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We Need to Talk About WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN

Two nights ago, I decided I never want to have kids. Why? Because I caught the first screening of WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN — a look at the relationship between a mother and her troubled teenage son. (J/K about the “never wanting kids” part………sorta.) It was also awarded BEST FILM 2011 by EuroCinema Hawaii at last night’s awards gala.

The Lynne Ramsay-driven vehicle paints a pretty bleak portrait of a mother sorting out her memories following an act of violence that involes her only son and it’s without a doubt the most demanding film I’ve seen at the fest so far. It raises a lot of questions about nature vs. nuture, parenting, and every shot is rife with symbolism, which is why it’s perfect for HIFF and our discerning audience members.

Tilda Swinton is really, really good, proving again that there’s nothing the woman can’t do (has she cured cancer yet?), but the real surprise is newcomer Ezra Miller who holds his own against her effortlessly, expanding on the work he did in his first film AFTERSCHOOL, which had similar themes.

Like anyone who fell in love with the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower as a teenager ten+ years ago (guilty!), you were probably feeling suspicious when you heard there was a film adaptation in the works. But after finding out this kid Ezra’s in it, and seeing his acting chops in KEVIN, my hope has been restored.

The director Ramsay has shot some delicately charged scenes that give the actors enough room to act, considering how loaded the topic is. There are two scenes in particular that just sum up everything I’m trying to get across unsucessfully in this post, so I’ll just let you sift through the film to try and find them.

In a perfect world, all three will be nominated come awards season. Whether you love or hate the film (two people walked out of my screening), it was an admirable effort overall.

It screens one last time tonight at 930p. Bring someone so you both can talk about it. You’ll need to.

Euro Cinema Hawaii Awards Gala & Meet the Jurors Reception

Saturday, October 15 was one of the biggest nights of the festival. In addition to all the movies playing at Regal Dole Cannery Theaters, there were three major events. First there was the Meet the Jurors Reception at Hotel Renew, then it was the Eurocinema Hawaii Black Tie Awards Gala at the Sheraton Moana Surfrider. Also going on was Sunset on the Beach screening for the film festival, but I never made it there. Too many amazing nightlife parties going on.

DiSaronno Photos on the Rocks

Have you ever met a blog post that didn’t have an iPhone? Now you have. But I figure given the subject matter, my poor Droid quality photos fit just nicely with the “on the rocks/blurry” theme. Which last night kind of was. So consider these gritty 5-mgpxls an aesthetic desicion. I’m an artist, ‘kay?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last night Honolulu’s top mixologist (Nobu’s Dave Newman, thirtyninehotel’s Christian Self, among others—what up, Maria Burke!) got together to fashion some DiSaronno creations at the Young Market’s-organized event at the Halekulani Garden Terrace. I mean, I’mm nt a rlly big drnker but I kinda of llove DiSanronnona, cnan you tellnfrom thsse typpos?? Far superior photos on Honolulu Pulse here.

Tim Rita, the head bartender of Lewers Lounge, took home the honors (just two votes over Christian), with his “Don de Coco”—an amaretto, Dewar’s, Italian basil leaf and nutmeg concotion that had me loosening the knot off my tie and undoing my top button. Like, buy me a drink first, Tim Rita! Oh, wait…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Afterwards, it was off to my first movies at HIFF. SOUND X VISION’s THE WONDER YEAR (pictured above with Josh) and the opening of EuroCinema with WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (which we need to talk about later, but I’m still processing it).

Who else caught 9th Wonder in action? Still picking your faces off the floor because he melted it off or what?

4 Things You Didn’t Know About Michael Giacchino

First, what you do know about Michael Giacchino: he is the composer whose work can be found breathing emotion into every episode of the Hawai‘i-filmed LOST; every shot of blockbuster’s like MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III, THE INCREDIBLES, STAR TREK; and who won an Academy Award for UP (which, congratulations and all Michael, but I’ll still never forgive you for making me cry in front of a date just seven minutes into UP, btws.)

In other words, what people do know about Michael Giacchino is that Michael Giacchino is amazing.

Today, he’ll be one of five at BEHIND THE SCENES: A ROUNDTABLE DISUCSSION WITH TOP COMPOSERS (including 9th Wonder, Woodrow Wilson Jackson III, Sarah Matarazzo and Stephanie Diaz-Matos) at 1pm today. Later, Michael will be at a screening of his latest J.J. Abrams-collaboration SUPER 8 + A CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL GIACCHINO at 3:15pm.

