John Cho

The Sundance Film Festival ran from January 18th to 28th this year; over 120 films were shown in ten days. For the fourth year in a row, I was on the (often snowy) ground, knocking out almost 20 films in five days in order to bring you the Best of the Fest. I present here the ten best films I saw – five features, four documentaries, and one special screening. Keep your eyes out for these during the coming year, as they are well worth your time and money. And if you’d like to know all the films that took home awards this year, you can see the winners here.

TOP FIVE FEATURE FILMS

1.) Search
(USA 2017, 101 min. Directed by Aneesh Chaganty. Category: Next)

Worried father David Kim (John Cho) uses the Internet to search for his missing daughter.

The word innovative doesn’t even come close to doing filmmaker Aneesh Chaganty’s first feature film justice. Using a narrative that unfolds completely on a computer screen (via video chats, texts, emails, Internet searches, and news videos), Chaganty immerses us in the story of recently widowed dad David (John Cho, excellent as always) and his desperate search for his missing teenage daughter Margot (Michelle La). Debra Messing, cast against type, is terrific as the San Jose police detective heading the investigation. Filled with red herrings and twists and turns you’ll never see coming, Chaganty and co-writer Sev Ohanian’s South Bay-set mystery is as imaginative as their method of telling it. Both a celebration and a critique of our increasing reliance on technology, the brilliantly executed Search is my hands-down favorite film of the Festival. Sony Pictures acquired the picture for five million dollars in one of the Festival’s biggest buys, so a wide release will be forthcoming. The film also deservedly won both an audience award and the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize. Don’t miss this one. [read the whole post]

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With this final spotlights post, we bring our coverage of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival to a close (you can read the previous posts here and here). We conclude by taking a look at six more feature films, once again using our world famous Sundance Viewing Priority Level (VPL) Guide to discern those films to seek out and those to avoid. Enjoy, and we’ll hope to see you in Park City next year!

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Film Review: Grandma

by Carrie Kahn on August 28, 2015

Tomlin’s feminist Grandma takes to the road in sharp black comedy

Sage (Julia Garner, left), and her grandmother Elle (Lily Tomlin) are unhappy participants in an impromptu road trip.

At 75, Lily Tomlin has had such a long, varied acting career that few may not realize she hasn’t actually had a leading role in a film since the 1988 comedy Big Business. Thanks to writer/director Paul Weitz, though, who directed Tomlin as Tina Fey’s mother in 2013’s Admission, Tomlin returns to brilliantly helm a picture in Weitz’s smart and engaging Grandma, which opens widely today after rightfully garnering much praise at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

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Simon Pegg and John Cho, reprising their roles as Montgomery “Scotty” Scott and Hikaru Sulu respectively in the newest chapter of the Star Trek film franchise, Star Trek Into Darkness, sat down with a few members of online press outlets to answer a few questions.  Dressed in casual clothing and beaming with smiles, the two actors couldn’t be more welcoming and polite.  We sat around a tiny circular table and jumped right into it…

J.J. Abrams is a huge fan of the Star Trek franchise, how does the fact that he’s such a big fan of both the Star Trek films and the original TV series translate into the fact that he’s making the new franchise…with this film especially?

Simon Pegg: I don’t think he was.  I think he was more of a Star Wars fan growing up.

John Cho: Yeah.

Simon Pegg: And I think he came to Star Trek as somewhat of an outsider…

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Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Chris Pine in Star Trek Into Darkness

Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Chris Pine in Star Trek Into Darkness

In 2009, J.J. Abrams jumpstarted a dulling Star Trek franchise by instilling youthful energy and adrenaline into a familiar cast of characters.  The universe was the “same” but the feel was different.  It was shinier and faster paced, and took advantage of modern computer technology to produce visual effects in a way that the original Star Trek series may have dreamed of but never could harness.  But the most powerful weapon 2009’s Star Trek wielded was a solid origin story that balanced the needs of the salivating Trekkies with the cinematic desires of general audiences.  It was fresh and fun, familiar yet new.  With Star Trek Into Darkness, the formula remains unchanged.  At its heart lies a refurbished story that is uniquely enjoyable, complete with a sly tip of the hat to its franchise predecessors.  But there are a few J.J. Abrams specialties and stellar performances that make this generally risk-averse Star Trek film the most entertaining one to date.  (I suspect I may pay for that proclamation.)

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Film Review: Identity Thief

by Jason LeRoy on February 8, 2013

Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman in IDENTITY THIEF

Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman in IDENTITY THIEF

starring: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Bateman, Amanda Peet, Jon Favreau, T.I., Genesis Rodriguez, John Cho, Robert Patrick, Eric Stonestreet

screenplay: Craig Mazin

directed by: Seth Gordon

MPAA: Rated R for sexual content and language

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Spinning Platters Interview: John Cho on “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas”

November 4, 2011

John Cho recently had a fairly perfect San Francisco day. The Berkeley graduate, 39, was in town with his family during fleet week, observing its many air shows. “It was very loud,” he says. “If I lived here, I would have been really annoyed. But I was visiting, so it was fun.” And if Cho […]

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