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  1. Creepy (2016) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Creepy (2016) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Nishijima Hidetoshi (Actor) | Takeuchi Yuko (Actor) | Fujino Ryoko (Actor) | Kawaguchi Haruna (Actor)
    Kurosawa Kiyoshi's return to psycho horror
    May 23, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Based on the roles he plays, Nishijima Hidetoshi has to be unhappiest man in Japanese cinema. In Mozu, he's an anguished public security officer trying to find the truth behind his wife and daughter's mysterious deaths. In Genome Hazard, he's an anguished framed man trying to find the truth behind his wife's mysterious death. In Ryusei Wagon, he's an anguished unemployed man whose wife mysteriously leaves him. In Double Face, he's an anguished undercover officer planted in the mob. In Strawberry Nights and the currently airing Crisis as well, he's an anguished officer. The actor goes through yet more onscreen suffering in Kurosawa Kiyoshi's Creepy as anguished criminal psychology expert... [read more]
  2. SHINee: Jong Hyun Collection - Story Op.2 (Essay Version) SHINee: Jong Hyun Collection - Story Op.2 (Essay Version) Jong Hyun (SHINee)
    Blue Night memories
    May 19, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Jong Hyun started hosting the radio program Blue Night in 2014. Inspired by audiences' real-life stories, the SHINee member created a bunch of soulful and jazzy ballads that were collected in his first compilation album Story Op. 1. After stepping down from the show in early April this year, the singer-songwriter wraps up the series with Story Op. 2, a sentimental sequel drowned in the mixture of melancholy, loneliness and helplessness felt in different seasons. Spring is the blooming season not just for flowers but also for love. However, the title track Lonely (Track 1) reveals the intense sense of loneliness behind an apparently blossoming love. Jong Hyun and Tae Yeon tenderly croon to... [read more]
  3. Someone (Blu-ray) (Deluxe Edition) (Japan Version) Someone (Blu-ray) (Deluxe Edition) (Japan Version) Satoh Takeru | Suda Masaki | Arimura Kasumi | Okada Masaki
    To know you is to not know you
    May 17, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Playwright-turned-director Miura Daisuke draws from his theater background to effectively adapt Asai Ryo's 2012 Naoki Prize-winning novel Someone. The discomfiting drama uses a group of friends' deflating process of job hunting to not only capture the ambitions, insecurities and hypocrisies of young people competing for employment, but also to construct an astute study of social interactions and public identities in the age of social media. Headlined by a top-drawer young ensemble cast that pretty much sells itself, the story revolves around five college seniors of different personalities and wants who are wading through the daunting process of job hunting. Leading protagonist Takuto (Satoh... [read more]
  4. IU Vol. 4 - Palette IU Vol. 4 - Palette IU
    A frank reflection of growth
    May 9, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    At the age of 15, IU began her music career as an all-round singer with "Lost Child." However, her music style remained vague until she found her quirky fantasy vibe in the 2010 album Real. Despite her wide variety of music styles, she managed to retain the fairytale concept in her subsequent albums to show her inner child. Reaching adulthood, the singer-songwriter takes on a down-to-earth style to find her true self in her fourth full-length album Palette. It's hard to tell what "Dlwlrma" (Track 1) means through its apparently nonsensical title. However, when you type out the letters on a Korean keyboard, you will discover that the playful jazzy song is named after IU's nickname "Lee Ji... [read more]
  5. One Day (2016) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) One Day (2016) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Ter Chantawit Thanasewee (Actor) | Mew Nittha Jirayungyurn (Actor) | Banjong Pisanthanakun (Director)
    One Day makes all the difference
    April 28, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Director Banjong Pisanthanakun is best known for horror, with his Shutter and Pee Mak both being landmarks of the genre in Thailand. Between the horror movies, in 2010 he wrote and directed Hello Stranger, an enjoyable romantic comedy about two strangers who become travelmates by chance in Seoul. Six years later, he reunites with leading man Ter Chantavit Dhanasevi for another picturesque dose of romance abroad in the Hokkaido-set One Day. Ter Chantavit plays awkward IT geek Denchai who quite literally blends into the wall. Outfitted with glasses, permed hair and ill-fitting casualwear, Denchai is deemed cinematically unattractive, and his social skills are wanting. He has a huge crush on... [read more]
  6. Junggigo Vol. 1 - Across the Universe Junggigo Vol. 1 - Across the Universe Junggigo (Singer)
