The Toronto Film Festival Promises Big This Year

Toronto Film Festival

Toronto Film Festival

Toronto Film Festival is one of the most anticipated film fests in the world. Every year big name movies and big name stars show up to mingle with the creative stars of the show — indie film makers.

By Shannon Bratt

The 2012 edition of the Toronto Film Festival, or TIFF as it is known, promises big releases, big names and big ideas this year. Running from September 6-16, the film festival will feature a large variety of movies from Canada and from many other parts of the world. Many of these films—as expected—will make their world premieres or Canadian premieres at the festival, often with big name stars on the red carpets for the debut.

Above: The trailer for the much anticipated ABCs of Death, an indie highlight of the Toronto Film Festival.
Indie Films
Film festivals, above all celebrate creativity, and for this reason showcase many indie films. Indies may not be as slick or big budget (and unlikely to be 3D!) but they are among the most creative. One don’t miss indy movie is the ABCs of Death. This horror anthology features more than twenty filmmakers showcasing twenty-six different unusual and occasionally funny ways to die. Caught in a Web, Chen Kaige’s new film about cyberbullying, is also expected to make a splash among indie movies here.


Above: Looper airs at the festival Sept 6, opening day.

And some big names
The Toronto Film Festival promises to showcase a variety of big-name film makers. On September 6 the festival will air Looper, Rian Johnson’s new sci-fi thriller. The festival will also screen the Master, Paul Thomas Anderson’s highly-anticipated drama, on September 7.
Cloud Atlas, a sci-fi epic with Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, will open on September 8. The same day, the much anticipated Hotel Transylvania, Genndy Tartakovasky’s new animated feature with run. These movies will be aired a few times during the festival.
David O. Russel’s newest film, Silver Linings Playbook, will also be at the TIFF. It will debut on September 8.
Another film of note is To the Wonder, the newest film from mysterious filmmaker Terrence Malick. It will premiere on September 10.
Practically every movie genre is represented in this festival. David Ayer’s End of Watch, a found-footage action movie, will be airing a few times during the TIFF.


Above: Silver Linings Playbook from David O. Russel debuts Sept 8 at TIFF.

Documentaries
A number of documentaries will be airing at the TIFF. These include Venus and Serena, a new documentary that takes a look at the Williams sisters of tennis fame. Another documentary of note is the Secret Disco Revolution, that deleves into how disco music became a liberation movement for many people in the 1970s. Spike Lee’s Bad 25, which celebrates the twenty-fifth anniversary, and Michael Jackson’s Bad, will also be airing here.

Mumbai Theme
Most interesting in TIFF, I think, is the City to City thematic series, which will showcase will films by city. This year’s chosen city is Mumbai. The TIFF Kids programme will feature family-friendly films including the Canadian premiere of Finding Nemo 3D.

Shorts
Short Cuts Canada will showcase a variety of short films from filmmakers all around Canada. Vanguard will feature several sensual and provocative films including Room 237 and Peaches Does Herself. Midnight Madness will also showcase some interesting action, fantasy and horror films including Dredd 3D and John Dies at the End.

The Toronto International Film Festival should be an exciting festival this year. It will feature a number of highly-anticipated films alongside a number of indie films that will be making their big releases here in Toronto.

The festival will take place in a variety of venues around Toronto. There will be a few showings at the Roy Thomson Hall, Visa Screening Room at Elgin and the Ryerson Theatre among many others. A few multiplexes, including the Cineplex Yonge and Dundas, will also be airing movies.

F&B Bollywood Review: The Joker

Bollywood release Joker

Bollywood release Joker

Joker, a new Bollywood release (Aug 31, 2012), disappointed our reviewer, earning only 2 out of 5 stars.

By Kandi Lee

Rating: 2 out of 5 (optimistically rated)

One of the most panned, and arguably one of the worst, Bollywood movies to come out in a while is The Joker. The movie is billed as a fantasy, but it is immediately evident it’s more of a crass comedy.
Arskay Kumar stars as Agastya, a Nasa scientist and Sonakshi Sinha plays his girlfriend, Diva. This Hindi language film is directed by Shirish Kandar, and released August 31.
The plot of the film is as thin as tissue paper and quite unbelievable. Normally, in Bollywood spectacles, lack of credibility isn’t a killer. Here, it is deadly.

