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  1. offonoff Vol. 1 - boy. (Normal Edition) offonoff Vol. 1 - boy. (Normal Edition) offonoff
    Futuristic groovers
    August 7, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Composed of singer-songwriting Colde and producer 0channel, offonoff is part of Dean's hip-hop crew Club Eskimo, which also includes singer-songwriters like Crush and Miso. Since their dreamy debut Mood launched on Soundcloud in 2015, the talented duo has enjoyed increasing popularity among futuristic music lovers. Recently recruited by Tablo's indie label HIGHGRND, they stay true to their raw music style and reveal people's innermost thoughts and emotions in their first full-length album boy. Love is the primary theme of this album. Comparing smoking to an addictive love, offonoff, Miso and Tablo capture the dreaminess and bittersweetness of a fleeting love in Cigarette (Track 2). Miso's... [read more]
  2. Love ☆ Queen (SINGLE + DVD + PHOTOBOOK) (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) Love ☆ Queen (SINGLE + DVD + PHOTOBOOK) (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) E-girls
    The new-look E-girls
    July 31, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    When LDH launched E-girls in 2011, the group was meant to be an entertainment project that gathered the members of Dream, Happiness and Flower. In actuality, over the last six years, this project group in name was more well-known and active than the official groups from which it drew members. In June, LDH restructured the organization chart of its girl groups by creating the new project collective of E.G.family and redesignating E-girls as a group under that umbrella. Besides the reshuffling, the E-girls member lineup was slimmed down to 11 with the exit of eight members including Ami. Less than two months since the announcement of the new changes, the 11-member E-girls start afresh with... [read more]
  3. Love and Other Things Love and Other Things Janice Vidal (Singer)
    The metamorphosis of Janice Vidal
    July 31, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    During her ten years under Leon Lai's label A Music, Janice Vidal released a number of hit ballads that brought her various music awards. However, her repetitive pop ballad style has deterred her from achieving greater success. After joining Warner Music, the singer restarts her career with a series of surprising songs that vary considerably in style. Expanding her music map, Janice rediscovers herself in the album Love and Other Stories. Janice expresses her determination to make a change in her first comeback single "Butterfly" (Track 5), a compelling mix of soft rock and R&B. By asking "Who are you?" in an uncanny violin-driven opening, the singer reveals her confusion about herself, her... [read more]
  4. Cycling Angels (2016) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) Cycling Angels (2016) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) Paul Chu (Director)
    The long ride home
    July 27, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    In 2012, the Taiwan documentary Go Grandriders about the inspiring round-island motorbike trip of a group of senior citizens set a new local box office record for documentaries. Four years later, we make the round-island pilgrimage with riders from the opposite end of the age spectrum in Cycling Angels. The first film from director Paul Chu, Cycling Angels documents the 1,200 km cycling journey of a group of children from the Yunlin County Xinyi Orphanage, the youngest of whom was only eight years old. This great test of physical and mental endurance is taxing even for adults, let alone young children who have already been through too much for their age. But, as the orphanage director... [read more]
  5. Too Young to Die! (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition) (Japan Version) Too Young to Die! (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition) (Japan Version) Kamiki Ryunosuke | Kudo Kankuro (Director, Writer) | Nagase Tomoya | Ono Machiko
    Hell of a comedy
    July 25, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    It takes a certain kind of person to turn the tragic deaths of a busload of teenagers and the terrifying images of Japanese hell into an over-the-top comedy, and that person is Kudo Kankuro. The master of wacky, talky and strangely thoughtful comedies returns to the director's chair for his fourth feature film, Too Young to Die!, which may be his weirdest yet. Too Young to Die! begins with a bus full of high school kids meeting an untimely end on a field trip. Bratty protagonist Daisuke (Kamiki Ryunosuke) wakes up in "jigoku," a fiery Buddhist-based vision of hell in which sinners suffer in different levels of gruesome punishments. Horned demon Killer K (Nagase Tomoya), the leader of the... [read more]
  6. Princess Weiyoung (2016) (DVD) (Ep. 1-54) (End) (China Version) Princess Weiyoung (2016) (DVD) (Ep. 1-54) (End) (China Version) Tiffany Tang (Actor) | Vanness Wu (Actor) | Luo Jin (Actor) | Mao Xiao Tong (Actor)
    A meaningful twist on a revenge tale
    July 25, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    A typical Chinese palace drama, such as Legend of Concubine Zhen Huan and The Legend of Mi Yue, usually delivers a strong message of female empowerment and involves romance, power struggle, revenge and betrayal. To fit this type of dramatic plot, the protagonist is often designed to be a concubine's daughter who is destined to bring bad luck and becomes reluctantly embroiled in a fierce power fight with her once beloved sister. Despite its formulaic plot about the underdog tale of a brilliant and lionhearted fallen princess, Princess Weiyoung still possesses unique charms that kept me watching. In the original novel The Concubine's Daughter Is Poisonous, Li Weiyoung is the third child of... [read more]
