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  1. 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]
  2. 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]
  3. 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]
  4. NINAGAWA Macbeth (2015) (DVD) (Japan Version) NINAGAWA Macbeth (2015) (DVD) (Japan Version) Ninagawa Yukio | Ichimura Masachika | Tanaka Yuko | 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]
  5. Luck-Key (2DVD) (Normal Edition) (Korea Version) Luck-Key (2DVD) (Normal Edition) (Korea Version) Yu Hae Jin (Actor) | Jo Yoon Hee (Actor) | Lee Gae Byok (Director) | Lim Ji Yeon (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]
  6. 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) Zhou Xun (Actor) | Tony Leung Chiu Wai (Actor) | Sadon Lhamo (Actor) | Tshering 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]
  7. 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]
  8. Duckweed (2017) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Duckweed (2017) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Deng Chao (Actor) | Eddie Peng (Actor) | Han Han (Director, Writer) | Zanilia Zhao (Actor)
    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]
  9. A Silent Voice (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition) (Japan Version) A Silent Voice (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition) (Japan Version) Yuki Aoi | Hayami Saori | Nishiya Taishi | Irino Miyu
    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]
  10. 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) Fruit Chan (Director) | Xi Xi (Author)
    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]
  11. 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) | Ivana Wong (Actor) | Michelle Wei (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]
  12. 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 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]
  13. 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]
  14. Someone (Blu-ray) (Deluxe Edition) (Japan Version) Someone (Blu-ray) (Deluxe Edition) (Japan Version) Satoh Takeru | Yamada Takayuki | Suda Masaki | Arimura Kasumi
    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]
  15. 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]
  16. 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]
  17. 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]
  18. Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories (2016) (Blu-ray Box) (Japan Version) Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories (2016) (Blu-ray Box) (Japan Version) Kobayashi Kaoru | Abe Yaro | Fuwa Mansaku | Shiga Kotaro
    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]
  19. Run-off (DVD) (Korea Version) Run-off (DVD) (Korea Version) Kim Ye Won | Soo Ae (Actor) | Kim Jong Hyun (Director) | Oh Yeon Seo (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]
  20. 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 – Togetsukyo -Kimi Omou- and Yesterday Love – 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]
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