But before you attend both these sonic treats, here’s a few things you didn’t know about the man behind the music….

1. How to pronounce his name. If you’re gonna fan out, getting the guy’s name right is crucial. I’ve gone through the hard labor of setting this Google Translate up for you so you can hear the pronunciation for yourself. Like any one who attends the same church I do (Olive Garden’s Never Ending Pasta Bowl, noon, Sundays), you know that the “double cc” in Italian makes a “k” sound. It’s not a concrete fact, but every time you mispronounce “gnocchi,” someone’s Rosetta Stone somewhere scratches itself. Also, did you know “Giacchino” means “Jacket” in Italian? Probably not, but that’s not going in your “5.” That one was free.

2. For that infamous LOST score he used parts of a plane fuselage as percussion. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever been “aware” of music in a TV show until LOST. (Then again, I don’t think I’ve ever been “aware” of TV in general until LOST.) I once heard someone say that film is 50% sound, which is pretty astute, but that Michael was able to bring that fact to life on television is truly illuminating. Anyway, I think it says something that he’s able to incorporate components central to the show to the score and it shows. I also think it says I’ve cried during more LOST episodes than I can count and I’m #sorry #notsorry.

3. He scored the Medal of Honor video game series. Who would’ve thought all that time we were telling our parents we were “finishing up our world history homework” (aka dominating Medal of Honor), Michael was right there studying with us the entire time?! And teenagers thought classical musical was “boring”…… Pffffffff.

4. He’s what makes Disneyland’s Space Mountain so thrilling. Hey, so do you guys wanna hear something really dorky OR DO YOU GUYS WANNA HEAR SOMETHING REALLY DORKY? When my college roomates and I discovered LOST we were freshmen at a liberal arts school in Southern California, 10 minutes away from D-Land (that’s Disneyland for all you non-annual pass holders). It’s a semi-long story, but here’s the Fastpass version: Whenever we would ride Space Mountain, right before the first rollercoaster drop, we’d shout out “OH MY GIACCHINOOOOAAAAAAAHH!!!” It sounds about as ridiculous/embarassing as it looks in this blog. But hey, look, at the time, like one half of America’s population, we were obsessed with LOST and didn’t have jobs.

Anyway, there’s a lot more you probably don’t know about him, but you can. Get in on the conversation.

Opening Day Festivities

Boneless Short Rib Katsu

The 31st Annual Hawaii International Film Festival started with a bang on Thursday! The morning press conference was well attended, I counted over 75 press in atttendance.  There was a variety of special guests as speakers including representatives from major sponsors of the festival: Halekulani and the Hawaii Tourism Authority, as well as representatives from movies and the Eurocinema organization.

A Savory Recollection of Opening Night Gala

Eatin

Last night was the Opening Night Gala for HIFF 2011 and I was pleasantly there. Don’t worry, I DVR-ed Millionaire Matchmaker for everyone who attended, so you can breathe your sighs of relief now.

It took place at the Halekulani, which I read in the news today (something I do every morning while nibbling on a biscotti like an uber cultured individge) was ranked 36th in the 2011 “Top 200 Hotels in the United States” by Condé Nast Traveler readers. Not surprised! I mean, did you see their desserts table last night?!

Eatin' LA DOLCE VITA at HalekulaniEatin’ LA DOLCE VITA at Halekulani If you were vulture-ing that buffet for a good 45 minutes then maybe I stole a Tiramisu tart from you—nice to meet you! I was with the “Korean Jackie O” (awesome George Drakoulias’s own words) and our Hawaii Fav-0 Chinatown clubowner, Chris Kahunahana who’ll be hosting 9TH WONDER at Nextdoor tonight.

Speaking of 9th Wonder, in between Chuck Boller’s very gratious welcome speech and the attentive Disaronno bar courtesy of Young’s Market, I got to meet the hip-hop DJ (bucket list: check). Feeling jacked on inspiration, I even tried to spit a few rhymes of my own and asked him if he was enjoying the O.N.G. (Opening Night Gala). Whoops, that was embarrassing…

Next time I promise to take more photos, but as you can see I kind of had my hands full (pictured), so instead scroll through Hawaii RED Magazine’s photos of the night’s FASHUNZ here. On the Dole Cannery Theater side, here’s some shots via Honolulu Pulse.