Synopsis
Agastya receives a call to head back to his village to help his aging father. He and his girlfriend Diva returns to his native village of Paglapur—already not much of a set up.
Upon returning to the village Agastya finds the village besieged by problems—-and he, apparently, is to be its savior. They have no electricity, the dam is breaking and the villagers say they are being visited by aliens. Now, here, it could have all spun into hilarity and fun times: several weird, uncanny, situations, and many crazy adventures ensue. Sadly, the slapstick is too hard-hitting, and the fantasy is too silly.
Our hero, looking to help them in any way he can, finds the situation too much for him. Instead of hilarity, I found myself wincing at the clumsy setups.
Perhaps the worst sin of all for a Bollywood contender —— this film’s music is a yawn, consisting of vocal tracks written almost exclusively by the director, Kandar.

Cast and characters of Joker, a Bollywood film

Despite promising set ups, critics pan Joker as not funny.

The instrumental track is better than the vocal, which is rare for a Bollywood movie.
Some of the other items about this movie that don’t quite seem to make sense is the acting and the scenes in the movie. They have been called crappy and imbecile. It is a movie that seems to have jokes that are not particularly funny, and plot lines that do not make a lot of sense.
Sorry to say, except for diehard “must see every Bollywood movie” fans, this will be a disappointment to most.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some promising moments in the movie, but they’re overwhelmed by a clumsy script, weak humor, bad setups and even so-so music.Too many gimmicks, not enough story spoil a concept that could have worked.
Really, only the set up premise is somewhat interesting. Even for diehard Bollywood fans, save your money.
As for myself, I would rate this movie no more than 2 out of 5 stars in favor of an interesting idea and some small highlights.

F&B Indie Book Review: Gagaku Meat

Indie published journalistic bio of Steve Richmond: Gagaku

Indie published journalistic bio of Steve Richmond: Gagaku

Hard to find, but an incredibly gritty and worthwhile read for poetry fans, Gagku is the biography of “meat” poet Steve Richmond. Llike many poets and artists and authors, he led a difficult life—of epic proportions.

Book Gagaku Meat: The Steve Richmond Story
By Snow Ryan

A promising indie release—worth the hunt but hard to find—from small publisher Stovepiper Books Media caught the attention of many with it’s hard journalistic approach to a biography of poet Steve Richmond. Gagaku Meat: the Life and Times of Steve Richmond, a 19,000 word publication, won wide acclaim on the Huffington Post and other website. At times, it reads like a crazy mystery, at others like a dark, slice-of-grim life biography, and always it is emotional and gritty.
Steve Richmond was an accomplished poet who began publishing in 1964. He is probably best known for the works in the Wormwood diaries. Journalist-biographer Mike Daly gives a gritty picture of Richmond’s difficult life and how the poet struggled through life.
Daly’s work is masterful as he details the life of this iconic poet. Richmond’s life is widely regarded as a difficult one—like many artists, poets, struggling authors and indies—and the book details his decades long struggles.
Poet Richmond was a Southern California native, known for this tough, masculine form of writing. He could be compared with the other masculine poets of the day, and was involved in what is known as the meat school of poetry.

"Meat poet" Steve Richmond was a heroin addict

Meat poet Steve Richmond was a prolific poet, heroin addict, who spent part of his life in homeless shelters, and the last few years as a millionaire.

He was also associated with the mid career of poet Vicent Bukowski, his mentor.In Gagaku Meat, Daly unravels the chaotic forces and influences that led Richmond to compose his poetry. He discusses some of the development of his work. Notably, Richmond was a heroin addict most of his life and saw and witnessed plenty of the seedy side of life.
After living in homeless shelters, Richmond inherited a 2 million dollar settlement from his Southern California family, and spent the majority of it on drugs until his eventual sobriety. Unfortunately, it was a short lived experience. He died in 2009 only 3 years after becoming sober.
Gagaku is poetry based on Japanese Shinto verse. Like Shinto verse, Richmond’s work used meaty, simple verses and cadences in poetic rhythm.
Daly does a great job in the book of discussing the tortured life and psyche of Richmond who dove and dug into the heart of poetry to ferret out what was important to him, and to make a difference in the publishing world. His friend and collaborator Bukowski described him as a talented but disturbed man.
Other important facts to know both about Richmond is that he composed approximately 8,000 to 9,000 poems in his lifetime. He was quite prolific, and had a stark view of reality, as would befit a junkie.
Daly does a thorough job in this book of tracing Richmond’s life, his ideals and influences. He talks about Richmond’s time with the underground press and his influences by Jim Morrison and small media publishing outlets of the day. He interviewed Ben Pleasants who did a story on Richmond for an LA paper,as well as the mentor Bukowski.
Gagaku Meat the Life and Times of Steve Richmond is a must for anyone who loves poetry. I recommend this book for all of those interested in counter culture poetry, and it’s effects.
The book is difficult to find, but worth the search.
Published April 20th 2009 by Stovepiper Books Media (first published April 2009)
ISBN13 9781127644421
Gagaku Meat: The Steve Richmond Story
Author Mike Daley

