OPENING NIGHT – A SUCCESS!!!
I arrived at the MAGNOLIA (the main venue along with the Angelika Dallas) the site of the 9th annual Asian Film Festival of Dallas opening night. The festival kicked off earlier in the day with its 2pm showing of SPARROW directed by energetic director Johnnie To. I was able to see two films tonight.
The later film was the funnier-then-I-expected crime-thriller ICAC. I Corrupt All Cops was action packed, over-the-top, and entertaining. I’ll give it 3.5 out of 5 stars/checks/thumbs/gold bags/ whatever makes you imagine a good film. It stars veteran acting icons Tony Leung (badass Chief Constable Lak the corrupt king of the cops) and Anthony Wong (Unicorn is his name in the film – that’s all you need to know.) BUT the film is stolen by a slew of lovely ladies with Liu Yang, who is the best of them all as a new drug dealer in Hong Kong named ROSE. A bit disjointed and confusing at times the film easily keeps it fun pace and delivers a comedic take on a serious time period in Hong Kong’s history.
The film though that stood out was the 7:10 opening night “film”. Au Revoir Taipei is a tale of Kai (The quiet lead actor Jack Yao) trying to make it to Paris to see his girlfriend. A slew of crazy events populated by a unique group of orange-clad gangsters, old time mafia don’s, emotional die-hard policemen, giants kidnapped best friend and one adorable bookstore clerk. The film is a wonderful romantic comedy that takes us on a similar path, but never seems to be a cliche’. The unique supporting cast always keeps you on your toes. Watch out for this award-winning comedy to really attach itself to you. The film marks the debut of writer-director Arvin Chen and I fully expect to see him cross over more often. I will say I hope you take notice and fully enjoy the wonderful performances of Lawrence Ko (HONG – leader of the thugs and nephew to BROTHER BAO the head mafia/mob man) and Amber Kuo who plays the aforementioned bookstore clerk Susie. I highly recommend this enjoyable quest for love. 4.5 of 5 stars makes Au Revoir Taipei the early leader for my favorite film from the festival (then again it is OPENING freaking night!!).
This wonderful film will be playing again on Thursday, July 29th at noon in the Landmark Magnolia Theater. Here is the schedule of the other opening day/night films.
Tomorrow (well I guess now TODAY) I hope to see 4 of the 6 films playing. Hope to see you for the first film of the day at 12 at the Magnolia is Director Uruphong Raksasad unique visual documentary Agrarian Utopia.