  7. Beenzino - 24:26 (5th Anniversary Remaster Edition) Beenzino - 24:26 (5th Anniversary Remaster Edition) Beenzino
    Modern hip-hop classic
    July 14, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    During his Hot Clip days, Beenzino experimented with different genres to produce refreshing hip-hop sounds. After forming Jazzyfact with producer Shimmy Twice, he established his unique jazz rap style and soon became one of the most sought-after rappers in the music scene. The pioneering musician emerged as a soloist in 2012 with his first album 24:26, which has a significant influence on the development of Korean hip-hop. Breaking the convention of hip-hop music, the album is a groundbreaking release that deserves classic status. While the lead-off track Nike Shoes looks like an advert song for the sports brand, it's actually a breezy love song about Beenzino's ideal type. Primary's groovy... [read more]
  8. Peace Sign [Peace Ver.] (SINGLE+DVD)  (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) Peace Sign [Peace Ver.] (SINGLE+DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) Yonezu Kenshi
    Yonezu Kenshi's 2nd consecutive anime theme
    June 30, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    First finding popularity as a Vocaloid composer, Yonezu Kenshi has successfully elevated his music from Niconico to the mainstream thanks to his eminently listenable rock pop sound and some well-positioned tie-in collaborations. After scoring a hit earlier in the year with the March Comes in Like a Lion theme song Orion, the talented singer-songwriter climbs the chart again with another anime theme song single in Peace Sign, the exhilarating first opening for the second season of My Hero Academia. Written, composed and arranged by Yonezu, Peace Sign coasts on an uptempo melody and tight beats that quickly establish a free-wheeling feeling of exuberance and energy. The electric guitar-driven... [read more]
  9. Heize EP Album - /// Heize EP Album - /// Heize
    Love in the rain
    June 30, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Known for her distinctively soothing groove, Heize often expresses the feelings of exasperation and anger in a peacefully rebellious tone. Her anger gives way to sorrow and regret in her third mini-album ///, which uses rain to create different lyrical emotions. The sentimental singer-songwriter reveals the internal pain of separation in her deeply felt songs steeped in heartache, remorse and yearning. In the music video of "Don't Know You" (Track 1), Heize introduces 14 violent ways to lose a teddy bear, such as hitting, slapping and burning. The rapper's exaggerated portrayal of a dismissive girlfriend in the music video provides a heartbreaking contrast to the apologetic lyrics about the... [read more]
  10. NINAGAWA Macbeth (2015) (DVD) (Japan Version) NINAGAWA Macbeth (2015) (DVD) (Japan Version) Ninagawa Yukio | Tanaka Yuko | Ichimura Masachika | Hashimoto Satoshi
    Ninagawa's last Macbeth
    June 29, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Japan's foremost theater director Ninagawa Yukio passed away last May at the age of 80. The renowned director leaves behind a tremendous legacy as one of the world's most masterful and imaginative interpreters of Shakespeare, continuously transforming the Bard's classics into distinctly Japanese productions over a four-decade career that garnered wide acclaim at home and abroad. Boldly bearing the director's name right in the title, Ninagawa MacBeth was first staged to lukewarm reception in Tokyo in 1980. Five years later, it became his first Shakespeare production to travel to Europe, and from there on, Ninagawa would take the world by storm. Ninagawa MacBeth had several re-runs in Japan... [read more]
  11. Luck-Key (2DVD) (Normal Edition) (Korea Version) Luck-Key (2DVD) (Normal Edition) (Korea Version) Yu Hae Jin (Actor) | Lim Ji Yeon (Actor) | Lee Joon (Actor) | Jo Yoon Hee (Actor)
    The key to success
    June 28, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    When I watched Uchida Kenji's Key of Life, I didn't realize that it was a comedy. The film is largely humorless in spite of the amusing idea of a suicidal man and a rich killer swapping lives after a hilarious soap accident. Director Lee Gae Byok makes a vast improvement on the story for a real comedy and redefines the meaning of success in his light-hearted and encouraging remake Luck-Key. Appearing as a frightening killer who calmly takes off his bloody raincoat and gloves after killing a man, Yu Hae Jin (Veteran) creates a terror-stricken atmosphere at the beginning of the comedy. The story's uneasiness turns bright when the infamous assassin Hyung Wook goes to a public bath where he... [read more]
  12. Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait (2016) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait (2016) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) Tony Leung Chiu Wai (Actor) | Zhou Xun (Actor) | Sadon Lhamo (Actor) | Thinley Dorji (Actor)
    The power and poison of anonymity
    June 26, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    What would you do if you were completely anonymous, such that nothing you do can be traced back to you? That is the alluring question posed in Tibetan lama Khyentse Norbu's eerie and intriguing Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait. Hema Hema opens rather unexpectedly in a night club with Chinese actress Zhou Xun, whose significance will not be known until the end of the film. The modern-day bookend then leads into the green mountains of Bhutan where a man puts on a mask and surrenders himself to the tribe hosting the (fictional) ritual at the heart of the film. Every 12 years, a group of participants are invited to take part in a ritual that lasts for 15 days in the mountains. The... [read more]