    Exploring new possibilities for R&B
    April 27, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Gifted with an enchantingly smooth voice, Junggigo has been one of the most sought-after vocalists in the jazz-influenced underground hip-hop scene since his debut in 2002. After starting his solo career with a series of richly soulful tracks including the highly praised Blind, the singer-songwriter continues to work with different hip-hop artists and further expand his R&B spectrum. In his first full-length album Across the Universe, Junggigo melds even more different styles to open up new possibilities for his musical direction. Moving out of his comfort zone of warm-hearted ballads, Junggigo explores his wild and sexy side in the sensual and funky Nocturne (Track 8). Backed by... [read more]
  7. Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories (2016) (Blu-ray Box) (Japan Version) Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories (2016) (Blu-ray Box) (Japan Version) Kobayashi Kaoru | Sudo Risa | Ando Tamae | Tanimura Mitsuki
    Food for thought
    April 26, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    After three seasons on TBS/MBS, late-night foodie human drama series Midnight Diner was licensed by online streaming giant Netflix in 2016 for its fourth season. Presumably to appeal to its potential international audience, an explanatory "Tokyo Stories" was harmlessly tagged on to the title, but otherwise, nothing has changed from its tried-and-true formula. Based on Abe Yaro's manga, Midnight Diner continues to be the reliable late-night watering hole of choice for viewers seeking food for thought and recipe inspirations. Like the previous three seasons, Midnight Diner's fourth season comprises of ten episodes, each titled after a comforting dish that holds deeper meaning for the patrons... [read more]
  8. Run-off (DVD) (Korea Version) Run-off (DVD) (Korea Version) Oh Yeon Seo (Actor) | Soo Ae (Actor) | Oh Dal Soo (Actor) | Kim Seul Gi (Actor)
    An inspiring sports drama about sisterly love
    April 24, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    In 2003, South Korea's first women's national ice hockey team suffered their most humiliating defeat at the Aomori Asian Winter Games. Fourteen years later, they proudly gained their biggest win at the 2017 Sapporo Asian Winter Games with a silver medal. Kim Jong Hyun's Run-Off looks back on the battle between the North and South Korean hockey teams back in 2003, a hot topic in Korean sports history. South Korea's then ace player Hwangbo Young, one of the most influential ice hockey players in Asia, also drew much media attention due to her background as a North Korean defector. Run-Off captures the South Korean women's ice hockey team's most significant moments, from their establishment to... [read more]
  9. Togetsukyo - Kimi Omou - (SINGLE+DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) Togetsukyo - Kimi Omou - (SINGLE+DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) Kuraki Mai
    Crimson love song
    April 21, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Kuraki Mai's two most recent singles – Yesterday Love and Togetsukyo -Kimi Omou- – are both theme songs for the Detective Conan anime franchise, but they couldn't be more different. While Yesterday Love, released in January, is a dated-sounding electronic pop song straight out of the nineties vault, her latest Togetsukyo -Kimi Omou- goes back even further in time to incorporate traditional Japanese music elements into a melodic and melancholic ballad. Aligning with the Kansai autumn setting of the movie Detective Conan: Crimson Love Letter for which the single serves as theme song, Kuraki penned a wistful love song that evokes the imagery of crimson leaves. The title and lyrics refer to the... [read more]
  10. The Whimsical Voyage (EP) The Whimsical Voyage (EP) Ivana Wong (Singer) | Hins Cheung (Singer)
    A new look at old hits
    April 13, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Earlier this February, Hong Kong singer-songwriters Ivana Wong and Hins Cheung celebrated their long-lasting friendship in their first collaborative concert The Magical Teeter Totter 2017. Inspired by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the concert's spin-off album The Whimsical Voyage takes them on a creative journey into each other's music worlds. Ivana takes the bolder step to elevate Hins's songs to a higher artistic level. One of the most important songs in Hins's music career is his debut song My Way, an encouraging R&B jam about the singer's growth and future. To echo the pivotal theme of "I will find my way / I want a different way," Ivana sings in a totally different way. She... [read more]
  11. The Next Generation -Patlabor- (Blu-ray) (Box 1: Ep. 0-6) (To Be Continued) (Hong Kong Version) The Next Generation -Patlabor- (Blu-ray) (Box 1: Ep. 0-6) (To Be Continued) (Hong Kong Version) Oshii Mamoru (Director) | Mano Erina | Fukushi Seiji | Ohta Rina
