Fantastic Fest 2015 Review: YAKUZA APOCALYPSE Plays Like Miike's Greatest Hits

Putting Miike Takashi at the helm of a yakuza action film that features a vampire crime boss and a man in a giant felt frog costume seems like a no-brainer. This is the kind of whacked out gonzo imagery that we've... More »
By J Hurtado   

Fantastic Fest 2015 Review: DIRTY ROMANCE, The Stuff Of Real Life Is Not Always Pleasant To Behold

If Korean director Lee Sang-woo's I Am Trash was difficult to watch -- and I found it an exceptionally brutal experience to endure when I saw his movie at Fantastic Fest last year -- Dirty Romance initially threatens to exceed... More »
By Peter Martin   

Toronto 2015 Review: TALVAR (GUILTY), An Indictment Of Indian Justice

In 2008, Aarushi Talwar, 14, the daughter of middle class parents, was found dead in her Mumbai home with her throat slashed. Suspicion quickly fell upon the family's servant, a Nepali migrant named Hemraj, but when he was found dead... More »
By J Hurtado   

Toronto 2015 Review: COLLECTIVE INVENTION Asks The Right Questions, But Has None Of The Answers

Wrapping a raft of social issues plaguing modern Korean society into a simple allegory, Collective Invention, a quirky new comedy-drama with dashes of the same humor found in Bong Joon-ho's work, is a succinct but relatively straightforward affair. The setting... More »
By Pierce Conran   

Toronto 2015 Review: Sono's WHISPERING STAR Is A Hushed-Tone Oddity, Even By Sono's Standards

In a career positively littered with oddball entries, Sono Sion's The Whispering Star may very well prove to be the most oddball, the most niche entry in the director's lengthy canon. And, surprisingly, this is because he chooses the path... More »
By Todd Brown   

Review: Johnnie To's OFFICE, Too Much Like Real Work

In a wild change of pace, Hong Kong director Johnnie To delivers an all-singing, occasionally-dancing adaptation of Sylvia Chang's successful stage play, Design for Living. While the script has undergone numerous changes along the way, and boasts brand new musical numbers... More »
By James Marsh   

Toronto 2015 Review: RIVER, Man On The Run, But Not A Typical Chase Thriller

As children, we are often taught that, when someone is in trouble, we should try to help, or if someone is being bullied, we should intervene. But sometimes, there can be unforeseen consequences that would endanger ourselves. Jamie M. Dagg's first... More »

L'Etrange 2015 Review: REMAKE REMIX RIP-OFF Is An Enlightening Joyride

I'm sure that many of us, when we were kids, enjoyed acting out scenes to our favourite movies and TV shows; today, spured on by the internet, fan fiction has taken on new heights of importance (some even arguing... More »

Review: COMING HOME, Something Of An Ordeal

Zhang Yimou returns to his more humble, socially conscious roots, reuniting with former muse Gong Li for an earnest, if rather underwhelming, adaptation of Yan Geiling's The Criminal Lu Yanshi. While the historical significance of the story will resonate strongly... More »
By James Marsh   

Review: DRAGON BLADE, Thrilling Fights And Beautiful Shots, Yet Sentimental To A Fault

Daniel Lee's war drama suffers from too much naivety that cannot be counterbalanced by its technical qualities. Grossing more than $50 million only a few days after its release in local theaters, the Chinese blockbuster revolves around the "true" story... More »

Book Review: THE ART OF SATOSHI KON Makes You Crave More

(Did you know there were Perfect Blue Trading Cards? Neither did I...) Me being a fan of anime director and artist Satoshi Kon isn't exactly a secret. I was very much shocked by his death five years ago, first because... More »
By Ard Vijn   

Blu-ray Review: ELFEN LIED Bares Bodies And Souls

(... and often also the insides of both...) British distributor 101 Films seems to own exactly two anime licenses, and it released one of those a few weeks ago on Blu-ray, in a beautiful shiny steelbook (seen here). I'm... More »
By Ard Vijn   

Review: See A Moving Biosphere in J.P. Sniadecki's THE IRON MINISTRY

Just like Leviathan and Manakamana before it, J.P. Sniadecki's The Iron Ministry is another striking sensory cinema experience. Closely associated with Havard Sensory Ethnography Lab and its esteemed Colleagues - Julien Castraing-Taylor, Verena Paravel, Stephanie Spray, Pacho Velez and others, ... More »
By Dustin Chang   

Review: BROTHERS, A Brawler Submits To Bollywood Bloat

Gavin O'Connor's Warrior was a surprise critical and box office hit back in 2011, as well as being one of the first studio films set within the increasingly popular world of Mixed Martial Arts fighting. That film pitted brothers Tom... More »
By J Hurtado   

Locarno 2015 Review: RIGHT NOW, WRONG THEN, Stars Shine In Classic Hong Sangsoo

Following Hong Sangsoo's career guarantees for viewers, at the very least, one thing - developing a keen eye for detail. The auteur's films are remarkably similar to one another, from their lecherous male director/professor characters and conversations over bottles of... More »
By Pierce Conran   

Review: THE BEAUTY INSIDE, High Concept Melo Is More Glib Than Its Title

A corporate-sponsored high concept web series gets the glossy Korean melodrama treatment in The Beauty Inside, the top romantic offering of the season. Featuring a laundry list of Korean stars all playing the same character, this debut film by music... More »
By Pierce Conran   

Review: MEMORIES OF THE SWORD, Remembering Better Sword Fighting Flicks

The wild card in the quartet of major Korean releases scheduled for this year's high summer season (alongside Assassination, Veteran and The Beauty Inside), the star-driven period spectacle Memories Of The Sword proves to be a perplexing experience with jarring... More »
By Pierce Conran   

Fantasia 2015 Review: Sono Sion's TAG, Sure There Are Lots Of Japanese Girls In It, But...

Sono Sion's Tag opens with two busloads of Japanese school girls on a trip. It's all soft focus sweetness and light until the buses are attacked by an unseen force - literally a killer wind - and shy teen Mitsuko... More »
By Andrew Mack   

BiFan 2015 Review: DEADMAN INFERNO Pits Iconic Aikawa Sho Against The Undead

Director and comedian Hiroshi Shinagawa has focused his film career on mining the drama, and subsequent comedy found in the relationships between partners and prospective teammates. Debut feature Drop followed a juvenile delinquent group, Manzai Gang features similarly unruly youths... More »

Fantasia 2015 Review: SHINJUKU SWAN, Sono's Glossy Yakuza Melodrama

The famous Shinjuku District in Tokyo is Times Square, The Vegas Strip and Magnificent Mile rolled into one (and multiplied by a hundred) is ward of so much light there is not an inch of darkness on the pavement, but... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
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