Sundance 2015 Dispatch: The Daily Buzz Episode 3 + ADVANTAGEOUS is welcomed smart sci-fi

15301-2-1100With the Sundance Film Festival coming to a midpoint, it’s ironic that snow blizzards are not here in Park City and dumping major powder on the East Coast (hang in there, friends). The weather has been fantastic here, so I really can’t complain, especially when there’s been a high caliber of films playing this year.

On the Asian American front, ADVANTAGEOUS, a smartly written sci-fi film by Jennifer Phang, is one of my favorites at this year’s festival. Placed in the U.S. Dramatic competition section, the film stars Jacqueline Kim (deeply missed on the big screen) in a nuanced and career making performance as a single mother who goes through extreme strides to “better herself” via genetic manipulation for the sake of her daughter’s future. The film is set in a dystopian near future where women as a gender are straddled down by the government and their rights limited for the betterment of society. Although this film is sci-fi, it’s timeliness mirrors what women go through today around the world (yes, and this is 2015) from the GOP’s attempts to pass an abortion bill on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade to sexual assaults on college campuses, to the destructive culture of plastic surgery in Asian cultures.

Sundance 2015 Dispatch: Daily Buzz Podcast Episode 2 & Asian Pacific Film Experience Celebration

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Go ahead and click the photo above to view a larger file. Yesterday was an auspicious day as Asian Pacific filmmakers from the US and around the globe were honored at the 2015 Asian Pacific Filmmakers Experience in Park City, and it was a fun party. With an open bar, including some dangerous yet delicious moonshine, and appetizers, the annual party that celebrates Asian representation in Park City was held at the Mountain Trails Art Gallery at the top of Main Street.

Over 40+ artists had official films at both Sundance and Slamdance, which may seem not like much, but it was a stark improvement and shows that more quality Asian and Asian American films are being made. I’ll post official photos from the party, but in the meantime, here’s some shots from yesterday:

Sundance 2015 Dispatch: Daily Buzz Podcast Episodes 1, Strong Horror Fare & Coming-of-Age Stories

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Although today is Day 3 of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, it feels like I’ve been here a week already. Sundance is always a major scene and I’ve seen almost a dozen films already. If there were emerging themes from this year’s film program, then it would definitely be coming-of-age titles and a strong horror and midnight section.

THE WITCH broke out of the gates with rave reviews and a verisimilitude and authenticity, and also well crafted scares and slow burn horror that fits perfectly with this Salem era period piece that doesn’t do any smarmy metaphors and immediately sets in stone that yes, the witch is a witch, she’s evil and she’s there to tear some shit up.

Sundance 2015 Preview: A Banner Year for Asian American filmmakers?

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INDEPENDENTYOMYOMF will be reporting from the Sundance Film Festival, which kicks off tomorrow night through February 1st in Park City, Ogden, and Salt Lake City. Known as the mecca of American independent film, the Festival has jumpstarted many careers in the film industry and has become a discovery festival of artists and works that frame the American lexicon of filmed entertainment and pop culture.

Of course, YOMYOMF founder Justin Lin’s BETTER LUCK TOMORROW premiered there in 2002, where years later, Justin has returned to Sundance in various capacities, as an advisor, a juror, panelist, and sponsor. The 2015 edition of the festival is a landmark year for Asian Americans (much like the BLT year of 2002), with an unprecedented 30 Asian American artists, ranging from directors, to producers, cinematographers, and actors who will preside in Park City in the next 10 days via Sundance and also the Slamdance Film Festival.

Marvel’s AGENT CARTER ‘Time and Tide’ Episode Review

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As Agent Carter closes in on Howard Stark’s stolen technology, Peggy’s secret mission could unravel when the SSR arrests Jarvis and a secret is revealed. This week’s episode, titled “Time and Tide,” was more slower paced that last week’s back-to-back premieres of episodes 1 and 2. It explored more of the societal constraints of being a woman in 1946 with Peggy’s living situation at the woman’s dormitory where a tenant was kicked out because her boyfriend had snuck into her apartment the night before, to her covering up a crucial piece of evidence against Jarvis by perpetuating the fact that she misfiled something, which made the SSR’s case against Jarvis fall apart and all because she’s a stupid woman making her stupid woman mistakes.

