January movies. Films reviewed: Plane, Adult Adoption

Posted in Action, Canada, comedy, Disaster, Drama, Family, Philippines, Terrorism, Thriller, Toronto, Travel by CulturalMining.com on January 14, 2023

Hi, this is Daniel Garber at the Movies for culturalmining.com and CIUT 89.5 FM.

This week, I’m looking at two new movies opening this weekend:  an action/thriller and a dramedy.  There’s an airline pilot trying to escape from a tropical island; and an adult orphan trying to find new parents.

Plane

Dir: Jean-François Richet

Brodie (Gerard Butler) is an airline pilot based in Singapore.   With two decades of experience you’d think he’d be helming jumbo jets by now, but ever since his wife died, his uncontrollable anger has relegated him to shorter flights for a cut-rate airline. Today he’s heading to Honolulu to visit his daughter, working with a rookie co-pilot, Dele (Boson An) and his usual crew, headed by Bonnie (Daniella Pineda).

There are supposed to be only 14 passengers on board but two surprise guests show up at the last moment: an armed policeman and a man in handcuffs.  Louis Gaspare (Mike Colter) is being extradited to Toronto to stand trial for an unknown crime. He looks very strong… is he dangerous? But Brodie has bigger fish to fry– they’re heading into an electrical storm because the cheap-ass airline won’t buy enough jetfuel to keep them above the clouds.

Then comes the turbulence. Wires blow and all communication is lost. He’s forced to make an emergency landing on the only visible island in the vast Pacific Ocean, without a runway or ground crew to help him out. The good news is Brodie manages to land safely. The bad news is the cop guarding the alleged criminal was killed in the turbulence. The worse news is they landed in Mindanao on an island held by Moro  rebels, a place where the Philippine government dare not go. And even worse the local warlords plan to hold them for ransom and kill them, one by one. Can Brodie get them out of this mess? And who can he turn to for help?

Plane is a credible, international action thriller , filled with disaster scenes, fist fights, and last-minute escapes. Butler plays his usual grizzled action hero in the mold of Bruce Willis in the Die Hard movies — he takes the hits but keeps on fighting. Blood seems to be dripping down his unshaven face at every possible opportunity. Pure cheese. And who ever heard of an airline pilot with stubble? Butler is teamed with the other big star in this movie Mike Colter, who you may have seen as Luke Cage. Two action heroes vs the bad guys.

Despite the cheese, Plane is fast-moving and generally fun to watch. It’s made by a credible French director who proved his chops with some real crime flics, like Mesrine, Public Enemy No. 1. This one shares its rough-hewn quality. And, with its international cast and setting, it manages to avoid the one of the worst Hollywood afflictions; I’m talking about obligatory “patriotism”. You’ll find no flag-waving here.

Yes, Plane is a B-movie, nothing deep,  but still enjoyable to watch.

Adult Adoption

Dir: Karen Knox

Rosie (Ellie Moon) is a 25 year old woman who works in a bank office in Toronto’s financial district. She’s efficient, hardworking and diligent and never takes a day off. Her boss is like a mother to her and her coworkers are her family. In her spare time she tries to have sex with a guy she meets on an online dating site (Donald McClean, Jr). But her comfortable life is shaken when a new boss — a guy about her age — takes over.  Her surrogate mother is gone and she doesn’t know what to do.  Things get worse when Helen (Leah Doz), her workmate and closest friend, keeps telling her not to worry, just ask her real parents for advice. The thing is, Rosie doesn’t have any parents. She’s been an orphan since she was three and was never adopted. Now that she’s aged out of the foster program, she has no one left to turn to for help, or love or support. No one to ask about her day or just brush her hair. What’s an adult orphan supposed to do?

Rosie decides to take a different approach using an online site for adult kids seeking new parents.  She meets two possibilities at the site, a middle aged man and a woman named Jane (Rebecca Northan) who has estranged relations with her daughter. While things seem to be going well, but will she ever find a new family that works? And by doing so, can she emerge as a normal person?

Adult Adoption is comedy drama about a neurotic woman trying to create the family she never had, and the indifferent or exploitative people she encounters along the way. It concentrates on the quirky main character Rosie as envisioned by Elie Moon who not only plays her but who also wrote the screenplay. She’s really great. She wears little-girl clothes with pink polkadots and knitted strawberries. And alternates between an independent,  sexually-active woman with grown-up desires, and that of a clinging, naive child. While Adult Adoption deals with serious topics like loneliness and depression, it manages to stay funny enough never to become depressing itself.

I liked this one.

Plane and Adult Adoption both open this weekend in Toronto; check your local listings.

This is Daniel Garber at the Movies, each Saturday morning, on CIUT 89.5 FM and on my website, culturalmining.com

Daniel Garber talks with director Tiffany Hsiung about The Apology

Posted in Canada, China, documentary, Korea, Philippines, Slavery, Women, WWII by CulturalMining.com on December 3, 2016

img_1617Hi, this is Daniel Garber at the Movies for culturalmining.com and CIUT 89.5 FM.

Japan joined the European race for colonies late in the game. But they took to it with a vengeance, expanding ever southward. First Taiwan, Korea, and Manchuria, and by the the-apology1930s they began to seize territory in Eastern China, Southeast Asia and Islands of the Pacific and South China seas. And at the vanguard of all this was the Japanese Imperial Army. To keep the soldiers free from disease they initiated a program of Comfort Women (従軍慰安婦). Over img_1619200,000 girls and young women from Japanese colonies across Asia were forced into sexual slavery to serve the troops. Because of the shame involved, the survivors remained silent for fifty years. What happened to them, what are their stories, and what apologies do they seek?img_1621

The Apology is a new NFB feature documentary that follows three elderly Comfort Women – from Korea, China and the Philippines — who survived that horrible ordeal. It is a highly personal film, seen through Hsiung’s eyes as she documents the three Grandmothers’ lives while they still have a chance to tell their stories.

The Apology opens in Toronto today. I spoke with Tiffany Hsiung in studio at CIUT.

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