In conclusion, have a feeling this year’s festival is gonna be the sweetest ever.

9TH WONDER of the World Lands in Honolulu

Instead of lead with a block of text, I thought I’d just let this trailer speak for itself.

#RealTalk: The film, THE WONDER YEAR, is probably the movie I’m most excited for. Patrick “9th Wonder” Douthit is an alt-hip hop game changer who’s spun rhymes with Mary J. Blige, Lil Wayne, Wale, Jay-Z, Chris Brown and basically every one else in your “Gettin’ Cray 4 da Club” playlist (just me?) on your iPod. Hey, don’t take my word for it, take Drake’s.

Since I KNOW I DONT’ HAVE TO TELL YOU WATCH THE TRAILER, it’s pretty clear that 9th Wonder is a solid beat machine. Go to the Hawaii premiere tomorrow at 8:30pm and follow the luminary through a year of his producing life, working with artists and industry peers, to teaching at Duke University.

And then follow him to Nextdoor in Chinatown for a—wait, what?!

That’s right. Following the premiere, literally follow 9th Wonder to Nextdoor in Chinatown for a Live Music Showcase because he will be here to DJ you into your weekend! This one night only appearance is the kick off to HIFF’s SOUND x VISION film section—in it’s second year and seriously better than ever. I mean, 9TH WONDER, yo!

I know you’re just amped on endorphines right now reading this, so here’s the best outlet we can offer ’til ‘morrow night: his music.

 

Get TOGETHER: First Screening of HIFF 2011

The most overused saying all of time ever regarding time ever, but: Can you believe it’s already been another year? About to spit Cliche: Part 2 right now, but seriously, HIFF 2010 feels like it was “just yesterday!” Since I’m in this sentimental fugue, thought I’d share with you what is officially the FIRST FILM of the 2011 festival schedule.

And it’s called TOGETHER.

I mean, c’mon, how perfect is that?! (Here, take a tissue.)

Screening at 6pm today, this documentary weaves an honest tapestry of very different lives—all impacted by HIV/AIDS in modern Chinese society. Embracing the Internet, direcor Zhao Liang is able to contact these individuals and tell their stories… Which is kind of what HIFF is all about—being able to tell people’s stories—so its billing as a the unofficial “kick off” to 2011 is too fitting.

Trailer for TOGETHER

If you wanna see the rest, hurry… it screens in less than 3 hours!

 

Must-See J-Picks at HIFF 2011!

So as some of you may have noticed there are 22 feature-length Japanese films at HIFF 2011! With such a huge selection, and limited time you mast be asking yourself how can I ever decide what to watch!

Between the Spotlight on Japan section, and a slew of other Japanese films placed throughout the different film sections, there is truly something for everyone. There are the kid-friendly RYUJIN MABUYER, NINJA KIDS!!!, and A LETTER TO MOMO, family dramas KAASAN: MOM’S LIFE, CHRONICLE OF MY MOTHER, and WIFE OF GEGEGE NYOUBOU, and strange-wonderful-extreme fare such as MILOCRORZE: A LOVE STORY, SMUGGLER, and THE WARPED FOREST. This is not to mention all the anime…..phew!

So to help a little with your decision making, here is a list of five of my personal J-Favs at HIFF 2011….

Keeping HIFF in Perspective: Opening, Centerpiece, Closing

Someone is clearly excited about Opening Night...

Remember when I said HIFF is really easy about two posts back? Well, for argument’s sake/this post, I’m now going to tell you that it’s also kind of confusing! (Forgive me. Third latte. Can’t make up my mind.)

Luckily, the festival is propped up by three films, so you don’t lose your balance throughout the 10 day timeline:

Someone is clearly excited about Opening Night...
Someone is clearly excited about Opening Night…

OPENING NIGHT FILM
THE FRONT LINE (pictured)
Thur., October 13, 8pm

CENTERPIECE PRESENTATION
PINA 3D
Wed., October 19, 8:15pm

CLOSING NIGHT FILM
THE DESCENDANTS
Sun., October 23, 6pm

They add a sense of form and structure to the fun-in-the-chaos that is HIFF. Since the OPENING NIGHT FILM is tomorrow, some myths we want to clean up (after the jump)…

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