F&B Korean Drama Review: City Hunter

City Hunter, Korean Drama based on Manga is the hit K-Drama 2011

City Hunter, Korean Drama based on Manga is the hit K-Drama 2011By Josephine Nolan

Okay, I’ll admit to a secret thrill, and a little bias. I love Lee Min Ho. There, I’m on record. Big fan, all that. Putting aside my bias, City Hunter should be renamed City Slick — it’s simply the slickest Korean drama of 2011 (sorry I’m late reviewing, just saw it!). Slick is saying a lot, since where I’d give a nod to Bollywood for “most entertaining” films, and to Hollywood for “most spectacular” and to Canada for “most moody” (sorry, land that I love), Korea is the undisputed king of prime time drama. If you can enjoy a drama with subtitles, you’ll be hooked forever after watching any good K-Drama. And where, I might controversially add that Hollywood TV dramas hit a ratio of 1 good for every 10 made (at best), I’d give Korea the flip side of that coin: 9 good for every bad.

City Hunter synopsis

City Hunter, based on a Japanese manga of the same name by Tsukasa Hojo, is on the top of the K-Drama charts for 2011. Part spy-drama, action thriller, political melodrama, it is also equally a love story, complex story of familial bonds and a moral fable. And sexy too. (Biased, remember?)

Lee Min Ho in City Hunter

Lee Min Ho is a big ratings draw for any drama, since Boys over Flowers, but in City Hunter he takes his acting to the next level, hauling in a number of industry awards along the way.

Lee Min Ho plays a savvy, sexy and very mysterious young man, Lee Yoon Sung, who infiltrates the Blue House (equivalent of the White House in Washington). His mission, to reveal the government officials who were responsible for abandoning his father (and dozens of others) who were on a secret mission to the North Korea. Lee Yoon Sung begins his quest with a ruthless coldness that makes use shiver with anticipation. Later, as we get to know him, he grows as a human, particularly in his love of Kim Na Na (played by Park Min Young). But throughout, he remains the cool, sophisticated spy, out to root out deep government corruption. Yet, true to K-Drama tradition, the character is fully developed, not one-dimensional.

Korean drama: where characterization rules

In most Korean drams, character trumps plot and one reason they are so addictive is this ability to reveal motivation for characters, show growth and create three dimensional characters you love or hate. Spy melodrama notwithstanding, City Hunter peals away the veneer of super spy and reveals Lee Yoon Sung’s motivation, and the pain of his childhood. All the characters, including the bad guys, are likewise laid bare. This is the ultimate charm of Korean Drama.

Not just about revenge and corruption
This isn’t a revenge-kill drama. At no point is our hero content with simply killing the corrupt official. He meticulously plans out their public humiliation, makes sure the police make the arrest, and does it all with stylish flair—each arrest more innovative than the last.

Competing with our hero, his adoptive father seeks his own bloody revenge. Lee Jin Pyo is the only survivor of the aborted mission that killed our hero’s father. He doesn’t agree with our hero’s subtlety, and it becomes a three way battle for survival: the government officials, struggling to survive; Lee Yoon Sung who uses the law and cleverness as his weapon of choice; and adoptive father Lee Jin Pyo (played by Kim Sang Joong) who is out for spectacular violence.

At no point, despite slick James Bond-style action, does the drama exceed “suspended disbelief” credibility. It remains entertaining, exciting and emotional all the way through, no mean feat across 20 episodes. In-depth characterizations are the magic that transforms an action-adventure into a real thrill watch.

Lee Min Ho’s performance is spectacular. Unlike his previous two dramas, both comedies, he’s the personable super assassin-spy here, and he plays it with a pizazz I haven’t seen since Sean Connery’s James Bond. He’s extremely tall, almost too elegant to be the “macho super spy” but he carries his own style into the role that almost becomes signature. Park Min Young is good as his love-interest, but comes off less memorable, aside from her enduring loyalty.

