Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we go back to the Korengal Valley, have a kid or two, consider Amanda Palmer’s celebrity, get bitten by a hipster, and head into the Australian outback with Agent Smith.
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Hilarious, charming and heartwarming, The Sessions is one of the best films of the year. It’s the true story of Mark O’Brien (John Hawkes), a California-based journalist relegated to a gurney and iron lung because of disabling polio. At the age of 38, he’s still a virgin and, with the blessing of his priest (William H. Macy), Mark hires a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) to remedy the problem.

Directed by Ben Lewin, The Sessions is now open in select cities with plans to expand over the next few weeks. As that happens, buzz will begin to grow for the film, which makes complete sense considering the source material. This fictional take on a true story is based on the 1997 Oscar-winning Documentary Short Film Breathing Lessons, written and directed by Jessica Yu. It too centers on O’Brien, but instead of using sex as the window to his struggle, the short presents a more traditional, complete portrait of the man.

Check out the Oscar-winner that inspired a potential Oscar-winner after the jump. Read More »

Ping Pong Play Movie Trailer

I never planned on seeing Ping Pong Playa, but it became one of those films that I heard people talking about in between sleeping, screening and eating last year at the Toronto Film Festival. I caught a screening near the end of the festival, purely because there was nothing else playing at the time that interested me. In my review I described Jessica Yu‘s low budget indie sports comedy as “Karate Kid meets Bad News Bears but with Ping Pong”. The film tells the story of Christopher “C-dub” Wang (Jimmy Tsai), a young man full of excuses and failed basketball dreams, who must step up and teach ping pong while he gets up the nerve to compete for the coveted Golden Cock in the California ping pong championships after his brother and mother are injured in a car accident. In my Toronto review I called the film “a chuckle-fest with a unique sense of humor not found in Hollywood films.” The trailer below is not the best example of this, but I’m hoping it might get get a few of you interested to seek this out (or at least add the film to your upcoming Netflix que)

Ping Pong Playa hits theaters on September 5th 2008.

TIFF Movie Review: Ping Pong Playa

Ping Pong Playa

I never planned on seeing Ping Pong Playa, but it became one of those films that I heard people talking about in between sleeping, screening and eating. I think Jen from Rotten Tomatoes was the first one to mention it to me. Not that she had seen it, just that she had heard good things. So in between two screenings last night I was able to jet over and catch a viewing of Jessica Yu’s ping pong sports comedy. The only way to describe Ping Pong Playa is to play the Hollywood executive game: “It’s Karate Kid meets Bad News Bears but with Ping Pong” And even then, you have no idea what the film is about.
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