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  1. S Storm (2016) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) S Storm (2016) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Vic Chou (Actor) | Julian Cheung (Actor) | Louis Koo (Actor) | Bowie Lam (Actor)
    The ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) faces-off against corruption again in S Storm, the follow-up to the moderately successful 2014 thriller Z Storm. Veteran director David Lam returns, as does leading man Louis Koo, along with several other cast members from the original and new additions from the TVB roster, this time for a tale focusing on bribery and gambling after crimes at the HK Jockey Club lead to the uncovering of an insidious conspiracy. Louis Koo again plays Principal Investigator William Luk, the film starting off with him putting the screws on a trader at the powerful Jockey Club under suspicion of taking bribes and illegal gambling activity. The case turns... [read more]
  2. Weeds on Fire (2016) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Weeds on Fire (2016) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Liu Kai Chi (Actor) | Poon Chan Leung (Actor) | Tony Wu (Actor) | Sing Lam (Actor)
    The debut feature of writer-director Chan Chi-Fat, Weeds on Fire chronicles the true story of Hong Kong's first youth baseball team, the Shatin Martins, who won a regional tournament at the end of their first year in existence. That true, inspirational story was massaged and even marginalized on its way to the big screen. Weeds on Fire features a fictionalized version of the team's journey as its framework, and uses its baseball storyline as a vessel for familiar themes like Hong Kong social problems, political issues and existential youth musings. It's 1984 and Lo Kwong-Fai (Liu Kai-Chi), a school principal in the Shatin district, pushes for the requisite funding for a little league... [read more]
  3. Don't Forget Me (DVD) (Korea Version) Don't Forget Me (DVD) (Korea Version) Kim Ha Neul (Actor) | Jung Woo Sung (Actor, Producer) | Lee Joon Hyuk | Lim Joo Eun (Actor)
    An unfortunate lawyer finds recovering lost memories to be more difficult and painful than he imagined in Remember You (a.k.a. Don't Forget Me) from Korean writer director Lee Yoon-jeong, making her feature debut with a full-length version of her acclaimed 2010 short Remember O Goddess. The independent, partly crowdfunded film was produced by popular actor Jung Woo-sung (Asura: The City of Madness), who headlines along with actress Kim Ha-neul (Blind), backed by a solid supporting cast including Bae Sung-woo (Inside Men) and Jang Young-nam (Ode to My Father). The film opens with Jung Woo-sung as Seok-won, a lawyer who finds himself alone in an apartment and unsure of who he is after... [read more]
  4. Happiness (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Happiness (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Carlos Chan (Actor) | Kara Hui (Actor) | Siu Yam Yam (Actor) | James Ng (Actor)
    Director Andy Lo Yiu-Fai makes a fine feature debut with the flawed yet quietly effective drama Happiness. A longtime screenwriter for the good (Crazy n' the City), the bad (The Park) and the ugly (Here Comes Fortune), Lo previously wrote and directed "Can’t Stop the Killing", a segment of the omnibus film Hardcore Comedy. As a director, Lo did a decent job with the thirty-minute segment, and showed that he can handle different characters and tones. However, his screenplay was terribly overwritten, with too much voiceover and too many unnecessary details that required even more voiceover. "Can’t Stop the Killing" was rife with Hong Kong screenwriting problems, but they're problems that Lo... [read more]
  5. Call of Heroes (2016) (Blu-ray) (2D + 3D) (Hong Kong Version) Call of Heroes (2016) (Blu-ray) (2D + 3D) (Hong Kong Version) Lau Ching Wan (Actor) | Louis Koo (Actor) | Eddie Peng (Actor) | Wu Jing (Actor)
    Arguably Hong Kong's most consistent action filmmaker, Benny Chan follows up his Heroic Bloodshed homage The White Storm with another nostalgic genre fix. Call of Heroes is a rousing and uncomplicated throwback to Shaw Brothers-era martial arts actioners, with a simple story, righteous heroes, a diabolical villain and terrific action sequences. Also, the stars and their performances are nearly top notch. Nearly. Louis Koo plays the super bad guy of the piece, a warlord's son who has no regard for human life and toys with his foes with pronounced sadistic glee. Koo makes his character dangerous but also very campy, with unchecked evil laughter and overdone mugging among his acting lowlights.... [read more]
