Half Acre (1954)
The Threat (1949)
Roadblock (1951)
Framed with Glen Ford; (1947)
Affair in Trinidad with Rita Hayworth, Glen Ford; (1952)
Scarlet Street with Edward G. Robinson; (1945)
Wicked Woman (1953)
The Big Combo (1955)
The Spiritualist (1948)
I Walk Alone with Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas; (1948)
Kiss The Blood Off My Hands with Burt Lancaster, Joan Fontaine; (1948)
The Damned Don't Cry with Joan Crawford; (1950)
Possessed with Joan Crawford; (1947)

Robert Altman Retrospective:

The Long Goodbye with Elliott Gould and cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger; (1973)
California Split with Elliott Gould, George Segal; (1974)
Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson with Paul Newman, Burt Lancaster, Harvey Keitel; (1976)
Nashville with Lily Tomlin, Karen Black, Ned Beatty, Shelley Duvall; (1975)

Janus Films Retrospective:

Drunken Angel with Toshirô Mifune, directed by Akira Kurosawa; (1948)
Fires on the Plain directed by Kon Ichikawa; (1959)
La Belle et la bête (Beauty & the Beast) directed by Jean Cocteau; (1946)
The Seventh Seal with Max von Sydow, directed by Ingmar Bergman; (1957)
Kwaidan with Tetsuro Tamba, directed by Masaki Kobayashi; (1964) - Note: also titled Kaidan (Alternate Spelling)

Non-festival films:

Letters from Iwo Jima with Ken Watanabe, directed by Clint Eastwood; (2006)
The Pursuit of Happyness with Will Smith; (2006)
Casino Royale; (2006)
Breakfast at Tiffany's with Audrey Hepburn, directed by Blake Edwards; (1961)