Kim Sang Joong is gripping as Lee Jin Pyo, the survivor of the secret mission bent on a more violent revenge. Also notable was the rather humorous Kim Sang Ho as sidekick Bae Shik Joong.

Cinematography and direction are artistry, costumes and locations just right. If I am to be picky, perhaps the targets—the corrupt politicians—are a little one dimensional.

There are a lot of reasons to watch this drama—you won’t find one wasted minute here—not least of which, this is the exemplar of Korean Drama, which I’d argue is the exemplar of television drama worldwide. If you haven’t seen a Korean drama, start here. You can purchase the DVD, stream it legally on DramaFever, or download, but by all means, this is the one K-Drama to watch.

F&B’s Review of 99 cent Books: Endgame, USA?

Endgame USA? a 99 cent book on Amazon

Endgame USA? a 99 cent book on AmazonReview of Endgame, USA?
by Edward A. Lawrence

F&B’s 99 cent Review Picks
To help promote indie authors and self-published authors, we occasionally review titles that we consider “below market value”, for example 99 cent ebook titles. We pick the ones that we consider worth far more than their ticket price.

By Tamara Wilhite

Endgame, USA?
is a novel written by first time author Ed Lawrence. Playing off of the current economic fears and upcoming 2012 chaos, in whatever form it may take, Endgame, USA? is a worthwhile read for fans of survival fiction. As a fan of the genre, I give this book four stars.

Pros

* Endgame, USA? is imaginative look at the worst case fears of many conservatives, the loss of freedom in the United States after the chaos of an economic collapse and attempted pacification by U.N. Peacekeepers.
* Though it includes classic survivalist scenes reminiscent of the works of J.R. Rawles, it includes more humor and character development than many of Mr. Rawles’ stories.
* Endgame, USA? focuses on long-term efforts to make the United States self-sufficient, as compared to fighting off the rest of the world.
* Endgame, USA? is a book unto itself. It wasn’t written with the hope of future sequels, so there is not a mess of storylines at the end left dangling without resolution.
* While there is a fight against an oppressive government and guerrilla warfare scenes, this book is not “gun porn”. You won’t find pages and pages of descriptions of weapons, bullets, sights and ammo. Nor has the author tried to use the book to teach lessons about survival. It’s a story, and it is written as such. And at roughly 250 pages, you’ll be able to enjoy it in a single evening.
* One lead character only reveals his true colors midway through the book. While some of the scenes within the intelligence agency are probably not realistic, they are fascinating.
* The budding love between two older characters is an interesting story arc in Endgame, USA? and is something you don’t find in many modern works of fiction. While there are young lovers, too, the courtship and love story of an older couple is realistically portrayed and something that older readers could enjoy while younger ones could learn from it.
* Luck does play a part in the success of the rebellion, but it does not strain credibility.
* There is discussion of tactics and guerrilla methods, but there is no “war porn” or graphic descriptions of bodies blown to bits. The book is PG or PG13, safe for anyone to read.
* Endgame, USA? is available on Amazon.com for just 99 cents.

Cons

* The book would benefit from more development of the female characters than simply existing as alternately competent, professional, beautiful, supportive or motherly. The female characters are based upon stereotypes of a prior era, elegantly described but lacking personal depth contained in the male characters.
* While there is some effort to add depth to the foreign characters, some stereotypes bleed through. The book would have benefited from a deeper look at these characters’ thoughts instead of shifting to a third person perspective when they were featured in the book.
* Ed Lawrence is a retired engineer and avid amateur radio operator. His technical expertise is clear in the reading.
* This book is only available through Amazon Kindle. You can get Amazon Kindle for your PC or handheld device, but this may limit its availability to interested readers.

F&B Indie Film: Agnes Top Five Indies

Move Poster for Moonrise Kingdom Indie Film

Move Poster for Moonrise Kingdom Indie FilmTop Five Indie Films of 2012
By Agnes

Every year, the best, the most creative and the most interesting films are made by indie film makers. Here, in the indie space, committees and teams of focus groups aren’t available to ruin a good story. Here, often the film maker is producer, director and writer—without the added creative interference inherent in big budget conglomerate movie productions. The evidence is clear at every film festival, notably in the coming Toronto Film Festival (TIFF: September 6-16). So, here\are my personal pre-TIFF picks for best five indie movies so far in 2012. I’d love to know if you agree (please comment!)

