Tuesday, November 6, 2018

TwoOhSix Picks - 38th Annual Hawaii International Film Festival Presented by Halekulani

This is my fourth year covering the 38th Annual Hawaii International Film Festival Presented by Halekulani and, after looking at the lineup the organizers have put together, this may be their best event yet. You would think that a lineup of amazing movies from around the world would be enough but there are also several other types of events that attendees won't want to miss including a special night honoring the one and only Awkwafina!

Below you will find my movie picks for HIFF38 presented by Halekulani listed alphabetically and with links to each film's page on the HIFF website. I have already watched a few of the films so I separated those at the bottom with links to my review for each of them.

50 First Kisses - Directed by Yuichi Fukuda
This is a Japanese remake of 50 First Dates, the popular film that starred Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. If this version is half as entertaining as the original, it should be a lot of fun.

Legendary actor Koji Yakusho as a policeman in a crime thriller about the yakuza? Sign me up!

A dramatic film about making sake that was filmed at one of Hiroshima’s most famous sake breweries is definitely my cup of tea...or sake, I guess. The first screening of the film will include a sake tasting event right after. Have you reserved your spot yet?

Another gangster film, this time from Taiwan and it is director Yen Cheng-Kuo's first feature. The cast is pretty impressive so I'll definitely be looking for this one.

You may recognize the name Peter Farrelly from Dumb and Dumber but this movie is about as far removed from that type of wacky comedy as one could get. When a movie features performances from Mahershala Ali, Viggo Mortensen, and Linda Cardellini, you don't ask questions, you just watch it.

Shin Dong-Seok's debut feature film is up for multiple festival awards and is widely considered to be one of the best Korean dramas of the year. Definitely looking forward to this one.

Thanks to the country's turbulent past, Cambodia is not widely known as a player on the movie making game although this action thriller might help to take a few strides in the right direction. Also, you may remember Vithaya Pansringarm from his powerful performance in Only God Forgives giving the film a major dose of credibility.

This is a dramatic feature about a wanna be rapper who returns to his hometown and goes down a path of discovery. Kind of familiar territory, but if it's done right, this could be a real winner.

This looks like a throwback to the classic martial arts films of the 80's that we all know and love. Set during the Qing Dynasty and featuring a lead performance from Wenzhuo Zhao (God of War), Marco Mak's action packed thriller looks like it could be a huge hit.

Natalie Portman plays a troubled pop star. Do you really need to know anything else?

Another movie that features a sake brewery! The genre for this film is listed as "Drama, Family, Drama, Romance" so I'm guessing it's heavy on the drama. I'm taking a bit of a leap with this one but it has a lot of potential.

A science fiction thriller involving a witch? Out of my 12 picks, this one is the most intriguing because it sounds amazing and original.

Ones I've Watched

The Empty Hands is a very entertaining drama about forgiveness and reconciliation that has just enough humor and action mixed in for positive effect. - Full Review

Inuyashiki is a strong entry into the science fiction genre and, if the rumored trilogy is true, I am so on board and excited to see where this series goes next. - Full Review

One Cut of the Dead is everything I love about watching movies. No joke, I had tears of joy from watching this film. - Full Review

Everyone wants to be famous and this documentary shows how China's youth are capitalizing through live stream websites that draw in millions of dollars daily. - Capsule Review

Veteran director Yukisada Isao has created one of the most inteesting and intriguing looks into high school life that I have ever seen. - Full Review

Special Events

Filmmaker In Focus: Wong Kar-Wai
"HIFF is honored to host Wong Kar-wai and include a retrospective of some of his most significant works at this year’s festival. This year, we will screen HAPPY TOGETHER and IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, as well as a special screening of CHUNGKING EXPRESS that will include a discussion with the filmmaker." - More Info

Halekulani Maverick Award - Awkwafina
"Awkwafina is an American actress, writer, rapper and musician from Queens, New York. Awkwafina, whose given name is Nora Lum, brings an impressive range of talent peppered with her signature flair, and has become a major breakout talent of summer 2018 with her co-starring roles in OCEAN’S 8 and CRAZY RICH ASIANS." - More Info

As the vanguard forum of international cinematic achievement in the Asia-Pacific region, Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) endeavors to recognize new and emerging talent, promote career development and original collaborations through innovative education programs, and facilitate dynamic cultural exchange through the cinema arts. - More Info

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