Japan Cuts 2015 Review: PIETA IN THE TOILET, A Cancer Story Told With Poetic Artistry

Pieta in the Toilet, the first fictional feature by acclaimed documentary filmmaker Matsunaga Daishi, is a two-hour drama about a young man who's dying of cancer. But fortunately, this film proves to not be nearly as depressing as that description... More »
  

Review: ASSASSINATION Shoots Up A Storm With Stuffed To The Gills Spy Yarn

What has so far been a slow year for Korean cinema is about to get a huge shot of adrenaline as Assassination, the latest from Choi Dong-hoon, is set to storm the stage and usher in the high season at... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: NORTHERN LIMIT LINE Mistakes Nationalism For Narrative

Last summer gave us the nationalist call-to-arms Roaring Currents and, following its record-breaking run, this year unsurprisingly treats us to its own entree of patriotic balderdash, the melee of melodrama and jingoism that is Northern Limit Line. Going right for... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: INTIMATE ENEMIES Marks Low-Point For Im Sang-soo

In a bid to branch out to a wider audience following the tepid critical and commercial response to 2012's The Taste of Money, director Im Sang-soo returns with the spirited but borderline incoherent action-comedy Intimate Enemies. Though desperately trying to... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: THREE SUMMER NIGHT Strips Down To Bikinis And Cheap Jokes

Bikini bods, thugs and knuckleheads cross paths under the summer sun in the latest from Korean comedy maestro Kim Sang-jin. Just as chaotic as his earlier output but with less of an edge, Kim brings his trademark cause-and-effect comedy brand... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: THE SILENCED Charms With Slick Thrills

Following last year's slew of male-driven thrillers, 2015 has so far been a good year for actresses in Korean cinema. Kim Hye-soo and Kim Go-eun went head to head in gangster thriller Coin Locker Girl, Seo Young-hee and Kwon So-hyun... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: SS Rajamouli's BAAHUBALI - THE BEGINNING Is A World Class Epic

The word epic gets thrown around a lot these days. Thanks to meme culture, the word has been misused and overused so often that it has lost much of its meaning. However, for a film experience like S.S. Rajamouli's Baahubali... More »
By J Hurtado   
  

Review: THE PIPER, A Satisfyingly Grimm Fairy Tale

Step away from the city and it isn't long before you fall in with bad company or into a mystery in Korean cinema, with remote islands and mountains being among the favored haunts of the country's more macabre filmmakers. Taking... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

New York Asian 2015 Review: IT'S ALREADY TOMORROW IN HONG KONG, A Charming Romantic Travelogue

Here's the basic plotline of producer and now first-time writer-director Emily Ting's immensely charming romance It's Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong, boiled down to its basic essence. A man and a woman meet, and (spoiler alert) fall in love over... More »
  

New York Asian 2015 Review: TAKSU, An Erotically Charged Island Sojourn

Taksu, the second feature by actress, producer, and now director Sugino Kiki, takes its title from the Balinese concept (often associated with dance) of artistry and charisma that taps into divine, spiritual power. And though it may be going too... More »
  

Review: ABCD 2 Reshuffles The Dance Movie Deck

Disney UTV's ABCD 2 is a follow-up to their surprise 2013 hit film, Any Body Can Dance, this time with the title officially shortened to the hashtag friendly version for today's short attention span audience. That urge to abbreviate has... More »
By J Hurtado   
  

Now On Blu-ray: TOKYO TRIBE, A Late-Night Mainstay In The Making

Sono Sion has always had an eclectic style of filmmaking, but in recent years he has really hit his stride, both in terms of artistry and quantity of his output. Sono is more prolific now than ever before - he... More »
By James Marsh   
  

Sydney 2015 Review: ON THE RIM OF THE SKY, The New Challenges The Old

In the Chinese province of Sichuan, one of the mountains is so high that it's literally "on the rim of the sky"; and in that mountain, there is an isolated village called Gulu. The villagers' children received their education at... More »
By Hugo Ozman   
  

Sydney 2015 Review: Witness Undying Love In MY LOVE, DON'T CROSS THAT RIVER

He was 98. She was 89. They were married for 76 years, had 12 children, six of whom died during their childhood. That is the story of Jo Byeong-man and Kang Gye Yeol, as told in director Jin Mo-young's My... More »
By Hugo Ozman   
  

Review: POLICE STORY: LOCKDOWN, Another Jackie Chan Letdown

A sequel in name only to Jackie Chan's hugely popular action series, this latest offering moves proceedings to mainland China for a small scale, straight-faced and relatively thrill-free drama with a tendency to pontificate about civil responsibility.Jackie Chan's Police Story... More »
By James Marsh   
  

Jeonju 2015 Review: UNWANTED BROTHER Puts Onus On Characters In Familiar Setting

After nearly a decade away from the director's chair, Shim Kwang-jin returns with an unhurried take on a common tale of a lowlife manipulating those around him to pay a debt. Propped up by a few fresh spins on the... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE, A Melancholy Animated Mystery

Studio Ghibli and its catalogue of extraordinary animated films has been built on the back of two men: the creator of its most beloved characters and star of the studio, Miyazaki Hayao and the often over-looked, but no less talented,... More »
  

Cannes 2015 Review: Wrestling With THE ASSASSIN's Beautiful Nothing

The first thing that strikes you in The Assassin is the quiet. Hou Hsiao-Hsien's ruminative tone-poem, about a Tang Dynasty sell-sword tasked with killing kin, is a remarkably hushed affair. Be it dialogue, sound-effects or music, at no point does... More »
By Ben Croll   
  

Cannes 2015 Review: MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART Displays Creative Artistry But Flawed Vision

Director Jia Zhang-ke is a big fan of segmented narratives. His last film, A Touch of Sin, was an anthology of sorts tackling different stories surrounding the larger topic of the the modernization of Chinese culture. In his latest film,... More »
By Ryland Aldrich   
  

Cannes 2015 Review: MADONNA, A Riveting Tale Of Sorrow And Redemption

Following her accomplished sophomore film, the absorbing high school revenge tale Pluto (2012), Shin Su-won returns in glorious fashion with the searing Madonna. Meticulous, layered and yet seemingly effortless, this rewarding tale of mingled sorrow and redemption should go a... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  
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