    The struggling days of Patlabor's third generation
    April 12, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Twenty-five years after the classic police mecha procedural Patlabor was first launched, the iconic franchise was rebooted in 2014 into a live-action series set years later when Labor robots have fallen out of fashion and the Patlabor police unit has been relegated to an understaffed, underfunded division in constant danger of being shut down. The Next Generation -Patlabor- still revolves around the comings and goings of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Special Vehicles Section's scruffy, motley Division 2, which is now in the hands of a third generation of officers, including Mano Erina and Fukushi Seiji as forward pilot Akira and backup Yuma, respectively. Oshii Mamoru served as the general... [read more]
  12. Shin Godzilla (2016) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Shin Godzilla (2016) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Ishihara Satomi (Actor) | Hasegawa Hiroki (Actor) | Takenouchi Yutaka (Actor) | Kobayashi Takashi (Actor)
    Monster bureaucracy movie
    April 12, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    When I first learned that Anno Hideaki was directing the new Godzilla, my reaction was to question why he was doing anything other than finishing the long overdue Rebuild of Evangelion series. Now I hope he makes Godzilla films forever. Though Godzilla graced Hollywood screens fairly recently in Gareth Edwards's 2014 feature, Shin Godzilla, or Godzilla Resurgence, is the first Japanese Godzilla film in over a decade. Narratively speaking, Anno's take follows a familiar formula: an unidentified giant creature appears, warnings go unheeded, Tokyo gets trampled, humanity eventually pulls together from the burning fires of destruction to fight the monster. However, before the government can... [read more]
  13. Doraemon: Nobita and the Birth of Japan 2016 (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Doraemon: Nobita and the Birth of Japan 2016 (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Fujiko F. Fujio (Writer)
    Giving children space to grow
    March 31, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Released in 1989, Doraemon: Nobita and the Birth of Japan is one of the highest-grossing films of the Doraemon series. Twenty eight years later, director Yakuwa Shinnosuke (Doraemon: New Nobita's Great Demon - Peko and the Exploration Party of Five) refines the story with stronger messages of love, friendship, education and dreams. The 2016 adaptation shares more or less the same storyline as the original about the runaway adventure of Nobita and his friends. To get away from family and academic pressures, they travel to prehistoric Japan of 70,000 years ago where they build their own paradise and create three formidable magical beasts: Pegasus, Dragon and Griffin. When they return home,... [read more]
  14. The Taste of Youth (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) The Taste of Youth (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) King Wai Cheung (Director)
    Hong Kong's bittersweet ode to youth
    March 30, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    In 2009, King Wai Cheung rewrote the crossover potential of Hong Kong documentaries with the much-talked-about award-winning feature KJ: Music & Life, a fascinating record of one very special Hong Kong youth. Seven years later, Cheung gathers the thoughts and voices of a group of very ordinary Hong Kong youths in The Taste of Youth. From a purely cinematic standpoint, The Taste of Youth is a less engaging film than KJ, as the latter captured with depth a uniquely interesting subject over a significant timespan. However, The Taste of Youth's straightforward study offers a timely and more socially relevant look at youth in Hong Kong today, and the undertone of anxiety, discord and malaise... [read more]
  15. DPR Live EP Album - Coming to You Live DPR Live EP Album - Coming to You Live DPR Live
    A rising hip-hop power
    March 27, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    In recent years, many underground rappers have come to light thanks to rap competition shows like Show Me the Money and Unpretty Rapstar. However, Live, also known as DPR Live after his agency Dream Perfect Regime (DPR), takes a different route to start his career. Though he didn't participate in any competitions to raise his popularity, he captures mainstream attention because of his futuristic artistry. Collaborating with A-list R&B and hip-hop musicians like Jay Park, Dean, Crush and Loco, the promising rapper kills it with his debut Coming to You Live. Centering on the themes of drinking, love and sex, this album features a number of sensual tracks with a swirling psychedelic charm.... [read more]