MoonRise Kingdom
This is a must see movie, directed by Wes Anderson, casted by Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman and Kara Hayward.
The movie follows 12 year olds , Sam and Suzy, who run away into the wilderness in the 1960’s. Sam is a young boy but behaves more of a man—mature beyond his years, no matter what the crisis.
Layer in to the story, the parents stories, as Suzy’s mum cheats on his daddy—played by Bruce Willis. If you liked any of Wes Wanderson films, this is definitely a fun and worthwhile film to watch.

Sleepless Night
This is a French thriller directed by Frederic Jardin. It is a 98 minute movie that take place in a crowded nightclub, and in a serene blue city. Against a situation of cops arresting a young boy for possession, a hidden camera reveals the darker aspects of the night for dancers, karaoke singers, cooks and bartenders. In all the confusion, Sisler, one of the police, does everything possible to save the boy. It is a must see thriller that will keep you glued to the action .

The Kid with a Bike Analysis
This is a drama directed by Jean Pierre Dardenne—a short, sharp, and a contemporary tale. It follows the adventures of a kid who desperately looks for his daddy—who had abandoned him to social services. The boy is only 11 years, and is never gives up in his quest to find his daddy and—together with other kids in the neighbourhood–the hunt is on. Definitely worth watching.

Sound of My Voice
This is a movie about two people, Peter and Lorna, as they try to make a documentary. Rather daringly, they choose as a subject, a secret cult that, headed by a mysterious woman. To really get into their story, they become cult cult members.
The movie requires you to concentrate and follow closely, but, though a serious watch, it’s very much worth the effort.

Ruby Sparks
The movie is directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. It was inspired by Henry Koster’s 1959 Harvey. It is an interesting literal story focused on Ruby Sparks.

If you love the indie’s–where creativity truly is found–you’ll enjoy these five for 2012. And don’t miss the action at this year’s Toronto Film Festival!

In a Changing Publishing Market, Where’s an Indie to Go?

Publishers Group West is a distributor for indie book publishers

Publishers Group West is a distributor for indie book publishers

Distribution groups such as PGW (above) and Independent Publishers Group, scale up resources of independent publishers, allowing them to reach wider retail markets.

F&B Business Feature
Opinion by Asherry

Small indie publishers who can’t handle their own distribution due to scale and retail issues rely on distributors to get to market. Also, writers who are entering the industry need a reliable book publishing company to help them grow as writers or a distributor if they self-publish. From my own research, here are a few prospective indy-friendly resources to consider if you’re ready to find a distributor.

Independent Publishers Group
is a distributor that has displayed quality and dependable services, which people can rely on. Whether you are a new publisher or author, this company has risen above most competitors by offering exceptional services. With more than 41 years in the industry, the company has tailored its services to appeal all those who want to conduct business with them. Rewarded for their enormous contribution in the development of quality content, the company will remain a favorite for a very long time.

Publishers Group West is another major book distribution company that enjoys favor in the eyes of many indies. Termed as the largest book distributing and sale company in the US, it has played a major role in the development of the industry. Today, it is estimated to have worked with over 100 independent clients, besides publishing many titles that have made their way into the markets. The company is also known for setting the standard for excellence, by providing digital conversions and book venting services through out the country.

Lastly, Author Solutions is another company (perhaps a little less indie since they’re now owned by Penguin) that has given the writing community a reason to smile. The venue like any other depicts integrity, quality work and professionalism in all its dealings with its clients. It is engaged in book marketing, book publishing, writing services such as blogs and e-book and many more. Over the years, it has unveiled many opportunities where upcoming writers can venture to establish themselves in the industry. These are some of the many publishing companies that have left a mark in the publishing world. In closing, the market continues to witness a growing need for writers who are required to provide exceptional contents. It is this concern has given raise to the many publishing companies that have emerged in the recent past to fill that void.

F&B Indie DVD Release Review: Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror movie on DVD rethinks Snow White

Mirror Mirror movie on DVD rethinks Snow White

Although Mirror Mirror had major “players” involved in the project, the eclectic mix of production companies allows us to softly classify as an “indie” film.

