Author: Ada Wong

Canadian Film Fest 2017 Review: #AnAmericanDream

Making its Toronto debut as the opening film of this year’s Canadian Film Fest, #AnAmericanDream is the latest offering from Ken Finkleman, who is best known for his television series The Newsroom. #AnAmericanDream is a dark comedic journey, rife with social commentary and sardonic parodies, about a gullible young man as he journeys through the perils (or is it mainstays?) of modern day American society. #AnAmericanDream is reminiscent of a Choose Your Own Adventure book, in which something happens, then something else happens, and something else after that, but without much meaning or consequence overall. Supporting characters and events are...

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Review: Paula

Paula chronicles the short but dynamic life and career of Paula Modersohn-Becker, one of the pioneers of Expressionist painting. From her early days as a headstrong student in Worpswede, where she met husband and fellow artist Otto Modersohn, to her extended stays in Paris in the early 1900s where she was said to have produced her most compelling works. Similar to that of her career, the film Paula seems to meander and even stagnate in its earlier portions as it struggles to find significance and meaning. It is only in the final third of the movie that viewers will...

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Review: Sadie’s Last Days on Earth

Sadie Mitchell is a 16-year-old who struggles with anxiety, which reaches crippling levels after a school project in which she learns that the end of the world is near. She spends her days alternating between stockpiling for the apocalypse and trying to salvage her friendship with former best friend Brennan. When she forms an unlikely friendship with doting schoolmate Jack, who finds her idiosyncrasies quirky as opposed to neurotic, what starts out as the road to regained happiness quickly descends into total teenage torment. Michael Seater’s script is really smart, often too smart. While brimming with wit and sardonic humour delivered in rapid...

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Review: Sky on Fire

Sky on Fire, in title, draws on the legacy of Hong Kong action film heavyweight Ringo Lam’s box office success of the 1980s such as City on Fire and Prison on Fire. Joseph Chang and Amber Kuo portray siblings who become embroiled in a battle between pharmaceutical companies whilst they desperately seek a cure for her terminal cancer. Joining them are company chief security officer (Daniel Wu), and pharmaceutical heir (Zhang Ruoyun) as loyalties and morality become muddled in a fight for x-stem cells, justice, and a young girl’s life. While Ringo Lam remains a long way from his...

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EUFF 2016 Review: Mom and Other Loonies In the Family

Mom and Other Loonies in the Family is a multigenerational story featuring 94-year-old Berta, spanning four generations of family tales. Part wiry drama, part Hungarian history lesson, we experience the trials and tribulations of evolving values, religious persecution, and national identity through their experiences. Ibolya Fekete’s film tells not only of a single woman’s life but the history of the nation covering 100 years that include two world wars, a revolution, and other political and religious strife. She paints a picture of familiarity to many Hungarian and Central and Eastern European families, but one that is less familiar to...

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Review: Jean of the Joneses

Jean of the Jones is a multi-generation comedy centred around the women of a Brooklyn family. At the heart of it is Jean, a young writer fresh from a break-up who, together with her mother, aunts, and grandmother, must contend with a buried chapter of their past when a long estranged family member shows up at the door one day and then promptly dies. What we have here is some fresh and hilarious family dysfunction. More adult coming-of-age than feminist-themed despite its predominant female cast, it features a natural lead performance from Taylour Paige in the role of Jean....

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Reel Asian 2016 Review: Tsukiji Wonderland

The Tsukiji Fish Market is renown as being the biggest fish market in the world, a well deserved title but some feel that doesn’t even properly describe Tsukiji as it is in many aspects one of a kind. In Tsukiji Wonderland we get an in-depth look at the market and its inner-workings, from the 14,000 people that play various roles working within the market, to chefs who reap the benefits of their expertise, to researchers and archivists looking to encapsulate into words the magic that exists within this institution. Much of Tsukiji Wonderland feels like it’s dedicated to the...

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