  6. Mr. Six (2015) (DVD) (China Version) Mr. Six (2015) (DVD) (China Version) Feng Xiao Gang (Actor) | Kris Wu (Actor) | Zhang Han Yu (Actor) | Li Yi Feng (Actor)
    Aftershock director Feng Xiaogang excels in Mr. Six, but this time he's not behind the camera – he's in front of it. From director Guan Hu (Cow), this elegiac black comedy-drama concerns Zhang Xuejun a.k.a. Mr. Six (Feng), an aged gang member in Beijing who saddles up for a rousing attempt at one last ride. Now the owner of a small neighborhood shop, Mr. Six still commands some respect among the locals, which allows him to discipline neighbors and cops at his whim. However, Mr. Six's authority is questioned when he has a run in with Xiaofei (Kris Wu), the son of a mega-rich businessman and leader of the "Twelve Masters of Third Ring Road" – a fluffed-up fancy name for what's really just an... [read more]
  7. Love, Lies (2DVD) (Korea Version) Love, Lies (2DVD) (Korea Version) Han Hyo Ju (Actor) | Chun Woo Hee (Actor) | Yoo Yeon Seok (Actor) | Park Sung Woong (Actor)
    Park Heung-sik, director of Memories of the Sword, returns with a historical drama of a different kind with Love, Lies, revolving around a bitter love triangle between two Korean singers and a songwriter in 1940s Seoul. For its three leads, the film reunites Han Hyo-ju, Chun Woo-hee and Yoo Yeon-seok, who starred together in Bae Sung-woo's 2015 romance The Beauty Inside, and proved very popular with Korean critics, if perhaps not with audiences. The film is set in Seoul in the 1940s, during the final years of the Japanese occupation of Korea, with Han Hyo-ju as So-yul, a gisaeng entertainer who plans to rise to the top of her profession. Studying at gisaeng school, she meets Yeon-hee (Chun... [read more]
  8. Cold War II (2016) (Blu-ray) (2D + 3D) (Hong Kong Version) Cold War II (2016) (Blu-ray) (2D + 3D) (Hong Kong Version) Tony Leung Ka Fai (Actor) | Chow Yun Fat (Actor) | Aaron Kwok (Actor) | Charlie Young (Actor)
    Writer directors Longman Leung and Sunny Luk follow up their 2012 debut Cold War with a sequel, continuing the tale of internal scheming and strife between Hong Kong's various police departments and justice bureaus. With the original having been the territory's biggest domestic hit of the year, a second chapter was always on the cards, Leung and Luk duly obliging after taking time out to helm the somewhat less successful 2015 thriller Helios. The film was another marked critical and commercial success, topping the Chinese box office for two successive weeks during an admittedly quiet period, pulling in more than RMB 500 million in the process to date. The story picks up directly after... [read more]
  9. Line Walker (2016) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Line Walker (2016) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Charmaine Sheh (Actor) | Francis Ng (Actor) | Louis Koo (Actor) | Nick Cheung (Actor)
    TVB adapts another of its hit television dramas to the cinema with Line Walker: The Movie, and like many of its previous TV-to-movie attempts (e.g., Triumph in the Skies), they've screwed over fans of the original. The Powers That Be dropped most of Line Walker's storylines and actors (including male leads Raymond Lam and Michael Miu) and marginalized returning female lead Charmaine Sheh by pushing her into a supporting role behind three big-time movie stars. Getting proven stars for a big screen adaptation is an understandable business decision, and yet somewhere the devout Line Walker fan is probably cursing TVB or whoever else they can, from director Jazz Boon, who also created the TV... [read more]
  10. The Guest (2016) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) The Guest (2016) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Leon Lai (Actor) | Han Chae Young (Actor) | Geng Le (Actor) | Chris Tong Bing Yu (Actor)
    Hong Kong Heavenly King Leon Lai headlines South Korean-Chinese co-production The Guest, a suspense thriller in which he stars as a man being tormented by a crazed taxi driver. The film has a solid genre pedigree in Korean director and producer team Im Dae-woong (To Sir with Love) and Ahn Byung-ki (Apartment), and sees Lai joined by popular Korean television actress Han Chae-young (Bel Ami, Boys over Flowers) and Chinese actor Geng Le (Beijing Rocks). Leon Lai plays Zheng Kai, a sales manager whose life and career take a downturn after he's forced to take the blame for a mistake made by a colleague at work. Desperate to try and still hold onto the luxury apartment he shares with his fiancée... [read more]
  11. Insane (DVD) (Korea Version) Insane (DVD) (Korea Version) Kang Ye Won (Actor) | Lee Sang Yoon (Actor) | Choi Jin Ho (Actor) | Lee Cheol Ha (Director)