  13. He-R He-R Crowd Lu (Singer)
    No love, no life
    June 19, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Known for his brand of humor and optimism, Crowd Lu has created a bunch of light-hearted and energetic songs. However, as revealed during an interview in 2016, the sunny singer-songwriter was originally a passive child bullied by his classmates. Hoping to be loved, the little Crowd started to develop his own peculiar sense of humor. Sharing similar sentiments with the unassertive Hwa Jia from his family drama A Boy Named Flora A, the musician beautifully conveys the character's intense yearning for family love in the drama's theme songs He-R and Bin A Tsai. A Taiwanese word meaning "small fish," He-R (Track 1) is a poignant monologue of a lonely man who lives a peaceful life in a new city... [read more]
  14. Duckweed (2017) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Duckweed (2017) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Eddie Peng (Actor) | Deng Chao (Actor) | Zanilia Zhao (Actor) | Han Han (Director, Writer)
    The growth of Han Han
    June 9, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    When I wrote about superstar writer Han Han's directorial debut The Continent in 2015, I noted that the meandering vagabond road film employing tropes common to his novels was absolutely the film he was meant to make, but that the formula could grow old if he continued to use it for subsequent films. Two years later, his sophomore effort Duckweed came out of the competitive Chinese New Year box-office slot with a gross of over one billion yuan and strong reviews. Han Han will perhaps always write about headstrong young men on a journey of growth, discovery and destruction, but with Duckweed, he's taken that journey in another direction with a different tone. Deng Chao and Eddie Peng serve... [read more]
  15. A Silent Voice (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition) (Japan Version) A Silent Voice (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition) (Japan Version) Yuki Aoi | Irino Miyu | Hayami Saori | Nishiya Taishi
    A painful journey of redemption and self-discovery
    June 9, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    In November 2016, the case of a 13-year-old Japanese boy being bullied by classmates was revealed. An evacuee from the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, the young victim was called "germ" at school and beaten by classmates who extorted money from him. However, this case is just the tip of the iceberg. Bullying happens everywhere and it has become a common theme in manga. Dealing with the issues of bullying and disability, Oima Yoshitoki allows audience to listen to the inner voices of both the bullies and their victims in her award-winning manga A Silent Voice, which has been adapted into an anime film by K-On! director Yamada Naoko and studio Kyoto Animation. A Silent Voice is a... [read more]
  16. The Inspired Island II: My City (2015) (Blu-ray + DVD + Book) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) The Inspired Island II: My City (2015) (Blu-ray + DVD + Book) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) Xi Xi (Author) | Fruit Chan (Director)
    The Writer and her City
    May 31, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    The Inspired Island started in 2011 as a series of documentaries about Taiwan literary luminaries directed by new-generation Taiwan filmmakers. For the series' second batch of films, the subjects expanded to include Hong Kong writers Liu Yichang, Ye Si and Xi Xi. While the first two writers are documented by screenwriter Ben Wong who, like most of his Taiwan counterparts, is not an established director, My City about Xi Xi is directed by Fruit Chan. As the only big name director of The Inspired Island series, Chan shows his experience and expertise in one of the series' most engaging and accessible entries. Unlike some other titles in the series, My City resists the limitation of being too... [read more]
  17. Show Me Your Love (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Show Me Your Love (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Paw Hee Ching (Actor) | Raymond Wong (Actor) | Michelle Wai (Actor) | Ivana Wong (Actor)
    Love is never too late
    May 24, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Teaching is one of the most secure careers in Malaysia. As such, many parents hope that their children will become teachers. Director Ryon Lee's (Seventh) parents were no exception. Passionate about movies, Lee insisted in pursuing his dream instead. To show his determination, he left home and spent years developing his filmmaking career. When he learned that his mother was diagnosed with a muscle disease, he suddenly realized that nothing is more important than family. Lee retells these thoughts in the moving drama Show Me Your Love's poignant story of separation and reconciliation. Teacher Daren (Raymond Wong, PTU) left his hometown in Malaysia twenty years ago, and started a new life in... [read more]
  18. Creepy (2016) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Creepy (2016) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Takeuchi Yuko (Actor) | Nishijima Hidetoshi (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 the 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]
  19. 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]
  20. Someone (Blu-ray) (Deluxe Edition) (Japan Version) Someone (Blu-ray) (Deluxe Edition) (Japan Version) Satoh Takeru | Yamada Takayuki | Arimura Kasumi | Suda 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]
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