Toronto International Film Festival 2014 Preview

We may have two consistent film festivals here in town showcasing small releases and restored classics, but you might not realize how close we are to one of the biggest in the world. Most “in the know” will center on five events when thinking about the best of the best film festivals and while Venice, Cannes, and Berlin are an ocean away and Sundance is across the country, The Toronto International Film Festival is less than a two-hour drive via the QEW into Canada. Even better than proximity, though, is…

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REVIEW: 毒戰 [Du zhan] [Drug War] [2013]

“Bad for the brain. Hahaha.” The first action film prolific Hong Kong director Johnnie To shot exclusively in Mainland China shows that locale has little to do with his ability to achieve the level of entertainment international audiences expect. 毒戰 [Du zhan] [Drug War] sticks with the gangster genre he’s most associated with by pitting an undercover narcotics police force against drug kingpin Uncle Bill (Zhenqi Li). Involved in a multi-faceted sting operation, cops from Jinhai, Yuejiang, and Erzhou join together after syndicate general Timmy Choi (Louis Koo) is captured…

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REVIEW: 全職殺手 [Fulltime Killer] [2001]

“In our business, you’re bound to rub out someone you know” Filmmakers and creators of Milky Way Image, a studio in Hong Kong, Johnnie To and Ka-Fai Wai have been collaborating for many years as producers, writers, and directors, both getting their start in television. I think most people credit much of the work to To, or perhaps that’s just my naivety for never having heard Wai’s name before, but after seeing 全職殺手 [Fulltime Killer] and knowing it’s co-directed by the pair while also adapted from Ho-Cheung Pang’s novel courtesy…

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