    Director Lee Cheol-ha follows Love Me Not and Hello?! Orchestra with something a little different in Insane, a thriller set largely in a grim psychiatric hospital, following Lee Sang-yoon (Santa Barbara) as a television producer trying to get to the bottom of the case of a mysterious young woman played by Kang Ye-won (Love Clinic). Packing in dark secrets, conspiracies and plenty of dastardly goings-on, the film proved surprisingly popular in Korea, opening at the top of the domestic box office. The film opens with television producer Nam-soo (Lee Sang Yoon) being handed a last chance in the form of a tacky real life haunted house show after his career takes a nosedive. Although initially... [read more]
  12. No Tomorrow (DVD) (Korea Version) No Tomorrow (DVD) (Korea Version) Park Hyo Joo (Actor) | Bae Sung Woo (Actor) | Ryu Jun Yeol (Actor) | Hyun Wook
    With No Tomorrow, writer director Lee Ji-seung explores a shocking real life case which happened in Korea in 2014 involving enslaved disabled salt farm workers on a remote island in Jeolla Province. Like Lee's award-winning 2012 debut, the rape drama Azooma, the film aims to be a hard-hitting look at social injustice in Korea with a female protagonist, this time played by actress Park Hyo-joo (Love Guide for Dumpees), and screened at the 39th Montreal World Film Festival. The film follows Park as a journalist called Hae-ri, who travels with colleague and cameraman Seok-hoon (Lee Hyun-wook, The Target) to a far-off island to investigate the case of the reported enslavement of a disabled man... [read more]
  13. An (2015) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong  Version) An (2015) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Mizuno Miki (Actor) | Uchida Kyara (Actor) | Nagase Masatoshi (Actor) | Asada Miyoko (Actor)
    Acclaimed Japanese director Kawase Naomi tries her hand at something a little different with An (also screened variously as Sweet Bean and Sweet Bean Red Paste), shifting from the arthouse abstractness of her Cannes-winning The Mourning Forest and last outing Still the Water, to life-affirming sentimentality. Adapted from a novel by Durian Sukegawa, the film is certainly the most accessible of Kawase's career so far, and was chosen as the opening film of the Un Certain Regard strand of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival before going on to play a long list of prestigious international events. Its title referring to the sweet bean red paste filling of dorayaki pancakes sold in a small shop run by... [read more]
  14. While The Women Are Sleeping (DVD) (Limited Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) While The Women Are Sleeping (DVD) (Limited Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) Wayne Wang (Director) | Kitano Takeshi | Nishijima Hidetoshi | Kutsuna Shiori
    Chinese-American director Wayne Wang has had a very interesting and varied career, from his award-winning 1982 indie breakthrough Chan is Missing through to Hollywood schlock like the Jennifer Lopez vehicle Maid in Manhattan and the big budget China – US coproduction Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. For his latest he takes on something different again in the form of Japanese psycho drama While the Women Are Sleeping, adapted from Spanish writer Javier Marias' short story of the same name. Having screened in the Panorama section of the 66th Berlin International Film Festival, the dark film has a top-drawer cast, headlined by Kitano Takeshi (Ryuzo and His Seven Henchmen), Kutsuna Shiori (125... [read more]
  15. A Bride for Rip Van Winkle (2016) (Blu-ray + DVD) (Special Director's Cut Edition) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) A Bride for Rip Van Winkle (2016) (Blu-ray + DVD) (Special Director's Cut Edition) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Iwai Shunji (Director, Writer) | Kuroki Haru (Actor) | Cocco (Actor) | Ayano Go (Actor)
    Japanese director Iwai Shunji has tried his hand at a variety of styles during his career, from features to documentaries and even animation, films like Love Letter, All about Lily Chou-Chou, Vampire and most recently The Case of Hana and Alice winning him acclaim as one of Japan’s most individual helmers. Adapted from his own novel, Iwai’s latest offering A Bride for Rip Van Winkle sees him returning to themes of loneliness, isolation and the struggle to form human connections in the modern age, starring Kuroki Haru (The Little House), Ayano Go (Shinjuku Swan) and singer Cocco (Kotoko). Kuroki Haru plays Nanami, a part-time teacher who loses her job due to being too quiet and meek with her... [read more]
