CODA is code for brilliance

When a film crew operates with train wheel precision you see the smooth result in sequences that abound with lucid continuity.

Look no further than the action scenes in “Raging Fire.”

The veteran direction of Benny Chan in his last movie (Chen passed away during post production.) firmly establishes the where and the why of every complicated blazing moment in the concatenation of “Blazing Fire’s” many explosive moments.

The action and male bonding is on par with John Woo classics. The script supervisor and the camera and editing departments are working in unison. It’s both old school filmmaking and new realism in one package.

Donnie Yen plays a hard-boiled detective who goes up against a former colleague turned master criminal. As incidents escalate both realize they are nearing the end of their respective careers.

“Raging Fire” waits until the last reel to really unleash its full potential. The film is handled by Well Go USA, a company that distributes some of the best Asian cinema domestically.

One of Well Go’s other current releases “Escape from Mogadishu,” from South Korea, is simply one of the best films released this year.

When civil war breaks out in Somalia capital rival embassies of South and North Korea must join forces to drive a couple of miles to get to the airport. Roads are full of pre-teen kids with automatic rifles killing civilians for being on the street. Sound familiar?

North has to defect to the South in order to get Somali permission to fly out of the country. Everyone knows it’s a sham yet they participate, offering multiple poignant moments.

Sadly in a purely commercial sense movies like the aforementioned are playing in limited and usual single venues. Unless you’re in a big city you’re more than likely limited to streaming content in order to enjoy these titles.

In “Confetti” a dyslexic Chinese girl and her mother, move to New York City to enroll in a school for children with similar learning issues.

Despite good intentions “Confetti” trudges from scene to scene with such unlikely conviction that it wouldn’t even be considered an interesting after-school movie. No amount of production value can redeem a forgettable movie.

Ironically “Confetti” plays many of the same beats as this year’s most inventive comedy “CODA.” Each film unwinds with a series of challenges that are defeated at every move until a victorious finale.

“CODA” concerns a high school student who has the chance to compete for a scholarship based on her music skills yet is held back by family commitments. This could be the plot of a Hillary Duff film from the turn of the century.

While the term coda has significance in musical vernacular there’s also a duel meaning to the title: CODA is an acronym for Children of Deaf Adults.

Since Ruby (Emilia Jones) is the only hearing member of her family they rely on her to help run their fishing boat. Jones, an English actor with key film, television and stage credits but mostly unknown domestically, is about to burst onto the American scene. Joining Jones are an ensemble of deaf actors including Oscar® winning Marlee Matlin.

There are genre similarities to last years highly acclaimed “Sound of Metal” yet that film was grim and deterministic whereas “CODA” works its charm with a light often humorous touch that owes a debut to coming of age films as diverse as “Breaking Away and “Lady Bird.”


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