Review by Jenn Simpson

One of the new release movies on DVD is Mirror, Mirror. This is a movie that stars Julia Roberts as the queen, along with Lily collins as Snow White. It also stars Armie Hammer, and features Natan Lane as the court lackey Brighton. The director of the movie was Tarsem Singh It is an adaptation of the Snow White fable.
Mirror, Mirror tells the story of an evil queen (Roberts) who takes the throne after the death of her husband. The queen is completely ruthless and wishes to exploit her people and rules with an iron hand. She thinks nothing of taxing her poor subjects to pay for extras in the palace.
Snow white works in the palace, but is given no special place even though she is the rightful queen. It is vaguely reminiscent of the Cinderella story.
Into the story comes the young, handsome Prince Alcott. (Hammer) He is a visitor to the palace, he has an immediate attraction to Snow White, but because he is wealthy the queen wants to marry him and use his money to pay for palace expenses. Snow White stands up to the queen and wants no part of her evil plan to exploit the people. Since Snow white is seen as a threat and is banished. The queen put out the order to have Snow White killed. Snow White takes refuge with the seven dwarves, who protect her and train her in fighting techniques to take back the palace.
Snow white meets Alcott again who is smitten, Alcott ends up back at the palace, the queen advised by her mirror gives him love potion to make him fall in love with her.Even though the mirror warned the Queen about using Dark Magic. He does initially, but later finds Snow White and falls back in love with her after a kiss. Snow White sees a necklace with a moon charm cuts it and her father emerges. Snow White makes a triumphant return to the kingdom and takes her rightful place on the throne, and marries Alcott. Julia Roberts Queen character become an old crone as a consequence of using Dark Magic.
I saw this movie recently, and did not really like it. It is not a fan favorite, because the story is confusing and bears little resemblance to the real Snow White Tale. This movie was originally released in the theatre on March 30 and was released on DVD June 26.
Summary
This movie was a bit dull, and the action was a bit hard to follow, because it was a tale that people are not familiar with.
The plot line was thin, and the characters did not always make sense. Some of the special effects in the movie are good, but in my opinion the talented actors in the movies were not well used. This is a movie that was worth a dollar rental from Redbox, but would not have been worth a movie admission ticket. for those that are fans of the the actors involved they may wish to see it, but it is not a great movie.

Cast
Julia Roberts as the Queen
Lily Collins as Snow White
Armie Hammer as Prince Alcott
Nathan Lane as Brighton
Jordan Prentice as Napoleon
Mark Povinelli as Half Pint
Joe Gnoffo as Grub
Danny Woodburn as Grimm
Sebastian Saraceno as Wolf
Martin Klebba as Butcher
Ronald Lee Clar as Chuckles
Robert Emms as Charles Renbock
Mare Winningham as Baker Margaret
Michael Lerner as Baron
Sean Bean as the King

Box Office Report
Budget:
$85,000,000 approximate
Opening Weekend:
$18,132,085 in the USA approximate as of July 2012
Gross:
$162,700,692 Worldwide approximate as of July 2012

Production Companies

Relativity Media (presents)
Yuk Films (in association with)
Goldmann Pictures
Rat Entertainment
Misha Films
Citizen Snow Film Productions

F&B Indie Book Review: Secrets of the Apple by Paula Hiatt

Available as a Kindle Book, Secrets of the Apple is a genuine love story

Available as a Kindle Book, Secrets of the Apple is a genuine love story

Paula Hiatt’s Secrets of the Apple received starred reviews from respected reviewer Kirkus.

Secrets of the Apple
Review by Winnie Wans

Paula Hiatt’s Secrets of the Apple is striking for visual descriptions of a touching love story, deftly written to involve the reader. Secrets of the Apple is rich with interesting metaphors that bring the reader to engage in the developing love story between the two main characters, Ryoki and Kate.
This book is mainly about the family unit, love, romance and the dynamics that shape up a family. It brings about the variations in culture as well as past relationships that shape up people and the entire family. The book brings out a contrast that exists between a life that is successful as well as a life that is meaningful.
The plot centers on Kate, who is a young American. It also brings about the character of Ryoki who is a wealthy businessperson from Japan. Both Kate and Ryoki are divorced and they live single lives while focusing on their careers.
The two are brought together by business and they pair up as a result. This happens when Ryoki is in need of a personal assistant and that is when he meets Kate.
However, the two are not aware that their two families have developed a business relationship and therefore have great respect for each other in return. Initially, when Ryoki meets Kate, he doubts her abilities to perform well when she is recruited into his office. He therefore thinks that she will damage the reputation of his business as well as his profession in its entirety.
However, Kate proves him wrong by working hard. They also collide when she feels like Ryoki is a workaholic and as a result Ryoki is annoyed by this. When Kate goes away, Ryoki develops a feeling of loneliness and realizes that he had grown fond of her and probably had started liking her on a different level. Ryoki develops the interest of wanting to know more about Kate hence he sends her an invitation for her to work with him in Brazil. He preparers a place for her to stay at a guesthouse, which was outside his own home. The aim was to keep her closer to him. In Brazil, they still maintain the professional and platonic relationship that they have. Both of them love the fact that they are away from the busy city life. Kate also wonders why Ryoki had to go through the trouble of getting a personal assistant while he could actually manage to do the work on his own.

