This is a revised and expanded review based on a post from the critic’s defunct blog.
Brazilian director Alê Abreu’s charming feature Boy and the World finally gets a regular theatrical run after playing the festival circuit for the last couple of years. The film previously played in Seattle 20 months ago as part of the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival. Over those myriad screenings the film has garnered a windfall of goodwill, including winning numerous audience awards. In a sign of the diversity in this year’s Best Animated Feature field, it is conceivable that if Pixar’s Inside Out was not in the running, Boy and the World would have a legitimate chance at the Oscar. Continue reading “Boy and the World (Alê Abreu, 2013)”
Emily Ting’s romantic comedy opens this week at the Varsity Theatre, but we saw it last fall at the Vancouver International Film Festival (The title has inexplicably misplaced its “It’s” since then, which we are choosing to ignore). Here’s what we wrote about it back then:
Emily Ting’s It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong is a different kind of fantasy, one of ex-patriates in Hong Kong and, more distressingly, of indie filmmakers weaned on Before Sunrise. Jamie Chung plays an American from Los Angeles (her grandparents emigrated from Hong Kong) lost in the city who runs into a fellow American named Josh. He’s the Joshiest Josh in film history, working in finance but really, an aspiring novelist. Actor Bryan Greenberg looks like the child of Michael Rappaport and John Krasczinski, but with even worse hair than that implies. He shows her around, lets slip way too late in the evening that he has a girlfriend and the couple splits. . . only to reunite a year later for another walk (once again hitting places best seen in Wong Kar-wai and Johnnie To films) and faux-naturalistic conversation (and a trip to a bar to see a Hong Kong knock-off of Arcade Fire, which is exactly as appalling as that sounds). After a century of Parisian dominance, it’s clear to me that Hong Kong is the most cinematic city in the world, and it certainly doesn’t let Ting down. The film is gorgeous, the bright lights of Hong Kong providing enough inherent pleasure that one is able to overlook the constructed obviousness of the script and the bland nothingness that is Greenberg’s performance. Chung fares better, her lines are just as generic but she sells them with big eyes and a world-saving smile. Pretty as the city is, it’s a problem when during the romantic climax of your film, the most interesting thing on screen is the multi-layered play of lights on a taxi cab window. Not even a cameo from the great Richard Ng can bring it to life.
White guy living in Hong Kong meets an American woman of Chinese descent. The two hit it off but complications ensue when it is discovered they have other attachments. As a travelogue for the gorgeous city of Hong Kong, this works well enough, with depictions of the majestic skyline and bustling streets. As a romance or a comedy or a showcase for the art of acting, it is a failure.