  16. Sadako VS Kayako (2016) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Sadako VS Kayako (2016) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Tamashiro Tina (Actor) | Yamamoto Mizuki (Actor) | Ando Masanobu (Actor) | Shiraishi Koji (Director)
    Horror vs. Comedy
    March 21, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    First teased as an April Fool's joke in 2015, the crossover of the two iconic franchises of J-Horror – Ring and Ju-on: The Grudge – came true in Sadako vs. Kayako. A number of follow-ups, remakes and copycats have been inspired by the two well-known ghost series, but none are as successful as the originals. Poking fun at the overdone rigid storyline, horror master Shiraishi Koji (Grotesque) innovatively creates a battlefield for the two invincible ghosts in his horror/comedy mashup. The story starts with friends Yuri (Yamamoto Mizuki, The Kirishima Thing) and Natsumi (Satsukawa Aimi, Hime-Anole) discovering a dusty video cassette inside a second-hand VHS player. Natsumi watches the entire... [read more]
  17. The Long Excuse (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) The Long Excuse (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) Nishikawa Miwa (Director) | Motoki Masahiro | Takehara Pistol | Kuroki Haru
    The long process of understanding grief and oneself
    March 20, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Out of all of Nishikawa Miwa's films thus far, The Long Excuse is the hardest to put one's finger on. Unlike the quack physician of Dear Doctor, the con artist couple of Dreams For Sale or the murder trial of Sway, The Long Excuse lacks a clear point of conflict. Instead, the audience is unceremoniously introduced into the opaque emotional world of a pretentious, vaguely unpleasant novelist who loses his wife to an accident, and then doesn't quite know what to do with himself. Even at his wife's funeral, protagonist Sachio's (Motoki Masahiro) first concern is appearance as he makes calculated displays of grief. He, however, realizes acutely that he doesn't actually feel grief – at least not... [read more]
  18. Girls' Generation: Tae Yeon Vol. 1 - My Voice (Fine Version) Girls' Generation: Tae Yeon Vol. 1 - My Voice (Fine Version) Tae Yeon (Girls' Generation)
    A new generation K-pop diva
    March 9, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    In recent years, many K-pop idols have started solo careers but only a few can really stand alone as successful soloists. Stripping away Girls' Generation's dance pop style, Tae Yeon has explored many different genres since her solo debut I. The songstress impresses fans again with her first full-length album My Voice, which features an incredibly wide range of music styles – including not just pop ballad and R&B, but also avant-garde styles like alternative pop, PB R&B and tropical house. The acoustic guitar introduction of the title track Fine (Track 1) creates a similar vibe to I. Crooning in a subdued tone along calm guitar tunes, Tae Yeon perfectly portrays the inner struggle of a... [read more]
  19. The World of Us (DVD) (Korea Version) The World of Us (DVD) (Korea Version) Yoon Ga Eun (Director) | Seol Hye In (Actor) | Choi Soo In (Actor)
    The complex world of children
    March 9, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    The World of Us is not the first Korean film to deal with the topic of school bullying. Writer-director Yoon Ga Eun's remarkable debut feature, however, may be the first to bring the audience so naturally and unassumingly close to its young protagonists. The film begins with the everyday activity of picking teams for dodgeball in gym class. The camera rests tenderly on 10-year-old Sun's (Choi Soo In) face as her expression gradually changes from hesitant anticipation to resigned disappointment. Names are called one by one until she is, once again, the last person left. This quietly impactful opening scene – and a similar scene later in the film that echoes it – is simply designed, and yet... [read more]
  20. Chibi Maruko-chan - A Boy From Italy (2016) (Blu-ray Gift Set) (Hong Kong Version) Chibi Maruko-chan - A Boy From Italy (2016) (Blu-ray Gift Set) (Hong Kong Version)
    The real meaning of friendship
    February 28, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Lacking a fantasy plot with supernatural elements, Chibi Maruko-chan may not be as exciting as other famous manga/anime like Doraemon and Pokemon. However, it successfully strikes a chord with almost everyone because of its down-to-earth story of a nine-year-old schoolgirl. Chibi Maruko-chan represents not just the childhood of the author but also those who don't want to grow up. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the anime, author Sakura Momoko welcomes six foreign exchange friends to Maruko-chan's town in the feature film Chibi Maruko-chan - A Boy From Italy. Andrea, who comes from Italy, stays at Maruko-chan's home and the two soon become friends. Maruko-chan travels with Andrea... [read more]
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