The book trailer for Secrets of the Apple:

Ryoki also realizes that he is in love with Kate when he becomes jealous after another man appears and poses a threat to him. At this moment, he realizes that he has developed tender emotions for Kate and therefore becomes afraid to act on this particular issue.
This book is interesting especially to the people, who have an eye for modern fiction. It also develops a love story from a level where it was not expected to a level where the two people actually realize that staying together makes them to grow fond of each other.

F&B Indy Book Review File
File Size: 663 KB
Print Length: 400 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Mayday Publishing (March 23, 2012)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B007O3181G
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
Genre: Romance novel

F&B Film Review: Owl and the Sparrow (Vietnam)

Independent Movie Review Owl and the Sparrow from Indie Films and Books

Owl and the Sparrow
Review By MY MELINDA HAND

Owl and the Sparrow is a film about three lives that are intertwined by odd circumstances. The film perfectly captures a wonderful and unique family situation.

Synopsis
Ten year old Thuy follows her instincts in an unkind city. She starts out by working in her uncle’s factory after the death of her parents. Thuy’s struggles as an orphan, to build a family and support network, defines this movie.

As a setup to her quest for family, Thuy is an orphan who’s business-minded uncle is not concerned with her childhood dreams or her happiness. He is simply concerned about progress and money.

Thuy sets out to build her own network of friends and bonds. Of course, the theme of relationships, the unfairness of society to orphans and a number of other themes are fair game, especially on the rough streets of Saigon, where an orphaned child often becomes a victim.

The film is evocative and illustrates with impeccable story-telling. For example, in one scene Thuy is working for a woman trying to sell flowers on the streets to make enough money for a bite to eat. The poignancy of this subtle illustration of helplessness and innocence is all the more striking because of Thuy’s strength. She doesn’t complain, or ask for handouts.

Owl and the Sparrow paints with delicate brushstrokes, with characters as the paint. Two striking characters entwine with Thuy’s life. The first is Hai, a zookeeper who recently had his fiancé leave him. The second a flight attendant by the name of Lan—a beautiful woman who is having an affair with a married man.

We see a little of both of their lives. Strikingly, the film gives us this perspective from a child’s view. Thuy’s lesson: we forget at times to allow good things to happen.

Although Thuy started out her journey to find herself, she ends up affecting those around her in profound ways. This movie does a wonderful job of exploring the true meaning of family—going being blood and DNA.

Sadly, Thuy’s life as illustrated is totally credible an not uncommon in many cities of the world. Owl and the Sparrow reminds us to view life through the eyes of an innocent child. You are forced to open you heart and mind and discover true meaning of devotion.

Winner of the Heartland Crystal Heart Award and Los Angeles Film Festival.

Cast
Cat Ly as Lan
The Lu Le    as Hai
Han Thi Pham as Thuy
Trong Hai as The Captain
Pham Thi Han as Thuy
Nguyen Hau as Uncle Minh
Teresa Michelle Lee     as Bartender
Hoang Long as Soup boy
Bui Thi Noan as Orphan director
Danvy Pham as Dancer
Thi Han Phan as Thuy
Nguyen Kim Phuong as Phuong
Le Nguyen Vu as The magician

Producers
Timothy Linh Bui
Nam Doan Nhat
Van Quan Nguyen
Jimmy Pham
Ham Tran

Original Music by
Pete Nguyen

Cinematography by
Stephane Gauger

Film Editing by
Ricardo Javier
Ham Tran

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jenni Trang Le, first assistant director

Sound Department
Gabe Verger, supervising sound editor

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