DeNiro, DiCaprio and Scorsese hawk new Macau casino

Remember back in the day, before YouTube, when Hollywood stars could make some extra bucks (or a few million bucks) by hawking wacky stuff in international commercials? They would keep their anonymity because these commercials were rarely seen in the States.

Well, those days are over. Case-in-point, this new $70 million casino ad starring Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio (still basking from his most amazing summer ever with his beard and sumo knot) and Robert DeNiro.

Ka-ching!!!!

Check out this iPhone case that will make you look like a nunchaku wielding badass!

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I guess this product has been around for awhile, but it’s getting quite a lot of traction online in the last 24 hours. The Next Web featured the demo video for the iPhone Trick Cover, which is Made in Japan. They reviewer raved about it so much that he wished he didn’t already have a case for his iPhone 6.

So what’s the big deal? It’s essentially a case that has a flip cover, but what’s “cool” is that you can wield your iPhone like a butterfly knife or switchblade or nunchaku. I mean, I guess that’s cool. What do you guys think?

‘The Empress of China’ TV series returns, but it’s less filling

We wrote last week about the big budget TV series ‘The Empress of China’ was taken off the air in China because of censorship violations, mainly because of too much cleavage. The studio had a month to figure things out and re-edit the show to allow it to go back on the air. Here’s a quick reminder of that cleavage:

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Yeah, what’s the big deal, right?

Anyhoo, looks like the studio came up with a solution and the show is back on the air. Shanghaiist actually has some screenshots, which you can see below:

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And here’s the some before and after photos to illustrate the “changes:”

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Yep, they just zoomed in.

AGENT CARTER series premiere hits it out of the park

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MARVEL’s AGENT CARTER is a show worth checking out. Hayley Atwell reprises her role as Agent Peggy Carter whom first appeared in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER. She was one of the great things about that film and over the past four years, has popped up in a Marvel One-Shot short film, in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER and most recently, in some flashbacks in the current season of AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., which has been going through a rebuild year and churned out some very strong episodes before it went on winter hiatus.

Chinese TV drama ‘The Empress of China’ banned because deemed too sexy

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Is the Chinese government overreacting? TV broadcaster HNTV has stopped airing the popular Chinese TV drama “武媚娘” (The Empress of China) because it’s been deemed too racy, according to sources. The show has been heavily promoted as the most expensive TV drama ever, and also has an all-star roster with megastars like Fan Bingbing, Zhang Junning, Zhang Ting and Zhou Haimei as the leads.

However, shortly after the first episode aired on December 21, HNTV announced that the show would be taking a brief hiatus off the air and will return sometime next month. HNTV claimed that the suspension was due to some “technical issues”. However, informed sources claim that the actual reason for this suspension is because the female characters bosoms are too heaving. What do you guys think?

Do the Crayon Pop Christmas Jelly Leg Dance!

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WONDERLANDYes, Christmas is over, but I am so late in the game, catching up on my K-Pop for the year. KoreAm just listed 12 K-Pop Christmas songs and Crayon Pop’s “Lonely Christmas” was on the list.

I love Crayon Pop ever since their hit single “Bar Bar Bar” came out a couple of years ago. They’re the 21st century version of Pink Lady, a Japanese girl duo group that had minor success in the US, and an all female Power Rangers team. And they do simple, wonky dance moves that even I can do. And with “Lonely Christmas,” they’ve done it again with their “jelly leg” dance, which I think I am going to bust out on the dance floor next time. Watch out, ladies!

THE INTERVIEW Review: Rogen and Franco wear their welcome in lame attempt for political satire

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So this is how I watched THE INTERVIEW last night — I rented the HD version via Google Play, streamed it on my Chromecast and watched it on my TV.

With Sony doing a complete 180 by allowing independent movie theaters to screen THE INTERVIEW and by releasing it online for digital distribution on various platforms ranging from Google Play, to YouTube, to X-BOX 360, the schizophrenic back-and-forth of the controversial film’s release came to a close with a unique distribution plan that is usually modeled for indie movies and not major Hollywood projects. As more and more indie cinemas were added at the last minute, many heralded this as a ‘rah rah’ patriotic victory, waving the finger at North Korea for their feeble attempts to shut down “free speech.”