Thursday, March 26, 2015

Jason goes to CAAMFest--Day 5

Dangit, I've fallen way behind on my blog...again. This is from last week Monday.

First up was SHE LIGHTS UP WELL, Joyce Wu's feature length follow-up to SCREAMING IN ASIAN. She directs and stars as Sophie, a struggling actress in New York who takes a temporary hiatus to return home to Detroit and live with her parents. While there, and thanks to her grandmother (Tsai Chin) she gets involved in the local amateur theater group and their production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado (full disclosure, I followed this project and contributed on Indiegogo when it's working title was THE REAL MIKADO.) And gets involved in local politics surrounding shutting down the community theater due to budget cuts. We meet an odd and charming cast of local actors (played mostly by local community theater actors) and see Sophie go from a partially defeated failed New York actress to a take-charge, successful community theater director and star...sort of. There are comic mishaps along the way, of course. And I realize I wrote that really badly, like it sounds like a big step down. But the end result is she discovers that fulfillment can be found in unlikely places of community, and that's pretty damn cool. And the movie is funny and charming.

Then I saw PARTNERS IN CRIME, a beautifully shot schoolkid murder mystery drama. Huang, Yeh and Lin are schoolmates but not really friends. They discover the body of a schoolmate, and things take off from there. While officially ruled a suicide, the boys start investigating it themselves as a murder. Well, they each start investigating it on their own, but sure enough the effort brings them together as unlikely allies. A smart crime drama, and an interesting look at school culture in Taiwan (especially the bullying aspect.) But most of all, I remember how beautifully it was shot.

Total Running Time: 169 minutes
My Total Minutes: 391,289

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