AUTHOR | Pang-Chieh Ho


MAN UP, a tragicomedy of hazardous romantic connections

[Big Talk Productions / Studiocanal]
Stars Lake Bell and Simon Pegg
Directed by Ben Palmer

When you have a film that boasts the comedic talents of Lake Bell and Simon Pegg nothing can go wrong. In MAN UP, Lake Bell is Nancy, a woman who is a master of words but less skillful in love. When Nancy is accidentally mistaken by Jack (played by Simon Pegg) to be his blind date, she decides to be impulsive for once and just go along with it. What follows is a hilarious, rollicking romp of ... more >

Lily Tomlin in GRANDMA | REVIEW

Raucously funny but also tragic
Lily Tomlin
Directed by Paul Weitz

Elle (Lily Tomlin) is an academic/erstwhile poet with an acerbic tongue and a combative attitude. When Elle’s granddaughter Sage (Julia Garner) arrives at her doorstep with an unwanted pregnancy and little money, they embark on a journey that involves Elle ringing up old acquaintances to collect enough money for an abortion. What ensues is a day of episodic reunions, some painful, some joyful, ... more >


The daily drudgery of being a vampire in WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS

Film premiered at Sundance 2014
Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi
Directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi

Ever since the “Twilight” franchise the label “vampire film” seems to invite derision or at the very least weariness, from viewers who believe that stories of vampires have long outstayed their welcome. And yet, regardless of the ambivalence towards vampire films there's no shortage of filmmakers willing to take a stab at them. The results run the gamut from the painfully mediocre to the ... more >

The lonely and extraordinary life, as highlighted in THE SALT OF THE EARTH

Country of production: France / Brazil / Italy
Runtime: 110 mins (Dolby Digital)

Beautiful, heartbreaking, ambitious, and spiritually invigorating. “The Salt of the Earth,” a new documentary directed by Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, gives social documentary photographer Sebastião Salgado (the co-director’s father) center stage and illuminates his life’s work with a focus on his photography work and travels. Salgado’s photographs cover diverse subjects, from ... more >

Putting a face to the numbers in THE HUNTING GROUND

90 mins / color
Directed by Kirby Dick
Also known as "Campus assaults"

There are a lot of ways that “The Hunting Ground” echoes “The Invisible War,” director and writer Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering’s last documentary. Both are films that expose the ugly side of celebrated institutions, with “The Hunting Ground” taking on star universities and “The Invisible War” confronting the U.S. military. Both lay bare the banality of sexual violence that occurs within these ... more >


PREVIEW – “Seymour: an introduction”

Directed by Ethan Hawke
Limited release: March 13th

Ethan Hawke’s first feature documentary “Seymour: an introduction” makes no attempt to be comprehensive about the life of its titular subject, classical pianist Seymour Bernstein. Instead, it focuses on what drew Hawke to Seymour: his sagaciousness and reflections on music, artistic devotion, and life. Eighty-seven years young, Seymour is a guru who not only mentors in piano playing but also in ... more >


STILL ALICE, when family bonds are tested

Initial release: January 15th
Julianne Moore and Kristen Stewart
Directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland

A lot of the buzz surrounding “Still Alice” revolves around Julianne Moore’s Oscar-worthy performance as a woman struggling with Alzheimer’s. And upon viewing there is no denying that Moore’s performance is the film’s winning factor. However, that is not to say that “Still Alice” is not a well-made film, because it is. Shot for less than five million dollars over the course of twenty-three days ... more >