  16. iGirl (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) iGirl (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Chrissie Chau (Actor) | Ekin Cheng (Actor) | Connie Man (Actor) | Dominic Ho (Actor)
    Offering up what could easily be seen as a dubious line in male fantasy fulfilment, Hong Kong director Kam Ka-wai makes his debut with iGirl, starring Ekin Cheng and Chrissie Chau (who last appeared together in Lawrence Cheng’s 2014 rom-com Break Up 100) playing a man who falls for his beautiful and obedient robot girlfriend. Given the film’s premise, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to learn that it was produced by Wong Jing, and while it never goes down the sleazy route that might have been expected, it’s certainly a chaotic and scattershot offering in his usual style. The film opens with Ekin Cheng’s super, super nice guy and veterinarian Evan getting dumped by his harridan of a... [read more]
  17. Three (2016) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Three (2016) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Louis Koo (Actor) | Vicki Zhao (Actor) | Johnnie To (Director) | Wallace Chung (Actor)
    Fourteen years after his doctors-and-nurses comedy HELP!!!, Johnnie To checks back into the hospital with a movie that his most ardent fans – namely the crime genre junkies – will be happier with. Maybe. Three is a confined thriller set in a hospital about three individuals deadlocked in conflict with one another. Bad guy Shun (Wallace Chung) is brought into the hospital with a bullet in his head, but he'd like to postpone surgery while he looks for a way to contact his men to come and break him out. Inspector Ken Chan (Louis Koo) wants to find the bad guys and stick it to Shun, though his zeal for justice comes with a darker motive that's related to how Shun got shot in the head. Finally,... [read more]
  18. The Last Women Standing (2015) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) The Last Women Standing (2015) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Eddie Peng (Actor) | Shu Qi (Actor) | Lynn Xiong (Actor) | King Shih Chieh (Actor)
    Though its marketing screams modern commercial romance, The Last Women Standing isn't exactly one. Directed by Luo Luo, who also wrote the novel on which the film was based, Last Women Standing is a fairly straightforward examination of a "leftover woman", i.e., a woman who's hit thirty but isn't due to be married anytime soon and is thus grouped into an undesirable demographic. This subject matter exists because of China's ageist/sexist values, but don’t expect the film to comment on those things – at least, not in a way that addresses society or a larger group of women besides the main character. Said main character is Sheng Ruxi (Shu Qi), who lives in Shanghai and is constantly harangued... [read more]
  19. Robbery (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Robbery (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Derek Tsang (Actor) | Philip Keung (Actor) | Lam Suet (Actor) | Eric Kwok (Actor)
    The long-delayed black comedy Robbery goes to dark and frequently violent places but ultimately manages decent affect. Director Fire Lee improves upon his earlier films (Give Love, Love in Time) by pushing black humor and timely satire over existential romance and drama, though he does serve up those things, too. Robbery opens with an inspired introduction to slacker Lau Kin-Ping (Derek Tsang), who openly admits to his loser status. After witnessing an unfortunate double suicide, Ping applies to work at Exceed, a convenience store run by a jerkoff owner (Lam Suet), where he continues to slack and screw around in funny and frequently off-color ways. Ping's admission to the work force isn't... [read more]
  20. The Mobfathers (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) The Mobfathers (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Chapman To (Actor, Producer) | Anthony Wong (Actor) | Philip Keung (Actor) | Gregory Wong (Actor)
    Herman Yau takes a stroll through Election territory with the gangland comedy-drama-satire The Mobfathers, and the result is entertaining and flawed in equal measure. Chapman To stars as ambitious Jing Hing triad Chuck, who's arrested on the very same night that his wife (Bonnie Xian) announces that she's pregnant. Since he's missing the best years of fatherhood, Chuck resolves to be on his best behavior while in prison, and hopes to make it on the straight and narrow when his sentence is over. However, that's not what happens. A violent skirmish occurs outside the prison right when Chuck is released, and after a few twists involving the gang and his family, he does a 180 and decides that... [read more]
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