Abraham Lincoln

RVIFF Reviews: Gay Hong Kong Seniors, A Trainwreck of a Dude Returns Home, and a Rapid-Fire Korean Pursuit Thriller

September 13th, 2022 | Robin


A Ken and Robin Consume Media Special Feature


At the end of last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, my wife Valerie and I decided to break up with it, after decades of attendance. We have replaced it with RVIFF, the Robin and Valerie International Film Festival. It’s the festival you can play along with at home, with a curated roster of streaming titles I’m excited to see. Daily capsule reviews roll out throughout the festival, with a complete list in order of preference dropping a day or two afterwards. Review ratings are out of 5.


Twilight’s Kiss (Hong Kong, Ray Yeung, 2019, 4) Closeted retirement-age cab driver (Tai-Bo) strikes up a relationship with a contemporary (Ben Yuen) who is likewise not out to his family but yearns for a closer connection. Restrained character drama honors and regrets the stoic resignation of its characters.

Zero Fucks Given (Belgium, Julie Lecoustre & Emmanuel Marre, 2019) Despite her desires to lose herself in distractions, a young flight attendant for a budget airline is forced to seek promotion. Realist character study at first appears to be a working person’s film for the service industry era, then goes deeper.

Every TIFF there was at least one film whose program book description led me to expect a wrong different tone and premise. The tradition continues at RVIFF, but I still very much liked what Zero Fucks Given turned out to be.

Red Rocket (US, Sean Baker, 2021, 4) Fast-talking hasbeen adult performer (Simon Rex) returns to his small Texas hometown to wheedle his way back into the life of his ex-wife / ex-co-star (Bree Elrod) and set his sights on a not-so-innocent 18-year old (Susanna Son.) Satirical character drama where the suspense lies in the exact manner of the lead character’s foreordained flame-out.

Midnight (South Korea, Oh-Seung Kwon, 2021, 4) After witnessing a serial killer (Wi Ha-joon) with his latest victim, a deaf customer service rep (Ki-joo Jin) flees for her life. Unity-of-time thriller keeps the inventive, surprising suspense beats coming fast.

Due to moderate demand, the RVIFF shirts I made for the two of us are now available in the Ken and Robin merch store.



If you enjoy this special text feature of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff podcast and don’t already support our Patreon, consider tossing a few bucks in the tip jar. Or check out my book on action films and their roleplaying applications, Blowing Up the Movies. Or the roleplaying game inspired by the Hong Kong films I first encountered at TIFF, Feng Shui 2.

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